The Cancer Journey Continues with Another Turn in the Road

Can you believe it was in Sept 2014 my esophageal cancer was diagnosed?  I completed chemo-radiation on January 6, 2015, and chose not to have the surgery but take on natural treatments.


For the past two years the cancer has been controlled through those natural treatments . . . but not totally.

The PET scans indicate through the SUV metric, (a number indicating intensity of growth) that the cancer was 6.2 when it was discovered in 2014.  After chemo-radiation it was 3.2.  Then twenty months later in Sept. 2016 it was 13, and now last week, even after my Mexico treatments, the factor increased to 15.2.

So in spite of my best efforts over the past two years to diminish the cancer in my body by natural means, the tumor mass has continued to slowly grow.

My conclusion, verified by the doctors, is that this cancer would eventually metastasize outside the tumor and spread to vital organs.  At this point the scans show it is yet contained within the esophagus, which still makes me a candidate for the esophogectomy surgery.


So I have a difficult choice:  Continue on to try and control it via natural and alternative treatments, or take on chemo first and then the surgery to get the mass out of the body.   Both roads carry their risks in regards to quality and length of life.  (but, hey, I’m already beyond the biblical number of 3 score and 10 heading for 4 score!)

When I asked one of my Mexican doctors his thoughts on a surgery, he said, “Dave, if you want to fight a battle, would you rather take on 20 soldiers, or 5 soldiers?”  His application was to get rid of the tumor (the 20 soldiers), and then take on whatever issues I might have that are lingering.  (the 5).

It seems I’m at that point in my battle.

The natural and alternative strengthening of my body are not strong enough to help my body move the cancer back.  Therefore I need extra help in order to accomplish that.  The surgery is my extra help.

That creates another major decision I must make.  Where should I have the surgery — Seattle, WA (UW) or Portland, OR (OHSU)?  The issue is to get the most competent surgeons you can find since the operation is very complex.  I’ve had consultations with Dr. Brent Oelschlager in Seattle.  On Friday I visit OHSU and talk with Dr. Jim Dolan.  All these docs are very competent and do many surgeries a year, so now the decision.

It also seems wise to have some chemo prior to surgery in order to dampen the intensity of the cancer in the tumor, and perhaps shrink it some.  So I will start chemo treatments in Bend on Dec 27, as a contribution to my Happy New Year!

Actually I’m at peace knowing the Lord is with me on this road, my ultimate destination is clear if something happens, Sheri is a tremendous caregiver and encouragement on the path, and His means at this time for healing are the surgeons and our wonderful medical establishment.

So that’s my update to date!  This was not an outcome I had hoped for, or that all of us had prayed for, but I’m thankful I’m still at the point where this option is possible.

As my oncologist said, “Dave, through the surgery you could still hit a home run.”  In this case, a home run is the eradication of the cancer with these caveats — the operation goes well; the cancer has not metastasized; and I heal well.  I then could end up with the cancer gone.  That’s the hope and desire as I walk this new path in 2017.

Thanks for walking with me.  Your prayers and encouragements mean a lot to both of us in our journey!



164 thoughts on “The Cancer Journey Continues with Another Turn in the Road

  1. Dear Dave and Sheri, we continue to pray. We love you very much. Boba and Milan

  2. It seems so trite to say “I feel your pain” but I know it is safe to say that God does. It is a great blessing to know that God is holding us, and sustaining us every step of the way. This past year has been a major roller coaster ride for both the Grissens and the Fenns. Through it all, the knowledge, not always the feelings, of God’s faithfulness and care have been strong. Good is able and goes before you.

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