Subscribe RSS
Cliff Notes Aug 26

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 for 6 days.  The night before he came off the ventilator, 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 possibly even more rare.

Today Kevin has just finished chemotherapy (taxol) treatment a week ago and is off the vent and oxygen! There is no cure for angiosarcoma, but it does respond well to chemotherapy.  Kevin has made great strides just in the last week, getting off the heart monitor, oxygen, and getting his staples removed.  The only thing to come out is his last chest tube.  In the past 24 hours, Kevin has had increased pain and blood sugar, so we are awaiting more tests to figure out what’s causing this.

We pray and trust in God to shrink and disintegrate 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 (that goes in an esophagostomy bag), although with sores developing in his mouth from the chemo, it makes it difficult.  It gives him a TASTE of his life as it will be hopefully in the near future!

We don’t know exactly what God’s plan is yet for us, or what the treatment plan holds ahead, but we trust in Him and give him the glory for bringing us this far.

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

Thank you all!

Category: Uncategorized
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Leave a Reply » Register / Log in