Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 25, 2011

Dear Friends,
It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that Donald Beckett passed away Oct 19, 2011. As you know, Don fought courageously to defeat cancer so it is important that his story be shared. His legacy will live on through all who knew him. Thank you for your continual support during this time of mourning.

The Beckett Family  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 15

Ok, I'm back.  I am sorry for long delay of blogging.  I have been really down and basically bedridden with Heidi taking care of  me.  I am just going to ramble and try to catch you up up.

I ,still not able to take any food or liquids by mouth.  We tried all the different formula of tube feeding by doctors through my feeding tube and they did not agree with me.  Caused more mucus build up and made me sick.  So, we did our own thing and started jucing organic veggies and putting them in my tube.  I am getting everything from, carrots, brochilli, beets, green beans, kale, spinach, celery, peppers, cabbage, cucumber, tomato, romaine lettuce.  Heidi also adds soy protein and we are trying some others.  We are staying away from cow's milk.  We ran all this by two doctors and they were in agreement.  It is alot of work for Heidi but she does not mind. 

I only weigh 139 lbs now.  In January, when we started treatment I weighed 196.  My energy level today is about 20% .  It has been lower.  We got the pain under control finally by seeing a pain management doctor.  I am on a regiment of Methadone 3 times per day.  I am also take Nuerontin 3 times per day.  So pain is no longer the biggest problem.  The biggest problems now is the mucous production and interfering with my breathing.  No meds for this as anything would dry out my mouth more.  I have to carry water bottle and spit cup now to moisten my mouth regularly.  The other problem is nutrition.  All the muscles in my legs and arms have broken down from lack of nutrition and this also caused me severe leg pain.  My legs and feet are currently swollen.  I have some Ted Hose to wear on them. 

I had to cut off visitors for a while cause I could not get enough rest.  However, now I see visitors.  I appreciate all the cards, txt, emails, etc.!

The other self treatment that helps me is what I call my Coke Flush.  I force a drink of coke down my throat and it binds with the mucous and then I throw it it up.  I clears the mucous out for couple hours.  It sounds bad but it is somewhat refreshing as I get some ice cold liquid in there when i am so dry.  going through a lot of coke. 

If you are trying to bring something for me, bring organic veggies, coke or 7 Up. 

My goal is keep veggie feeding and get strength up until I can eat again.  The doctors cannot tell me when that will be or what is going on right now.  Hope this info helps you.  I am currently, just staying home in bedroom and Heidi is assisting me when I need it.  I love you all!

Friday, September 9, 2011

September 9

I wished I was writing good news with much improvement, but not yet.  My current condition is still have pain that ranges from "5" to "10" on scale of 10 depending on when I took pain medication last.  I have not eaten any food or liquids for 9 weeks.  I also can longer swallow any pills.  They either get stuck and come right back up or come right back up out of my stomach.  This makes fighting the pain more difficult. 

I saw Dr. Cline (Gastro doctor) about a week ago.  I asked if there was anything else we could try to heal up the uclers and get rid of pain.  He said no.  They only thing he said we could think about was putting in a stint that would widen the opening but I told him that was last resort.  I have too much disease to risk a stint tearing that area.

I went back to Dr. Marquinez (Oncologist) on Wednesday.  He started me on Fentanyl patches for pain and also a liquid Oxycontin that I can put into my feeding tube.  Unfortantly, the Fentanyl patches you start at a lower dose and work your way up until you get relief.  The dose we started at is not even touching the pain.  Therefore, I am living on the liquid Oxycontin every 4 hours (usually every 3 hours) to keep pain under control.  I will get a stronger dose patch next week.

I had been vomiting about 10-15 times per day due to pain and mucus.  That has been reduced to about 6-8 times per day right now. 

I am still losing weight and we did increase my tube feeding calories to try to help.  The problem is I have to be connected to the tube feeding for 16.5 hours per day to get the necessary calories.  I now weigh 154 lbs. 

I am sleeping a lot during the daytime.  Since I am up and down all night taking medication, spitting, throwing up, etc. and the narcotics also make you very sleepy.  It is nothing for me to take a 3 hour nap at such time as the pain wakes me up to take another dose. 

I mentioned in last blog that we had an offer coming in on house.  It was not a good offer.  It was $50K less than our asking price.  Obviously, we could not accept this. 

I do have to admit that I have become a bit depressed about things.  It is hard to keep a positive attitude when you don't see any improvement at all.  However, I have been receiving a lot of cards and notes in the mail that have been very encouraging.  I appreciate that. 

Still no pension check yet, so we currently don't have any income.  We expect a pension check by the end of this month.  The bigger delimina is that we won't get our health insurance card until after I get a pension check.  The pension system has to pay the insurance company.  So, even though I have insurance which was effective Sept 1, I have no card or acct number.  I have to pay for everything and then try to get reimbursed.  Heidi just purchased $343.00 worth of medication for me last night.  The tube feeding cost $143 per day and I have to front this money.  We were also told that my new insurance company does not cover tube feeding.  So, not sure where this will lead us. 

Some areas to pray specifically for:
1.  Pray for pain relief with new pain medications
2.  Pray that I may be able to eat and drink soon and get off tube feeding.
3.  Pray that our insurance coverage would get established so we don't have to pay this money.
4.  Pray for Heidi as she is my source of inspiration and comfort.  Pray that she may remain healthy and strong.  Pray that the Lord will continue to use Heidi words to comfort me and help me keep my faith!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August 30

Many of you have written me because I have not written a blog in quite some time.  It is because I have been very sick. 

I have not eaten any foods or liquids in 8 weeks.  I have constant pain in my chest 24 hours per day and I am living on pain medication right now.  I have been throwing up approx. 8-12 times per day.  I now weight 155 lbs.  I am tube feeding myself every night from 7 pm - 7 am with a pump.  I get 1500 calories per night.  This is keeping me going right now. 

Even  though this sounds bad, I feel inside like maybe I am about to "turn the corner"!  I think it just had taken much much longer to heal up the ulcers in my esophagus and stomach from the radiation.  I cannot wait to be able to eat food again and pick up my strength.  We scheduled to see the Gastro doctor couple weeks ago, a little difficult to get into to see.  I have appt. for Thursday this week.  I am not even considering further cancer treatment until we get this ulcer problem under control.  

We did get some good news today!  We finally received a check from Toyota for $2500 matching the Don Joseph Car Dealership "Team Beckett" Program.  This money will really help out since we are no longer receiving any pay checks from the City of Kent.  I was officially off the books with City of Kent August 5.  A huge "Thank You" to Kathy Beatty and Brock Murphy for their follow up to get these funds.  They really had to jump through a lot of hoops, but got it done!

We are also expecting an offer on house today!  Don't know if it will be a good acceptable offer or not but at least we are seeing some action.  Please pray that this will work out and allow us to lower our money expenses!!!

Ryan finished the Kent State University Police Academy last week.  He resumed classes at Kent State University for his senior year yesterday!  He is currently looking for a local police job full or part time!

Please continue to pray for Heidi as she provides me with daily support and keeps my spirits up!  She is amazing, don't know what I would do without her!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday August 14

Most of you probably guessed since I had not written on the blog for a week that I probably was not feeling too good.  I can definitely say that I have felt worse the last 2 weeks than I have have before.  Fortunately, the tube feeding is keeping me going and keeping me out of the hospital. 

First of all, my pain is constant 24 hours per day.  I actually increased my dose myself of the Oxycontin extended release.  I am also taking Percocet every 4 hours around the clock.  This keeps my pain to a tolerable level.  It has been very difficult swallowing the pills with water as sometimes they do not want to go down.  However, I have been getting by with small sipes of water. 

I still am not able to eat any food or drink.  It has to be at least 7 weeks now since I have eaten food.  I do attempt something each day just to try to get that started again.  I am tube feeding from 7 pm - 7 am everynight and getting 1500 calories this way.  I need to supplement with some food soon.  My current weight is 158 lbs.  When I started cancer treatment on Jan 7 I weighed 196 lbs (38 lbs lost).

