The Day of Reckoning 02/25/2014

Trip Start Feb 12, 2014
Trip End May 05, 2014

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Munson's Interdisciplinary Cancer Center

Flag of United States  , Michigan
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I want to give you an update on our all day meeting on Tuesday, 02/25/2014 with the doctors and many others including a dietician, social worker, counselor, financial planner, palliative nurse, etc.  Sister Leone (Bone) was with us the entire day and was a huge support!  Munson's Interdisciplinary Cancer Center is awesome.  Our friends and oncology nurses Tammy & Kendra, who manage the center, greeted us with hugs and explained the agenda for the day.  They did an outstanding job of scheduling all of the doctors and support folks.  We stayed in one room, and one by one, the experts came to us to examine Bill & go over test results.  What a wonderful system!  What wonderful people!  We broke for lunch while the experts all met together and agreed on a plan.  Munson provided free lunch vouchers and Bill, Bone & I had a nice lunch in the excellent hospital cafeteria.  We returned from lunch with many talking about the plan forward.  Later we went to the Radiation Oncologist's building and were given a tour of the facilities where Bill will have his radiation treatments.  Bill had a CT scan and marker tattoos placed on his chest, and impression made of his body to form a custom mattress in preparation for the upcoming radiation using the latest Photon Radiation machine.
Bill needs some space right now to digest all of the news.  So please do not write him, call him or expect replies, at least until he is in a better mindset.  He does not want me to continue to email everyone with blow by blow details of this battle.  He wishes I never told anyone.  This is a natural reaction.  And this too shall pass with time.

But I want you to know this and then I will stop for awhile.  Bill has a very serious cancer in stage 2 or 3 (we won't know until after surgery, but stage 4 is the worst).  He will undergo chemo once a week and the latest photon radiation five times a week for 30 sessions.  He will then rest up and gain weight before surgery after about another 5 weeks.  He has been assigned two outstanding thoracic surgeons (a young woman and an older man) that will perform the surgery together as a team to remove his esophagus, upper stomach and many surrounding lymph nodes. They will pull up the remaining stomach, some small intestine and attach it to his throat...via two large incisions, one in the neck and one in the stomach area.  He will be in the hospital for 10 to 14 days.  The surgeon said that Bill's surgery is considered more complex than open heart or lung surgery.  We are so thankful for Bill to be able to remain in TC for all of these treatments.  They are scheduling his treatments early so that he can still continue to work as long as he is able to, up until surgery.  And he gets to come home each night instead of staying in a hotel/hospital in a distant state.  When we were advised that Bill could die during surgery or post surgery due to complications, I asked what would be the prognosis if he does nothing and the answer was he will die.  So surgery it is.  You are welcome to write me or call me when Bill is working if you want to (text me before if you want to know if the coast is clear).  He's off Wednesdays and most Sundays.  And certainly don't hesitate to talk to one another for support.  I am planning to join two support groups myself soon.  One is for anyone going through this journey and the other is specifically for caregivers (my new title). For all of us that love Bill, this is a process for all of us to go through in our own individual ways.  And we will somehow make it through it at a time.  As Bone told us, "There are no bad decisions."    

Your support, thoughts and prayers are really appreciated.  Thank you.

Love, Walt   
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Jack Eitniear on

Our prayers will be with you.

Rob on

Let's learn to laugh again like we remember during those 6 hours or so, the moments we made fools of ourselves and had the times of our lives Most of us have I'm sure never laughed that hard again. We need to do it more often. The best medicine for all of us. Are we not very fortunate to have such incredible friends!

levinebarb on

Thanks for starting this blog. It is a great catharsis for you, and an easy way for the rest of us to keep up to date. I have invited Stan, Mike, Carrie & Marlene to read it also. I will be checking in every day or so to get the latest updates. I wish I had some miracles to offer, but my saintly days are long past, if they ever existed. I hope that Bill will read this blog also, so that our wishes will get to him. I don't want to bother him otherwise.
Love, your eldest and wisest sibling, Barbara

gailnichols on

This blog is a great idea. Best wishes to you and Bill. I'm glad to hear the medical people are treating you well. Hope to see you both soon.

Rose Gotowicki on

The roll of caregiver is very difficult. You are the one who must listen. Bill will not hear everything. It sounds like he is in good hands and you have a wonderful support system. You will need it. Call me if you need to talk. I have been doing this for 10 years now. Hard to believe . We will keep you and Bill in our prayers

lizonya on

Wonderful idea, Walt. A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. I look forward to your updates, just like I treasured your Sky Clipper adventure blog.
Love, your youngest and most gifted sister, Kiltless

klvar240 on

Love this idea. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you guys as you travel this journey. Much love, Kay

Judy Dalgleish on

Thank you Walt for doing this. I know it's hard. I will be sharing this with my friends and family. Hugs and kisses to you both!!

boneleone on

You know I am available at any time and we can do things at a moments notice. I'm glad Bill is in the "fight" mode and wanting to do anything recommended. Also, that you are closer to each other every day. It dawned on me that we are each grieving for Bill and his upcoming battles, but he has to grieve for not only himself, but everyone he loves. My thoughts & prayers continue for you both. Call anytime. Love, your sis & friend, Bone

carla on

Love is sent to you both.
The fun and loving that you share together and the caring that you offer others
is exceptional.

tere.p on

This will help all of us come together for you both. Asking every day for your highest good.

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