I’ve received requests from a number of the readers of this blog to post an update of where I am in treatment. It’s been a long time. Thanks for wanting to know!
Here’s an overview of my treatment sequence for the last 5 months:
1-Sep Diagnosis of esophageal cancer
20-Sep – Installed stent in lower esophagus to allow swallowing
22-Sep – Installed PortaCath for IV fluids
24-Sep to 5-Nov – 6 weeks of chemo
3 weeks rest from chemo
1-Nov – Installed feeding tube (J-Tube)
6-Dec to 7-Jan – 28 radiation sessions along with chemo
4-6 weeks rest from treatment
8-Feb – Consultation with surgeon
As you can see I’m scheduled next week to meet with the surgeon to see what tests he needs for the next step.
The last 6 weeks has been especially grueling – a combination of radiation and chemo, then nearly a month now in recovery. I won’t post details now about what I experienced and learned, but will later.
On Martin Luther King Day the review of his most famous speeches highlighted a number of important issues. The one that applies to me most was from his August 28, 1963 “I have a dream speech”:
“With this faith we will be able to hew out of the
mountain of despair a stone of hope.”
At the end of treatment and now in recovery, I’ve felt the mountain of despair a number of times, but so far I can work my way through to a stone of hope. I’m grateful to have the life experience, the internal tools and skills to do that, and the social support to encourage and allow me to do it. We all have some form of despair to embrace, whether it be a mole hill, a foot hill, or a mountain in size. And the challenge we all have is to trade fear for faith as we engage our mountains, and press forward toward Zone 4.
An unexpected outcome for this struggle for hope is that I’ve gained insights that I never would have experienced, given a more “normal” recovery from something. And I hope to have the energy and time to share these discoveries as best I can. For such a long time, I’ve only had energy for self care as a full-time job.