10-7-2015 After almost 3 years post surgery, I will share the following views and information. My health continues to be good. I do have a small issue with low hemoglobin but this is not a large concern to my team. It does however prevent me from donating blood. Initial diagnosis 8 August 2012 at age 58. This after years of heartburn and reflux. In the end, I could not swallow coffee comfortably at times and this was the reason for seeking help. Was given both scopes ( upper and lower ). Told I had a tumor the size of my fist at the base of my esophagus ( G.I. Junction ). Treatment started in about a month after further diagnosis, staging and scheduling. 28 radiation, 7 chemo. Surgery scheduled and re-scheduled 3 times in one week. I opted for 2nd opinion. Cancer Treatment Centers of America then took my life in their hands. Surgery 11-20-2012. 28 day surgical recovery ( peristalsis ). Hot nodes found. Albation of liver cysts. 26 days, the miracle happened and the lower GI woke up. Released to home and returned Christmas week 2012. Wound vac dressing and feed tube removed late January 2013. Post chemo started 1-2013 and continued through 3-13. Many, many issues with the post chemo. Kidney stones. 4-29-2013 scans showed “unremarkable “ status. I was stretched ( dilated ) starting sometime during post chemo ( likely February ). Was eventually on a 3 week schedule and intubated/general anesthetic due to tissue quality and GI being scared of blowing my new esophagus. Continued 3 month dilation until 9-2015. 6 month starts until change needed. Starting weight 255 lbs. Eventually down to 185 in November of 2013 ( year post surgery ). Rec'd physical therapy in June of 2013 and had been walking/remaining as active as I could. Eating, well, it was what it was. Nutri-bullet was a very good investment. I learned that eggs were my friend along with most soft foods although my tastes changed daily sometimes. Very much a minefield in finding something that tasted good continually ( eggs and coffee being the exception ). Started riding an old Trek road bike ( that's bicycle ) in November of 2013. Found a couple more bikes on craigslist and rode all winter. Weight became stationary and appetite became much more stable through 2014. Continued clean scans. Many issues with sleeping in a chair vs bed. Aspiration pneumonia once. Eating and learning about all the issues involved with digestion have been an excellent education albiet very frustrating at times. I participate in what will be called period re-enactments of historical significance. Mountain man rendezvous. Steam tractor events. My first event post treatment was 6-2013. Very rough times but felt very good to be alive and able to go. I am a blacksmith. I was no longer allowed to work my day job and felt blessed to be able to do anything. 2015 has been a good year. I wish to thank the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association and Rhonda Small for the support they give myself and countless others. I found this group on facebook. I continue to read and post there most days. Sharing hope is paramount in our disease. Yes, it is a brutal disease. I have lost 2 personal friends and several other community members to this disease. I do have two close friends that survive and have met several survivors on the facebook page ( one lives within 60 miles ). I have been involved in more than one event raising awareness for E.C. and will continue to carry the beacon of hope. I spend time on the phone with folks I meet on the facebook page and I share time on messenger and email. The only possible way for me to keep the blessings I have is to give them away. I am honored to be able to help.
Years since diagnosed:6