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!