My energy level is the worse it has been.  I have pretty much been in bed napping most of the day away.  I do not like this at all, but some of that is the narcotics.  Simple walks now wear me out.  This will improve after I resume eating and exercising more.

Mentally, I have been a bit depressed.  I just keep thinking that any day, I will be able to eat again and then get my strength back and clear up ulcers and then be able to reduce pain meds and return to  a more normal lifestyle.  Each day it does not happen.  Fortunately, I have Heidi who cheers me up and keeps me company.  I know she is probably tired of being at home all the time, but I have not felt up to going anywhere.  I also have dry heaves about 6-8 times per day.  This is easier at home.  We also have the added stress of not having income at this point.  I am no longer on the books at the City of Kent Fire Department and it will be about 60 days until i get a pension check.  When we do receive the pension check it will not be enough to cover the bills, so this drains the savings accounts.  Hopefully, we will be able to sell the house in timely manner and stop draining the savings.  We had serious lookers at the house this week (2nd showing) but they must have purchased another house they were considering.  We did not get any more feedback. 

Please pray for Heidi to keep her strength, positive attitude and her health!  Please pray specifically for me to be able to eat food, eliminate ulcers and reduce pain levels.  Yesterday, in the mail I received a prayer cloth from a church in Florida.  A group there have been praying for me and sent a prayer cloth!  What a priviledge to be one of God's children!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday August 7

I have been home from the hospital one week today after surgery for my feeding tube.  I can't say I made much progress this week.  I am feeding through the tube every night from 7 p - 7a.  I get 1500 calories a night with 1250 liters of fluid.  I call it my baby formula.  I still have a very sensitive esophagus and vomit about 6 times per day usually when I first wake up or when I am swallowing pills with water.  I am still not able to eat any food or drink any liquids.  I was told it would take 2-3 weeks before this would take place.  Most of the pain in my abdomen is gone from the surgery, however the pain in my chest from esophagus is actually worse.  I am using Oxycontin every 12 hours and taking Percocet for break through pain and most days I am using about 5-6 of the Percocet.  I was hoping to be off of these by now.  I have not gained any weight but I did stop losing weight.  I now weigh 161 lbs.  I have began any chemotherapy treatments yet.  I am would like to be able to take some food by mouth first.  I did get the staples out of my abdomen on Thursday and site looks pretty good. 

We have had a few people look at our house.  One couple may be coming back for second look this week.  We are keeping our fingers crossed.

This past Friday was my official last day with the Kent Fire Department.  Very sad day for me.  I loved that job and all those people!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday July 29 - In the hospital

My oncologist admitted me to hospital on Wed morning for dehydration and needing nutrition.  Yesterday, I had surgery to place a J tube into my small intestine.  This is now my feeding tube.  I am currently getting fed 24 hours per day through this tube.  I have also had IV fluids running since admitted.  The surgery caused more pain than I expected.  I was one hurting puppy in recovery room and all night last night.  dry heaves and hiccups have made this worse.  However, this morning seems to be letting up some. 
The feeding tube can stay in during chemotherapy also.  I think I can keep it to 6 months.  It will have to be taken out with surgery also.  I am waiting on surgeon this morning to allow me to take a walk.  Currently, no food or drink by mouth either.  Visitors OK now RMH room 2309.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday July 26 - Post EGD

I went this morning and had my EGD (scope) completed at Robinson Memorial Hospital.  Dr. Micheal Cline did my EGD, he is a Gastro doctor.  He is good at what he does. 

He found that my esophagaus was lined with ulcers probably a result of the radiation and stomach acids.  He started me on strong doseages of Nexium and Carafate.  He said if I am not seeing much improvement within 2 weeks to call him. 

I had suspected ulcers but I did not know to treat them the same way if they were a result of the radiation.  So, at this point, I started the meds today, still have lots of pain and taking Oxycontin.  Still can't eat and throw up everytime I try.  I am hoping after a week of treatment I might see good progress!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday July 25

I am still having severe pain in my chest.  I am using Oxycontin and Percocet as needed.  I am not able to eat any food.  Doing all Ensure shakes now.  I did drink some chocolate milk this morning!  What a treat!

I have an EGD tomorrow morning to determine what we can do about this pain.  I am hopeful it is an ulcer than can be healed with medications.  I am also going to discuss a feeding tube with the doctor tomorrow.  Wed I meet with Oncologist and likely do chemo starting Friday.

My battle with cancer certainly has had its uplifting times such as when friends help you out or send you a card stating they love you and are thinking of you!  However, the physical and mental highs and low's can take a toll.  This past Saturday evening was one of those "tolls" on me emotionally.  Fortunately, my wife Heidi was there to help me get through and I did not have to do it alone.  I have been struggling with extreme pain for the past 5 weeks in my chest (esophagus) that is persistent 24/7.  The pain is taking a huge toll on my tolerance level.  In addition, I am not able to eat any foods.  This is taking a toll on my physical tolerance.  This past Saturday evening I was exhausted from the day, the pain, and the lack of eating.  I lay down on my bed and I just began to cry uncontrollably.   I just could not be strong any longer and I needed to let it out!  Fortunately, Heidi was there and she consoled me and explained that I do not have to be "tough guy" all the time.  She told me to let it out while she comforted me.  I felt so weak at the time and vulnerable, yet felt so comforted in her arms.  I needed this time to release the emotion.
The last emotional breakdown that I had was about 3 weeks into my fight with cancer and I was driving home in the car.  I began to consider how I was going to take care of my wife and family.  They needed me and counted on me.  I began to cry and walked through the doors at home weeping.  Heidi asked what is wrong and I said "I wanted to be able to take care of you forever"!  She began to cry and hugged me stating that she understood and that we all would be ok.  In my normal everyday life, I never dreamed that I would get stricken with a disease that would shorter my life and leave my family to fend for themselves.  This has left a major wake up call to me to make sure things are in order.  First with my Lord, next with my family and finally with finances.  I have been working on all these areas the past 7 months. 
The other breakdown that I remember was the day back in December when I told the Firefighters on my shift that I had been diagnosed with cancer.  I started out strong and thought I could get through it without breaking down.  Unfortunately, telling the Firefighters was like telling my immediate family and I began to cry.  I had to leave the room soon to be reassured and comforted by Lt. Craig Peeps. 
Most days, I remain very positive and feel that I will live longer than most.  I feel that my treatment will be successful to give me more time I would like to spend with all my family and friends.  People often tell how "good I look".  Actually, I don't look all that bad except for weight loss (34 lbs since Jan 7).  However, looking good on the outside does not explain how I am feeling inside.  I do appreciate all the folks whom tell me I look good!  It is another uplifting jester on their part. 
I have learned through the help of my wife that even a big tough Firefighter is only human and has ups and downs, highs and lows and is permitted to breakdown and just cry.  Cancer is an extremely scary and unpredictable disease.  The treatment is even scarier and more unpredictable.  However, I strive to be strong, happy and most of all be myself!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday July 20

My condition remains about the same.  I still can not eat food and I am contemplating getting a feeding tube put into place.  My weight on January 7 when I started treatment was 196 lbs.  Today, I weight 164 lbs and I will be starting chemo again soon.  This concerns me since I will lose more weight during chemo.  I will discuss this with my Oncologist at next visit.  I am now using supplements again, Ensure shakes.  Don't like them but it will keep me going.

My pain is still there.  The Oxycontin seems to be managing the pain keeping it at a 1-3 on pain scale of 10.  I also have Percocet that I can take in addition to the Oxycontin if pain warrants this.  However, the percocet makes me sleep and really causes a lot of constipation.  Right now, using the Oxycontin every 12 hours as it is a time release agent.

I just received bad news about my disability pension  appeal hearing.  My appeal will not be heard until January.  It seems they do not have a meeting in August and they only hear 4-5 appeals each month.  They are backlogged until January.  This is quite upsetting since the pension amount that we will receive at this time is not even enough to cover the mortgage.  Heidi and I will pray for assistance on this matter.  I have to turn this over to the Lord and have him manage my finances.

