Wednesday, January 17, 2007

How Did This Happen?

Before I explain all I know about cancer of the esophagus, I’d like to thank all of you who have sent me e-mails and called us. Your words and thoughts are overwhelming (in a good way). Please don’t stop. For the first time since I can remember, the notes in my inbox outnumbered the notes in my junk mail file.

Heartburn. Acid reflux. Barrett’s esophagus. Cancer. Apparently if you have heartburn regularly and/or episodes of acid reflux, it weakens your esophagus into a condition called Barrett’s esophagus. If you have Barrett’s esophagus, you are very susceptible to cancer. Well, I’ve had heartburn off and on but nothing I would have considered a problem – Alka Seltzer or Tums after a big spicy dinner – pretty normal. As to acid reflux, I have had an occasional issue but not frequent – mostly when I’d eaten and drank too much and went to sleep on my back. Acid reflux wakes you from a sound sleep in a most painful manner. But even then I didn’t think it happened frequently enough to constitute a problem worth doing anything about.

Men are more susceptible than women and Hispanic men are at the highest risk. If you suffer from heartburn and/or acid reflux, get an endoscopy exam. An endoscopy is much more pleasant than the one that goes in the other end. It requires no preparation other than skipping breakfast and is painless (they give you a sedative). The key to successful cancer treatment is to catch it early.

PET scan tomorrow. Meeting at church tonight. I still feel good and, if it weren’t so cold outside, I’d go work in the yard. Thanks again for all the e-mails and phone calls.

5 comments: said...

I am greatly distressed to hear about you cancer and will be praying for you and Verva regularly! Your attitude is inspiring and warnings to others about the dangers hidden in routine heartburn...well...that is not something many would have thought to pass on to others at this early stage.

How long have you been retired? I always expected you to showup back in California as soon as you cut loose from Exxon but I guess leaving the girls would pretty hard too.

I'm thinking about leaving Valero at 55 (11 more months)so if you have any wisdom to pass on I'll be listening.

Joy & I will be thinking of you every day.


Anonymous said...

Hi Bob & Verva
Serious prayers headed your way from Tucson! We will be thinking of you.
Teri, Justin, and Lilly Dobbins

Anonymous said...

Dear Bob,

We just learned of your news...and still, you continue to be such an amazing inspiration. Bennie and I will definitely keep you in our thoughts and seriously mean so very much to Bennie. You can bet we will be pulling for you!!

Show 'em how it's done, and get better soon! :o)

Yours truly,
Colleen Simkins

Gretchen said...

Dear, dear Bob and Verva,

What you need is a miracle. And the two of you deserve one. You're the kind of couple a miracle should happen for, and we're all here hoping and hoping for one for you!

Much love, Gretchen

cg39 said...

Dear Bob -

I just heard the news tonight from Gaye. My heart goes out to you, Verva and your entire family.

My bet is most definitely on you - you are strong, determined and you have lots of people pulling for you.

Denise and I will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

Much Love and the Biggest of {{{HUGS}}}