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.  


  1. We pray for you daily, Don. We can understand your disappointment and your anger regarding past treatment.

    With love, Helen and Rick.

  2. Don,

    I don't know what to say. That really sucks that it is not an option to have the surgery and I would have to look into what happened before but the fact that he can't do surgery just is inexcusable because of another doctor. As always, we will keep praying for you and for the Clinic to come up with the best plan for you.

    Jim and Shelly

  3. Oh Don,
    I'm so very sorry.
    Praying for comfort for you and Heidi.

  4. Don... if you find yourself in need of a lone gunman with a sniper rifle, let me know... Baynes and I should be able to work something out!
    Super bummed to hear that news. We are still pulling for you and always thinking about you and Heidi.

  5. Don, Words just aren't adequate here... I'm grateful that God is with you through all these circumstances and will never leave you or forsake you. We will continue to remember you and pray for you and Heidi.

  6. Wow, Don. I have no idea how to respond to this news except that maybe you are being spared the surgery. Firstly, the techniques used when you had your procedure were different than they are now. Secondly, there are potential complications afterwards where the repair could have pulled loose and failed - rather than being how it was actually repaired. I am so sorry that that piece of hope has been eliminated. So now it's chemo and radiation. We pray that that will be all that is needed to get rid of this cancer and allow you to live a long, productive and painfree life. It's ok to be angry. God knows what you are dealing with and is in control of your treatment. We are also lifting you and Heidi in prayer continuously.