Heidi and I having a garage sale this weekend, Friday and Saturday 8 a - 4p if you need any stuff!  We have the garage full!  I am hoping to raise $1,000 off this sale!

Heidi and I had a great time at West Branch State Park this past Sunday afternoon picnicing with the fire & police department families!  We did boating, tubing, fishing and eating.  I believe about 70 people came!  Thanks for uplifting us again!  We needed that!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday July 19

I became an official blogger for a local electronic newspaper called the Kent Patch.  Please see my articles at:


I will continue to blog here and in the newspaper.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday July 14 - Dr. Marquinez News

Heidi and I went to see my Oncologist yesterday morning (Dr. Frederick Marquinez).  He had reviewed my PET scan from Cleveland Clinic.  Firstly, however he wanted to discuss pain management for me since that was a current big issue.  He prescribed to me Oxycontin 10 Mg which is a slow release tablet over 12 hours.  I will take one every 12 hours to help get a more steady pain relief instead of up and down.  He also refilled my Percocet for when I need quick relief.  I can also take together if needed. 

He said he would like to get an EGD (Scope) to determine if my pain was from ulcer or cancer.  I am now scheduled July 26 in the morning with Dr. Cline for EGD at Robinson.  The Cleveland Clinic was suppose to schedule this EGD by yesterday and have yet to hear from them again.  I think their scheduling department does not know what they are doing. 

Dr. Marquinez wants to check with Summa Group to see if any clinical trials are taking place now with my type of cancer.  Then he will decide which chemotherapy to use on me and he wants to start this next week.  He was hoping to get quick EGD done before chemo but said he will not hold up chemo to get this done.  Since I can't get EGD done till July 26 he will probably start next week.

Please continue to pray for my wonderful bride, Heidi.  She is not coping too well with the latest news.  She had herself convinced that we would get encouraging news and when they did not happen it crushed her.  She is beginning to settle back in now for the long haul. 

We will be having a huge garage sale at our house on July 22-23.  If you need stuff, come take ours!  thanks!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday July 12 - PET Scan Results

Heidi and I had appt. with the Radiation Oncologist this afternoon to discuss the PET Scan.  The news was not good.  The cancer has spread to my Adrenal gland.  The cancer also has spread to new Lymph Nodes higher in my chest around Clavicle area.  Also, the cancer has a new site on Aorta Artery.  The good news is the cancer appears to be gone out of Lymph Nodes near my stomach and the tumor in my esophagus has shrunk but still present. 

This new cancer locations cannot be treated with radiation but only with chemotherapy.  I have appt. tomorrow morning with my Oncologist who will recommend chemotherapy.  Eventually, the Radiation Oncologist still wants to do radiation from the inside of my esophagus by using EGD (scope) and drop probes down.  But that is at least 3 months out.  Right now must do chemotherapy. 

Please pray for Heidi as she is not taking this new news very well.  Thank you all for your continued prayer!  I love all of you!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday July 10

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend church today.  Got up this morning with a pain of "9" on 10 scale.  Heidi stayed home also with me.  I am starting a regiment of Oxycodone today.  I gave the Vicodin a week to see if it would help and it did not work well enough.  My pain levels are usually 7-8 and the Vicodin might take it to a 4.  So, even though I am against taking pain medicines I feel that it might help me with my eating if I control the pain better.  The Vicodin and Oxycodone both cause major constipation.  I am using Miralax for that, it works pretty well. 

Eating is a big challenge right now.  Most days I have a moderate size breakfast but usually unable to eat lunch or dinner.  I am also vomiting usually 1-2 times per day.  I am going to concentrate on eating more even if it takes me an hour to get some food down.  I do not want to do supplements (Ensure) unless I absolutely have to!  I have lost 8 lbs in the past 10-14 days.  I am at the lowest weight ever in my adult life of 169 lbs.

Other than the pain and difficulty eating, I feel pretty good.  Good energy level staying active. 

I have made written request of the Cleveland Clinic for my PET scan results with their release form but have not had any success yet.  My Oncologist also faxed in a release form so he could get the results and they have not received them yet either.  I have to admit, I am disappointed in the Cleveland Clinic overall. 

I will see my Radiation Oncologist on Tuesday at 3:00 pm at the Cleveland Clinic.  At least then we will get the results of my scan.  I will also see my Oncologist on Wednesday morning at 10:45 to determine our course of action (if needed). 

Thanks Everyone for your words and prayers of encouragement!  It really helps!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday July 6 - PET Scan Day

Heidi and I went to the Cleveland Clinic today for my PET scan.  The scan went pretty routine.  The actually took me back about 15 minutes early.  They start IV on you then inject this high glucose radioactive tracer into you.  Then they take the IV back out.  Then you have to lay for 1 hour until scan gets done.  The actual scan did not take as long as others I have had because they did not do my head and neck.  From shoulders down. 

Unfortunately, we do not get any results until the 12th when I see the radiation oncologist there. 

I believe I received about 37 txt messages and emails last night and this morning wishing me good luck!  Thanks everyone.  As soon as we know, I will get word out!  Promise!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday July 5

I had to start a regiment of narcotics for pain.  Using Vicodin now to see if that will control pain.  If not Dr. Marquienz will prescribe Percocet.  I tried Tylenol and Ibuprofen with no success and the pain was wearing me out.  The pain is constant 7-8 on 10 scale with no meds.  The pain increases more when trying to eat.  I have lost 5 lbs in the past week from not eating enough. 

Tomorrow is my PET scan and will get results on 12th. 

I am a little "cranky" right now.  Hopefully, all this will pass soon!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday July 2

The esophageal pain has increased even more.  No over the counter meds are taking away that pain.  I did call my doctor but no able to see them until July 12 & 13.  So, I will have my PET scan on July 6, see the Radiation Oncologist on July 12 and my Oncologist on July 13.  In the meantime, I will just put up with the pain.  I believe that I can tolerate through this.  I will just keep very busy and no think about it much! 

I got to spend sometime yesterday morning with folks from the FD for breakfast!  I appreciate this time!  It means a lot to me!

Heidi and I attended at class at church this week called "Love and Respect".  It is a class designed to educate you how men and women look at things differently and it can truly help your marriage be the best!  I highly recommend this class.  Our church will run it again later in the year I believe, so if you are interested, let me know and I will can communicate this to the church!  It is roughly an 8-10 hour time committment that is very well worth it!  Thanks Pastor Tawney for hosting this class!

A brief update on my friend Patti.  She has a portion of her colon removed, her gall bladder removed and a mediport put in place for Chemotherapy.  She will also see Dr. Marquinez after she is released from hospital.  She will need continued prayer through her Chemotherapy treatment which will minimize the cancer in her liver and eliminate it from her colon.  Thinking about you Patti!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday June 26

I am very disheartened this week since my pain in the epi-gastric area has returned and is getting worse daily.  The pain seems to be about 7-8 on 10 scale.  I am currently taking 800 mg Ibuprofen every 6 hours to try to get by until I see the doctor.  I had been feeling so good before. 

I may have to go see Dr. Marquinez this week to see if we need to check into this new pain prior to my PET scan.  It makes it very hard to eat food.  Nothing seems to make it better, eating and drinking make it worse. 

Heidi and I did go away a few days this week and got some much needed sunshine.  We had a relaxing time away. 

We are still trying to sell our house ourselves.  So if you know anyone looking for a nice home in a nice neighborhood please have them call me to come see it.  Thanks!

Please pray for a very dear friend of mine diagnosed with liver cancer this past week.  Please pray for Patti that she will be lead by the best physicians in making her best decisions.  I already know that Patti knows the Lord and we don't need to worry about that!  I love you Patti!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday June 21

Still having issues with what I believe to be arthritic pain in hips, lower legs and feet.  My feet also have the sensation that they are swollen and prickly feeling.  I will have to see a doctor soon about this or even the chiropractor.  It could be that I am out of alignment.

