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.