February 2023 Updates

Tons of updates to tell you about.

What is going on with my health?

The last several months I have endured a few minor EGD dilation surgeries. Meaning I have had the area of my new esophagus stretched. At one point I was doing this every 2 weeks, then moved to 3 weeks. As of today I am not sure exactly where I am with the space in order to swallow. I can tell when we started I was around 8-10mm, normal is 30mm.

So the dilation is still a work in progress. 

My weight has done it most loss I fell. Meaning I started out at 229 before the March 2022 surgery and today I am around 145. That is 84 pounds and that’s a lot. I am tired and fatigued more often. I struggle to eat daily. But I make it through. When I am eating good, I eat non stop and when I am not eating good, I may not eat for many hours. It is fair to say for sure I am not getting in enough calories. One thing I have noticed is that when I eat good, I sleep good right after. It knocks me out. Not sure if you have ever experienced this but let me tell you, when it happens you can not control it. Your eyes get heavy and you try to focus but your going down no matter what. Sad and funny at the same time.

 To catch you all up a litte:

November 2021, diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. The lower part near the stomach. At this time I did three things, researched, talked to a surgeon, and gained as much weight as I could. I did not like the first surgeon nor the typical standards out there. I refused to be a statistic. After talking with a few friends, I was able to connect with doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota. That zoom call was awesome and led me to re think getting a surgery. You see the first surgeon only did up to 12 per year. It was her specialty but with the tools and things available to that doctor, I would be the normal statistic with very little margin to live a long life. And the fact it was a major surgery.

So, being frustrated, I chose to not do any surgery and just plan my days out. So I thought. Then I get this call from the Mayo Clinic from a surgeon that reviewed my case and wanted to discuss with me about what options I have. This was totally the best nest news I could want. I was very optimistic and I wanted to give it all my attention. You see I want to live.

Anyhow, I get this zoom call with this surgeon at Mayo. The quick stats: They do over 300 per year, she specializes in my type of cancer and more specific, she has ALL the tools and she had a few patents and a robot arm under her belt to proceed. Now, this is a major surgery and it comes with ALL KINDS of complications. But one thing she mentioned to me:

She said and I quote: If I perform this surgery, you will not die of this cancer.

Wait, what?? What do you mean I won’t die of this cancer? Man those words meant a lot to me and my wife. She made it very clear that I was a good candidate for this surgery and that she has not lost one person on the table, yet. Love this. The odds are in my favor.

In March of 2022, after gaining about 35 pounds of weight, I went in for the surgery. It was a success and I even left the hospital due to my fast and energetic recovery, one day early.

I did have a feeding tube in ( I hated it ), but it fed me till my new esophagus healed and was ready for food and water. This was a struggle for many weeks after. Then in April 2022 I went in for my check up and it was determined I was good and could start eating. Boom, I was so high on life getting back to normal.

Over the next many months, I had various problems, mostly eating food and losing weight. Oh let’s not forget I am doing chemo. Now, I did hard chemo and radiation before the surgery. Then a few months after surgery I started chemo again. This time it’s the good chemo to teach all the good cells to kill the bad cells. It is a 12 month process which ends at the end of April 2023.

This story is my life and struggle moving forward and I hope that by telling this story it helps someone out there. If you have any questions or wich me to talk to someone you know that is going through the process or will be, I am here and I want to help. At the end of the day, one thing outside of wanting to live, living for me and my wife. One thing has kept this going so strong, it’s simple really. You have to stay positive, NO NEGATIVE> You learn to focus on you and only what you can control. Do not worry about anything you can not control. It gets easy one day at a time.

At this time, I still struggle eating. I will do another EGD dilation soon, not sure when yet, but I feel one more should get me to where I need and want to be. At this point it is all about me eating more and gaining weight.

That’s it for now folks.