I am also having some epigastric discomfort again in that same area as when I first was diagnosed. It  feels like a bad hunger pain.  I have to eat small dinners, seem to be very full quickly.

Otherwise, energy level good and feel pretty good.  I do vomit about once per week, not sure why.
Still waiting for July 6 Pet scan. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday June 13

I am eating very well now.  Still eat slow but eating plenty of food.  I now weight 178 lbs so I did gain back about 7 lbs.  I started chemo at 196 lbs on January 7.  I am still getting a fair amount of exercise in with walking and biking.  Unfortunately, right now I am having a "flare up" of arthritic pain in my hips and legs.  I have had this pain now for about 5 days.  I have had this kind of pain for past 2-3 years but not nearly this bad.  I am currently using Ibuprofen in large amounts to keep the pain reduced enough that I can walk.  If not, the pain is great enough that I don't even want to walk.  I hope to get this back to the normal level in next few days.  I believe years of jumping out of ambulances and fire trucks onto concrete probably lead to this.

My Pet scan is still scheduled for July 6.

I attended a fundraiser for Sara a Kent State Dispatcher with her third bout with breast cancer.  She is having a very rough time.  Please prayer for Sara and her continued cancer treatment.  She has a little boy whom is 6 years old.  Thanks!

Heidi and I are attempting to sell our house.  I have it for sale by owner at this time.  We truly need to downsize and get a more affordable payment with our proposed pension pay.  Please pray for the sale of our home.  We would probably move into a condo to reduce the outdoors work load.  There are literaly thousands of condos for sale.  I don't think it would be hard to find one if we sale our house. 

I did paint the laundry room, a bathroom and stained our deck to get house ready to sell.  It looks good now.  Plan on doing some mulching tomorrow.  Trimmed all the bushes up this morning!

I had a surprise visitor this week whom lives in North Carolina.  He is a retired Ravenna City Firefighter whom relocated to North Carolina.  It was nice to see him again!  Greg Fisher. 

Our church home has been doing some wonderful series the past few months.  I would like to thank Pastor Bales and Pastor Tawney for their teaching and leadership!!  Wonderful stuff!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday June 8

Heidi and I went to see Dr. Marquinez on Monday June 6.  He is my Oncologist.  All my blood work was perfect.  I got my mediport flushed.  Dr. Marquinez agreed that we need to wait until July 6 PET Scan to see what active disease is remaining.  I do have some numbness and tingling in finger tips and feet.  He explained this is from the Chemotherapy.  He said it will probably pass in time.  He also checked my ears since I have been having trouble hearing and he said the eardrums look good and nothing blocked.

My energy level is 85-90% of normal.  I have been exercising daily usually with bike riding or hiking.  I have been eating pretty good as long as I eat slow.

In my blog back couple of weeks, I announced a thank you to the Reverse Raffle Committee.  I believe I may have omitted Becky Schneider.  Thank you Becky!  I love you!

I do have our house for sale by owner.  If you know anyone shopping for a new home, please have them call me 330-351-1020.  It is a great home!

On the job front, I have submitted all of my documentation to the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Board appealing their decision on my disability.  It appears that this will take another 60-90 days before it is heard by Board and a decision rendered.  This is a very important decision to us as it could add monthly income of approximately $1600.  I will keep you posted.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday June 1

We had safe travels to North Carolina for my Aunt's funeral late last week and over the weekend.  We also stopped off in West Virginia to visit family.  I did very well traveling.  Not much problem eating and no real sickness to speak of. 

I currently weigh 175 lbs.  Not gaining much weight but not losing either.  I have been biking since we have been back home on Monday and Tuesday.  I plan to bike again today.  Yesterday I was able to trim the bushes in the yard and today hope to stain the deck.  Picking one project a day to work on. 

Heidi and I both have some allergies bothering us right now.  That time of the year.

Still waiting on my June 6 appt. with Dr. Marquinez and July 6 for PET scan. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday May 25

Feeling pretty good!  Can eat anything as long as i eat slow and have some water to drink.  I don't eat big quantities of food and usually only 2 meals per day.  I am not gaining any weight.  I currently weigh 173 lbs.  Food smells don't bother much anymore like they had.  My energy level is about 85-90%.  I did some hiking and a lot of walking past week.  This may contribute to the fact of not gaining any weight.  No vomiting.  No dizziness, no major fatique. 

Originally, I was suppose to get a PET Scan during the week of June 6.  However, I received a phone call from the Cleveland Clinic and they changed my date to July 6.  It seems my Radiation Oncologist, Dr. John Geskovich is going to be on vacation during the month of June.  I do have appt. with local Oncologist, Dr. Frederick Marquinez on June 6.  I will discuss this delay with him and see if this bothers him at all.  It ticked me off!  I want a status update!

My Aunt, Phillis Echols, passed away yesterday in North Carolina.  I will be traveling sometime this week for funeral services for her in North Carolina.  She was a great woman!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday May 16

I apologize for the delay in this update!  Will try to do a better job!  The reason for delay is good news!  I was feeling good and getting caught up on my chores!

Medically, I started to eat food again this past week.  I can pretty much eat anything now as long as I do it slowly and with liquids to flush it down with!  Very little vomiting.  I gained about 5 lbs back!  I am at 176 now.  We are in a "recovery" period for lack of a better term and they are letting me get my strength back.  On or around June 6th we will get another PET Scan to determine where they cancer still exist.  We are hopeful that it is out of Lymph Nodes and only in esophagus.  If this is the case, they will probably drop some radiation probes down my esophagus and "zap" me from the inside.  I do not not much about this procedure yet.  My energy level is about 80%!  Most of my dizziness is gone unless I get up real fast.  I have also begun to exercise daily with walking or biking.  On Thursday, I did a 12 mile bike ride!  Yes, it did wear me out but I enjoyed it!

The Kent Firefighter's sponsored a Reverse Raffle for me and my family this past Friday night.  We had 340 persons in attendance and they actually had to stop selling tickets due to hall size limitations.  The Committee, Brock Murphy, Scott Simmons, Kathy Beatty, Michelle Moore, Dave Moore, Chief Williams, and Paula Baughman worked extremely hard on this event.  Many other persons helped as well.  The event raised an overwhelming $19,358.00 for my family!  Prizes were donated by over 120 persons!  All the cash winners kindly donated their winnings back to our family, including the grand prize of $2,000!  We are so fortunate to have been directed into this family of people and this Community!  The Lord continues to provide for our every need!


If you paste the above link into your browser, you will see an article and 15 photos from the fundraiser by the Kent Patch!

I also received my letter this week from the Ohio Police & Fire Pension System regarding my disability from the fire service.  They have awarded me a total and permanent disability at 60% of my base pay less taxes and less health insurance cost.  Unfortunately, this is not enough money to live on and we will most likely file an appeal and provide the Board with additional information to attempt to get the percentage higher.  This may take several more months.  However, this is progress in the right direction to help provide for Heidi in the future!  Thank you Lord!

Please also keep in your prayers and student at Kent Roosevelt High School, Ryan Anderson, whom has Bone Cancer  and is undergoing Chemotherapy and surgery at this time! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday May 4

May has arrived! Hopefully the weather will catch up!

Not much medical news to report.  My head feels clear, my vomiting is down to about 1 time per day which is related to trying to eat solid foods.  I usually get some food stuck on the way down and it causes me to vomit.  However, I have been eating some breakfast food now (very slowly) and usually one late afternoon small meal.  This is great news because I can cut way back on the Ensure shakes!  My current weight as of today is 171 lbs.  I started on January 7 at 196.  So weight loss right now is 25 lbs.  However, once I can eat normal again, I fully expect to recover some of this weight.  I did drop as low as 169 lbs. 

My energy level is about 50-70%.  I have been doing some good walking on the days that it is not pouring down rain.  I am going to prepare my bike today for riding when weather clears again.  Last summer I did a lot of biking.  This will help rebuild my muscle strength and tone.  I have lost a lot of muscle in short time.

