The brief synopsis of events so far is this; around late October, David noticed occasional trouble swallowing. By December he couldn't swallow solids at all, and was on a largely liquid diet, mostly soups and so on. At this stage he went to see the doctor, who said he needed a biopsy (blog entry). This turned out to be a tumour in his oesophagus, which was cancerous. Fortunately, the cancer hadn't spread, so they were able to go ahead and treat it, which they did, with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. (Various blog entries.) However, David was still having trouble swallowing, and this is still the case. He was originally given a date for surgery, to remove what was by now presumably a completely inactive tumour, but unfortunately, his loss of weight (he has lost thirty kilos (66 lbs, or a little under 5 stone) between January and now, with some further weight loss before that, presumably), exacerbated by the fact that he is now having difficulty with his pyloric valve (blog entry), meant that the doctors felt he was too weak for surgery, and this has been the case since around the middle of May. The relevant information from David's father is as follows:-
Thursday 18th May
Just to let you know that David went into hospital today with a view to having his operation. He did a series of tests, but when we visited him tonight he had been told at about 19.30 that they would not be operating tomorrow due to his loss of weight. There will be a procedure tomorrow to examine his stomach, by microsurgery, and he will be fed by a drip. We are all disappointed but we know that it is necessary for David to be ready for surgery.
Saturday 20th May
Just to let you know that the procedure which involved surgery and putting a little camera into his stomach appears to have passed off successfully. The doctors think that the cancer has not spread and he will have a PET scan over the next few days. He is on two drips, one food and one water. He feels much stronger which seems to indicate that the sustenance is working. We hope that he will recover more strength quickly.
Wednesday 31st May
Sorry I have not been in contact recently, but there has been little to say. But that changed yesterday evening, The result of the recent PET scan was " clear" and the recent X Rays showed that there was no fluid, as suspected, on David's lungs. His surgeon Mr Geoghan told David that they are targeting Friday 9th June for surgery. This is great news. David keeps well but still is quite tired and 'wilts' often quite quickly. We hope now that we will see the end of that. David appreciates all the interest from his friends and he is lifted by it.
Wednesday 7th June
Just got some bad news, the operation will not take place on Friday due to low protein levels. We are deeply disappointed but David is happily bearing up and accepts the reasons. They will now commence supplementary direct feeding into the stomach. Doesn't sound too good.
I spoke to David myself on Sunday, and he seems tired and somewhat despondent about the whole thing, particularly with what seems interminable waiting for his operation, which he needs before he can begin to fully recover from all this. They currently have him on two different drips, one of which is feeding protein directly into his stomach, as he'll need high protein levels to recover from the surgery, apparently. He is not currently interested in having visitors, I should add.
Hopefully David will have his surgery date soon. I'll be glad to pass on any good wishes to him, and no doubt he'll get to read this in due course anyway. In the meantime, ephiriel and I keep him in our thoughts.
(Crossposted in anonymousclaire and slovobooks)