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It's Been Quite the Journey

Christine135's picture
Posts: 71
Joined: May 2012

My husband Mike who was diagnosed in April 2012 he had Stage IV adenocarcinoma esophageal cancer. On April 21, 2012 Mike had his first surgery to have a power port and G-Tube put in for he lost 40 pounds. He named his IV pole, Keith Richards because it was so skinny and quiet. Endless medical supplies in my dining room as there was a good stretch of time where Mike was hooked up to Keith 24 hours a day feed. Waking up in the middle of the night to flush the G-tube if it clogged (which at times was a 45 minute ordeal to break free). As much as I cursed the G-tube I thanked GOD every day for it kept my husband alive!  

I CAN NOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW GRATEFUL WE ARE FOR THE POWER PRORT and if your loved one must endure endless needles PLEASE ask their doctor about it!!! Any time Mike needed to be stuck with a needle it was done through his power port. With numbing cream put on a half hour before the procedure Mike never felt the stick of the needle. His veins were spared and I can not tell you how many people I watched while in the chemo department I saw get stuck over and over and over as the nurses would try to find any vein that was usable. In all my life I have never saw so many grown adults cry in pain as well as their family member who sat by their side. I rememebr meeting a brother in the hallway in tears as he watched his 28 year old brother cry when the nurses tried to find a vein. It was a hug that brother and I shared that will haunt me forever as I know the power behind his embrace. So check on the use of a power port!! We went through both chemo and radiation prior to surgery and on August 21, 2012 Mike had his second surgery to remove his entire esophagus and pull his stomach up to make the new one. While in the hospital he came down with pneumonia in both lungs which set him back a little bit but on September 7, 2012 he finally came home. I remember how he cried when our two puppies were at the door to greet him.

We are now 8 months post-surgery and while the road been full of bumps and even pot holes that would knock an axle off a car, but Mike is still here with us. We are still going every month for dilation but as we were told it will take time for the stomach to realize its new role and we are ok with that because Mike is still here!! One of the biggest obsticles is not so much accepting we are a cancer family, but rather Mike accepting that the life he once knew is over. Eating can be tiring, talking can be tiring, walking can be tiring..but Mike is still here. No longer can he work full-time for his business, no longer can he eat the foods he used to, no longer can he be that competator rower he once was..but Mike is still here.

Mike still being here is what we celebrate! I have over the past year searched and searched for answers such as will the cancer come back, what is his survival rate, what can he eat so he will gain weight and I am learning there are NO answers that are carved in stone. It is truly day by day when life throws you a cancer crisis but we all have two choices each day to make...to remain the victim or become the survivor and I refuse to let Mike remain the victim. We are cancer free today but there is no gaurantee it will remain that way but to dwell on that would keep us on the victim road where I choose the survivor road. That each day we wake up is the survivor road and should that road take a turn in the wrong direction, then and ONLY then will I think about the stops along the way but until that time comes;

We celebrate because Mike is here!!!

Posts: 1563
Joined: Aug 2012

Beautiful post...thank you!

Christine135's picture
Posts: 71
Joined: May 2012

Thank you for your comment. Laughing

Deborah J Cornwall's picture
Deborah J Cornwall
Posts: 32
Joined: Feb 2013

Christine, it's so hard for caregivers to take the deck they were dealt and apply the power of conscious choice in choosing not to play the victimn card. Your coping behavior and your positive attitude is an amazing role model for all caregivers. Thank you for sharing the power of choice, and I wish you many more days, weeks, months, and years of celebration.

Christine135's picture
Posts: 71
Joined: May 2012

Hi Deborah,

Thank you for your post and it is truly hard at times being a caregiver but I think no matter how hard it may get, we dig down deep and find a way to keep on going for the ones we love. My care giving attitude is once again tested as we received word today (5/9/13) that my husband's cancer has returned but we are positive that we will once again beat it. If we do not remain positive even though there is a chance the news shall not be what we wish to hear. I am a firm believer that we must stay positive even with darkness that may loom around us for if we do not, then we allow the cancer to penetrate further in our lives before we even get the chance to fight it.   

grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

My husband used to say, "Today is a good day. I woke up." I think cancer teaches us lessons we didn't know we needed to learn. Living as much in the now as possible was one I learned.  Cherish today.  Tomorrow is a new day and it may bring both new blessing and, perhaps, greater challenges. Take care, Fay

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