August 16, 2010
I have been told that people check on here for new entries--sorry I didn't do anymore this weekend. Today I got sympathy/get well cards from several people...and just sat in my living room and cried. I am so thankful for the many wonderful and supportive friends I have. Thank you all SO MUCH!! I think that it is when people express their love and support that I get the most emotional. I feel very undeserving, but oh so thankful!
We are doing all right. I am having a little more pain in my chest and in my back. I think it could all be related to the tumor. Sometimes it's hard to know. After putting my feeding tube in, they told me to practice this weekend. So I did...they want me to drink Carnation Instant Breakfast, but it's a kind you've never seen. It is called VHC, which means very high calories...and they're not kidding. They gave me the vanilla to drink, and I just don't like it. So instead of trying to swallow it, I just put it in my feeding tube and let it drip into me. Even mixed with other things, I don't like it either. We have some of that Odwalla or Naked juice, which is a bunch of fruits and vegetables put together with no sugar. It is supposed to be WAY good for you...and my son, Brady, just loves it. Right now eating and drinking (mostly drinking) don't hold any appeal for me...but they told me today that I better keep swallowing, or all the muscles in my throat area won't work, and I'll need more therapy to teach me to swallow again. Katie, my daughter, tries to add aloe juice to everything. This new diet definitely takes some getting used to!
Today we went to the radiologist oncologist--and we were super impressed with her. Her name is Dr. Racine, and she could answer a lot of questions and tell us a lot of stuff. Brian, my son, went too, and I think it was great for him to see where I will be treated, talk to some of the people there, and hear more about my treatment. I'm sure it made him feel better...and I know that i love having my children around me. The only one not here is Emily, who is up in Utah, and I miss her very much. It just doesn't seem right not to have her here too. She will come in a while, and that will be great.
We found out something interesting from this doctor. Spence asked her how long this cancer could have been growing...and she said, 2 or 3 years. We were blown away by that. She said that until the cancer cells grow into a tumor, you can't detect them (I may have that wrong, so any of you oncologists are welcome to correct me). She also said that 90% of all esophageal tumors she treats are like mine (where lymph nodes are involved and they are in stage 3). She has only had two cases of this cancer in stage one because there are no symptoms early on.
I have a cat scan tomorrow to pinpoint exactly where the radiation is going to be, then I get a pick line put in my arm (Actually just starts above my heart), and in the afternoon we meet with the chemo doctor. They keep you running with all these appointments. I fall into a very deep sleep in between appointments. I have always loved naps, but now I get to take them any time I want, and no one gives me a hard time. :) Again it is physical and emotional exhaustion...and I haven't even started treatments yet!
This doctor explained the procedure for this radiation. They fuse the findings from the pet scan with this new "mapping" cat scan and then let the computer help them in mapping the areas where they will radiate. They will try to avoid the heart and lungs as much as possible. They will not only be aiming at the tumor, but at specified margins around the tumor. They do include the infected lymph nodes in the radiation. They take about 3 days to consult with each other (other radiologists and other doctors) about exactly where they should put this. It is a pretty precise procedure, and they are trying very hard not to radiate any part that doesn't have any signs of cancer. We'll find out more about the chemo tomorrow. This doctor was probably one of the most impressive we have met with yet--thank heavens for good doctors! WE feel like I'm in good hands.
My kids seem to be doing all right. They are all very concerned and very attentive to me, and it is wonderful to feel their love. Brady is the most positive, and is sure we're going to lick this cancer--love that attitude! People in our ward and in our neighborhood have brought over dinners. I just tell them that they owe ME a dinner when I can eat again...because it's hard to see all this yummy stuff served, and not be able to eat any of it. But it's awesome for my kids!!
This is Spence writing now. Yesterday we came together as a family and invited 4 other close friends including our bishop and our former stake president (whom I served with). I spent about 10 minutes talking about how important faith in Jesus Christ was as part of her recovery. I told some stories of Christ who healed those with pure faith in him (the lady who touched his hem and Jairus who knew Christ would raise his daughter from the dead). In both accounts Jesus said it was faith that "made them whole". Then with the help of the other men, I gave her a Priesthood blessing. I fasted and I know others who have fasted in the last week for her. We would ask any of you who would like to fast specifically for her on fast Sunday, September 5th. That would be a great unifying of all of your great faith on that day. Christ said, "...this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." Matt 17:21.
Well, that's about it for today. We actually went to REd Robin for dinner tonight and had a great time. The waiter said he would strain some clam chowder so I could eat it--however, it didn't happen. But never fear, Spence had brought a strainer from home, so I could get two heaping teaspoons of clam chowder minus the clams and potatoes. It was awesome. Have a good day tomorrow--another report tomorrow since we have 3 doctor's appointments then. If you don't have doctor's appointments, how do YOU fill YOUR day? Love to all, Louise and Spence