Let me tell you about some events in our lives here recently.  This past Friday night Heidi and I were invited to Stow High School where each spring the students do a talent show.  Heidi and I attended because we both love to watch high school talent.  When we arrived, we were greeted by a committee from the school.  The informed us that we had reserved seats and free admission.  We also learned that they had selected me as their local charity for this event and ticket sales (half) would be donated to me.  The other half went to an International charity in Africa.  What a thoughtful and precious action by these wonderful students!  I so appreciate them! 

Saturday morning, Heidi and I attended our 2nd American Cancer Society Relay for Life this spring.  This was held at the Ravenna Stadium and we really wanted to attend because my Oncologist Dr. Frederick Marquinez and his staff participate annually in this event.  Dr. Marquinez was present and while he was photographing the survivors in the survivor lap, he was crying.  He such a good man!  I truly love this man.  This event is very well planned out and the day was beautiful!  I also came home Saturday and took a 3 mile walk!

A wonderful woman named Michelle Baker whom is an attorney in Tallmadge offered to do a will and other documents for Heidi and I for free.  It seems that Michelle had cancer at one time in her life and wanted to help us.  We are so grateful to Michelle to help us with these documents and answered questions for us.  She also found a way to lower our real estate taxes since I will be on disability.  Every little savings adds up!

Most of you probably already know about the Don Joseph Toyota fundraiser that generated $2500 to us from the dealership.  This was a facebook event where people could "friend" Don Joseph and write "Team Beckett" on their wall.  We had to get 2500 persons to do this and it was accomplished in only 6 days!  I am so grateful to the ownership and staff at Don Joseph Toyota!  I am having a nice thank you sign professionally made to present to them this week.  The sign is being donated by a friend of mine Shane Branning at ProDecal in Canton, Ohio!

I am also so looking forward to the Reverse Raffle to be held on May 13 at the American Legion Hall in Kent.  I will get to visit with friends that night!  People whom mean so much to Heidi and I! 

Heidi and I are so blessed by the friends and family that we have!  The Lord gets working daily in our lives to help answer our prayers and provide our every need!  I hope each and everyone of you know the Lord personally.  If you do not, I would invite you to attend church and learn about his word!  Please call me!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday April 26

Heidi and I saw Dr. Frederick Marquinez yesterday.  He was the first Oncologist that I saw prior to Cleveland Clinic.  I updated him on everything that took place through the Cleveland Clinic.  I was 18 lbs lighter yesterday than when I saw him last.  I told him I would work on that issue.  Dr. Marquinez is in agreement not to do anymore treatment until next PET Scan in 6 weeks.  This will be scheduled sometime around the week of June 6.  After that scan, then a new course of treatment will be outlined unless the Lord has decided to completely heal me! 

I still have trouble swallowing and cannot eat much in the way of solid food.  Doing Ensure Shakes, liquids and attempting to get to 2,000 calories per day.  Most days only make it to about 1300-1500.  I am still throwing up about 3-4 times per day usually when I am trying to eat or drink something.  I have this extreme pressure epi-gastric area and the only way to relieve it is to throw up an air bubble.  I have some numbing medicine called BMX but it really does not work either.  I am using Ibuprofen daily to try to get rid of some of inflammation in my esophagus.  The doctor told me that the radiation continues to work for 2-3 weeks after so it takes some time.

Heidi and I have resumed walking when it is not raining.  We did a 3 mile walk yesterday and today.  This should help me get some muscle back and strength back.  

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday April 22 - Last Radiation Day!

Today is cause to celebrate.  Not only is it the beginning of Easter Weekend and Good Friday but it is my last radiation appointment!  Number 30, 6 weeks daily!

I am still on liquid diet of Ensure shakes.  However, I was able to eat some soup last evening!  The doctor yesterday gave me a medicine which is a mixture of lidocaine, benadryl and Mylanta to numb my throat so I may be able to eat some food.  I am also going to take Ibuprofen daily to decrease the inflammation down there.

I had slightly more energy yesterday and took a little walk and then mowed my grass.  I need this exercise bad.  I feel so weak and this will help get my strength back.  I got to spend some time with the guys from the FD as each day a different guy drive me to Cleveland for my radiation appointments.  Heidi and I appreciate these guys a lot.  Heidi needed the driving break too.

So, as far as the Radiation Oncologist goes, he said he normally does a scan in 12 weeks to see where we are at.  However, he wants to scan me in 6 weeks so we can continue whatever treatment we need.  If it is isolated (cancer) to the esophagus, then he will probably zap it from inside while doing and EGD (scope).  He has had good success with this.  I see my Oncologist on Monday and see what his plans are.  The way I see it, I will be in "holding" pattern for next 6 weeks to allow me to recover.  Sounds good to me!

During this Easter weekend with all your family activities such as coloring Easter eggs and doing baskets or whatever your family traditions may be, be sure to explain the true reason for Easter.  Explain how Christ rose from the tomb where he was left for dead!  He is risen!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday April 17

I am so happy to be down to one more week of radiation!  It has turned out to be everything the doctor promised.  No eating, constant urge to throw up, some pain, etc.

I currently cannot eat any food.  I am doing Ensure Shakes 100% at this time.  I have plenty of Ensure on hand!  Thanks Everyone!  I am required to drink 6-7 per day in order to come close to my daily calorie requirements.  I have not yet accomplished this.  Usually I can get 4 down in a day.  It does not sound like much, but they get very old very quickly and after my radiation treatment I feel like putting nothing in my mouth at all.  So, I try to get them down before I go for treatment.

I did get another I.V. on this past Friday evening and took 2 liters of fluid.  This really helps to perk me up for a few days.  I just can't seem to drink enough liquids.  

I cannot tell you yet what the plan is after this week.  I will see Dr. Marquinez on Monday April 25.  The Radiation Oncologist (Dr. John Greskovich) states that he is done with me for about 6 months.  He states I will need this time to recover.  I will know more after April 25.

We know have "TEAM BECKETT" esophageal cancer bracelets thanks to Michelle Moore!  We have 400 of them.  They are available from Michelle or from me.  They are blue (periwinkle) with TEAM BECKETT embossed on them.   The cost is $2.  Thanks for your support!

Thanks for everyone who participated and helped out yesterday with our "RELAY FOR LIFE" at KSU.  The weather was horrible with high winds and rain but the turnout was good!  Thanks also to the guys who did the Honor Guard for the opening ceremony!  Great job!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday April 12

The radiation treatments are having much more of an impact on me now.  My throat is tight and sore.  It feels irritated.  I can't eat solid foods without throwing it back up.  So........I am pretty much on a liquid type diet.  I am using up the Ensure that folks sent to me.  The chocolate flavor seems to be the easiest to get down (haha).  Each day when the radiation treatment is over, I feel wiped out and just go to bed and relax and try to get warm.  I have 9 more radiation appointments for this round.  Right now, I am averaging throwing up about 3 times per day, usually associated with trying to eat some solid food.  Basically, everything that the Radiation Oncologist told me to expect is happening.  I continue to try to eat solid food and drink liquids in an effort not to get a feeding tube put in.  I think I can make it.  I had to get an I.V. on Friday and get 3 liters of fluid as I was dehydrated again and the kidneys not working well.  It helped!

I am trying to take daily walks to build my strength back up.  I have been so weak and my legs are like jelly.  I have lost much muscle.  Each day, I try to walk a little bit farther.  Sunday, I walked a little too far and did not think I was going to make it back home!  haha 

Let me give you an update on Heidi.  She has tended to me so well.  She encourages me, she forces to me to eat and drink, she can be firm and she can be tender.  I made her angry this morning and she had a melt down.  I felt so bad and had to apologize to her.  She was only trying to help out a situation.  All in all, Heidi has been doing very well considering the circumstances.  I am very proud of her!

