I imagine that the longer one lives the higher the chance is that they might get cancer. I just never believed it would happen to anyone in my family. My family history is filled with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a few other annoyances. We laugh and joke that when a new doctor sees our medical history he simply writes, "Screwed" across the top. The one disease that seemed to skip our family was cancer. We can no longer hold onto that claim.
Until 2012, my parents had been in decent health. Mom had COPD and was on oxygen 24/7. They both were dealing with diabetes and high blood pressure for mom. Last April mom decided to help dad with the laundry. The washer and dryer are located in the basement but she felt if she went slowly, she could do it. Slow landed her in the hospital with a broken hip. When she was whisked away to surgery dad figured he would go for a coffee. He did not feel well but attributed it to stress. He managed to make it to his car but no further. He pulled out his cell and contacted my brother who used his OnStar to try to locate my dad in the hospital parking lot. Dad suffered a heart attack! Luckily, he was in the parking lot and quick action saved him from suffering too much damage. A pacemaker was implanted and my dad embarked upon the road to recovery. We managed to get both my parents back on their feet and thought life would still be moderately normal.
May 1st Dad received a pacemaker for his birthday. Late in July, Dad began telling us that whenever he ate he would get hiccups. We encouraged him to discuss this with his doctor but the doctor felt it was not a symptom of anything serious. We drilled Dad repeatedly concerning this symptom but by September, he said it was fading away. In December, I noted that Dad looked thinner. Mom let the cat out of the bag by telling me that while the hiccups were history he now had trouble swallowing. They had not told anyone because they did not want to trouble us. The holidays made it difficult to get a quick appointment for him but he was seen at the beginning of January. His physician scheduled him an appointment with a Gastroenterologist. This doctor did the intact and suggested he have an endoscopy. I had been attending appointments with my parents but was leaving on February 1st for a three-week trip to Guam. No problem...my brother would bring Dad. During the procedure, a growth was detected at the base of Dad's esophagus. While I was in the process of flying home, Dad was undergoing that procedure and a biopsy was taken.
Both my brother and I went with Dad for the results last Wednesday. Unfortunately, the growth contains active cancer cells. I think the three of us knew what the results would show yet we all were stunned by the news. A Cat Scan was performed and this coming Friday we will go in to talk to the Oncologist and then the Surgeon. Since Dad is unable to eat, we believe surgery will be the option we are presented with but at this point, it is an unknown road for us. We are frightened and stressed out but whatever the road holds for Dad we will all face it together. Prayers and positive thoughts would be greatly appreciated.