March, 2001

3/5/2001 Not much to report over the past week. Since Sunday, 2/25, the throat has been getting better. I am now back to eating solid food and swallowing is not painful at all. Even had some pizza on Friday, but that did get a little painful going down. Next on the schedule is the CT scan this coming Friday (3/9) and the meeting with the surgeon on 3/13. Will keep everyone posted on how that all goes.

3/16/2001 A bit behind on updating the web page, so here goes.

3/11/2001 Came down with another fever (102) and was sent in to get a film taken of my chest as well as all the blood work. Doctor checked everything out and couldn't find a reason for the fever, so was sent home with instructions to call back in 24 hours if anything developed. Well, the only thing that developed was I got REALLY sick to the old stomach in the middle of the night and made a horrendous mess of the bedroom! Woke up around midnight with chills and fever. Was shaking so badly I woke Candace up. She gave me 3 Tylenol to help knock back the fever and went into the other room to sleep while I tried to get the shaking under control. Finally dozed back off only to wake up an hour later with everything coming up from my stomach. What a mess!

3/12/2001 Woke up to find Candace doing yeoman's work cleaning up the bedroom and washing all the bedding. Felt much better and Candace said it was probably a 24 hour stomach virus. Not running any fever today and spent most of the day taking it easy on the sofa.

3/13/2001 Went in to see Dr. Moore, the surgeon. After not having seen him since the beginning of October, didn't think anyone would remember us - wrong. He came into the examining room and said "Well, we wondered what had happened to you, Mr. Greene!" Told him we had giving the medical and radiation oncologists their shot and now it was his turn. The bottom line - surgery is scheduled for 7:30AM on the morning on April 9th at Northside Hospital. There are two surgical procedures used for this cancer and Dr. Moore wants to use the more aggressive one since it will give him access to more lymph nodes. It's scary as hell. He also said the tumor had not shrunk a lot (contrary to what Dr. Yaffe said after the second CT), but Dr. Moore only had the last CT when he made this announcement. However, he remains optimistic that my chances for a cure are good.

3/14/2001 Dr. Moore wanted another barium swallow, so off to Kaiser today to get this taken care of. The last barium swallow showed the tumor clearly (although we were all thinking polyp rather than tumor back in September). This swallow showed almost no sign of the tumor! The radiology doctor said she would not have believed that there was an esophageal tumor had I not given her the history Obviously there has been some major shrinkage over the past 5 month.

3/16/2001 So, that's where we are today. I go into the hospital for pre-op testing on Friday, April 6 and then have to be there on Monday, April 9th at 05:30AM. This is scary stuff and both Candace and I are feeling a bit trepidacious about it. It's the next BIG step and we just hope we make it through ok. The surgical mortality rate is around 4%, but that's normal for any major surgery and Dr. Moore feels I have an excellent chance of making it through the operation and post-op recovery. My heart is strong and the pulmonary function test came back with excellent results. Dr. Moore said that if he didn't think I was such a good candidate he would use one of the less invasive surgical approaches. We have not wanted to take a less aggressive approach since starting this whole thing and there is no reason to back off now.
There should not be much going on until surgery, so this page may not be updated until that time. Candace has offered to learn how to update the page so there will be new information posted while I am in the hospital. Just would like to ask everyone to keep their fingers crossed as we move into this very difficult time. Thanks!

3/18/2001 Starting running another fever this afternoon. Took a couple Tylenol and we decided to wait it out rather than running down to the after-hours center.

3/19/2001 Woke up this morning with a very sore right arm. Looks like it's either another blood clot or an infection at the port site. Called into the Oncology center and they said to see the after-hours people. Went to after-hours where they did blood workups, cultures and all the normal tests. Doctor said it looked like an infection so they ran some IV antibiotics into me and gave a script for Keflex. Was told to follow up on Tuesday with my regular doctor.

3/20/2001 Went in to see my internist. He took one look at the arm (which had started draining a bit at the port site as well as looking very red and angry) and made an appointment for me to meet with the surgeon who installed the port 5 months ago. Interist also decided to pump a bit more antibiotics in and I got a shot of Rocefrin in the butt. Have not gotten a shot in the butt since my army days and, ya know what? It still hurts! Off to see the surgeon tomorrow.

3/21/2001 Met with the surgeon and he said it was definitely infected, but it might be possible to save the port. He put me on augmentin and amoxicillin and set up an appointment for tomorrow. The arm was looking better than yesterday, but was still oozing. The oozing was coming out where the skin was the thinnest over the center of the port.

3/22/2001 Went back to the surgeon and knew something was going on when we were placed in a Procedure Room rather than an examining room! Candace had taken a culture from the seepage from the port site and it turned out it was a gram negative culture. While I'm not sure what gram negative means, both the surgeon and Candace said it was not a good sign and meant a particularly nasty bacteria had taken up housekeeping around my port. The port would have to come out. Was placed on the table and, about 30 minutes later, the port was out of the arm. The surgeon said that since I was finished with chemo, the port really wasn't necessary any longer. I had hoped that the hospital staff might use the port for IV's and such, but he said they wouldn't. Shouldn't need a port unless I go back to chemo and the only reason for that is if the cancer recurs and THAT would mean I was in serious trouble. So, I sit here with a sore arm and no port and... best of all, I'm starting to develop some fuzz on my head! The hair is (SLOWLY) starting to grow back! Let's hope that's the end to the medical problems until surgery...

 

February                                                   April