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Recovery milestone

BobHaze's picture
BobHaze
Posts: 157
Joined: Sep 2011

I want to preface my post by saying, as I have before, that I’m sensitive to the pain and anguish so many on this board are going through, and I’m fully aware of how incredibly lucky I am to have been diagnosed early and treated successfully…so far, at least.

But I wanted today to share a very positive experience I had last weekend, and hopefully provide some good news and some encouragement to those who are surgical candidates. I was diagnosed 1 year ago last Friday with early Stage 1 EC, I had an MIE performed by Dr. Chris Morse at Massachusetts General Hospital, and I’m fortunate to be able to say that my recovery has been a little bumpy but overall not too difficult, and life is good. I eat literally everything I used to eat, just more often and not as much. I sleep on a wedge pillow with another pillow on top, but I don’t mind that. I don’t seem to be able to sleep more than 4 or 5 hours at a stretch, but I can deal with that. I was told last week that I have gall stones (not uncommon for folks who have had significant, sudden weight loss, I’ve learned) and I’ll have to have my gall bladder out, but I can deal with that, too.

But my big news is that last weekend I rode my bicycle 171 miles over 2 days, with 11+ hours in the saddle in the Pan Mass Challenge, a fundraising event for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Among the 5,500+ riders, I was one of 300 survivors who rode this year. I rode the PMC in 2010, before I knew I had cancer, and one of my goals this year was to prove to myself that I could still do it. And I did! There were rest stops along the way and I was sure to eat at every one, and I had sports snacks on the bike with me so I could eat something at least every hour, and still I lost weight over the weekend. But I was able to ride 111 miles on Saturday and another 60 on Sunday, and today, 10½ months after my surgery I really feel like I’m back.

I know that not everyone who has surgery will recover the same, but I also hope that folks facing EC surgery in the future can see from my case that there is light at the end of many of our tunnels and the ramifications of the surgery often aren’t that bad. Yes, some folks struggle more than others, and some don’t survive even with the surgery. But with a good medical team, a good and loving caregiver at home, a good patient(!) and a little luck, it’s possible to get back almost to where you were before the beast reared its ugly head.

God bless all of us, and

FEC,
Bob
T1aN0M0
Dx 8/3/11
MIE 9/23/11

flmo's picture
flmo
Posts: 72
Joined: Jan 2011

Your story is so inspiring.

Maureen

Sally.L
Posts: 38
Joined: May 2012

Truly an awesome and uplifting story. Thank you for sharing. My husband will be going into surgery in about 3 1/2 weeks so I’ll take stories like yours all day long. Congratulations on such a huge achievement.

paul61's picture
paul61
Posts: 1104
Joined: Apr 2010

Bob,

Congratulations on your victory over cancer. Sometimes when we hear about the life style changes caused by esophagectomy surgery, and the long recovery time, it can sound like survivors will never really enjoy life again.

You have demonstrated that with a few adjustments a survivor can find their way back to the things they love doing; along with the people they love.

Congratulations on BEATING cancer.

Best Regards,

Paul Adams
Grand Blanc, Michigan

DX 10/22/2009 T2N1M0 Stage IIB
12/03/2009 Ivor Lewis
2/8 through 6/14/2010 Adjuvant Chemo Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
Two year survivor

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

hopefulsurvivor49's picture
hopefulsurvivor49
Posts: 32
Joined: Apr 2012

That is wonderful, wonderful news. Thank you for sharing it with us.

I had a follow-up with Chris Morse last week and mentioned that I had "met" one of his other patients on this discussion board. So happy to hear of your continued recovery!

Bermudagirl
Posts: 120
Joined: Jun 2012

What a wonderful accomplishment, your bike ride, but heck putting cancer in its place as well! I wish you nothing but continued success in your recovery. We are facing surgery in early October, and I am taking notes on all the success stories. When we first learned that there is a 30-40% survival rate, it sounds so daunting. But as my daughter pointed out, that's 30 or 40 people out of a hundred that are doing okay. Sounds good to me!

BobHaze's picture
BobHaze
Posts: 157
Joined: Sep 2011

I think it’s important to remember that most of the stats you read are global numbers that include Stage I through Stage IV folks all lumped together to where I think they’re basically meaningless to any individual. Dave is a stat of 1, and the global numbers mean nothing for him or his case. Someone on this board pointed that out to me when I first started my journey and was scared to death by what I was reading about survival rates, and it enabled me to put things in better perspective. So please focus on Dave and his medical team and what they have to say about him only, and don’t worry about the big numbers, OK?

FEC,
Bob
T1aN0M0
Dx 8/3/11
MIE 9/23/11

hopefulsd's picture
hopefulsd
Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2012

Fantastic!!! Wow. What an inspiring story. I am pretty new here and I love reading stories like yours. Thank you for sharing and keep riding!! God Bless.
Heather

BMGky
Posts: 666
Joined: May 2010

Hope you can participate every year for years to come.
BMGky

TerryV's picture
TerryV
Posts: 915
Joined: Jul 2011

...some year, Bob. RAGBRAI = Register's Annual Great Bike Ride across Iowa or change out the BR for Beer Run. Either is accurate.

EXCELLENT ride. That is some serious miles. Congratulations on being one of the 300. Hope those numbers increase with survivors but not because of more cases.....

Stay strong and keep the fight alive.

Terry
PROUD wife to Nick, age 49
lost battle to FEC, 06/19/12

Amjosmom's picture
Amjosmom
Posts: 231
Joined: Jun 2012

Congratulations! Truly an inspiration and a blessing to have caught it so soon! Best wishes for continued success!!

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

Bob, What an inspiration! I'm so glad that you are recovering so well and not letting a little thing like EC and surgery stop you from living the life you want to. I'm very proud of your accomplishment. It is an amazing physical challenge to take on so soon after surgery. You are a rock star in my book and a great inspiration to me. Thank you.

Dave

GerryS's picture
GerryS
Posts: 238
Joined: Aug 2010

Great accomplishment! You are a great example for all of us. God Bless....

Gerry

Cyclist's picture
Cyclist
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2012

Great post, Bob. I am brand new to this site, having been on CancerCompass for several years (same name). As a fellow cyclist, I know what it means to cycle that kind of distance. That's great.
By the way, I had the my Ivor-Lewis 7 years ago in July. Riding as strong as ever.
I think cycling was key to my recovery.

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