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Cliff Notes on The Life of the Boitsons Aug 15

…For those just joining our humble little corner of the webspace, here is a cliff notes version of The Life of the Boitsons!

At the end of June, 2008 Kevin Boitson, my husband of 1.5 years, developed trouble swallowing.  He went to the Dr, who told him it was most likely an inflammation due to acid reflux and prescribed him prevacid.  A week later, we left to travel to visit Kevin’s family in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada.

During our trip in Winnipeg, Kevin’s inability to swallow properly increased immensely, leaving even just water painful to swallow.  During our 1 week vacation in Canada, we placed two calls to our home physician who told us not to worry, just visit him when we got home.

We left a day early and arrived home at the end of the first week of July.  The following Monday Kevin visited with his physician, who increased his dose of acid reflux medication and switched him to Nexium.  He also scheduled Kevin with the gastroenterologist for an endoscopy to look at his esophagus the next week.

The next day, Kevin called me at work to tell me how painful his swallowing had become and that he couldn’t take it anymore.  After several phone calls, I left work to take Kevin to the GI dr. at the local health campus.  The nurse practitioner at the GI office seemed very concerned while taking notes about Kevin’s symptoms.  30 minutes later, we were sitting down with her and the Dr. discussing all the STAT procedures te GI Dr. wanted Kevin to have done: Chest Xray, CT scan, Endoscopy, blood work, etc.

The next day, Kevin had an emergency endoscopy which showed a mass of about 3 cm growing at the base of esophagus.  He told us he was nearly positive it was cancerous, and sent the biopsy to pathology for examination.

While waiting for the biopsy results to return, Kevin was sent for a PET scan to see if any other parts of his bodies showed cancerous/active cells.  The following week it was confirmed Kevin had cancer, but pathology was unable to identify his type of cancer.  It was decided they would try surgery first, and go from there.

That Friday, July 25th, Kevin and I went to Hershey for an endoscopic ultrasound.  The procedure was very painful for Kevin and did not go very well due to lack of sedation.  The weekend following, Kevin’s symptoms and pain increased, and by Monday morning the 28th we were in the ER at Lancaster.

Kevin was admitted to the hospital after the ER visit where they told us he most likely had pneumonia and was running a fever.  Throughout the next week and a half, Kevin was moved, moved and moved with more and more tests being done.  He had another endoscopy done for another biopsy because not only Lancaster, but also Johns Hopkins hospital was unable to determine the type of cancer to then proceed with treatment.

While Kevin was in the hospital, fluids built up in and around his lungs and heart, and they were unsure of the source.  Wed, August 6th, we were informed Kevin would be transferred the next day to Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore due to the possibly rarity of his tumor.

Thursday, August 7th, due to Kevin’s lack of proper breathing, it was agreed to put him on a ventilator.  That afternoon, Kevin was transferred via ambulance to Johns hopkins hospital, after having a chest drain put in, and put on the ventilator.

Early in the morning on August 8th, the surgeon at Johns Hopkins decided that Kevin would most likely need an emergency esophagectomy due to a possible perforation in his esophagus.  They hoped at the same time to remove the tumor, but the surgery had very high risks.  That evening, around 8pm, when my parents and sister arrived, Kevin was taken into surgery.

We were able to get a medical emergency flight for Kevin’s mom to be here, and we all waited anxiously for about 7 hours until 3 am Saturday morning for the surgery to end.  Kevin made it out of surgery, but they were unable to remove the tumor due to it attaching itself to other organs.  They did biopsy it again, as they still had not determined the type of tumor.

Kevin remained on the ventilator until 2 days ago, when they finally took it off, and removed his catheter.  The night before, it was finally confirmed he has angiosarcoma, a very rare type of tumor that only occurs in 1000 people in the US every year.  With the location of Kevin’s tumor, running from the mouth to stomach, his tumor is even more rare.