For all the local people, this Saturday April 16, the Kent Firefighters will be participating in the "Relay for Life" to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.  We do this every year.  It is at Kent State on the field behind the ice arena.  We walk for 24 hours and each group has a booth to visit.  I know the weather is not predicted to be good, but if you wear warm clothes it is a lot of fun to participate!  I plan on "buzzing" the Relay Tower in my Goodyear Blimp that day!  Here is a link to the Kent Firefighters Team Page: 


I truly want to thank all the "guys" for helping out with my rides to the Cleveland Clinic.  This gives Heidi a much needed break!  Plus I get the scoop on what is going on at work these days!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday April 7

This had been a pretty rough week.  I am having the pain and difficulty swallowing that they had warned me about before we started radiation.  I am trying to force down some food each day but then most meal times I do have to throw up.  The throwing up actually makes my throat more sore because I have these long dry heaves (sorry, I know that is gross).  I have spent most of the week in bed when I am not in Cleveland. 

Today, I started using the Ensure Shakes.  They are not great but they are not that bad.  I can do them!  I have 2 cases chilling in the refrigerator now.  They each have 250 calories and a bunch of vitamins and things for nutrition.  I think these will help. 

This afternoon is radiation appointment number 19.  I will have 11 more after today. 

I tried taking a walk today which is one of my daily goals and made it about the equivalent of 2 City Blocks and was wiped out.  However, if I keep walking daily that will help build my strength.  I may also need some IV fluids in the next day or so because I have not been taking in enough liquids. 

Everyone, thank you for the continued cards in the mail, emails, and prayers!  It really helps!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday April 4

I did not realize it has been a week since I added to the blog.

This past Tuesday Heidi and I met with Dr. Rodriguez the Oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic.  She basically came into exam room and said are you gonna do the treatment and I said "no".  I told her I could not tolerate the same treatment as last time and that I still had no recovered from it.  I asked her to change the treatment someway that I could tolerate.  She flat out refused.  She said either do it this way or nothing.  So, I said it would be nothing then.  She said "Any thing else I can do for you" and I said "no I guess we are done".  That concludes my treatment by her.  I called my first Oncologist, Dr. Fred Marquinez and I have appointment with him on April 11.  At this point, I will do whatever Chemotherapy I need with him and do my radiation at the Cleveland Clinic.  I do really like the Radiation Oncologist at the Cleveland Clinc, Dr. Greskovich.

Tuesday through Friday last week was not feeling too bad.  I was able to drive myself to Cleveland each day for treatment and ate small meals 3 times per day.  However, after my treatment Friday, I became very sick.  I started having the pain they described in my epigastric area was very nauseated with regular vomiting.  I was in bed most of this weekend with nausea and vomiting.  I could not eat much food at all this weekend.  I started the nausea medicine back up that I had not needed last week.  This morning I still feel this way but was able to eat small breakfast.  My focus will be on getting enough food done to keep up my strength because I do not care to get a feeding tube.

I did apply for a disability from the fire service back in January.  I have seen all the doctors the Pension Board arranged for me to see.  My hearing by the Pension Board to determine approval of my application is scheduled for April 27.  The Board has to decide work related or non-work related and also if I am disabled or not.  My agent believes they will approve me as disabled but not work related.  This would not be good since then you have to pay taxes on this money.  The highest award I could get with it being non-work related is 60%.  So then your pay is about 28-30% less than that with taxes taken out.  Not enough money to live on.  In addition, I would have to pay approx. $438 per month in health insurance just for myself through the Pension system and still purchase a plan for Heidi and Ryan from another supplier.  This is big hit on income.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday March 29 - Lord Answers Prayer

I have to share with you all how the Lord has answered our prayers.  Heidi and I have worried some about medical bills and fuel expenses for travel to Cleveland Clinic daily.  Let me tell you how the Lord is providing for us!  First of all, Brock had set up a "Get Well, Don Beckett" account at Home Savings Bank.  Families have donated cash to this account (some people we don't even know) which has helped us meet all our obligations so far!  In addition, my sister-in-law (Terri) started and email compaign with her friends and family to get us fuel gift cards for gasoline expenses.  We received approx. $625 in fuel gift cards!  I had estimated my fuel expenses would total about $750 for the radiation treatment process and other appointments at the Cleveland Clinic.  We have also had a neighbor, a relative and a friend each give us a gift card to the grocery store!

All I can say, is put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and he will provide for all your needs!  I have cried 3 times over these gifts, but this is all cries of happiness!  Thank you all!

I have to tell you something else that is really cool!  One of the Kent Firefighters lined up a trip for me and my family to take a ride on the Goodyear Blimp on April 16!  How cool is that!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday March 27

It has definetly been a very sick week.  On Thursday, I had to get some I.V. fluids because my kidneys shut down.  I was not able to stand all week and stayed in bed the entire week.  After 3 liters of fluid on Thursday, I was able to begin to eat some food and drink.  Kidney function returned.  I have had a week of the most serious gas related pain in my abdomen that I have ever had as well.  I have tried everything to alleviate this discomfort.  It had me double over in pain several days. 

Yesterday, I made some progress and was able to attend a wedding reception and stand and sit up for 3 hours.  I was not able to eat any food there but did get to visit with friends!  Heidi needed this outing as well! 

Today, I can sense that my white count has dropped.  Don't ask me why but everytime my white count drops I have a very runny nose.  I am still very week with legs like jelly but can sit up or stand as needed.  I ate a decent breakfast.  I looking forward to making some progress this week!

The Radiation Oncologist told me to expect to get esophgeal pain starting this week with the radiation and throughout the remainder of the treatment.  He said they will treat this with Morphine as needed so that I can try to continue to eat and drink.  We have 10 of my 30 treatments completed. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday March 23

I left the Cleveland Clinic as an in patient on Friday evening overloaded on fluids.  During the week, they gave me 17 liters of I.V. fluids with the continous administration of Chemotherphy.  I had two different I.V. lines running 24 hours per day for 96 hours.  By Friday, My legs were twice there original size and my arms, face, abdomen all swollen.  I was throughly exhausted from 4 nights without any sleep.  Besides having a bad roomate, chemo changes at 1:30 a.m-2:30 a.m. every night, labs out of chest port at 4 am, vitals every 30 minutes, peeing every 30-60 minutes, I received no sleep.  I went to radiation after discharge and we got home about 6:30 pm Friday night.  I went straight to bed.  I left the hospital 20 lbs heavier than when I checked in.  Friday night I peed 13 lbs water off, Saturday 9 lbs water off, Sunday night 7 lbs water, and Monday another 2 lbs.  I have lost 30 lbs since Friday evening.  My body had a lot of trouble adjusting to this massive quick fluid loss and I was dizzy and lightheaded everytime I got up.  I had to stay flat all weekend.  I did eat small meals 3 times per day.  I had a lot of nausea and vomiting.  I have been out of "commission" up till today. 

Yesterday, we had a follow up with the Oncologist.  She said I was dehyrdated according to my lab work and that I was not making enough effort.  I told her I could not go through this same regiment again on week 4 that she would have to change it.  She refused.  She said either you do this or nothing.  I told her then I would do nothing.  I cannot tolerate this kind of overload and then massive fluid loss.  I asked her to change dosing regiment or fluid amount, she refused.  At this point in time, she asked me to come back in next week on Tuesday to discuss.  I have decided I will not do this same regiment again.  So we may be parting ways with her on Tuesday.  It seems she is more interested in filling the hospital with a patient for a week than titrating my treatment to my needs.  I will discuss this with my Radiation Oncologist tomorrow at my appointment with him.  I will continue the radiation at the Cleveland Clinic. 

Everyday, radiation treatments have been a issue.  Some days they were 1-1.5 hours behind.  Some days their computers were down.  Monday, a new crew could not seem to get my body lined up in the correct position and it took much longer in an a very uncomfortable position.  Yesterday, the breathing machine was not working for a while and it would not let me breath.  Hopefully, this will go better the rest of the week.  I have 7 of my 30 radiation treatments completed so far.  We go everyday Monday-Friday.  

This morning, I am able to stand without dizziness.  My nausea is only very mild.  I have been drinking a lot of fluids and ate a good breakfast. 

