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Friday, January 18, 2008

More than 9,000 reasons to keep writing

Sometime yesterday the 9,000th page impression of the blog was uploaded to someone's computer. It's good to know that the same 10 people check out the blog so often during the day.

Seriously, I hope each day more and more newcomers find their way to the site. It's a way to spread the word that they should see a doctor if they have troubles swallowing, if they have severe heartburn or if they had heartburn but it seems to have gone away without medical assistance.

That is what happened to me. Years ago I had heartburn and used the state of the art treatment plans of the day: I spelled relief T U M S. Then, I took a job in Orlando, I liked it and found it to be less stressful, heartburn seemed to go away, Tums bottles were not needed. Little did I know that this couldn't be farther from the truth.

Heartburn went away because the cells in my esophagus were changing. They were becoming similar to the lining of my stomach, which meant my severe heartburn, now called GERD, was not pummelling the esophagus in quite the same way. But those altered cells opened the door to cancer forming in my esophagus.

It did. Years later -- this past summer -- I found it difficult to swallow some foods. A couple months later I went to a doctor who sent me to a specialist, Dr. Styne, who discovered a tumor at the bottom of my esophagus and occupying the lower third of the organ. He referred me to Dr. Z and Dr. Diamond, who treated me with chemo and radiation for a month and a half. Then, four weeks ago today I had surgery.

I've been declared cancer free but one can never be certain during the first couple of years after treatment. So while I have a damned good chance of a full recovery I'll have this uncertainty lingering for the next couple of years.

All because of some heartburn and a lack of desire or knowledge to see a doctor about it.

The moral of all this is get help. Get it early. See a doctor. Get treatments. Otherwise, you never know what's down the road.


pottsteeth said...

keith, just heard about the cancer, hope all is going well (from the blog looks like it is other than the gatorade DTs), newborn sends regards as well, left longer email at your sentinel email, you can still reach me at first initial and spelling of last name at, will try to call soon, you were a great boss in a zoo of bad ones. coryell

Keith W. Kohn said...

Hey, it's great to hear from you. Are you a doc yet? I'll check out the other email.

Anonymous said...

Keith, I am so glad you are doing better and cancer free!. Wow. Been following you here and am looking forward to seeing you back at work soon. Best to you and yours.

Kris Hey