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Star Shine   


Created this web page May, 2000

I created this page for my husband Bill and our family. We hope that this gives other people the insight to find out if they have it before it gets well advanced like his is. He was already a stage III when we found out that the problems he was having were more than mere heartburn or acid reflux. On April 2, 2000 At this stage of esophagus cancer they gave him 5% chance on making it more than a few months. But, we are going to fight for his life. You never just give up.

Fall of 2000
There are up date on Bill at the bottom of this page please read it...And I am giving you where we have been going for his have your best chance with them. On this kind of cancer or any kind of cancer.

What Is Esophageal Cancer?
Most cancers are named after the part of the body where the cancer starts. Esophageal cancer starts in the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach, the esophagus. This tube allows food to enter the stomach for digestion. The esophagus is about 10-13 inches long. At its smallest point, it is a little less than one inch wide. The wall of the esophagus has several layers. Cancers of the esophagus start from the inner layer and grow outward. At the top of the esophagus is a special muscle that relaxes to let food or liquid enter. This muscle is called a sphincter. The lower part of the esophagus is connected to the stomach. Another muscle here opens to allow food to enter the stomach. This muscle also keeps stomach acid and juices out of the esophagus. When stomach juices escape into the esophagus, we feel heartburn. The medical term for heartburn is reflux. Long-term reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus sets up a special problem. It can change the cells in the lower end of the esophagus. They become more like the cells that line the stomach. These changed cells produce a condition called Barrett's esophagus. The altered cells can change into cancer if they are not treated. There are two main types of esophageal cancer. One type grows in the cells that form the top layer of the lining of the esophagus. These are called squamous cells, and cancer that starts there is known as squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell cancer can grow anywhere along the length of the esophagus. It accounts for about half of all esophageal cancer. The other type of cancer of the esophagus starts near the opening to the stomach. It begins in the cells of Barrett's esophagus and is called adenocarcinoma (this is the kind my husband Bill has). Adenocarcinoma cannot start unless squamous cells have been changed by acid reflux. How Many People Get Esophageal Cancer? In this country, the American Cancer Society predicts that there will be about 12,300 new cases of esophageal cancer in the year 2000. About 12,100 people will die of the disease. This cancer is about three times more common among men than among women . What Causes Esophageal Cancer? This occurs because of continued reflux of fluid from the stomach into the lower esophagus. Some people feel heartburn from this reflux and others do not. Over time this reflux changes the cells at the end of the esophagus. This raises the risk of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. They don't know the exact cause of esophageal cancer, we do know some of the risk factors that make this cancer more likely. A risk factor is something that increases a person's chance of getting cancer are. Age: Men and women between the ages of 45-70 have the greatest risk. Sex: Men have esophageal cancer three times more often than women do. Race: African Americans are three times more likely than whites to have cancer of the esophagus. How is Esophageal Cancer Found by accident most of the time. Or when it get to the where you cant eat the food just hangs and there is pain. Most time when it gets to this stage it well advanced. There are no routine tests to find esophageal cancer in people without symptoms. But a person with strong risk factors for this cancer should have certain tests at regular times. For example, a person with heartburn or reflux Or if you have neves stomach and through up a lot ,you should be checked often. This can help find a cancer early, when treatment might work better. Often, symptoms of esophageal cancer do not appear until the disease has advanced. If you have any of the symptoms below, talk to your doctor. Trouble with swallowing (dysphagia): This is the most common symptom of cancer of the esophagus. It means that you feel as if food is lodged in the chest. By this time, if cancer is present it cancer has grown to fill about half the opening of the esophagus. Solid foods like bread and meat often get stuck. People with dysphagia often switch to softer or even liquid foods to help with swallowing. Pain: Rarely, pain in the mid-chest, or a feeling of pressure or burning, can be a sign of cancer. But these symptoms can also be caused by something else, such as heartburn. Pain while swallowing is usually a late sign of cancer. Weight loss: About half of people with esophageal cancer lose weight without trying. This is because they are not getting enough food since they have trouble swallowing; also, they may find they have less appetite. Other symptoms: Hoarseness, hiccups, pneumonia, and high calcium levels are usually signs of more advanced cancer. Of course, these symptoms can be caused by other diseases as well.

The way we found his was from food not going down, it hung up. The doctor that I took him to found it when they did, a Endoscopy. on him, at that time the doctor took the biopsy, it took about a week to get back, as it was just before Easter of 2000. Then they went back in with endoscopy and did the staging after the biopsy came back it was cancer, They had found he has about 2 inch long on the back and side of his esophagus, located right above the stomach. Bills was a stage 3 The doctor said if Bill was to have a chance at all, we need to take him to MDA in Houston, so we got him to there. We seen the surgeon first. Dr. Swisher said no way they do surgery first, the had to get it stopped if they could before hand as if they open him up it could let cancer cells go all over his body, So they did two kinds of Chemotherapy for 8 weeks and Radiation Therapy at the sometime, then let him rest and his counts come back up, about 3 weeks, before the surgery.

