Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The last post

It’s three weeks since the operation and this recovery business is starting to get old now. The first few days after my release from the hospital my progress was very fast and very noticeable each day. I was given strict instructions on carrying out breathing exercises, walking, feeding, and so on. Within a few days, I was able to walk up to my local Starbucks, rest over a cup of coffee, and then walk back. Anyone that knows me will understand what a motivating factor that Starbucks is for me. I’ve extended the walking since and I am trying to do all the right things. But invariably, progress slows down over time and it becomes a bit of a slog. Still, I do continue to improve day by day and that is what is important here.

I have had little or none of the problems or complications that often accompany this operation. No regurgitation at night, no “dumping syndrome”, pain adequately managed so far. The biggest issue for me is now relearning how to eat. I am feeding through a tube overnight, although I now have a portable carrier for the food and the pump so I don’t have to push the stupid metal pole around all the time. During the day, I’m eating little and often. The doc cleared me recently to eat “soft foods” but a couple of attempts to eat a more normal diet have led to my filling up rather quickly and resulted in swallowing difficulties. I will have to move very slowly onward from soups and things to give my reconfigured insides a chance to get used to the changes in digestion. I’m losing weight, which is expected to some extent as long as it’s under control.

This will be the last post to the blog, for a while anyway. I will leave the blog itself open and public, but stop updating it. I assume that soon I will move on to the general post-cancer screening process – three-monthly checks for a while, then six-monthly, then yearly. So perhaps I will issue an update with each check-up just to share my progress.

The blog has been very enjoyable for me to do and many people have commented on how much they enjoyed it. I hope it fulfilled its purpose of informing everyone about the progress of my treatment without becoming too detailed on the medical or biological front. It’s been a very “all about me” exercise, but I make no apologies for that.

Many people have commented on my positive attitude throughout this whole process. I have been very lucky in all of my responses to treatments. The radiation had little external effect other than a dramatic lowering of my energy levels. The chemo, apart from a brief nausea interlude and the awful heart attack scare, had little effect either – no hair loss, weight loss, etc. The operation has left me with little to do but work towards recovery. It’s very easy to retain a positive attitude when there’s not much to complain about. I wonder how positive I would have been if they had not been able to control nausea, if my hair was coming out day by day, and so on. Who knows?

There are two more lucky breaks that I need to mention before I closeout. As I believe I’ve said in a previous post, the odds of recovery from this horrible and aggressive cancer are enhanced dramatically by getting treatment at a hospital that treats many esophageal cancer patients. All the big name hospitals in the Boston area are in this category. I feel extremely lucky to live where I do.
Lastly, 38 years ago, I was lucky enough to meet and marry a young innocent named Kathy Bartlett. Little did I know then what a good move that was. Kath has been a continuous source of support and love throughout our marriage but in particular over the last few months she has been my complete foundation. The course of this disease would have been very different had she not been at my side.

Thanks for reading. I’ll update the blog with each routine check up, at least for a while. And, with luck, I’ll not need to open it up again for regular weekly updates.


At 5:13 PM, Blogger jenn said...

hi roger! its jenn! (visions). just wanted to let you know i have read almost all your blogs, i think its wonderful that your logging (blogging) the events that have occured in your life these past truly is amazing all that you have endured, and you have such an amazing attitude on it all. i am going to finish reading the rest later tonite after i feed all my animals (i mean my family). it was so good to see you today,your wife is lovely, and im so happy your doing better!!! take care, Jenn


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