Which Path Would You Take?

Yesterday I laid out the direction we’re headed, and the reality we are facing.  Unless the cancer has metastasized already, I will have to choose surgery or continued natural treatments.

Today, let me describe each path and bring you into the realities of our decision:

The Surgery Path:

hospital-1338585_640

I will go into the hospital for a long operation in which they cut me open and take out my esophagus and some lymph-nodes from stomach to throat.  Then they resection the stomach and pull it up and attach it to the throat.  They sew me up, feed me through a stomach tube for 1 month, and hopefully the cancer is gone.  Dropping one microscopic cell in the operation can restart the cancer, and there’s the risk of complications.

Recovery time in the hospital is 8-10 days.  The national average for those dying as a result of the operation is 9%.  I found a surgeon in Seattle who’s at 1%.  It takes 12-18 months to heal from the operation unless there are chronic complications.

Anecdote:  A friend here having the same cancer and who’s done the operation, had 5 subsequent operations in a year and the last one was to remove a spot of esophageal cancer from his lung.  They hope they found it all.  He was in excellent physical shape before and after 18 months of recovery, he is swimming and hiking again but to a lesser extent.

I know of two others having the surgery who didn’t make it beyond 5 years, and I talked with two who have.

If and when healed from the operation, it’s back to normal life if the internal systems work okay, but eating must be changed.  Most foods can be eaten but in smaller portions and chewed well.  There is no stomach so food fills up the tube.

Possible Result:  Being ‘cured’ of esophageal cancer is defined as having no cancer present after 5 years.  Statistically 50% of those who have the surgery live beyond 5 years.  In which 50% would I be if I do this? And what quality of life would I have as I go forward?

 

The Naturopathic Treatment Path:

food-715542_1280

I now know that natural treatments will most likely not cure a tumor mass like I have.  My Naturopathic Oncologist can find no examples where that’s happened.  So with this option, I’m trying to extend my life as long as I can, strengthening the body to fight the cancer.

First I could have an immuno drug infusion, HER-2, that works to neutralize cancer’s growth environment.

Secondly, we would keep up our changed way of eating and use of supplements.  These have created our healthy bodies over the past two years and hopefully would hold some cancer at bay going forward.

And thirdly, we would take some additional heavy natural therapies that would target the cancer more strongly.

Anecdote:  This week I talked by phone with Roy, a man my age in Canada, who has the same cancer as me.  He has had several of these stronger natural therapies rather than surgery.  He was diagnosed with EC in 2010.  The cancer was blocking his esophagus at 80% and he had trouble swallowing.  The doctors told him he needed the surgery or he would only last 3 months.  That was in 2010.

He chose not to do surgery, but take these stronger natural therapies.  He’s had 5 treatments; has extended his life for 6 years beyond prognosis to date; and has good quality of life.  (The day I called, he was just in from an ATV ride.)

Possible Result:  This would not be an invasive therapy.  I would still have my innards in one place and eat what I want.  The body would not be traumatized from the operation.  The treatments are delivered intravenously.

I would not be ‘cured’ of cancer, but most likely could control the cancer with a good quality of life for a period of time.  That could possibly be some years as Roy has experienced.  He’s over the 5 year mark, but living with the cancer, not cured from the cancer.

This is what we are facing.  Decision-Day is at the end of this month.

How are we doing?

Emotionally — it’s a roller-coaster ride.
Physically — we’re both doing great.  Sheri’s cancer is officially in remission.
Spiritually — We know the One in charge and are resting in Him.  We are peaceful and enjoying each day.

Thanks for your prayers, encouragement and walking with us down this path.

Still want to weigh in on what you would do and why?  Your thoughts would be helpful to us.

Save

Save

Save

Save

7 thoughts on “Which Path Would You Take?


  1. Hi Dave and Sheri. Thank you for sharing so openly and so deeply. Dave, you write so clearly and make it easy to understand and empathise.
    I just want to share a couple of thoughts with you as the past 2 years have been a difficult time for us also. Just to update you, Steve is now in Memory care and I am recovering from stress fractures in my back.
    I believe God heals in different ways. He does heal instantly; He does heal by beginning a process that leads to freedom from symptoms; He heals through surgeons and medical procedures, all of which were developed at His command; and He heals by taking us home to be with Him. These are all ok with Steve and me.
    As I read your blog and the options that you have so clearly outlined, my only response is that quality of life is something to be considered as well as length of life. You comments ‘re options sound like you are leaning toward the third one. The immuno drug infusion HER-2.
    I have a friend who did the surgery and just passed away a couple of weeks ago. He was in and out of the hospital with repeated chemo and rad. treatments for 2 years. He had a very positive attitude and wrote a lot on Facebook and encouraged many people. His illness brought reconciliation within his family.
    A very difficult decision and my prayer is that whatever you decide will bring peace and even greater confidence in the Lord. I pray that you will not look back and say “I should have” because you are trusting God for leading, instruction and healing.
    I did not mean for this to become such a long message but as I wrote, I just found more things I wanted to say.
    Love you both and I am praying for wisdom, courage and health.
    Pat


