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:
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:
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.