Saturday, November 22, 2008

TDP - Still Trying to Be Normal, and Getting Better At It!!!

The radiation oncologist's appointment we had last Tuesday didn't give us the good news we were hoping for - we walked in believing that Tom would be having radiation, chemo and surgery for his cancer. We've been digesting the news ever since.

We looked at Tom's MRI to see that Tom's esophageal cancer has spread to lymph nodes and most likely his spine, and - just in case that wasn't enough - his MRI is also showing a suspicious mass in his colon. The doctor believes that it too is probably cancerous, but not necessarily related to his esophageal cancer, and thinks it may be in early stages.

More tests are scheduled - this upcoming week a bone biopsy of his spine, and later, a colonoscopy to figure out exactly what's happening there.

What all of this translates into is that Tom is no longer qualified for the study trial we had hoped he'd be in, due to the movement of his cancer. The doctor is being thorough by ordering both the bone biopsy and the colonoscopy, and both are out-patient procedures in Ann Arbor. With the results of these tests, a treatment plan can be designed specifically for Tom.

So onward we go, and we're okay with it. We have definitely not given up. God's just taking us in a different direction, and we can handle it. As our friends Lori and Robert said, "Be strong!" and we are so thankful for their encouragement. We are strong.

We've been trying some different things. Tom's been taking lots anti-oxidants, both in natural fruit and veggies like blueberries and fresh carrot juice. We're very fortunate that we live in blueberry country, and can buy 10 pound boxes of frozen berries at very reasonable cost. And I'm thankful that Tom really likes blueberries, because he's getting more than anyone should ever have to swallow.

He's also taking high-dose anti-oxidant drink supplements. And he's upped his caloric intake to 2500 to 3000 calories/day. That's a bit of a struggle for him as his stomach only accepts small amounts of food and drink at any given time, but he's adjusting.

That means he's eating or drinking something every waking hour, which generally sounds like heaven until you realize that there's many, many foods he cannot eat. At the moment, he's able to handle Ensure, well-cooked veggies, rice, pasta, beans, eggs, soups, small amounts of baked fish, ice cream, mashed potatoes and gravy, jam sandwiches, and lots of cheese (one of his favorites). Eggnog is a great high calorie treat for him, but he's definitely very sick of all the dairy products.

He can't eat anything hard like nuts or raw veggies, anything tomatoes or citrus, definitely no pizza, nothing with coatings, no meat in general (but once in a while he can eat tiny bits of chicken), nothing fried or cooked with oil or butter (including pie crusts - but he's getting a piecrust-less pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving!), and even peanut butter has been giving him problems lately.

But he's mentioned that when he gets his calorie counts up, he feels physically better the next day. I've noticed that he has a bit more stamina and strength since he's been at the 2500/3000 calorie range. Today we went out for 2-1/2 hours of errands, and went to five different places - quite a bit of running around for my sick man, but he did it with almost-ease (well, he was planning on a nap when he got home anyways, which is where he is right now).

The more often he does it, the easier it is to get more calories in - and he's learned that it works better to get the majority of those cals in before 1 pm. He can still eat and drink up to about 6 pm, and then he quits - he needs a few hours of digestion time before he hits the sack, and that's usually around 9 pm. (We are just such party people!!)

We've decided not to weigh him until the next doctor's appointment. Last Tuesday at his doctor's appointment, we found he had only lost 1 pound in the previous two weeks. That was really great news, as he'd lost 20 pounds in the previous month. His eating efforts are paying off, and I couldn't be happier!

1 comment:

Jonara Blu Maui said...

Hi Beth....I'm sure you get so many suggjestions..but just wanted to leave a couple ideas w/ you..oregano oil....this is supposed to be the highest anitoxidant there is. I've heard that your body can get used to certain things like this after a week echinacea and grapefruit seed extract take a week at a time then switch. Maybe as a naturepath about it..or someone in a healthfood store vitamin section.

Also the company Mannatech..they deal w/ glyconutrients. you can find out more about each product as you click on it..some have a video I think. The product mannatech is the biggie there..the one that has to do w/ glyconutrients and cell communication..helping our body to heal and do what it's supposed to do...which is not allow the cancer cells to get out of control. Nothing is a cure all..but it can help. We had a friend here that extended his life a number of years from lukemia...his white blood cell count went totally normal for a long time while taking the ambrotose. He did pass later..but his doctor was amazed and it gave him more time w/ his family. He even got to do some traveling.

Also a non acid diet is good. Look up and see what acid foods are. Cancer thrives in acid. The Kangen water is very helpful w/ getting the body's ph balance back. So thats another thing you can look into.

And don't forget to take care of yourself! I know how it goes..all day in the kitchen..trying to research what they can eat and will eat..jumping for joy when they don't loose another pound. I'm doing the same w/ my son. It can take a toll on you both emotionally and physically. Sometimes a glass of wine and a good soak in the tub can really help!