Monday, May 08, 2006

The next email

I was concerned that the first esophagossip that I sent out was a bit over the top and self-serving. People seem to handle diagnoses like this in varying ways – some keeping things very tight to their chest and some just wanting to tell everyone so that it doesn’t “leak out” and you suddenly find people not meeting your eyes any more but not sure if they are supposed to know. So, now I know what type I am, and so do you. Anyway, the response to the email has been overwhelmingly positive, so I’ll carry on for a bit anyway. I guess later on when my news comprises simply more gory details of emanations of various bodily fluids I’ll tone it down a bit.

They say every cloud has a silver lining, and I’ve found mine. After 37 years of dedicated service trying to control my caloric intake, generally successful despite what my build may suggest, Kathy is now trying to fatten me up! Yippeee! She has bought me high protein smoothies and shakes, nodded happily when I hold up the Starbucks coffee ice-cream with that “Can I, please” look of a four-year-old in my eyes, and she is becoming a blending guru. As you may surmise from the preceding list, I’m basically off chunky food now as the swallowing difficulties have increased. I can still eat reasonably normally as long as I choose my food carefully and chew it for ages. Hopefully the chemo/radiation will shrink the tumor – now known as “the beast” – but it will make it painful to eat and probably put me off food for ever anyway. That would be a first for me.

Kath and I are in New York for a long weekend; actually not so long now as we had planned as I have to go to the hospital on Monday to begin treatment. We had this weekend planned for months, mainly to see Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera. It was magnificent. Today (Sunday) we visited the NY Botanical Gardens in the Bronx which was also fabulous, even for me who thinks all green things are hostas and all flowers are hollyhocks. We return home tonight, then tomorrow we start to battle the beast.

So briefly, as I said in the previous email, I’m going to have chemo and radiation concurrently over about a six week period. Prior to that, I will be taking part in a clinical trial for a drug that has the intent of pre-treating the beast to become more responsive to both the chemo and the radiation. It’s known to be effective for other types of cancer, and they consider it may be effective for mine, but they don’t know yet. Hence the rush back on Monday to begin treatment. The other part of the rush is an attempt to have me completed for treatment by the time Kevin’s wedding occurs in early July. The medical staff is rearranging appointments for me and other patients (sorry guys) to get the treatment completed by then. However, I’m under no illusions about how I may feel and look at the end of this regime though so let’s just hope I can get there. I’m going to have two tubes installed – one for chemo and one for feeding – into holes in my body that don’t currently exist. So my feeding in the future is likely to comprise pouring sustenance into a funnel and letting it go straight to my stomach. Trouble is, I quite enjoy the chewing and swallowing bit. Still, as my loving wife says, it should save on washing up!

Roger (The Beastmaster)


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