Hello Family and Friends
This past Wednesday and Thursday found Annette and I back up to Duke for follow up testing following the six weeks of treatments we went through. I say we as Annette has been right there at my side and had to put up with all my ups and downs, my complaining, my grumpy moods, my puking, and generally feeling like crap for so long.
We were back to basically go through the same scans and testing we did pre-treatment so as to compare it to the post-treatment results (CT & PET scans, an endoscopy, and blood work). Well, bottom line, everything went really well and the doctors were very pleased with the results. The treatments did what they were supposed to do. The turmor is now broken up into little "ulcer" sized bits and there was no evidence of any other cancer cells showing up any place else. All good news.
We then met with each of our doctors and finally the surgeon who will do my operation. It is scheduled for May 18th when they will remove my esophagus and about 1/3 of the upper side of my stomach (standard procedure), pull the remaining stomach up and reattach it to become my new esophagus. Two small incisions in my right side to remove the existing esophagus then one incision each in the middle of my chest and up by my thoat to reattach the stomach. 10-14 days in the hospital with 3 weeks of "light duty" following that and no "heavy lifting" for 6 weeks after the surgery.
A feeding tube will be installed and will remain until I can take adequate nurishment on my own. Small meals, 5-6 times a day, will be the norm for me after the surgery. They said I may never eat "American sized meals" again but it will depend on me. They said "you know those foot-long subs at Subway, well you might be able to eat 1/4 of one of those." It seems like I should only have to pay $1.25 now for a sub vs. $5 bucks huh? Guess there will be a lot of take-homes in the future. Oh well, we will have to do what we have to do!
As for me right now, I am feeling pretty darn good (and, of course, I look marvalous). I am eating a lot better, enjoying a few alcoholic beverages again, and generally getting some of my strength and endurance back, at least until the 18th. The surgery could have been even earlier but I asked to put it off till mid-May to give me time to put a little weight back on this skinny little frame. Annette isn't happy, saying I am not what she bought into:) Also, this may be the last 3+ weeks I eat like an "American" again so I want to enjoy it.
That's it for now. We will keep you posted as things progress. Thanks in advance for your prayers and cards. They are most welcomed.