Apr 10, 2013 - 6:04 pm
My name is Denise, and my 69 year old father was diagnosed back in July 2012. I am not sure why it took me so long to post, but everytime I would read the notes here, I just got sad and overwhelmed. So many stories sound just like mine. My dad started to have trouble swallowing, and next thing we knew, cancer. He has been so strong. My dad is a Kaiser memmber, It took a very long time to get anywhere with treatment, but he finally started in early fall post many tests and scans. We thought stage II, but never really got a direct assessment. We were told it was only in the esophagus, but fairly advanced and deep. The plan was chemo/radiation, followed by surgery. He did 6 bi monthly rounds of horrible chemotherapy and radiation every day 6 weeks, never complaining once. He drove him self every day, as he lives in the foothills of the Sierras in CA and is 2 hours from the facility. I met him for every chemo treatment and many of his radiation appointments. He too, lost a ton of weight. He had almost a complete blockage. He dropped from 255 points to about 180 during chemo. Now, he is about 160. Back in the fall, I felt he was literally starving to detah and could only swallow soup broth and Ensure for nearly 8 weeks. He refused a feeding tube, and we tried a stent. The first failed, the second worked. Thankfully, he was able to start getting in some food, but I feel the damage caused by starving weakened him too much to be healthy enough for surgery. Over the holidays he recovered from the chemo and radiation and in January, had a scan. Stents are in the right place, and the tumor was stalled. Not growing and shrunk quite a bit. We were planning for the big surgery to remove his esophagus in December, but he got an infection, and was having some very high blood pressue concerning the Dr about his ability to survive, so we postponed the Dec surgery and waited til Jan at his scan. Thank goodness we did wait! Just this Sunday, my dad got another PET scan. We are meeting with the onclolgist tomorrow am, who tells me there is new activity and a spot in my dads liver. It would have been a horrible mistake to put my dad through such a drastic surgery, only to find out he has cancer in his liver as well. Most devastating aside from all of this, is that nearly all day, and night, my father has hiccups. Not just the kids we all get, but very painful ones. He takes vicodin minimally, but it does not really help anymore. He has troule sleeping due to this, and avoids eating thinking it will help. It wont help, becuase the tumor goes right through his diaphram. It is horrible, If he tried different pain meds, he gets constipated and that makes him even more miserable, so he wont take them anymore. His quality of life now is awful. I think about it all day every day and I am not able to sleep. I feel for all of you as well. This is a horrible and devastating thing to go through. I am a scientist- I work full time, have two heathly and beautiful children and a husband who I love but just doesnt understand how hard this is to go through. Coming here provides me the people that can understand and relate to how I feel. It just does not seem right for someone to suffer this much. He is a good, and strong person and now I am watching him wither away, and he says nothing but " I will be okay sweetheart". I am pretty sure this will take my dads life this year. I see him going down hill. I understand the mechanisms, cancer and the science behind it. I know this is not a going to be a good ending and I feel so guilty for thinking this way. I suppose I am amazed he has survuved this long. Best of luck to all of you and your families too.