Several people have asked me whether I’ve been sugar-coating my posts here — or at least choosing to write about only the good, rather than the bad or the ugly.[...]
Erik Mueller-Harder - Journal
Read Entries & Updates
So it occurred to me that perhaps some of you know as little about tube-feeding as I did a few weeks ago, and that you might be curious.
I’m eating a little solid food now — more than I was last month, in fact, because they widened my esophagus a bit during surgery in August, and perhaps also because the radiation is ensmallenating the tumor, too.[...]
Well, things have been quiet here this week in Lake Wobegon….
Really quiet, in a way, though my dear friend Andy came up from Boston for the weekend to shake things up a bit (hi, Andy!). It was good to get the mental juices flowing again: Andy helped re-shelve piles of books in the library — which was very welcome! — but even more he acted as a terrific sounding board to help me figure out priorities for the Mordor project and for working out backup contingency plans for various other Tolkien-related things I’ve been doing (a few of which are spelled out at Vermont Softworks).[...]
This actually is the radiation machine. I lie on the bed (left), which is rolled into place. I’m pretty sure that the low center “drawer” extends out when it’s in operation, and that that’s what orbits around my body during the two- to three-minute session.[...]
‘But you’ve left out one of the chief characters: Samwise the stouthearted. “I want to hear more about Sam, dad. Why didn’t they put in more of his talk, dad? That’s what I like, it makes me laugh. And Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam, would he, dad?”’ — The Lord of the Rings, §4.08.065[...]
At last, on Tuesday I fired my first shots at the Enemy. Everything before had been but preliminary, but on Tuesday I found myself in a comfy chair in a cosy little room, listening to the Tallis Scholars singing in Beverley Minster, with Karen beside me in a somewhat less comfy chair. They gave me cute socks and a cookbook, too![...]
We really have the best of both worlds, logistically.
All of the chemotherapy and radiation therapy can (and will) be done at the Central Vermont Medical Center near Montpelier — only 35 minutes from our house. And I’ll be able to drive myself to almost all of these appointments myself. Yea! Unsurprisingly, the hospital is small, comfortable, and friendly. Perhaps more surprisingly (given its size) it’s quite up-to-date: no worries about anything less than 2017 best practices.[...]
In a nutshell: I’ve been diagnosed with esophageal adenocarcinoma. It’s pretty big, but not huge, and other than one lymph there is no sign of it having metathesized, so prognosis is good. Best-practice treatment today in both North America and Europe is a (probably five-week) course of radiation therapy with a supportive batch of chemo-therapy which acts synergistically with the radiation. This might completely eradicate the tumor, but whether it does or not, long-term survival statistics dictate that much of the lower esophagus and upper stomach then be removed surgically.[...]
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