Jeffs Fight Against Cancer

People always say "A life can change in a matter of seconds." I can a test to this as our life has. Everyday seems like a struggle to get through.
              I'm not really sure where to go from here. I've been told to open my heart and soul and just let the words flow, but how can I really explain whats in my heart? Its easier said than done.
             Those of you who know me, and my family, know the struggles and obstacles that seem to be staying around myself and my family. Many of you have read a note that ive posted a few years ago and know of my struggles, my health issues and how I felt. So much more has happened to me since then, but now i have to ignore my pain and be there for my husband Jeffrey. I know it wont be easy but i must, Its called true love. 
            In May of 2017, he was diagnosed with stage 3 Esophogial cancer at the esphogual junction. What this means is that he has a malignant tumor at the bottom of his esophogus, where it meets his stomach. It is becoming more difficult for him to eat and drink now. He has a small opening between the walls of his esophogus, and this beastly tumor. He lost 30 lbs in just one month, and his total weight loss is now 36lbs. He has now been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for 3 weeks, The doctors at the Dyson Cancer Center, have been hitting him with two different types of chemo once a week and 5 days a week with radiation. 
        The names of the chemo drugs that he recieves are: Carboplatin, and Taxol. Every monday he recieves these chemo meds through his port each taking 1 1/2 hours to complete. First he must get a bag of Nausous meds, and a bag of benedryl into his port, then he recieves a full bag of fluids which is another hour. After completing the fluids, he recieves the 1st chemo med, followed by the 2nd when that one is done. After 5 hours of being in the chemo lab, he then goes to radiation, which is usually complete in a half hour. But before he can do any of this he must first recieve blood work to check his counts, get weighed, and if its his day to see the doctor, then he must do that. There is always at least one doctor visit a week.
       He will continue to do this for 6 weeks straight. They are using two different chemos, and the radiation to prevent the cancer from going anywhere else in his body. It is a fast growing tumor and the cancer can attack other organs and lymph nodes quick. He has just completed his 3rd week of treatment and now has 17, maybe 18 days to go, and of course weekends dont count. I say 18 because he hd a hard time last week. He is starting to feel the effects of his treatment, and he needed to walk away from it all for a day. I dont know how he does it every week, monday through friday. I think i would have just walked away and given in.  His face is so thin and i can see how he struggles everyday. He is still trying to work, but it is becoming harder and harder for him. I get up every morning by 230am to have coffee with him, even if he doesnt have any, as it burns going down, and we just sit and talk. He is drinking boost plus everyday, a couple of times a day, so he doesnt loose to much more weight.
         Somewhere between th end of July and the middle of August, Jeffrey will have to undergo sergury in order to have the tumor removed. The surgery will be aproximately 8 hours long and will consist of him having around 1 foot of his esophogus removed along with the tumor. The doctors will then have to stretch his stomach up, creating a new esophogus and will be using around 1 million staples to hold it all together. Once the surgery is complete he will spend 10 days in the hospiutal and he will have a feeding tube until he is able to drink fluids and eat soft foods. Once home he will continue to recover slowly and will be out of work for 3-5 months.
        Cancer does so many things to a family, especially the person with the diagnosis. With all of the stress and the thoughts running through my head, im lucky to catch 10 minutes here, and 20 minutes there of sleep, and i can only imagine how my husband feels. Everyday we wonder about the mounting pile of bills on the table, as Jeff has no health insurance as we are unable to afford it. I have medicare because of my disabilities and health issues, and im also unable to work because of them. If i was to say that i am not scared, then that would be a lie. I am so scared and terrified about what lies ahead of Jeffrey, and the family. July 5th will be our 36th wedding anniversary, and ever since he recieved his diagnosis, i have been constantly worried about not celebrating anymore with him, but everyday he shows myself, and my family that he is truly a strong man and a fighter. On July  27th we will be together for 28yrs. He stole my heart when i was almost 16 yrs old. How many can say that?
          Sorry to cut short but i am exausted, as i havent slept much in the past week. I will continue to post updates as we learn more from his doctors, and as his battle continues. One last thing i must about Jeffrey, is that he is an amzing Husband, and Father. He alwasy made sure to do what was neccesary in order to put a roof over our heads, food on the tab.e and clothes on our backs. I love him with all my heart and sould and i cant think of any other way to have spent the last 38yrs of my life, and i look forward to having him physically here with me to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.      
                    Alot of people always say how there father is there hero. I know it sounds cliche, but my father, Jeffrey, truly is my hero. Ive heard boys, and young men say many times " when I grow up i dont want to be anything like my dad, when I get older." But when i was growing up, and even now at age 28, I always say how I want to be exactly like my father. Hes not just my hero, but he is also an inspiration to me. He always took time out of a busy day to play catch, take me on a bike ride, go fishing on a Sunday morning at 5am, or even just to watch a movie or television with me if it was raining outside. He is a hard working, caring, loving husband,  and father of three. He taught me so many life lessons, and still has more he wants to teach me. I can only hope that some day, when myself and my fiance Samantha have kids, that i can be as good as a father as him, teach my kids everything that he taught myself, my brother Jonathon, and my sister Jessica,  and grow to become even half the man that he is . Me and my father are so much alike, that when doing something together, whether its working on a car, around the house, putting something together, or decorating the house for the holidays, our stubborness will make us clash, but yet our stubborness is also what makes us get along so well. I have the ut-most respect, and love for my father, and i will do everything to help and take care of him while he is going through the cancer treatments, and when he has the surgery and is home healing. Im at the age where i feel it is now my turn to be there and take care of my parents, as they did for me. My dad has proven how strong he is, and how strong he can be, through all the trials and obstacles he has faced in his life thus far, such as loosing his mother at 14, and watching his brother pass from prostate cancer in December of 2016.  He always made sure to put his wife and kids first, and always made sure that we had a roof over our heads, food on the table, and clothes on our backs. He and my mother made many sacrifices to raise us three, and now when he is at the age when he should be relaxing and enjoying life, he is facing what could  be a terminal illness. He has a huge heart, and has always shown everyone respect and gave them the benefit of the doubt. He always tells me how much he loves me, and says i love you before hanging up on the phone. Yes he can be hard, and tough, but its only because he loves myself, my siblings, and my mother so much. Everything he taught me in life, allowed me to grow into the man that i am today, and if it wasnt for everything he said and did for me, i wouldnt have met my soulmate and the love of my life, Samantha. And one day soon, we will be married and i cant wait for my parents to see this, and one day we can hopefully give them grandkids. My father has done his job as a dad, and a husband, and now with what he faces in his life, i feel that myself, my mother, my two siblings, and my fiance Samantha, take care of, and be there for him in any way, shape, or form.  With open arms, and without any question, my parents accepted Samantha into the family, and Dad sees her as a daughter. She looks up to him in ways, and spends time talking, joking and laughing with him. I know that he will beat the cancer, get the tumor removed, and get better. But he still has a long road ahead of him, we all do. Myself, my mother and Samantha, are doing everything we can, but we are going to need a little help.

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Christine Leone Shaffer 
Tivoli, NY