This is picture of before Bill had cancer and one of him after. We just want people to know there is life after cancer. He is was one of the lucky ones. At the time we found that Bill had cancer he was just beginning his senior year in college As you can see after he got treatment, Bill did go on and get to finish and receive his degree this last spring of 2002. As you can see he is about half the size he was before the cancer.



America's Best Hospitals - Cancer:

And God gave us the prescience of minds to seek the best place to get help..And I think we did:

I want to add this to what I did about the Esophagus cancer that my husband had.
Yes, from what we are getting now it is in the past tents. They think with all they have done, two kinds of Chemotherapy for 8 weeks and Radiation Therapy , plus the surgery to take esophagus and his stomach. They have him Cancer Free Report at this time, but only time will tell the hold story. We are getting go home it is December 2000. We will have be back in March of 2001 to see the doctor and they will do a checkup to see how he is doing.
Then in June 2001 when we have to be back, they will run the tests all over again this trip to see if he is still cancer free. M D Anderson Cancer Center, In Houston, TX. will do check up on Bill every three months for the first 2 years then if thing look good they will move them out to every 6 months for 2 more years and then it be 1 time a year form there on.

UPDATE: March, 2001
Bills check up at MD Anderson Cancer Center, went GOOD. they mostly was just checking him to see how his weight was and how far along his healing process has gotten. Also to make sure as he had not developed any hernia in his stomach or diaphragm as that is where Dr. Swisher had to cut him when he did his surgery. Also on his back to his side where the 12 inch cut was made under the shoulder blade. We will not have to go back now tell June for his next check up.

UPDATE: June 2001,
The trip back was a week this time as they did all kinds of test to see if they pick up more cancer and to see how he was doing on a hold. SO far thing are looking good. Little concern about his weight. We have be back OCT 2, 2001

We had got moved out on date come back for Bills check up at MD Anderson Cancer Center, went GOOD one more time, they done all kind of the test checking him to see if they found any new cancer any where in his body and how his weight was doing. Also to make sure as he had not developed leaks in the surgery sites of esophagus and stomach was put back together or any hernia in his stomach or diaphragm.
We will not have to go back now tell Feb of 2002 for his next check up.
They will keep him on a three month check up. for about one more year then it go to two time a year if things keep going as they are now.
Update:Feb. 2002
Still concern on the weight try to get him to start back on Boost. But he told them NO way. After live on that stuff for 10 months with the first treatments. Bill dose not want it part of Boost. Date set to come back is May 15, 2002.

UPDATE: May of 2002
Was on the road to Houston, TX for the check up but we got stop told to turn around go home, As a tornado had hit and took the front part of our house off so are late do the next check up.
Check UP: July, 2002
all of the check up so far have been good. Thank God Looks like he may be in the clear. The next checkup will be in Oct. of 2002.

UPDATE: Oct.2002 :
Doctor dose not like the way Bill looks, more weight loss, is having pain in his back . his color is not as good. Doctor think they need run some different test on him to see if they fine what is going . Want's us to get back in to MDA. as soon after the holidays as they get testing set up so it be a nother trip to Houston for more test. Bill and I talked about it on the drive home, how we wish would done the Tests while we was in Houston, not put off .. so be worrying at what they would fine all through the Holidays.

January 4, 2003
Back in Houston for the tests In Bill check up they found that his adrenal gland in large ,so they are running even more test. So we are held over, for biopsy , send us home again to waite to see what that shows. Got to go home on the 7th. Jan. 9th. MDA call its cancer.. He has Adrenal Gland Cancer now it has metastasize from the first one on the Esophagus. They are trying get set for PET Scan The worry is back and being scared is all coming back,and need for more pray's

Call came today Jan.18, 2003
.. Going back in fot the PET Scan have be there the 20th.

Jan. 22. 2003
If there a good part, the PET scan didn't fine any more cancer in his body. < They got us set to be back in February

UPDATE: February, 2003
They are saying he has Adrenal Gland Cancer now, in just on one of the glands. You have two one on each side. They was pleased the PET scan and didn't fine any more cancer in his body so it has just metastasize to the Adrenal Gland. M.D. Anderson hope to have him in treatment in the next 2 weeks. They are calling this one Esophagus Adrenocortical Carcinoma, Stag IV as it came from the first one he had in 2000 in the Esophagus, so it had (metastasize) .

The treatment will be chemotherapy as far as we know at this time. Started Chem. on 2/24/03 My Birthday.. it be one of the best thing they could give me if they can save his life. But Dr. Ajana told us up front dose not look good your are lucky if you get 3 to 6 months this kind of cancer. At the stage it is. We went back to the Motel room and cried and hold on tight to each other. Tell our self it is God will, we have be strong and faith we won the first time.

From the time it 2/24/03 to 7/15/04 Bill has been through 14 kinds of chemotherapy, It is not working , he can't have any more at this time till he recoups some, see if his blood counts come up and gained some wight We are getting go home for a short time this is the first time we get spend more than a long weekend in 19 months at home. Was home less than 1 weeks, Bill in hospital here in bad pain, like to have lost him. The Seymour Hospital and MDA in Houston are talking back a forth, I'm so. worried. Houston said get back ASAP; as soon as can't stabilize him

July 28, 2004
They let him out of Seymour Hospital late today I've got a bed made in Van will drive through tonight. Have be in Dr Ajani office at 9 AM.

