Esophageal Cancer: When the Grim Reaper Darkens Your Door Part VII

This week started out with a bizarre but happy twist to my wife’s chemotherapy regiment. On Monday, she met with the Oncologist who informed my wife that she’s done with chemo. Our understanding of what was going to happen was upended by this announcement. So, no more pumps or all-day trips to the Infusion Center each week.

We were left wondering why? If you recall, the chemotherapy was supposed to be done concurrently with the radiation treatment. My guess is that the new chemo drug was so strong that users need to take a break before having another round of treatment. Since the next round of treatment would be after the radiation, there is no need for more.

Meanwhile, my wife is having much difficulty keeping anything down, even water. She is miserable much of the time. As a result of her treatment, she has developed sores in her mouth and pain in swallowing. As expected, her esophagus also hurts because of radiation and acid reflux. Coughing fits were common during this week. Several nausea medications were given to her along with mouth rinses and other concoctions. While not having infusion this week, my wife did go to the infusion center on Friday to get some saline because she thought she might be dehydrated.

A few times during the week, she was able to eat scrambled eggs—many of which were from the local Costco. Specifically, she likes Three Bridges Egg Bites which come in Eggs Whites with Bell Peppers and Scrambled Eggs with Cheese and Uncured Bacon. Of the two, the egg whites were her preference as the bacon bits in the other “were like little pebbles as they were going down.” By Saturday morning she was able to eat two pancakes for breakfast and about 1 ½ more for lunch. This is the most solid food she has had in about eight days.

Without a doubt, this has been the toughest week thus far. My wife even had me drive her to radiotherapy one day due to dizziness. I expect next week to be better because she only has four radiation treatments left. Then the long and probably quiet pause before we start gearing-up for surgery. The only new appointment is one with an allergist to document the reaction to whatever was in the IV bags that affected her.

Lastly, the wife is still in great spirits and clinging to the belief that she can return to the classroom in February and complete the school year. However, …

A few hours ago, I was in the midst of explaining to my son what the treatment path was for his mom once the radiotherapy is completed, when she walked into the room. When I mentioned that if the tests prior to surgery showed that the cancer has spread that there would be no surgery then she got very angry and said, “That’s not going to happen.” If nothing else, it showed us that she is not willing to opening discuss the seriousness of her cancer. Flowers and unicorns are all she wants in her world right now. In addition, saying “No” to her about making long term financial obligations has also become a thorny topic but one beyond the scope of the current post.

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