A Loved One: Gastric Cancer Story

2 Timothy 4:7-8 

I have fought the good fight

I have finished the race

I have kept the faith

In loving memory, I’m sharing this story of a remarkable man in my LIFE who passed away last 12th December 2018, and also to our family and friends who’s been a support system to me and my kiddos.

You go to the doctors, but they tell you that you are fine, they send you home with some vitamins and medicines, and say it will just take some time. The days tend to get longer, exhaustion starts to set in. We finally make a visit to four different hospitals and request them to dig in. They make a schedule for all procedures like blood test, Endoscopy, CT scan, MRI, and you go with a smile on your face even in a tough situation like this, but nothing will come out of it.

He was diagnosed June 2018 and found out that he has a Colorectal Carcinoma, which we were not sure if it’s inherited from his long family who had gastric cancer. He was going through Chemotherapy for 5 months. That time we were hoping to get back him to his prior activities after everything is through.

First week of November 2018, the Oncologist advised him to undergo a PET scan and we got the result the following week. The doctor told us that my husband had a Gastrectomy Obstructive Patho Adeno GIII signet ring or Gastric Cancer (Stage IV). We both started to cry and wonder why, he said “Why me? How did this happen? I’m not a criminal or a bad person, this can’t be true.”

Yet, it is true. He had a gastric cancer at 65 even though he has been living a healthy lifestyle. I always tell him that he needs to be strong, that a battle is about to begin. A warrior is within him and he can’t let this win. I told him that he has to fight, and keep on fighting, because when this is over, he needs to be there to tell his story to the world and try to help save others from this terrible disease that likes to hide in the shadows and lurk.

But, we were deeply saddened to learn that my husband lost his battle with gastric cancer last 12 December 2018 at the age of 65, it was really a mixed emotion during Christmas and New Year time. Art was a loving, kind, generous and mostly supportive husband, father, brother and a good friend too. 

Memories of our loved ones will forever be treasured in our hearts. And cherishing those moments will keep us alive. 

CANCER DETAIL CARE:

To give awareness, Stomach cancer symptoms tend, at the beginning, to be very vague. Every year 21,520 people are diagnosed with about 10,340 of them dying from it. The majority of sufferers are men, and the average age when the disease is detected is around 70. The risk is higher in people who smoke, have been infected by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria and developed ulcers from the infection, eat a diet high in foods that are salted, pickled or processed, like bacon or cured ham, and have close relatives who’ve had stomach cancer. Other risk factors are blood type, as people with Type A blood have a slightly higher risk for getting the disease. Alcoholics, or people who have a heavy alcohol consumption, are also more at risk. Other factors are gastritis, or stomach inflammation, decreased stomach acid, and having part of the stomach removed surgically.

Stomach cancer is the fourth leading cancer in the world and is the second cause of cancer related death after lung cancer. It’s not as common in the United States as it is in other countries, particularly Asian countries.

Signs and Stomach Cancer Symptoms:

The condition, like so many conditions that involve the digestive tract, is difficult to diagnose in its early stage because stomach cancer symptoms are nonspecific. This means they could be anything from indigestion to the beginnings of cancer. In the cancer’s earliest stages there may be no symptoms at all, or the vague symptoms of indigestion, such as fullness, burping, nausea and decreased appetite. By the time these symptoms occur, the cancer may already have spread to the bones, liver or lungs.

Stomach Cancer Symptoms Pic

Later symptoms are unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and vomiting blood that resembles coffee grinds. The person may pass black, tarry stools, which indicates blood in them. They may feel full after eating only small amounts of food. They may suffer from anemia from internal blood loss and have pain or discomfort in the upper part of the abdomen. They may or may not be able to feel a mass in the same area.

Diagnostic Tests for Stomach Cancer Symptoms:

A person who suspects they have stomach cancer may have medical exams that include laboratory studies of the blood for anemia, and an endoscopy, when a thin tube is inserted down the esophagus and into the stomach. Biopsies are then taken of any suspicious looking growths. They might also be subject to X-rays and other tests that produce images of the interior of the body. They may take a GI series, which may include a barium enema, ultrasounds, CAT and/or MRI scans, or PET scans. Treatments can include surgery, including the less invasive laparoscopic surgery, radiation, immunotherapy and chemotherapy, or a combination of these methods.

Because stomach cancer is usually discovered late, the prognosis for complete recovery is poor. The survival rate of people who are diagnosed with Stage IV stomach cancer is only about four percent. However, if the condition is discovered early, the survival rate over five years is about 65 percent. This is why doctors say that people who are having symptoms of indigestion or ulcer for more than a few days should contact them, for the symptoms may or may not be cancer related.

By: May F. Velasquez

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