Feb 28, 2012 - 11:16 pm
My Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Esophageal cancer on January 12, 2012 after having his 2nd EGD performed; however the 1st EGD was performed a year earlier in 2010. This showed an erosion. We were not properly informed that an erosion could turn cancerous....the doctor only suggested meds to help with my dad's symptoms which at the time was weight loss and lack of appetite. I questioned the doctor about the instructions and asked if an erosion could cause these symptoms and was told most definitely it could cause such symptoms....not informing us to keep a close eye on this and have it checked monthly or that it could turn to cancer. My poor dad was misinformed and given a medication that would mask his symptoms for up to a year until he started having some difficulty with his initial swallowing at the start of the day and some uncomfortable stomach pains.
The same doctor that misinformed us now acted as if he were on top of the situation when he found the erosion had now turned to a tumor. I will not mention his name, but do not plan on ever returning to this Johnstown doctor again. He then referred us onto the Hillman Cancer Center located in Shadyside (Pittsburgh) the very next day which was January 13, 2012. We were originally scheduled to see Dr. Luketich, but ended up seeing an assoicate Dr. Schende. We were told at that time that she felt by looking at the pictures of the EGD showing the esophageal tumor and hearing my dad's history that this was caught in time and that we should prepare for surgery known as the esophagectomy; however, my dad had to go through several tests before that could be determined. The series of tests took up the next two weeks. We then had a follow up appointment with Dr. Schende to review the findings which turned into our 2nd worst nightmare! Qur first nightmare was three years ago when my mom was diagnosed with Colon cancer which had spread to her liver. She ended up getting surgery that was to save her life, but ultimately took her life after 4 months in the hospital. We all had struggled with the idea of my dad going through such a serious surgery that may have numerous complications. However, that day we were told he wasn't a candidate for surgery as he was already in Stage 4 esophageal cancer and that it had spread to the lymph nodes in the chest and to the liver. On this day we had the appointment at the McGhee Women's Hospital and then were sent directly to the Hillman Cancer Center to see an Oncologist about starting Chemo....it was a lot to take in, in just a couple hours. We met with a Dr. Orh who didn't give us a very good first impression, but instructed us that he would need to be scheduled for a port and to start chemo shortly after. The Chemo treatment plan is to be once every 3 weeks for up to 9 weeks and then to follow up with a CT/Pet Scan to see how the tumors are reacting. My dad was also given a chemo pill that he would have to take directly after the chemo treatments 2 times a day which equals over 2000 mg per day...this pill has numerous side effects too as the chemo does. He did have one chemo treatment so far and has done well with it not having too many side effects. He goes for his second one this week and the doctors have already prepared us that this next one may knock him down some. We are hoping he does as well as the first.