Monday, October 31, 2016

Always have a Plan B

I have now talked with all of my doctors. The surgeon came up with the most viable Plan B.

The pain and bleeding is caused by a tear in wall of my anus that is aggravated by my bowel movements. The best way to end the pain is to end the BMs, I will have surgery on Wednesday to have a colostomy bag installed. Since I would need one after the main surgery anyway, it makes sense to do it early and end the pain. He also plans on giving me a Botox injection to relax the muscles.
My surgery will be at Providence Portland.

Please pray the surgery goes well and is successful.

Thank you - Eric

Pain and prayers

I just put in phone calls to all three of my doctors and cancelled today's radiation treatment. The pain and bleeding have worsened. Considering the progression during the last 4 weeks, there is no way I can continue for two more weeks at current levels and especially not if it continues to worsen.
Pray for pain relief.
Pray for mental and emotional strength.
Pray the team can come up with a valid "Plan B".
There was early discussion of postponing treatments and resuming later in a situation like this.
There was also discussion during my hospital stay last week of a preemptive surgery that would also delay treatments.
Keeping me in the hospital until treatments are over is also valid, in my opinion.
There may be other options. I don't care what we decide as long as we find something that will work.

From Eric - 10/14/16

Journal entry by Marissa Phillips Brown — 10/14/2016
The cancer is silent. I don't feel a thing from the cancer. The treatments, however, are really kicking my ass (figuratively and literally). I am very tired and wiped out at times. Yesterday (etz Wednesday) wiped me out emotionally.
Please continue to pray for me and my family but right now, please pray for the friends and family of Boyd and Boe. We lost two really good people yesterday. I am confident that they are with God right now and that gives the family some comfort but this is still a hard time for them and they need prayers and support.
Thank you

With Sadness

Journal entry by Marissa Phillips Brown — 10/13/2016

We have to share that Eric's two co-workers, Boyd Wiff and Boe Richards, both passed away in the past 24 hours.

Please pray for their families and co-workers.


Journal entry by Eric Brown — 10/10/2016
Hey all. I just wanted to draw your attention to two of my co-workers' pages here on CaringBridge. Both of them are also fighting cancer. I know for a fact that they and their families would greatly appreciate your prayers also.
Thank you

1 week down

Journal entry by Eric Brown — 10/6/2016
I am a week into my treatments and the only side effect so far is always being tired.

For the past several months, I was getting up at 4:30 and working 12 hour days. Now I try to get up at 6:30 and work 6 hour days but always seem to be tired. That doesn't necessarily mean that I am able to sleep very well though.

If this is the worst side effect I have to deal with, I will consider myself lucky and just deal with it and move forward.

A great friend blessed us by making dinner for the family tonight. We watched a movie afterwards and laughed. Good stuff!

Treatment is underway

Journal entry by Eric Brown — 10/4/2016
I have my treatment schedule now. Radiation and chemo is Monday through Friday. They were able to get me the latest possible slot in the day so I can still work six hour days before leaving for my treatments.
There will be some days that I will need to leave earlier for other doctor appointments as well but those can't be avoided. Of course, this is assuming that my body can handle the treatments and I can continue working regularly. I have already adjusted my start time to normal as I had been coming in early for OT but needing more than 5-6 hours of sleep now.
The only people at work who know about this so far are my boss and co-boss. Others are noticing and commenting on my missed hours already so I may have to tell others soon. I am not a fan of gossip so would rather be open than have others talking and whispering about me. We already have two of our people at home battling brain cancer.
Please continue to pray for me, my family, friends and co-workers.

Reality hits ...(this was posted earlier on the CaringBridge page that is now inactive)

Journal entry by Eric Brown — 9/30/2016
Day #1 of treatment is done. That's one dose of radiation and two doses of chemotherapy in the books.

This is Mon - Fri only for 30 treatments. 29 to go!

Necessary Precautions....