Today Kevin has been on chemotherapy (taxol) treatment for 48 hours and is doin well off the ventilator.  There is no cure for angiosarcoma, but it does respond well to chemotherapy.  We pray and trust in God to shrink and disintigrate the tumor so we can continue on living a normal, happy, healthy life.  Kevin hopes to one day have his esophagus re-attached so that he can eat/drink again-something he misses dearly.

In the meantime, we have an amazingly strong support system of friends, family, and complete strangers praying and supporting us.  Without them, and our faith in God, we would not have come this far.  Kevin is enjoying drinking juice, even though it doesn’t go anywhere but a bag on his neck.  It gives him a TASTE of his life as it will be hopefully in the near future!

We push on through the grace of God and know that only He provides us the ways to healing and recovery.

Thank you for all.

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4 Responses

  1. 1
    Kate Hoffman 

    Brenda and Kevin,

    This is Kate from IICU at LGH (the Clue lover!). I have been following your ordeal through your blog. I have been praying for both of you since I took care of Kevin a few weekends ago. As I was praying for you, the Lord brought to mind one of my favorite passages. I thought it might encourage you in this time of trial.

    Philippians 4:4, 6 and 7 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’

    I pray that the comfort of His presence is ministering to you. I also pray that you both continue to find your strength in the Lord. Take care!

    In Him,
    Kate Hoffman

  2. 2

    Hi KEVIN, I’m cheering for you down here @ I know ROY & your DAD are cheering for you up there and we all know you can make it . Give your MOM and BRENDA a big hug from me. KEN I’m depending on you to be the strong guy in this situation so I’m saving the hug for you when I see ALL of you in person. Love Leona

  3. 3

    Hi Brenda and Kevin,

    You are in my prayers daily and I think of the two of you often. Your blog is truly a wonderful statement of faith, and I am blown away by how strong the two of you are. I have no doubt that you will be brought through this desert time of your life with a wonderful testimony to share.

    I think that the BBQ is coming along great, and I hope that it is a big success for you. Take care. Love, Mandy

  4. 4
    Rich in Winnipeg 


    I have read the website you have set up and spoke to Ken breifly on Thursday , I have known Kevin for about 16 yrs , weather he will admit it or not thats up to him haha.I know he is a pretty stubborn guy so this is just a minor setback for him and one day Im pretty sure we will be having a beer maybe even doing some fishing on the river catching a few catfish , cause we dont have sharks here , that will have to do .Tell him weare thinking of him . If you could please tell him to shave , we are all getting older and he doesnt have to look older than me with that beard , actually I never knew he could grow facial hair , he was always jealous that I could hahaha,Kevin even though we sorta lost touch over the years , life does get busy ,we arestill and always be friends ! We spent too much time drinking beers at Nightmoves to forget it all , ok well maybe some things …but the statute of limitations has worn out on those things …get better man! Ill buy the bait and the beer …just deal with things day to day …thats what Donna always told me and it does work …every one is different and pure inner human strength and stubbornness goes a hell of a long way ! So what you need todo now is get better , focus on being better , focuss on your support system focus on the good days , for those are the days we all enjoy cherish and would love everyday ! Before you know it itwill be a minor detail and all of this will be a “bump in the road ” …I told Ken to text me you hospital room phone # and I will give you a call as soon as I can .Know that you have always made me laugh , even on somedays when I smiled and the hurt was inside that no one could see , you are always a positive and funny guy , always seeing the brightside of the situation .Now you get some rest and stop thinking about sex all the time hahahaha your a Winnipeg boy and a member of my close friends though distance may separate it knows no boundrys …as you have found meeting that wonderful wife of yours who obviously loves you very much …and it means alot to be loved and man you are …I have been there …like being on top of the world everyday !!! Now use that to get better we love you man ! and we will talk soon …you need a laugh …I learned some new bad jokes …everyone here has heard them so now I gotta torture you with em too …only fair hahahaha

    GET UP and Shave
    Love ya man

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