Well, I guess it is time to update this page. We have been avoiding doing so until we discovered if the news was good or not. Thank goodness, it was good news! To clarify: after my bout with pneumonia last month, I had a follow-up appointment with my primary care physician, Dr. Mark Clark. As part of the follow-up, Mark had me get another chest x-ray to make sure the lungs were clearing up after the pneumonia. A week and a half ago Mark called to give me the radiologist's reading of the x-ray; it wasn't very promising. The radiologist noticed granulomas in my lungs, something that had not been seen before. The report read that metastatic disease could not be ruled out, or, in other words, the cancer may have come back with a vengeance. Mark called my oncologist with the news and his comment was a flat,. "I don't believe it."
After the excellent response of my primary tumor to chemo and radiation, he didn't think it possible that microscopic cancer cells would have popped into view in just a few months. However, it isn't anything to fool around with and I was scheduled for a CT scan on 8/8 and a follow-up visit with the oncologist today. The news was good! He didn't see anything suspicious in the CT and declared me to remain cancer free. Not only that, he doesn't want to see me for another 4 months! On the home front, things continue to improve. The horrible coughing and dry heaving has not been a problem for the past week. Eating continues to get easier, but I still haven't put back the 5 pounds I lost with the pneumonia. Each evening ends up with a large bowl of Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream... one of these days it will start to stick and I'll add a few pounds. I am back to work and putting in close to 6 hours each day. Must admit, however, to going home after the hours at work and getting a 2 to 3 hour sofa cruise. Hope to be back to a full 8 hour day in another couple of weeks.
Nothing new has been added here for a couple weeks because there really hasn't been much new to report. And, believe me, that's good news! I will close out the month of August with the results of today's endoscopy. Dr. Moore wanted someone to take a closer look at the small diverticulum formed where the esophagus and stomach were joined together. So, exactly 47 weeks after the cancer was first found, I was back on the same table with the same doctor (Dr. Greenstein - the Kaiser GI doc) for the same procedure. Before disappearing into sleepy time, I told Dr. Greenstein that I did NOT want any more bad news of the magnitude he gave me last year. It must have worked because the endoscopy came back looking very good. Even got a picture of the joint between stomach and esophagus and it is all pink, healthy looking flesh! The doctor said that everything looks perfectly normal (once you discount the fact that nothing down there is normal after the surgery) and he sees no problems at all. The diverticulum is formed because of the way the stomach has shaped itself after the operation.
Weight remains a problem. I am still hovering around the 145-146 pound mark. My next appointment with Dr. Yaffe (oncologist) will not be until December and I go back to see Dr. Moore (surgeon) in October. I hope to start working full time next week after 4 weeks of 6 hour days. Eating continues to improve - just tonight I had 2 McDonald's double cheeseburgers and a small order of fries. Trying to shovel in as many calories as possible! This weekend Candace and I are flying up to Columbus, Ohio to see her family. Have not been there since last summer and we are both looking forward to the trip. We have our plans for a 2 week vacation to Quebec pretty well mapped out for October. Slowly, very slowly, we start to resume our regularly scheduled lives.