Journal entry by Marissa Phillips Brown — 9/25/2016
As Eric starts treatment later this week, it's important to remember that between the chemotherapy and the medication he's on for his lungs, he will be immunosuppressed and at risk for catching colds and/or the flu. We encourage everyone to get a flu shot early if you want to visit this winter. We will have masks and sanitizer by our door. This is to protect Eric. Thanks.

Wednesday will be his last full day of work until treatment is over.

Eric's GoFundMe site

Journal entry by Marissa Phillips Brown — 9/17/2016

Eric will be missing at least 6 weeks of work due to surgeries, and an unknown number of days for treatment and doctors appointments.

We aren't ones to ask for support, but this time, we need any little bit people can share. Click here to get to his GoFundMe site Support Eric's Battle with Cancer


A plan, a plan ... we finally have a plan

Journal entry by Eric Brown — 9/22/2016

We now have a game plan.

Yesterday we saw my oncologist and today we saw my radiologist. 

I like the oncologist the best. In the last four weeks, he is the only doctor I have seen who has NOT put something up my butt. Well ... and my eye doctor, but... ummm... that would just be weird.

The plan (which is open to modification) is to start radiation next Thursday. I will be getting treatments every day Monday through Friday. Other than next Thursday, we do not have the treatment time set yet but I asked for the afternoon so I can still work at least part of the day for as long as I can. However, we now know that I will not be able to work full 8 hour days. 

Alongside the radiation is my chemo. Also Monday through Friday. We are going to try oral meds for the chemo as this will be less of a hassle with work and home life.

These treatments will continue for six weeks so I will be missing quite a bit of work during this. After the treatments are done, we wait two months while the nasty stuff does it's job and continues to shrink the mass. 

After this two month wait, I have surgery.

Surgery will put me in the hospital for the first week and then 3-4 more weeks at home. A colostomy bag will be installed at the time of surgery and I will wear that for about four months and then have another surgery to reverse the procedure. 

This is going to be a very long fight and I am going to miss a lot of work but we are very confident that God has it all under control and we are trusting Him for the best possible outcome. 

That being said, this will still be hard on me and the family so your continued prayers and support are needed and appreciated.

 Thank You!

 Eric, Marissa and family

Eric's Pesky Body: Chapter 2: The Rectum

(this was posted earlier on the CaringBridge page that is now inactive)

Journal entry by Marissa Phillips Brown — 9/8/2016

Well Chapter 1 has been ongoing for several years with Eric's Pesky Lungs and life with Antisynthetase Syndrome, aka AsS. So it's only fitting that Chapter 2 literally deals with his ass.

Here is Eric's telling of the past 9 days.

So... as some you already know, I turned 50 this year. Just like the well-behaved person you all know me to be, I had a routine colonoscopy as directed by my doctor on Monday, August 29th.

Well... things didn't really turn out as well as we hoped. The doctor found a mass just inside the entrance (exit?) of my rectum. He started to remove some of the softer parts of the mass but as he cut deeper into it, discovered it was larger and of a harder consistency than when he began.

He told us what he had found but would not know for sure until the biopsies came back. We received a call that following Thursday letting us know that every piece that he cut off had cancer in it.

Yesterday, September 7th, I started the day early with a 6:00 am endoscopic ultrasound at one location, then a 10:00 am MRI followed by a CT scan at a second location. My day ended with an appointment with the surgeon who will be removing the mass.

No roses. No chocolates. No romantic music. No rufee.

After violating me ever so gently, he explained to Marissa and I what we were dealing with: Stage 2 Rectal Cancer. He said it is possibly only Stage 1 or might even be Stage 3 but the treatment is virtually the same regardless.

We still do not have the oncologist or radiologist on board yet but when we do the treatment will start with about 6 weeks of chemo and radiation followed by a two month break while they do their work and shrink the mass. Then the surgeon will remove all of my rectum, part of my colon and the surrounding lymph glands. He will then re-attach the remaining colon to my anus and install a colostomy bag. I will be off work to heal for about 4 weeks or so and wear the colostomy bag for around 4 months then undergo another surgery to have it removed.

I have already talked to my boss and signed up for FMLA.

I know that God will get us through this and we ask for your continued prayers and support as we tackle this latest challenge.