Here is the cancer journey of George Rudd as written by his daughter:
Thanks to a persistent primary care physician, a low iron count was caught in routine blood work, that was monitored and did not improve with intervention. A colonoscopy offered no insight but an upper endoscopy found a very small tumor on the esophagus confirmed to be esophageal cancer. It was described to be the size and appearance of a small mouth ulcer. In a second surgery it was attempted to scrape the tumor clean but this was not successful. So in September 2014 George went through an extensive surgery than removed his esophagus and the tip of the upper stomach, then rebuild and reconnected the stomach. Of the lymph nodes tested one was positive so chemo and radiation followed after recovery.
For three years from the date of surgery George remained cancer free. In a regular follow up with his oncologist September 2017 his tumor marker was up - but after some testing the source or cause was undetermined. After two months of testing his radiation oncologist persisted for him to have a bone scan that confirmed bone cancer. At the same time a complaint of blurred vision turned up a tumor behind the retina. This was first treated successfully with radiation before moving on to treat the bone cancer, and chemotherapy began again in December 2017. For about a year it was a steady routine of regular chemotherapy, a lot of time at support group, and regular follow up appointments. However, tumor markers on the rise, two new therapies were tested in late 2018. In March 2018 George had a severe episode of confusion when driving to lunch after support group. In mentioning this new symptom to his oncologist scans were performed and confirmed a brain tumor. Radiation began on April 2nd.
I remember back to my dad's surgery recovery - and what I remember most was his unwaivering positivity and humor. While tube fed at home post op he named his IV pole and bag "his pole-ish friends" and when time to push his liquid he would watch the Food Channel to instead think about what he may be eating. Getting used to eating with a newly built stomach was an extreme challenge. Weigh loss led to anorexia, a-fib and multiple hospitalizations - we couldn't believe that he beat this massive surgery but we could lose him to weight loss - but he was able to find purpose through the local cancer support group. He credits them for getting through the obstacles he's faced both small and large. He is a religious support group attendee and has been asked to lead from time to time. The five year survival rate of people with esophageal cancer is 19% - yet here he is - but typical of cancer it just offers one more blow. But if you ask my dad if he has ever lost sleep thanks to cancer he will tell you no. He knows it has a purpose, he has a journey, and while he can do all he can for a positive outcome in the end it's not in his hands nor does it deserve his worry - and that attitude is everything. Sadly, George passed away on June 23, 2019.