  2. Thanks for the report and the definitive way you have posed the question of what to do. I am in favor of eating well, living well, and avoiding the surgeons and their percentages. Those figures don’t describe the pain, recovery, and emotions involved. As the old Irish Blessing ends, “and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.” Thats the best one could ask for.
    Love you, Sid and Babs


  3. Hi Dave and Sheri. I tried writing Saturday but for some reason I couldn’t get the site to work. Anyway, I wanted to say that your courage and faith through this tremendous decision is an inspiration to me. I was touched by your statement that your job is to obey and God’s is to govern. I know this is an emotional roller coaster for you all – how could it not be? But seeing your faith at the heart of it is tremendous.

    Which path would I take? Wow, that’s incredibly hard. The naturopathic path seems safer and would possibly give you better quality-of-life results, if the goal is not to get rid of the cancer. In fact, it almost sounds like that’s a central question in all of this. Do I focus on getting rid of the cancer or do I focus on learning to live with the cancer long-term? Living with the cancer sounds like a better chance for quality of life. Do you have examples where the naturopathic didn’t work out with better quality of life? I would want to consider those before choosing the path.

    I’m so glad you both know the Lord in all of this. You are trusting Him, acknowledging Him in your journey to find wisdom. He is and will continue to guide you (Prov. 3:5,6).

    Take care, Dave and Sheri.


  4. Another option.. Proton Therapy for Esophageal Cancer
    Treating esophageal cancer with an adequate dose of radiation can be difficult because of the close proximity of the esophagus to critical structures, such as the heart, lungs and spinal cord. Because protons deposit their highest dose of radiation at the tumor or area of concern, proton therapy can be an excellent choice for treating patients with esophageal cancer.

    Proton therapy offers patients and their doctors a unique option for effectively treating esophageal cancer while reducing damage to other critical organs and tissues. The MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center is one of the few centers of its kind treating esophageal cancer with proton technology.

    With proton therapy for esophageal cancer, treatments typically take about 15 to 30 minutes each day and are delivered five days a week for approximately four to seven weeks. The course of treatment and length of time per treatment each day varies based on each patient’s individual case. Most patients tolerate the treatments extremely well and are able to continue to work and exercise during their treatment course and immediately after treatment is complete.

    A consult with a proton therapist at MD Anderson may be helpful….. https://www.mdanderson.org/patients-family/diagnosis-treatment/care-centers-clinics/proton-therapy-center/conditions-we-treat/esophageal-cancer.html


  5. Dave & Sheri,
    I am sorry you have so much to deal with. I have also been fighting cancer since 2013. I have had ups and downs. I wanted to share a few things with you since you are considering natural treatments. I did Gerson therapy for one full year. I will post a link below for information. It may seem extreme, but I prayed about what to do and believe God led me to do it. He provided all I needed. It was no cure but two years later, when I underwent chemo, my Dr told me he thought Gerson had been beneficial for detoxing and strengthening my body. I enjoyed doing it. It was no easy, but I did not waiver. Drs told me in Nov 2014 I wouldn’t make it to the end of the year. I made it to March 2015 and became a patient at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. There, I went through chemo and am now on hormone treatment. In March, I was 40# underweight (at 84#), on oxygen 24/7 and in a wheelchair. I am a healthy weight now, off O2 and walking for exercise! I read the tiny book by Charles Capps, God’s Creative Power for Healing and remembered that my God is the God who raised people from the dead and created all things. I told Him I didn’t want to die and that I wanted to be healed. I have never read in the Bible where Jesus did not heal someone who asked for healing. Then I began to speak out loud the scriptures and prayers in Capps’ book. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and I continued to be healed every day. I believe you will be too. Through Jesus Christ YOU have victory! http://gerson.org/gerpress/


  6. thanks, for putting your journey out here in front of your friends and family so we can prayerfully process this journey with you. It sounds like you are wisely looking and evaluating your situation and options. There is NOT a wrong choice. He has your days numbered. He has blessed the days He has given you. He has you in His hands now and forever. Your choice is to use the wisdom and voice He provides to follow Him. Our prayers are with you.

    thankful for you two,
    james & Suzie



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *