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!


  1. Don & Heidi, It was good being with you last night. Heidi and I will certainly continue seeking the Lord on your behalf...

  2. Don,
    Radiation Pneumonitis is not a given. There will obviously be some "innocent" lung tissue radiated, but the incidence is not as high as one might think given the number of people getting radiation to the chest. Even people who get it for lung cancer have a relatively low rate of significant problems. The problems, surprisingly, happen several months after the radiation is done. Cough, dyspnea, fever are common and difficult to distinguish from a pneumonia. It can lead to fibrosis, but will be localized to a relatively small area compared to your total lung capacity. Having good lungs to start is sooo helpful. There is some pretty good evidence that antioxidants can be helpful. Vitamin E, C, etc should be a staple part of your diet. DNA damage from radiation and chemo can be repaired by normal cells MUCH easier than cancer cells, and some of the damage can be averted by antioxidants. You might think about getting a delux blender. Fruit smoothies are good sources of antioxidants, and adding some protein powder is almost tasteless. I would love to talk with you more if you want to. Can I call you or you call me? Call me ANYTIME! 330-697-2502
    You are in my prayers daily. Your family is in my prayers daily.
    Brian White
    Kinda discouraging to have someone paint such a challenging picture. Many docs prefer to provide the worst case scenario and have you celebrate when it's not quite so bad, rather than be upset that it was not as rosy as it had been painted. Praying that that is how your radiation onc doc works.

    So much info to process. Praying for this round of chemo to be well tolerated and that you will be able to rest and take nourishment. Heidi too. Praying without ceasing. Carol

  3. You were on my mind all day yesterday. I checked your blog many times through the day, looking for an update.

    I'm so sorry to hear of your most recent disturbing news. This is so hard to hear and I can hardly imagine how you (and Heidi) are dealing with this.

    You continue to be in my prayers, along with Heidi and your children.


  4. Don,

    I have been praying for you and your family since I was informed of your condition. If you ever need someone who is going through the same, let me know. My uncle has been fighting this cancer for five years now. They think he got it from Agent Orange when he served in the military. If you or your family need anything please contact me. I will continue to pray for your and your family.