Hope for Merriment Again While Eating and Drinking

Posted on January 31, 2018.

During the past few weeks, I've experienced significant and generally increasing problems swallowing, a feeling that food or even drink doesn't quite "go down."  And, that's exactly what is happening, and its pretty uncomfortable and often spurs a gagging and vomiting reflex.  My weight is continuing to trend downward again, not like it did back in March-April, but downward just the same.  It's just because eating has become such an adventure and chore, as soon as my hunger is abated a little bit, I tend to push the plate away.  

My oncologist. Dr. Devore, chalks the eating difficulties up to a very subtle narrowing of my esophagus, visible on my scans but still definable as "clear" and "normal."  He says it doesn't take very many millimeters of narrowing to cause difficulties (sounds like fodder for an intelligent design issue).  So he's arranged for an appointment with the gastro doc to do another scope.  I haven't received an appointment date yet, but he wants it done soon.  If the slightly thickened esophagus looks like scar tissue or just inflamed tissue, he'll spread out the esophagus with a tool made for that purpose.  It sounds dreadful, but it's under general anesthesia so you just wake up and can swallow better.  This is what I was hoping to have done last February when the gastroenterologist found the cancer.  

If the gastro doc finds that the narrowing appears to be cancerous tissue, however, the affected area will be treated (by another doctor at a later date) with radiation, which my oncologist tentatively scheduled for two weeks from this past Monday.  If insurance allows, it will be proton therapy, which limits the depth of the radiation, but if not I'll just get the traditional radiation, in which those molecular level bullets go right through you, damaging healthy tissue both on the way in and the way out.  

Nevertheless, I was glad to hear that Dr. Devore seemed to think that this was a fixable problem that I don't just have to live with.  I hope and pray that such will be the case.  It would be very nice to be able to eat normally again.  

Also, because some of the old intestinal difficulties are cropping up a little after about 10 days of my 2-week rounds of oral chemotherapy, we cut back on the dosage just a little (from 7 to 6 pills a day).  The cumulative effect of that oral chemotherapy is really exhausting me - I sleep ridiculous numbers of hours some days, and get way more tired than normal way more easily.  I'm doing more work from home, and I'm having to pace myself for immovable events like Sunday mornings, Wednesday Bible study at Greenfield, and other meetings.  Please pray for my stamina and energy - I sure hope the cancer feels as beleaguered as I do.  

Thanks for your prayers.  They have served me well, and I thank you.