Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday January 28 - Encouraging News

Well after a week of of some discouraging news I did receive some very encouraging news late yesterday.  I had a 3 D CAT Scan done yesterday afternoon in preparation for my radiation therapy beginning approx. Feb 14.  I asked Dr. Godwin to review my scan from last week of December and the one from yesterday.  With only the one round of Chemotherapy, some of the Lymph Nodes had been cleared of Cancer Cells and some of the others were half cleared.  The tumor in my esophagus also shrank some.  She felt this was very good news since it had only been round of Chemo.  I thank the Lord for this healing.  I had the second round of chemo this past Wed. 

I also got a little better news from my lung doctor and he lessened my fears a bit of the lung damage that will be created by radiation.  He also made some suggestions of things to do that will help.  I appreciate his input, I trust him very much!  Dr. Marquinez also did more research on this for me and reassured me that it is the right procedure to do next.

As far as today, Chemo Brain has set in and nausea.  Been throwing up this morning.  Trying to get a therapeutic amount of nausea meds in me.  I am just focusing on not being sick today.  If like the last round, it will be at least 4-5 days till feeling better.  Had some Chemo drugs this round.   Please no visitors today.  I would not be any fun.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday January 26 - Discouraging News

Yesterday (Tuesday Jan 25), I had a consult with a Radiation Oncologist about a program of radiation treatment in addition to Chemotherapy that would be Round 3.  The news was very discouraging.  The treatment area that would need to be done is much longer than that of the typical Esophageal Cancer patient.  Because Lymph Nodes up high effected, Lymph Nodes down behind stomach effected, and the tumor which extends down into my stomach.  Because of this, treatment of the stomach area will cause more sickness.  Also, major side effects with the radiation hitting at least one of my lungs causing major scare tissue which will leave me short of breath for life by climbing one flight of steps.  The radiation will also hit my heart and cause unknown damage to my heart with scare tissue.  About 2 weeks into treatment, my esophagus will swell and become so sore that I won't be able to eat.  Food my also get stuck in my throat.  Will have to eat something even if liquids because many get hospitalized with dehydration and weakness.  If I am not able to eat, I would need a feeding tube put into my small intestine because they don't want to damage my stomach with a hole since later it will be moved in surgery.  I will get burns on my chest that will actually blister.  They gave me special cream for this.  I would need 25-28 treatments of radiation.  I would go everyday Monday Friday for 5-6 weeks.  This physician stated that after 1-2 weeks of treatment, there would be no possible way I could work for 2-3 months during this radiation.  She said weakness, pain and infection to big of a problem.  This also did not fit into my planning for this year.  Please pray for this. 

I am planning a "heart to heart" talk with my Oncologist today at Chemo to discuss whether this radiation treatment is absolutely necessary for my success or if we can get there with Chemo.  I trust Dr. Marquinez more so on this topic.

Brian & Carol, I need some help with this decision effecting my lung.  I know Brian has seen this and does he think it is significant to refuse this treatment?  I know I have to make the decision but any help you facts or help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Heidi did not sleep last night.  She is very unset with this news on the radiation.  Please pray for her to get rest, eat well and remain strong!

I am going for Round 2 of Chemo today.  So, I am expecting to be sick for 7 days beginning Friday/Saturday.  Please pray for my sickness to be minimal if that is possible.  Heidi is going to Chemo with me today and she baked the staff there some Brownies!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday January 23

Good Morning!  I have been feeling great past few days.  Attended Alivia one year old Birthday party yesterday and then took my mom out for dinner.  I do wake up very early in the morning, usually 2:30-3:00 a.m. 

I must apoligize!  Many of you ask about Heidi and how she is doing and I have neglected to let you know.  Heidi is the best person in the whole wide world!  She has been my wife for 28 1/2 years and has always been there for me no matter what.  She is my best friend in the whole world!    Heidi is the best thing to every happen to me!!!!  Obviously, this is as rough on her as it is me.  She thinks about it constantly but she is coping very well at this time.  She has full faith in the Lord to direct our medical care and use me for HIS glory.  Pray for Heidi to remain healthy and strong.  Pray that she can sleep at night and continue to eat healthy!  I need her!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday January 22

Outpatient surgery went very well yesterday and got the Mediport put in my upper left chest area.  So I have an extra big bump in my chest  now!  The surgery staff were extremely friendly and professional at Akron City.  Although, they gave me Vicodin to take for pain, I did not need any.  I slept good last night.

I now have appointment on Tuesday morning (Jan 25) to see Radiology Oncologist about my radiation treatment.  The Physician's name is Godwin Blessing.  

