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Sunday, October 28, 2007

A new friend

I met via phone and email a new friend, one who has been free of esophageal cancer for more than a year. Actually, Steven Rich has been without the cancer since July 2006.

He went through a treatment program similar, though not identical, to the one I'm undergoing. He had seven weeks of radiation and two major chemo treatments, but he was hooked to the chemo pump three days a week, not 24/7 as I am enjoying. Initially, his docs put his chances at survival at about 15 percent. So he's surely beaten the odds already.

Steve is upbeat and was throughout his treatment. He told me a bit about his regimen. His chemo caused severe mouth sores; thankfully that has not happened to me. Tips from friends and doctors might have helped in that regard. His feeding tube fell out once after about 90 days and he had two hours to have it replaced before another surgery would be needed. Whew!

Since his surgery, at about the same location as my tumor, one of the most severe issues he's confronted is acid reflux-type problems. He's solved that with a recliner in the bedroom.

He said the surgery is weird but works, and, as he pointed out often, he's alive. So it's worth the sacrifice. His surgery was done down the throat, which he said was awkward. Other surgeries are done through incisions from the side. Not sure what the docs have in store for me. I'll ask tomorrow.

Steven said he thinks he survived for two reasons: His attitude and so he can help others, as he has done with me.

If anyone would like to contact Steven, his email is, and he's happy to hear from anyone who writes. Steven is a techno-compu-kinda guy. He also rides a motorcycle and lives up near Detroit. But most of all, he is a CancerVivor; I'm still a future CancerVivor.

But like I told him, I will survive. Count on it.

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