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19-25 March 2001
Tenth week: Assessment of results of radio- and chemotherapy

19 March 2001:
I didn't sleep well again. I was thinking too much of Wednesday and Thursday, which kept me rather nervous. It took some time to calm me down and find a way into deep sleep.

This is unfamiliar territory, and I seem to react with more caution and perhaps anxiety than I had expected.

On the one hand it's good to know that body, mind and soul are alert and taking care of what may happen to them. On the other hand it's bloody inconvenient not to be able to fall asleep, isn't it?

20 March 2001:
When I was in the shopping center yesterday, I passed by a book-sale ... no, that's wrong: I stopped at a book-sale, because that's what I always do when I detect a book-sale. I'm a compulsory book-sale shopper.

For A$1.95 I bought "Songs of strength. Sixteen women talk about cancer." edited by the Women's Cancer Group, and published 1997 by Macmillan, Sydney, 402pp.

This is a very interesting book because its content is made up to probably 80% of quotes from interviews.

I found a lot of experiences the women had made with the disease administration and management system mirroring my experiences. I found so often the statement that cancer is individual in terms of its development and its treatment, which for me is so hard to believe. Well, perhaps that's because I'm more of a sociologist than a psychologist. I'm more of a person who believes that "the environment" has a greater influence on well-being than individual attempts to maintain health, like one can't maintain health in a sickening environment. But that's a different issue which I don't want to deal with now.

Why is it that we don't know why cancer treatments work well with one patient and less well with another? Why is it that some patients cope better with one type of treatment than others? Why is it that some patients produce positive results within a few weeks while others need months and months to improve their condition? And why is it that some patients don't react positively to treatment which helped others so well? Lots of question to which there are no clear-cut answers.

21 March 2001:
Just returned home from the gastroscopy. The nurse told me afterwards that a dilatation of the esophagus was made, and that the doc didn't see any suspicious things. She said that the whole procedure was really good news.

It remains to be seen whether this is correct. I will have a telephone conversation with the doc tomorrow afternoon. So, stay tuned because I will report the results instantly on this channel.

Well, perhaps we've all done a marvellous job together and pulled me through to the brighter side.

But, let's wait until tomorrow when we will know more ...

22 March 2001:
Folks, it looks good. Both, radio- and chemo-doc expressed that they are "very satisfied" with the results of the therapy, which will be followed-up every 3 months. Here are the findings of today's computertomography:

"There is dilation of the oesophagus to the level of the carina with thickening of the wall at this level extending for approximately 4cm distally. There is a normal appearing oesophagus from this point to the cardia.
The appearances are consistent with oesophageal carcinoma. There are small lymph nodes in the aorto-pulmonary window and small para-aortic nodes. There is no other mediastinal lymphadenopathy.
The lungs are full inflated with no evidence of intrapulmonary metastases.
The liver is normal with no hepatic metastases.
The spleen and pancreas appear normal.
There is no evidence of an adrenal lesion.
Both kidneys function normally. There are small cortical cysts on the left.
There is no mass, lymphadenopathy or free fluid."

This afternoon, the gastroeneterologist will report the results of the biopsies and his conclusions regarding the further treatment.

It's 4:45 pm, the gastroeneterologist tells me that there is no tumor in the esophagus. Everything's clean, the biopsies did not reveal any carcinogenic tissue.

Thanks to Rosmarie for all the hard work and keeping my spirit alive through all the tough hours of the last months. Thanks, folks, for your kind and generous support. The Healing Circle has been a marvellous experience.

23 March 2001:
So, this is the beginning of the next phase of my life. I am very relieved that the healing process has begun so successfully. It offers me a new outlook on life, one which feels pretty mellow indeed.

That doesn't mean that I've lost my sharp and critical mind, or what's left of it. That won't go away as long as I live, I suppose. I don't believe that I will be able to shut up, when it's necessary to speak out.

I will prepare myself to return to the office after Easter. I will take care not to spend my precious energies and strengths on useless endeavors, and I will avoid stress as much as I can.

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