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday January 21 - MediPort Surgery

On Wednesday I did see Dr. Marquinez for my follow up to Chemo.  We also did lab work right in the office and the results are instant.  My white count was only down slightly and everything else was good.  Nothing to be concerned about according to Dr. Marquinez. 

Dr. Marquinez told me that round 2 of Chemo will be exactly the same as round 1 with same side effects.  However, he said that the entire Oncologist group of doctors did a case study of my case and all concluded that i would benefit  most on round 3 of a combination of Radiation and Chemo.  I will be seeing a Radiologist Oncologist in next few days to consult and determine that side of the treatment.  It will consist of daily treatments, Monday-Friday for a period  of 4-6 weeks.  The treatments only usually take 10-15 minutes.  This will also be on conjunction with Chemotherapy 1 time per week at a lessor dose.  He said if they kept the same dose of Chemo that I get now and Radiation that it would "lay me out".  So, round 3 with consist of daily radiation which focuses on smaller target and continue chemo for larger area.  This is the most aggressive way to attack the cancer cells.  This gives us the best chance to "shrink" the size of cancer so that it may be removed.  As I get more info on Radiation, I will pass it along. 

Today, I will be going to Akron City Hospital and have outpatient surgery to get MediPort placed in my chest.  This give easy I.V. access for chemo/lab work.  Chemo is hard on veins.  I have to be at Akron City at 11:00 a.m. and the procedure is scheduled at 1:00 p.m.  I am fasting, nothing after midnight for this procedure.  So, by the time we get home, I guess 5:00-6:00 pm, I will be starving!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday January 19

Monday I was able to work my entire 24 hour shift at the FD.  I did not eat much at work but just enough to keep my strength up.  Not much appetite that day.  No fever issues that day.

Tuesday, Heidi and I had to travel to Columbus for an appointment after I got off work Tuesday morning.  I felt fine on the trip and Heidi helped with driving.  I was able to eat half of my lunch at a restaurant which was a huge improvement for me!  Heidi and I split a lunch which worked out well for both of us.  That evening, Craig Peeps baked us a wonderful Lasangna and brought to the house.  I was able to eat almost a normal portion size!  I did get a fever of 100.0 this evening and took some Tylnenol prior to going to bed.  My energy level was returning to almost normal levels.

Wednesday, today I am visiting Dr. Marquienz (Oncologist) for a "check up" after Chemo round one and also getting lab work completed.  He will do a CBC (Complete Blood Count) to make certain not too low for next chemo round.  Make sure I don't have any infections (which I don not believe).  I am planning to work my regular 24 hour shift at FD tomorrow (Thursday).  Then on Friday, I will have surgery to have the Mediport placed in my chest by Dr. Espinal at Akron City.  This is an out patient procedure and I hope to be home by 5 pm!  (probably enjoying some more of Craig's wonderful Lasangna!)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday January 17

The weekend was better.  I did not eat much but 2-3 bites each meal and some snacks of fruit in between.  Each evening I did have a fever of 100.5 starting about 7 pm each evening.  I treated that with Tylenol.  I also got nauseated each evening and did vomit 1-2 each day.  Sunday felt very good up until about 7 pm.

Today, Monday I am on duty at FD.  So far It is going OK.  Feel sluggish and can't eat much but doing good.  If a fever starts tonight then I will probably go home.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

Had some great visitors over the weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday! 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday January 14

I can certainly tell you that this week has been worse than I expected.  Monday and Tuesday being the absolute worse whereby I did not even want to walk.  Nausea, vomiting, fever and could not think or focus.

Wedesday and Thursday were about 50% better than Monday and Tuesday.  I had periods of nausea and vomiting.  I had sores breakout on my face and have been using lotion on these.  Brock and I were discussing this gentlemen we saw at Chemotherapy, wearing this shirt that said "Chemo Brain".  We now know what he meant.  Your brain just does not want to work and you can't focus.  Fortunately, I was on a Kelly Day at work today (day off) and did not have to call off.  I am hopeful to be going to work on Monday.  Pray for this!

Eating is a challenge.  It feels like there is a coating inside of your entire mouth and you can't taste anything.  Nothing taste good, not even ice cream.  Sometimes just the thought of eating makes me sick.  I learned yesterday the hard way that I need to eat 5 small meals instead of 3 large ones.  I had breakfast and no lunch yesterday.  By the time dinner came around I got sick before I could take one bite.  However, a little while after eating I started to feel better.  I have lost 4-5 lbs this week already (not trying). 

