August 26, 2012

Mark is still in Thailand. He reports he is feeling fine and is now six and a half years from diagnosis. He and I discussed this week how it felt to be told "You have three months or less to live. Go home and get your affairs in order. Here is a bottle of liquid morphine to help with the pain of your esophageal tumor. So sorry." His response at the time he says was "No, I'm going to get treatment somewhere and I am going to do everything I can to live." And so he did do everything he could think of including: treatment in Bangkok, staying away from people as much as possible (harboring germs), living  in a very clean environment, having oncologist provide injectible medication for low RBCs and another medicine for low WBCs for mom to inject at doc's direction, staying on top of dehydration and fighting nausea and weight loss and a million other things.  In modern day treatment in the USA most people have a port put in place for injections. Mark did not have one so he was stuck with a needle for all chemo, scans requiring meds, IVs for dehydration, etc. He did not have a feeding tube of any kind. Six years ago there was no PET scan in all of Thailand so there were no PET scans.   A fighting spirit, support and prayers from around the world, good docs (Theera Umsawadee and later VA docs), supportive friends and family, luck and who knows what else kept him alive these good years. Today you can find him checking out a temple or on a Thai beach. He deserves every enjoyable and peaceful moment he can get.

August 23, 2012

Mark and the Hydra: A Beast With Characteristics of Esophageal Cancer 

Note: You can click on this picture or any picture in the blog to make it bigger. The Hydra which is found in the literature and depicted in statues in many places in Asia is an ancient mythical beast  unlike esophageal cancer which is a real modern day beast.
The Lernaean Hydra was pictured as a reptillian like water beast having many heads. If one head was cut off then two more grew back. The breath of the Hydra was extremely poisonous. Hercules killed the Hydra of Lerna who lived in the lake of Lerna.   Under this lake was said to be  an entrance to the Underworld which was guarded by the Hydra.Sometimes it feels like we cut off the head of esophageal cancer and two grow back but then again like Hercules sometimes our oncologists with great help from the ones who have EC and their friends and caregivers manage to kill the beast.