It has been 14 years since I wrote the 2007 entry and I felt this saga should have a final ending. Another motivation was the fact most of this website has not been touched in 20 years. The HTML editor I used no longer works on Win 10 and it was time to learn a bit about Cascading Style Sheets if I ever wanted to update anything. So...
This is that ending
I am presently between the 20th anniversary of my diagnosis (10/6/2000) and the 20th anniversary of my surgery (4/9/2001). You, gentle reader, may have noticed the word "cured" was not found during all the span covered by this web site. All my tests were reported as NED - no evidence of disease. I finally heard the "cured" announcement made about 5 years ago. Let me fill in some of the history.
Candace finally retired from Kaiser at the end of June, 2014. We sold our Atlanta home and moved to Lancaster, Ohio; a town of about 40,000, 30 miles southeast of Columbus, and noted as the birthplace of William T. Sherman. We bought a 1.75 acre piece of land in 2000 - 2 months before I was diagnosed. Candace's Mom and some of her 8 brothers and sisters live in the area, and Candace wanted to spend as much time as possible with her mother as she could after retiring.
We moved to Ohio. built a home and have settled in. In 2015 I decided I needed to find a local GI doc just to establish a relationship should the need arise. We met one locally, and it was he who pronounced me cured. Unfortunately, neither Candace or I were comfortable with him. But, I had no real need of his services, so it was not a concern.
Medically there have been a few bumps in the road. Back in 2013 I had a particularly nasty aspirative reflux event that ended up with non-hospitalized pneumonia. It seemed to clear up, but after a couple months of coughing I went in to see a GP. She ordered a chest x-ray and, a few minutes later as she pulled it up, her dark complexion went pale! I looked over her shoulder and could see a large, dark splotch in the center of my right lung.
"That doesn't look good, does it?"
"Hard to say, but let's get you in to see the pulmonologist," she replied.
The pulmonologist looked at the x-ray and said "It's a pneumonia. Probably food and junk from the episode of reflux and mild pneumonia you had. Take some antibiotics and it will clear up in a couple months."
In 2017 I had another small bowel obstruction. This one cleared up non-surgically, but you never want to be awake when an NG tube is installed. The doctor and nurses came in plastic raincoats because I blew everything in my stomach out in volcanic vomiting! It was a mess. After a couple of days with suction on the NG, I was wheeled down to a room where, rather than suction, gastrograffin was pumped in. After about 10 minutes, it was apparent the obstruction was clear and my bowels were definitely working.
In 2019, we thought it might be a good idea for a scoping just to make sure nothing ugly was going on down there. Checked with my internist and ended up with Dr. Brian Turner with the Ohio Gastro Group. A very bright man who attended Harvard Medical. Just wish he didn't look like he was still in his 20s!
We had a long talk about my medical history and he agreed an endoscopy was a good idea. It turned out to be more than a good idea when a short segment of Barrett's Esophagus with no dysplasia was discovered! He has me back on annual scopings and, so far, no change. We asked what he would do if it turned into a higher grade of dysplasia. He said it would be treated with ablation therapy. That time, that worry.
Medically, that's about where we stand with regards to the esophagus. I have been diagnosed with moderate COPD from years of smoking, have (but rarely wear) hearing aids, and a few other medical problems of a man nearing 75 years of age. It has been a long and interesting 20 year journey!
If this page ever gets updated again, it will mean the time arrived to do something with the Barrett's. It is our fervent hope that time never arrives. Right now, our best to anyone going through what we have been through in the past 20 years. I hope the cure for esophageal cancer is found and no one else has to endure this disease.
My contact info is found at the end of every navigation menu on here. I enjoy hearing from anyone who is going through the same disease and will gladly answer any questions to the best of my ability.
Candace and I send our love and our best to anyone reading this page.