If you are reading this for the first time and want to hear the whole story, look under "BLOG ARCHIVE" on the right. Read the oldest blog first, starting with "The Diagnosis" in January 2009 (click on it) and continuing down. The blog you see below is the most recent and you want to read it last.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

2 For 2 ..... Unfortunately

I was correct with my self diagnosis of the hernia and unfortunately I was right about something going on with my cancer. Based on a more complete PET scan report and the most recent blood tests Dr. George informed me today that the chemo regimen is no longer working. There are tumors in my lungs and liver that were not there before. My CEA count is rising. Dr. George suggested I contact the Cancer Institute of NJ again to inquire about clinical trials. She said that if not, she can start a new chemo regimen and hope it is effective. My personal opinion is that she can’t be too confident about a new regimen if she’s suggesting a trial. I have taken it upon myself to inquire again about the SIR Spheres. Hopefully I’ll be able to gather enough information to make a decision next week. This is a point in this journey I knew I would come to sooner or later but it still hits hard. Who would have thought that I’d be so disappointed to give up the treatments that have been so brutal. Prayers are welcome and appreciated. ----------------------------------------------

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Med Week and Mothers Weekend

This week is full of medical appointments. Monday I had the PET scan. Today was my seven hour chemo day. Thursday is a three and a half hour chemo day and Friday I have a follow up appointment with the surgeon. Although I have no appointments on Wednesday I will be hooked up to the 5FU infusion pump on that day just to fill out Med Week. Today I half received the PET scan results. I say half received because the dopey radiologist did not compare this PET scan with the last one. The instructions they send ahead of time tells you bring any scans, x-rays etc. that were not done by them. So I gave them the CT scan that was done last October when I was looking into SIR Sphere treatment. The radiologist compared yesterday’s PET scan with the October CT scan which is an almost useless comparison. He totally ignored the fact that I’ve had 4 previous PET scans done by them. Dr. George requested that the radiologist do another report with the proper comparisons. We should have that when I go back on Thursday. In the meantime She compared the raw data contained in this report with the raw data in the previous report as best she could. I did the same. It appears there may be some slight deterioration in both the liver and the lungs. I say “may” because it’s hard to tell without a comparison being made because what we ended up with is one radiologist looking at the August scan and a different radiologist looking at the January scan. They could be looking at the same thing and describing it differently. For example, in describing the liver, the previous radiologist said there was a “mean” uptake value of 4.2. The current radiologist described one tumor with an uptake value of 3.5 and one with a value of 5.4. In other words he didn’t describe them in terms of a “mean” value. The mean value of 3.5 and 5.4 is 4.45, not significantly higher than the last one. This analysis is not definitive but we’ll know better when the same doctor looks at both scans. The most recent report seems to mention more tumors in the lungs but that too is somewhat confusing. None of them showed metabolic activity (SUV) meaning they are not active. It also appears that the “extra” tumors may have shown on the CT scan. Again, it will be more informative when the radiologist compares the two PET scans. On Thursday I’ll also get the results of the blood tests taken today which will tell us more about the liver. We’ll see. Last weekend was for mothers. On Saturday I went to Avalon to see my mother be installed as president of the Benevolent and Patriotic Order of Does, local chapter. This is one of the benefits of this disease. She has served as president three time previously over the past 28 years and this is the first time I’ve been able to go to her installation. I have a lot of free time now. Thankfully I was physically able to make the trip. I enjoyed it and was glad to be able to be there to support my mother. Congratulations Mom! On the way home Sunday I stopped for a nice visit with my moth-in-law. AJ is working hard getting through his academy training. He makes me proud. Way to go AJ! Terry's cousin-in-law Kris in Arizona sent us a beautiful pictorial book of the Grand Canyon trying to coax us into making the trip out there and fulfil another one of my bucket list wishes. She even sent a blank post card for us to send from there. Thank you Kris. I'm getting close to convincing Terry to make that long plane trip. She's had more than her fill going to see grandson Jake in Florida. I'm working on it. I got more responses from the Oscar post on December 29th than any other post. Shows you what a cute dog can do. Unfortunately the restrictions imposed by the blog server required that I severely edit the length of the video. It was originally longer. I just posted the original version on You Tube if you care to see the whole thing. While watching it, keep in mind that it is a representation of my fear of Oscar not understanding where I am after I die. No, Oscar is not really looking for me cuz I'm not gone yet. He's acting, and doing a very good job of it. I love the song. When you look at it an advertisement may come up to buy the song. The copyright owner does that in apparant exchange for letting you use the song. There's an "x" there to close the ad. Here’s the link: Oscar Carry on. ------------------------------------------------------

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I know that sooner or later my luck with keeping this disease under control will run out. I think I may be getting close to that time. As I mentioned in the last post my blood tests show hints of something going on. On top of that my digestive system has not felt right for a while. I’m feeling things similar to what I felt when first diagnosed. Something is not right. I’m scheduled for a PET scan on the 25th and hopefully will get the results when I go in for treatment on the 26th. I’m trying not to think about it too much but I am preparing for some bad news. John is feeling better. Travis is a trooper. Carry on. ---------------------------------------------------------

Friday, January 8, 2010

Not So Good

I tried to start the new year with a positive, upbeat post and I guess I did but unfortunately this beast known as esophageal cancer does not allow a lot of good news. At least not for long. Travis Poll, another patient, found out yesterday that his cancer has reappeared in the form of a liver tumor. He will begin another round of chemo soon. John Hawker is experiencing a lot of nausea, vomiting, etc. with his current treatment. He's a trooper, going to work each day in spite of it. Both Travis and John have had an esophagectomy and yet their battle is not over. Both are much younger than me. I’ve been withholding some negative information of my own. The blood tests done with my treatment this week showed a rise in liver function readings, one to the point of being abnormal. My CEA count is also rising. CEA is a tumor marker. Maybe it’s just because I’ve had a 5 week break or may it’s just the Italian hot dogs. This is the nature of this disease. It doesn’t go away. So we continue to fight along with or wives, Terry, Tracy and Mandy. Thank you ladies. Please pray for Travis and John. Give them any prayers you may have said for me. They need them more than I do. ------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Great Start

Well what a great way to start the new year. On the first I went to visit my ex-in-laws, Sandy and Jimmy. My timing was good because my niece Michele and her family happened to be there at the time. We had a great visit. When I got home Terry and I went to have dinner with her sister and mother. I have been blessed with beautiful in-laws and that day was in-law day, very enjoyable. The next day, Saturday, Terry and I, along with my son AJ and his girlfriend Lindsey, went to my daughter Heather and her boyfriend Ed’s new home for dinner. Heather was the perfect hostess and has really taken to the domestic scene. I was somewhat saddened to see her so grown up but also very proud. On Sunday my niece Cheryl and her family came over. Cheryl’s husband Dan and his father took down the Christmas decorations for me since I am limited because of the hernia surgery. Afterwards we all went to eat at Jimmy Buff’s. They are known for their greasy Italian hot dogs. Since I was almost five weeks past my last treatment due to the surgery my taste buds were better than they’ve been for a long time; just right for a greasy Italian hot dog. Actually two. Monday was good because I saw the surgeon and although the incision is not healing as quickly as it should because of all the junk in my system (I’m referring to the chemo not the Italian hot dogs), he cleared me to resume treatment. On Tuesday I crashed at the chemo lounge. I dozed off in the chair only to be awakened by my sister Anne and nephew Shane. What a nice surprise! We had a very enjoyable visit. Today I got a message from my son AJ telling me he starts the training academy next week. I'm excited. I think I'll finally get to see him in his uniform at graduation. Life is great! Happy New Year everyone! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------