I know many of you are praying for me!  This is so important!  Some of your are going to think I lost my mind, but one individual praying for me is Mike McClure (friend).  I can actually feel him praying for me.  I asked the Lord about this and he answered to me that he had heard Mike's prayers and that he was with me!  If I was not already a believer in prayer, I AM NOW!

I continue to receive emails, txt messages, cards from Friends and Family!  I have heard from friends that I have not spoken to in years!  I have also created some new friends!  I enjoy this!  thank you so much!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday January 11

Yesterday and last night the chemo treatment hit me.  I ran a fever last night of 100.5-100.7.  I was unable to keep all 3 meals down yesterday.  I did not sleep at all last night and unfortunately my restlessness also kept Heidi up. 

Today has been worse.  I can hardly stand.  Had to call off from work today.  My head is hard to explain but cannot focus on anything.  Not eating much today.  Nothing has any taste.  It is amazing how quickly this all comes about.  My entire body aches, joints, back, everything.  I get occasional sharp pains in my left side.  Fever is better, only 99.9 last check. 

I was able to nap for about 1 hour this afternoon. 

Dr. Espinal scheduled to put in my Mediport on January 21 at 1:00.  This is just a outpatient surgery procedure.  I also have lab work and see Dr. Marquienz on January 19.  2nd round of chemo then will be January 26. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday January 9

As most of you know I started the chemo treatment on Friday.  The staff explained to me that the effects ususally don't occur until 2-3 days after.  I can now attest to this fact.  I actually worked my 24 hour shift at FD yesterday (Saturday) and just felt fatigued, like had been swimming all day.  Not much nausea except a slight amount at dinner time.  However, as I left work this morning (Sunday) coming home at 8 am it began.  I feel quite nauseated.  I did begin taking the Compazene (for nausea) medications as the nursing staff recommended ahead of schedule last night and this morning.  They cautioned me not to get behind.  I have to drink 2 liters of water per day also.  Unfortunately, I have to stay home from church today.  I would not feel comfortable there today in this state.  The other complication that I have to ask about, is I have had the hiccups since chemo.  Quite annoying too. 

So today, will be a slow day at home! 

Friday, January 7, 2011

1ST Chemotherapy Session

Today, Friday Jan 7, had my first Chemotherapy session.  This session took 5 hours.  I was given 7 I.V. Drip medications.

Let me first begin by telling that the staff there is great!  They are so friendly and helpful, there act like they are family.  I am very pleased I picked this group.

I was given two I.V. Medications for Nausa (Kytril) and (Aloxi).  The Aloxi actually stays in your body up to 5 days to help with nause.  I was also given I.V. Benadry 50 Mg and I.V. Pepcid.

Then I was given two chemo drugs (Taxotere) and (Cisplatin).  These are nasty drugs, very rough on the body.  I was given 4 grams of Magnesium which helps keep the muscles in the body from weak to help with fatigue.  The cost of the Taxotere was $4,000, Cisplatin $900, Kytril $250.00 and the Aloxi $400.

I was given an education session with take home materials.  I was also given a sample kit of special toothpaste, mouthwash and mouth gel.  It is easy to get sores in your mouth and this stuff helps.  Called Biotene.

This evening I feel tired and probably could take a nap.  The nurses told me I most likely would become ill on Sunday and this could last up to about 5 days.  They also gave me a presciption for Compazene for Nausea.

At least I will be keeping the drug manufacturers in business!

Brock Murphy spent the entire 5 hours with me and got the same education.  Brock will update guys at the fire stations.

I appreciate all your calls, txt, emails and most importantly all your prayers!  I know I have at least 10 church groups that have me on prayer list.  Please also pray for the Greg and Sarah Miller family!  It is a very rough time for them right now.

Next, I get blood work on the 19th to check white count.  Then getting second chemo round in 2.5 weeks on Wed Jan 26.  I will be scheduling to get my mediport prior to that date.   

Non Medical News!

This is non medical news but yet it is part of my treatment!  Heidi and I had a great trip to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans!  One of the FF friends (Mike Lucas), his brother is a scout for the New Orleans Saints.  He was able to get Heidi and I done on the field and on both sidelines!  Wow, what an experience that was.  Then he took us to the OSU locker room where we watched the team run out of the locker room.  Great time!

Starting Chemo today at 11:00 a.m.  This will take about 3 hours each time.  Brock going with me today.

Woke up to new snow fall this morning.  Went out to clear the driveway and to my surprise the driving had just been plowed.  Thanks Sean Barber!  I truly appreciate it!