July 29 , 2004, Dr. Ajana said the only thing to do know to try get him out of so much pain. So the are going to get him marked to start Radiation Therapy in the morning.

August 2, 2004
He is to have 2 weeks or 10 shots see where we go from there.

August 16 ,2004
See Dr Ajani this morning to see if we do more Radiation or get to go home. Need to go... got a call from the kids the house was hit by another storm did some damage to the back of house and several windows, and got some of the out side buildings. I can't even remember when they call for sure. Well they seem to think we could go.. looks like the best the could tell they have killed the Adrenal gland and the top 1/4 of the of his kidney. we have be in back the 7 th of Sept. the day before his birthday.

August 17 th got home in the early morning hours. To dark can't tell much about the place what all was done.

August 22 , 2004
Bill is not doing good color bad , in lots pain , want let me take to ER, I'll call MDA in the morning see what they think, worried. August 23, 2004 talk to Houston said take in to our family doctor have him check him and call them back. I still can't get him to let me take him to doctor here , I wish we had come back from Houston. I think the trip home was to much for him. I've been trying get hold of Bill's best friend see if do any thing with him. Talk to Don early this morning Aug. 24.. he coming out to see if he get to help. He took one look at him and told to call 911.. Bill can't even walk he in so much pain, Thank God for Don . He seen to he was took to E, R. they work with him for hours, finely got stable so could get in a room. But the pain med is 4 times what he was taking. and the got IV running wide open.

August 29, 2004
Got out hospital today seem better but still on heaver dose of pain med. We have a little over a week for him to get stronger to make the trip back to Houston for test.

Sept.7, 2004:
Back in to Houston for test. The cancer has spread to tissues and organs in the lower abdominal area of his body and the lymph nodes. Going in to see if any thing be done. Surgery is Sept.12, 2004. there was not any thing they can do about the cancer. but did have to do Transverse Colostomy, because ever thing was close down in lower Colon.
UPDATE November 10, 2004
Well they are sending us home for good this time, Putting Bill in to Hospices

Last Update: It has been a long hard fight but Bill died 1-15-2005 I just want you all to know , He never wavered that he was doing the right thing to try to beat the cancer. He held with that you know you not if you do nothing and you got a chance if you do try.

At some point in time I am going to add lot more to the cancer site. And I want to write some from what it is like to lose a love one and some of the thing you may go through. May you walk with God if your faceing cancer of any kind as your going to need him. Bless each and every one of the people that has help along the way in the last 5 years. Love Star

Staging of cancer:
Stage I The cancer is less than 5 centimeters (less than 2 inches) and has not spread into other tissues.

Stage II The cancer is more than 5 centimeters (greater than 2 inches) and has not spread into tissues around .

Stage III The cancer has spread into tissues around or has spread to the lymph nodes . Lymph nodes are part of the lymph system and are small, bean shaped organs that make and store infection-fighting cells.

Stage IV The cancer has spread to tissues or organs in other area and to lymph nodes around the first site of the cancer and/or has spread to other parts of the body. (metastasize)

Click on: Bills' page on understanding Adrenal Gland Cancer.

There cannot be enough praise for the fine care givers at
Click on:
TheUniversity of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

You could not ask for a better place to go for treatment. Their care goes be on beyond treating just the cancer. I have to say how we were treated was with compassion, and I have high praise for their friendly, knowledgeable staff members who truly make M. D. Anderson feel like a place of hope and know you get the best of ever kind in all support. The Department of Social Work may be able to help you with individual counseling, support groups, community resources, transportation, and housing while you are being treated not only that Educational Opportunities to learn about all the changes taking place in you body, but your life as a whole. There is a very good Spiritual support at M.D. Anderson, too. I have to give my husband's (Bill) main Doctors on his case, the due respect they so. richly deserve.
They are:

Stephen G.Swisher,M.D. Assistant Professor, Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

Ritsuko Komaki, M.D. Professor Thoracic Radiation Oncology

Ajani, Jaffer A., M.D. Professor, GI Oncology/Digestive Disease

Bill and his family give's a heart felt Thanks to all of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for all they did and continue to do.
God Bless you all.


March 1,2001
What a beautiful site! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to view it! Here is your award. Defiantly deserved :)
This just happens to be one of my most favorite awards to give out!
God Bless,

~In His Hands~

We know not what tomorrow brings ...
Although we plan ahead For only God alone can know ...
the pathway we must tread.

We cannot know the future ...
not one minute nor one hour Each circumstance that we must face ...
lay only in His power.

It's vital that we live by faith ...
from minute unto minute And trusting that each step we take ...
He's walking with us in it.

We cannot see the future ...
nor the trials we must face But in all things, God promised us ...
sufficiency of grace.

This alone should give us hope ...

in His sweet, loving hands.

By ~Betty Purser Patten~

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