For all those who tried to contact me over the long weekend, I apologize for not responding to you.  I was simply to sick to have visitors or talk on the phone.  Hopefully, this week will get much better everyday.  I am a bit depressed today that I did not get "supportive" care from my primary Oncologist.  I will not accept that kind of treatment. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday March 18 - From Cleveland Clinic

Not feeling quite as good today.  Nausea and limited eating.   I have had 16 1000 cc's I.V. bags since Monday morning and have gained 18 lbs. since then.  Mostly all water.  Will take me days to get rid of all that extra water.  Everything is swollen.  Legs, feet, hands, face.  Chemo will finish today about 2:30 pm and then I have radiation at at 3:30 pm.  Should be able to leave here about 5pm.  Have some periods of hiccups but not as bad as before.  No sleep here, staff in every 30-60 minutes doing something.  Roomate last 2 days is not very compatible either.  He has a lot of pain, snores loud, leaves TV on all night. 

At least I am going home tonight!!!  Sleep in my bed!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March 16 - Reporting from Cleveland Clinic

Well, I have been in patient at Cleveland Clinic since Monday at 9 a.m.  Firefighter Jamie Samels drive me up and spent half the day with me.  Jamie showed the nurses how to start I.V.'s!  haha

Monday, started a 96 hour chemo drips at 10 a.m.  Started real live radiation treatments in afternoon.  The radiation group was 1.5 hours behind schedule and then my appointment took 1 hour.  It is quite involved.  I am using a breathing machine while laying in special design bed for me to get me in same position all 33 times.  The breathing machine holds my breath while being "zapped" during 25 second intervals.  The hardest part is keeping my arms above my head for hour without moving them.  I have 6 zapping fields that all get zapped 3 times each, so 18 zaps after being lined up.

Besides chemo, I am getting Zofran 8 mg Q 8 hours, Lovenox shots in my abdomen to prevent blood clots, Amend for nausea, Prevacid just because, lomodal for diarrhea, and just about anything you want.  I even got a pepperoni pizza!

All the staff is super!  The food is excellent and hot! The view stinks!  I do get to see about 5 helipcopters land each night that make a lot of noise.  No much sleeping at night.  Staff in every 30-60 minutes to do something.  Will sleep at home this weekend.  Leave here Friday night after radiation. 

Was sick last night after dinner.  Diarrhea, cramping, nausea.  stayed in bed.  feel better this a.m.  Ate good breakfast and took long shower (always fun with 2 iv pumps and tubing).  One chemo goes in my mediport and then other in an I.V.  They can't run together.  suppose to get a free short massage today.  Seen 3 doctors today already.  Peeing like crazy with all the fluids I am getting i.v.  Overall, doing pretty good now. Lost more fuzz on top of my head. 

Heidi and kids doing pretty well considering all this activity.  Pray for their strength.  Pray that the Lord will continue his work in this world.  We sure need  it!  Please get yourself ready for his return.  Lots going on in this world today.  He may return soon!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday March 11

Heidi and I spent the entire day yesterday at the Cleveland Clinic with appointments from 11:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.  We met with a Dietician, had lab work completed, met with my Oncologist and also had a radiation trial run. 

I asked the Oncologist what my chances were of a cure without surgery as an option.  She stated that it is about 30% chance of a cure.  That is not good, however it was actually higher than I expected.  She is admitting me on Monday morning at 8 a.m. and starting the chemotherapy.  I will go daily for radiation treatment at 3:30 pm. which last about 1 hour.  I will leave Hospital on Friday evening after radiation.  I will have the same radiation tech for the entire 7 week period.  She is extremely friendly and a pleasure to be with!

Please continue to pray for Heidi's good health and strength.  Continue to pray that the Lord will work through the doctors, medicine and treatment.  I appreciate all of you and your continued support!  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday March 8 - Surgeon Opinion

Some of you are waiting to hear what the surgeon told us yesterday.  The news is not good. 

Since we had 3 rounds of chemo and some shrinkage of the cancer, the Oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic wanted me to see their surgeon whom specializes in esophageal cancer surgery.  His name is Dr. Thomas Rice.  Dr. Rice reviewed my scans throughly and came into exam room where we had waited for over 2 hours for him to come to learn bad news.  He told me that I do not want him or any surgeon to do surgery on my esophagus due to a "botched" surgery done on me 13 years ago.  At that time I had a surgery known as a Nissen Fundiplication to stop acid reflux.  It is suppose to just be a "wrap" of your upper stomach to create a new spicnter valve to keep stomach acids from coming up.  Dr. Rice states the surgeon that did this procedure laproscopically, actually "flipped" my stomach into my chest where my right lung is and then sewed up hiatal hernia (diaphram) leaving my stomach in my chest instead of my abdomen.  The stomach is all bunched up with lots of bends and does not allow food and stomach contents to pass through normally.  This is why I have had 13 years of discomfort, gas, pain, difficulty breathing due to this big mass in my right chest.  Dr. Rice states to due the the surgery he would have to remove my stomach completely, remove my esophagus and try to use my small colon as my stomach.  He said most likely, he would not be able to reconstruct this and I would never swallow again.  He states I would live off of tubes for feeding and such the rest of my life.  He told me that the Oncologist and Radiation Oncologist have to have a better plan for me than surgery.  He told me "stay away from surgeons".

I see my Oncologist on Thursday and I am scheduled to start radiation on Monday.  Obviously, Heidi and I are very upset that we just had one of our treatment options eliminated due to this "botched" surgery by Dr. Yuh At Robinson.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday March 2

Thank goodness February is over!

Yesterday (Tuesday), Heidi, my mom and I went to the Cleveland Clinic for my EGD with Ultrasound.  It went well.  They used my mediport to give me sedation drugs (I was awake entire time) and first put scope down and took pictures and biospy the walls of esophagus.  I have had this done before.  Then they put a bigger scope down which has an ultrasound camera on it and they can look through the walls of esophagus to inside of your chest cavity.  They also put a pin through the wall of esophagus and took biopsy of lymph nodes.  That is pretty amazing.  Never had that done before.  The surgeon (Dr. Thomas Rice) will use these test to help him determine along with my scans to see if surgery is an option at this time.  I see him on Monday.

They also called me yesterday and moved my radiation treatments back one week until March 14.  This is to give the surgeon time to see if he can do surgery or not.  The radiation group was a week ahead of everyone else, so they had to slow down and let everyone else catch up.  So on March 14, I will start radiation and chemo.  I will be admitted to Cleveland Clinic on March 14 for (4) nights.  Radiation will last 6-7 weeks.  Everyday.  Chemo will be given weeks 1 and weeks 4.  This is all assuming that the surgeon does not want to do surgery yet. 

We had to take my mom to the Clinic so she would get bugging me.  She has never been there and not a trip she can make on her own.  She would not even be able to find Cleveland, let alone the Cleveland Clinic. haha

I am feeling better today, the head is closer to normal, no nausea, still have diarrhea but not as bad.  I have been eating very good.  Been taking short walks daily to get some exercise.  That is why I need spring to get here!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday February 27

On Thursday, Heidi and I spent the entire day at the Cleveland Clinic.  We had a 9:00 am appt with Dr Cristina Rodriquez my new Oncologist.  She explained that this cancer is very rare.  It is the 9th likely cancer for a male like me to get.  They do not know how to screen for it and that it usually is not detected until it has spread.  She wishes me to see their surgeon whom specializes just in Esophageal Cancer surgery, Dr. Thomas Rice.  I have appt. with him on March 7.  She also ordered an EGD (Scope) with ultrasound to revisit my esophagus and gather more information.  The plan is to start radiation treatments on March 7 and be admitted to the Cleveland Clinic at that time for 96 hours to administer Chemotherapy.  Using one drug that I have been getting and changing the second drug.  I would be admitted on weeks 1 and 4 of the radiation treatment process which will take 6 weeks (28-33 treatments), Monday -Friday daily.

