Aug 25, 2019
“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 had been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the esophagus, which has now moved to the stomach. She has received radiation to reduce the original tumor (which worked), and has undergone chemo, which reduced or eliminated the original tumor, but the new tumor in the stomach requires a different chemo to slow its’ progress. This blog will give my thoughts, fears, prayers, and hopes during this challenging and difficult time.
Eileen completed her second cycle of pill chemo, and she had a visit with the oncologist this past week. He was very pleased at her condition, and decided not to give shots to raise the blood count, which was at 2600, well below the lowest ‘normal’ of 4000. Her range of around 2600 or so seems to be her normal when taking chemo, and as long as it stays above 2000 he is not concerned. She is apparently better than he had expected at this time, and decided to stay the course of treatment. She will have a week off the pills and then start another round.
We discussed the pain she had the past two Sundays, and he said she did not have heartburn as she thought, but had muscle spasms of those muscles in the throat that control swallowing. These spasms stem from the extensive scar tissue in the throat from the radiation and original tumor in the exophages. He suggested keeping the food at moderate temperature, not too hot or cold, take smaller bites and chew well, perhaps using water to help in the swallowing process.
Eileen does not have any pain, and feels well but very weak. Sometimes she cannot pick up one of her feet, and while standing at the counter in the oncology office, while lining up her next appointment, suddenly announced she was about to fall. A younger man who happened to be standing at the next window grabbed one side while I held the other, and a nurse brought in a wheelchair, which we used to take her to the car.
But she is determined to be strong enough to go to Mohonk in a little over a week, and walks whenever she can. She finds that it is standing that causes much of her problems. We just returned from a walk out to the road and back behind then pond and back, a distance of about a half of a mile. Eileen uses walking sticks and she sets a wicked pace.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Eileen is starting to regrow her hair. It is still white, and is about a half inch long. To put it mildly, she is happy about that.
Indeed, God is good to us. Little pain, and the body will do what it does. Life is still good, and we enjoy just being present to one another each day. So far, except for the occasional throat spasms and discomfort of not being able to swallow during those times she finds she can eat almost anything. Eileen lost only 2 lbs. over three weeks, and the doctor is satisfied with that.
I do not want to leave Eileen alone, especially in the evenings, so I am adjusting my evening meetings to be only on Mondays and Tuesdays when our daughter Barbara is here.
This time of respite and calm has helped all of us to set a pace that is good for all. All we can do is take each week, each day, one at a time, and adjust things to match the process.
Gentle One, we lean on Your strength and Love during these times. We feel blessed that this process has had little pain involved, and rely on Your guidance each day. I feel all the love that flows our way as truly life-giving, and know that the Love You shower on us is what keeps us moving in peace and wonder. We trust that all will resolve itself in Love, and the future is filled with the blaze of eternity and becomes clearer each day.