Help Diann Pearson (DP) beat Esophageal Cancer (EC) by pledging a monthly donation towards her medical and living expenses while undergoing chemotherapy, radiation treatment and surgery. Sponsorships are also available for you or your family, club, group, business, organization, church, charity or cause.
Thursday afternoon a JMH (Jackson Memorial Hospital) otolaryngologist performed a biopsy on the lymph node below Diann’s right ear. He called us yesterday afternoon to inform us that it was cancerous, indicating that the cancer from the tumor in her throat is spreading to distant organs. This means that Diann’s diagnosis is now Stage IV Squamous Esophageal Cancer and her chance of living 5 or more years is 5 percent. Diann realizes she must now fight for her life, and I cannot express how proud I am of the courage and steeled resolve she is displaying.
The JMH treatment plan includes both radiation and chemotherapy with surgery a possibility. Next week a “port” will be installed in her chest for the chemo (TUE), a CT planning scan will be done for the radiation (WED), and both treatments will begin a few days thereafter. I don’t know the chemo treatment frequency yet, but once the radiation treatments begin they will be once daily (Mon-Fri) for about 28 days (or about 6 weeks). What happens after all those daily hospital commutes will depend on the outcome of the treatments.
I am told that more esophageal cancer victims die from malnutrition than the actual cancer, and in Diann’s case that is a clear and present danger. She has not been able to eat solid food for over 3 months, she’s lost 20 pounds she could ill afford to lose, and her weight continues to drop. We are now trying to reverse this by encouraging her to eat and drink what she can – milk, pudding, mashed potatoes, ice cream, soda – but that’s proving an uphill climb. We are also trying to increase the number of cans of Ensure we syringe into the feeding tube they implanted in her stomach, but the more we shoot in the more we lose to diarrhea. What we need is an enteral feeding pump to feed her slowly and steadily while she sleeps – like she had in the hospital. With help from ACS Patient Navigator Mara Chavannes and JMH Case Worker Nicole Mike, we now have a configured quote for one of those – and I am grateful to hear that one of Diann’s family members may be stepping up to place the order.
Speaking of being grateful, Diann and I have a lot of people to be grateful to: Chef & Sandy have been down the road we are on, and without their guidance we’d be lost. And the moment she heard her sister was in trouble, Linda (Diann’s close friend of many years) packed her car and drove down from North Carolina to lend a hand. I don’t know what we’d do without her: Her personal limo service is saving us a fortune on taxi fares (we have a motorcycle and scooter but no car) and just this week with her help Diann was able to be in two waiting rooms at the same time (JMH booked her for overlapping appointments) and thus avoided what would have been a needless delay in her diagnosis and treatment. My podnuh Tucker has (as always) made sure I’ve got some wind under my wings, and Jessica and Diann’s many friends and customers from the Tower House restaurant just made a much-appreciated dent in our medical bills.
And speaking of medical bills, we THANK GOD that Diann qualified for the JMH Medical Plan. Unlike Obamacare (ripoff) alternatives with large deductibles, limited benefits and unlimited restrictions and gotchas, her “Jackson Card” has been our salvation. Her co-pay for a PET scan, for example, is only $70. Despite that, her inpatient stay, ER visits, X-rays, ultrasounds, barium swallows, endoscopies, fluoroscopies, CT scans, PET scans, bloodworks, consults and prescriptions are adding up – and the JMH cash register will be ringing each time she shows up for a shot of chemo or a radiation treatment. All in, we’re expecting our outgo to exceed our income by about $3,000 a month for the next several months – but we’re hoping there’s a Cool Hand Luke out there who might help with shrinking the shortfall while we’re shrinking the tumor…
Please keep Diann in your prayers,