Then we had appt with radiation department which first formed a special bed mattress (vacuum splint) for me to lay in each time I go.  This puts my body in exact same position each time.  Then they fitted me for this respirator type device that I breath with.  The machine will hold my breath as I am treated to keep the organs from moving and try to minimize damage to lungs and heart.  They also performed (3) CT scans of the area for their "modeling" of my treatment.

I also had blood work completed in the lab.

Then we had appt for a PET Scan.  This is the scan that takes up to 2 hours that detects where the cancer is in your body.  They will be able to compare to my original PET scan done in December.  I took these scans to them on the first day.  We were at the Clinic from 9 am - 4:30 pm.  The PET scan was last item of day which i had to fast for, so I was starving!

Friday morning in the snowstorm, I had a 8:00 am appt with a Pension Board Doctor in Akron.  I let my house at 6:45 am for what normally was a 15 minute commute and I arrived there at 7:55 am.  I-76 was closed due to accidents.  The doctor was 1.5 hours late for my appt and arrived at office at 9:30 am.  I had to wait because with my schedule I have no idea when I could go again.  I spent about 45 minutes with him and explained my illness.  He was certainly no expert in the area.  He stated he would certify me as disabled but would have to determine a percentage based upon national criteria and send a report to Pension Board within 2 weeks.  The Pension Board will then have to determine if job related or not and decide on percentage.  I have another Pension Board assessment on March 4 in Beechwood.  This is some type of vocational director that will determine what kind of work I can or can't do.

Today, still have that draining headache and extreme fatigue.  Can't seem to whip that.  Also still have diarrhea which i discussed with Oncologist and she stated will have to live with that.  The new chemo drug that I will get will make that worse.  I still have to take daily naps of 2-3 hours just to make it through the day.  I also can't seem to get warm.

I am so inspired by the number of cards, emails, txt messages, gifts, etc. that I receive each week!  It really helps to lift your spirits when someone just tells you that they are thinking of you!  Thanks for that.  Also, Brock Murphy set up a bank account for me at Home Savings Bank located at 142 N. Water Street Kent Ohio 44240 for anyone who wishes to donate to help us with medical and related expenses.  The account is called "Don Beckett, Be Well Account".  Brock notice my stress about the out of pocket expenses and thought that this would help me.  Some families have already donated as I get a receipt mailed to me for each donation.  Thank you for this.  These type of medical bills can just financially ruin a family. 

Most importantly, please pray for Heidi and myself!  Please pray for the physicians wisdom and that the Lord would guide them to the correct treatment regiments.  Thank you for this!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday February 23

Over the weekend, did fairly well.  Mostly just energy level problems.  However, on Monday night/Tuesday morning, I had another onset of severe diarrhea.  I immediately began taking Lomotil (anti-diarrhea prescription) to get a handle on it.  It took until this morning to get this under control.  Fortunately, this time I was able to get a handle on it before I got dehydrated.  I am not sure what is setting this off unless it is a side effect of chemo drugs that have delayed effects.  So today, I am drinking, drinking, drinking!

Tomorrow (Thursday), Heidi and I will be at the Cleveland Clinic the entire day.  I have appointments at 9:00 a.m, 10:45 am., 11:45 am., 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm with different people and units.  The set it up all in one day for me since we have to travel so far.  At this point, the plan is to start radiation treatments and new chemo regiment on Monday March 7.  I will learn more about all this tomorrow.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday February 18

This past Monday I had round 3 of Chemotherapy.  It really "kicked my butt" (please excuse the expression)!  In addition to the Chemo, I had a severe diarrhea problem going on.  Finally, got that all resolved on Wednesday.  The Chemo this time made me very nauseated with vomiting and I had to go into to Doctor office everyday this week to get I.V. nausea meds, fluids, magnesium and whatever else they could think of.  The nurses there hounded me by phone until I came in each day and got treated.  They were concerned I would end up in the hospital.  Got one point of good news this week, a blood test which determines the "tumor tracer" was originally "273" in December.  My blood test of this criteria last week showed it had dropped to "107" which is more than double with chemotherapy.  The nurse said this is good news and and encouraging.

Today, feeling fairly decent and able to eat.  I have about 50% energy level.  No major nausea or vomiting.

Heidi and I went to Cleveland Clinic today and spent most of the day.  Akron General Medical Center said they were unable to to do my radiation treatments safely and they recommended me to the Cleveland Clinic and set up appointment for me.  The Radiation Onconlogist said that my radiation treatment is a little more difficult because of the size of the field but said they can definetly do my treatment.  They stated they would exceed some limits that others would not go to treat the cancer.  They said, we really don't have much choice if we are going to cure you.  The Clinic doctors made it very clear that Chemotherapy alone would never cure my cancer.  They also said that surgery alone could not cure my cancer.  They said that it would require Chemotherapy, Radiation and possibly surgery to cure my cancer.  They said this process would take up to a year.  They also said it might require return trips afterwards to to do radiation treatments from inside my esophagus.  The staff at the Cleveland Clinic were all extremely friendly, knowledgeable and through.  Heidi and I have made a decision to switch our treatment regiment to the Cleveland Clinic with a "team concept" there.  This means, I would have a new Oncologist, new Radiation Oncologist and possibly a new surgeon.  At this time, they are scheduling me for a new round of PET Scans, CT Scans, etc that they will develop my radiation model from.  This should get done next week.  Also, the same day I will meet with new Oncologist there.  They typically do the chemotherapy as a "in patient" treatment for approx. 3 days.  Also, the radiation would be done Monday - Friday everyday for 6 weeks or longer.  This means driving to the Clinic everyday.  We are shooting to start radiation on approx. March 7.  I should know more after next week.   


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday February 12

Sorry for the delay in updating the blog.  It was a very bad week for Heidi and I.  It started on Monday when my white count was very low and started shots of Luekine to increase the bone marrow activity of producing white blood cells.  On Monday afternoon I started severe diarrhea that was the worst I have ever had.  It continued through Monday night, Tuesday, Tuesday night and finally on Wednesday I asked the nurses at Dr. Marquinez's office for help.  I had not urinated in 36 hours or more (kidney's had shut down) and I actually passed out on Tuesday night.  The nurses immediately began giving me I.V. Fluids, Magnesium and Potassium.  They would not let me leave until I started peeing again!  Finally, after 2 liters I did go to the bathroom and I did go home.  The nurses insisted that I return on Thursday and Friday and get another round of the same of more Magnesium, Potassium and Fluids.  I have done this.  I still have not gotten rid of the diarrhea but it has slowed.  Everything that I eat causes some abdominal cramping and diarrhea.  Dr. Marquinez has ordered some test and I see him on Monday.

The other bad thing that happened was that Dr. Blessing Godwin (Radiation Oncologist) called me on Thursday morning to tell me that she is refusing to do radiation treatments on me which were to start this Monday morning.  She said every model that she crafted for the radiation was going to cause too much damage to my lungs and heart.  It seems that I have a very large field to shoot and that my stomach lies in my left chest more so than the normal person.  Since they have to shoot my stomach as well, it will cause even more radiation to my left lung.  She said she can not recommend treatment and was canceling my appointments.  She offered for me to get a second opinion at the Cleveland Clinic and offered to set this up.  I told her I would discuss this with Dr. Marquinez and Dr. White further to decide which direction to go.  I later called her back and asked her to set up appointment at Cleveland Clinic since it would hurt nothing to get a second opinion.  I see them on Friday February 18th at 11:00 a.m.  I wasn't crazy about the idea of the radiation treatment to begin with, but then I am also concerned that this might not be a treatment option too.

So, I spent everyday this week at Dr. Marquinez's office/clinic getting shots and fluids.  I did not get anything else accomplished this week.  Dr. Marquinez called me last night to discuss our plan for this upcoming week.  He said since the chemotherapy had proven to be working, he wants to do the same strong dose as round 1 and round 2.  We are going to do this round 3 treatment on Monday morning.  He also agreed to seek opinion of Cleveland Clinic and then we can proceed further after we get that information which will take a couple of weeks to determine.