Cancer (18)

Jun 30, 2019

Cancer (18)

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future

To a known God”

  • Corrie ten Bloom

My wife of 58 years (June 10) and best friend Eileen has been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the esophagus. She has received radiation to reduce the tumor, and is now undergoing chemo. This blog will give my thoughts, fears, prayers, and hopes during this challenging and difficult time.


It has taken me a couple of days to assimilate the news from the oncologist on the results of the probe and biopsy. The biopsy showed the presence of signet ring cells, an extremely aggressive (his words) cancer cell. The cancer is now in the stomach, and he considers that the present course of chemo has failed to stem the progress of the cancer, and has suggested we try a very hard chemo approach to slow the progress of the disease. He felt the white blood cell content is too low, so we are spending this week getting shots to increase the white blood cell count. We will attempt to start that action on July 1, and see what happens. It consists of several doses of supporting infusions, and a pump to be fitted in her port that will work until Wednesday when they will remove it. The side effects may be serious, and we will see how Eileen responds to this. So this week is spent traveling into the hospital each day for the white blood cell shot, and sitting around since the shot is very tiring. Eileen has managed to use the warmer weather and sunshine to get outside to a certain extent, but she is not steady, and must watch where she steps to maintain being upright.

So life goes on, one day at a time. We can count our blessings each day, knowing so many are praying for us at this time. Each day is one more day, and right now being physically weak but reasonably pain free (heartburn still persists a lot, but easier to control) still permits enjoying the beauty of summer.

Why are we doing this? This question we are asking ourselves at this time. I am writing this on the Friday before being published on Sunday (June 28), and we have no answer. Eileen is feeling better than she has felt in months, even now having an appetite for the first time in many months. She is eating better with the extra week off from chemo, and enjoying life much better. We will talk with the oncologist on Monday, and may opt not to go on with the hard chemo he is suggesting. This means that for a while she will feel better, but the end will be sooner than if we had taken the hard chemo, but perhaps with a better quality of life. Death does not frighten her, but she wants to avoid discomfort and as much pain as possible. So we wait and pray for the right decision on Monday – do we proceed with the hard chemo or choose a better quality of life now? We shall see.

God has blessed us with so many loving friends that has amazed and left us feeling so humble. So many send cards and visit or give us soups or other foods that allow us to continue on with love and spirit despite the cause. Truly God has filled us with Love and transformation, giving voice to what is said in the form of gifts and presence – time, the most precious gift of all.


Spirit of light, you fill our world with gifts of Love and light. love is filling our lives in startling ways, including those who suggest new paths and ways to explore. We rest in gratitude at this time, resting solely on the mercy of Your way in life. We know not where we go, and depend on Your guidance that flows through friends and family. Our being rests only in Your path, waiting for guidance and knowing that the path to joy will be shown us at all times.

4 thoughts on “Cancer (18)”

  1. As I read your words I feel sorrow that such wonderful people must face this decision. Only you two can make the decision as to which way to go. As a nurse I watched families make that decision and some chose quality of life over quanity and others chose to do the opposite. My brother in law, Larry, chose to try the treatment but he decided ultimately that he would rather feel better than to live longer. For him, it was the right decision and thankfully he was pain free and was able to live his last days visiting with friends and lived ines. His faith was strong and I believe that is why he was so peaceful. I often wonder how people without faith live and die…… lonely and terrifying that must be. I sympathize with Eileen having heartburn. I was just diagnosed with Barretts Esophagus and the heartburn is very troublesome and I am sure her’s is much worse than mine…We.continue to hold all of you, but especially Eileen in our prayers. God bless you as you travel this journey.

    1. Thanks Tara. We have decided to proceed with the new chemo next week, as our oncologist believes this is a palliative approach. If she can take this without too much discomfort, the hope is it will stall the cancer and delay or eliminate the need for a feeding tube.

  2. Mass will be said this Wednesday here in Culpeper for you both. I hope this will bring you strength and comfort.

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My God has led me on an 80 year jaunt to ever more wondrous beauty. I am led to share this journey and gifts of God that have been showered upon me, not just for me but for whoever God brings into my path.

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