- My father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and is being treated with chemo and a pending surgery.
I had thought that cancer only ran on my mother’s side of the family as no one on my father’s side had ever had Cancer or so the records and memory tells us.
But my Dad had to go and be a rebel and get something all new and junk.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Esophageal Cancer.
Esophageal cancer (or oesophageal cancer) is malignancy of the esophagus. There are various subtypes, primarily adenocarcinoma (approx. 50-80% of all Esophageal cancer) and squamous cell cancer. Squamous cell cancer arises from the cells that line the upper part of the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma arises from glandular cells that are present at the junction of the esophagus and stomach. Esophageal tumors usually lead to dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), pain and other symptoms, and are diagnosed with biopsy. Small and localized tumors are treated surgically with curative intent. Larger tumors tend not to be operable and hence are treated with palliative care; their growth can still be delayed with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of the two. In some cases chemo- and radiotherapy can render these larger tumors operable. Prognosis depends on the extent of the disease and other medical problems, but is fairly poor.
Apparently my father got this cancer from a long undiagnosed and ignored issue with acid reflux, a long time in smoking and most likely spending his career working in a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant. Lots of cool things to breathe in there.
Anyway, it’s apparently NOT a genetic cancer. And that’s the good news. Not like it’s going to keep popping back up if he takes better care of his acid reflex. And it can be cured with chemo and surgery. Another good news.
The bad news is that because this form of cancer exactly mimics having heartburn or acid reflux, most people don’t think anything more of it after taking an antacid or Pepto and going about their day. Until it’s basically too late. This is one of the rare forms of cancer that is not genetic, completely treatable, low rate of return and yet a very high rate of death. Because most people don’t know they have it until it’s too late.
Thankfully, my Dad went to see a doctor after having issues with weight loss, extreme tiredness and difficulties swallowing. They found he had a low B-12 and white blood cells. So, they gave him a treatment and shot and sent him home after running a plethora of tests. One week later we got the results.
And now he’s been on a course of chemo with a stint in his chest to allow a 24/7 drip of that poison into his body for the last eight weeks. In four weeks, he’ll go in for surgery to remove the mass, which is smaller now and operable. Four weeks after that he’ll go back on the eight week chemo course to be doubly sure.
The Doctor and Surgeon both gave my Dad a very high rate of survival and cure.
I could breathe again.
All the way in India.
While he was in the US.
Anyway, this then, will be when the healing will begin. The hair will start to return. The thrush will stop reoccurring. The tiredness and the yoyo emotions.
And I’ll have my happy-go-lucky Dad back again. Full of naughtiness and sparkle. But for now, I am his naughtiness. I am his sparkle. Me and his friends and all the people who step in to keep him smiling.
For someone with Cancer, the road is long and hard. You have all the fear that is associated with the word Cancer plus all the benefits of its side effects. You watch the faces of those around you for tension or fear and pretend you see it even if you don’t. You struggle to remain who you were before and become frustrated with a body that just can’t keep up.
For the rest of us, living outside of that, we watch. We pray. We cry privately. We make wishes on stars. We negotiate with God. We make promises we aren’t sure we can keep but we’re going to try anyway.
And we all live life.
For more information on Cancer, go to http://www.cancer.gov. (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/esophageal)