Hayden has a blog?

Hey everybody. This is my first post on wordpress and first post on any kind of blog. I know, it is 2012 and I am a little behind the eight ball on these sorts of things. Do not ask, I refuse to tweet.

In an effort to keep all of our family and friends ” in the loop” on my life, I thought that this would be the best way to communicate. I am often overwhelmed by emails not related to work. I am pretty sure that I have responded to every single one of the emails though!

First of all, I would like to sincerely thank you for all of the positive vibes, prayers, and words of kindness that you have sent me and our family over the past 53 days. I do not know where I would be without each and every one of you!

A lot of you have been inquiring about my diagnosis and treatment process…so here you go:

Around the middle of March, I visited my primary care doctor with minor symptoms of shortness of breath and some difficulty swallowing certain foods. He suggested that I had Acid Reflux and to take the prescribed Nexium for two weeks. After taking the prescribed meds I did not see any improvement in my symptoms. My primary care doctor then referred me to a Gastroenterologist soon thereafter. On Thursday, April 12th, I had my initial visit with said specialist and his reaction was that I was having an allergic reaction to something in my environment (allergies)or that I had severe acid reflux. He ordered a routine endoscopy for me the next day to see exactly what was going on in my esophagus. On Friday the 13th (yes, not kidding), I had Parker take me in for the procedure that would forever change my life. I must admit I was a little bit nervous going into the procedure because I had never had anesthesia before. Growing up as competitive twin boy, and between contact sports and motorcycles, I had stitches multiple times but never have had the need for anesthesia. Either way, the procedure was simple and only lasted about 15 minutes. When I awoke from the anesthesia I found myself in the patient recovery room laying in a bed and immediately started cracking jokes with Parker. We were talking for about five minutes before the doctor came in to tell me what was seen through the endoscope. I am not sure if I was still somewhat sedated or if the words were actually that hard to comprehend when they came out of his mouth. He stated that I had a large mass at the base of my esophagus and at the top of my stomach. My initial reaction was that I said something along the lines of ” ok, well what antibiotic can you give me. Its not a big deal”. The doctor then let me know that the mass was “highly suspicious and looked to be that of cancer”. Wow, now that changed my attitude pretty quickly. At this point, I was in shock and I did know what to think. Obviously, I was upset and just wanted the confirmation that it was not cancer via the biopsy they took during the endoscopy. Unfortunately, I had to wait until Monday (4/16) to get the results!

Insert long weekend of anxiety…

On Monday @ 1:16pm the gastro specialist called and said that the biopsy results came back positive when tested for Adenocarcinoma (cancer).

I went to Emory on Wednesday 4/18/12 for my diagnosis and first consultation with an oncologist who specializes in gastric cancer and a surgical oncologist. They suggested that I start chemotherapy treatments ASAP and also confirmed that my primary tumor was located at the base of my esophagus/top of my stomach. I had a few lesions on my liver but they are not concerned with it at the moment. Reason being, they can perform radiation or remove a large amount of the liver via somewhat routine surgery. Prior to chemo treatments, I had to have a port installed which occurred on Friday 4/20/12…for those of you who dont know what a port is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_(medical)

Treatment plan: Per my surgical and regular oncologist, the game plan is to reduce or eradicate the large primary tumor through chemo therapy treatments. As of now, the doctors do not have a long term idea of when this will happen. Chemo therapy treatments affect different people in different ways. Since I am younger and am in good physical shape, the chemo should be more effective. As I have learned quickly, I really do not focus on the 4-6 months or any long time frame…all I can focus on is ONE DAY AT A TIME! Now having said that, I do have personal goals that I will achieve. The typical treatment day consists of me arriving at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute at around 8:30am for my blood work. From there I see my oncologist to discuss my blood work and or any of the chemo side effects (there are plenty but I will tackle that another day). Then finally, I start my least favorite kind of cocktail: the chemo cocktail. The chemo cocktail is a combination of the different chemo therapy medicines that will be injected into my bloodstream via my portacath. This libation is served around 11am and usually lasts about five to six hours. During this time, I usually pester Parker or Shelly and do things to make the time pass.

After I am done with my infusions while at Emory I have another chemo medication (5-FU) that I get to take home with me. How is that possible? Rewind to 1984…does a fanny pack come to mind!? The 5-FU needs to be injected at a slow rate over a prolonged period of time. So with the meds and a small pump in my sweet fanny pack, I get to look like a … for the next 46 hrs. All joking aside, that chemo is going to save my life! So if I need to wear one every single day, bring it on.

Treatment Schedule:

First treatment completed: 4/26/12

Second treatment completed: 5/10/12

Third treatment completed: 5/24/12

Fourth Treatment scheduled 6/8/12

Reassessment/Cat Scan to evaluate tumor: 6/14/12

**Results from 6/14/12 scan likely to be discussed the morning of my next treatment on 6/21/12

Ok, that is enough for my first post. I actually need to get some work done! Once again, I cannot thank you all enough for the support and love that you have shown our family! We could not be any more fortunate to have such special people in our lives.

Until next time…




61 thoughts on “Hayden has a blog?

  1. Keep your spirits up! You are a fighter and we know you are going to beat this!!! Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.
    The Mautz family

  2. Hayden, we’ve never met but I’ve been touched by your story since the day Miles told us. Travers, my husband, played football with you and your brother. I ask Miles of you often, I sport my “Team Hayden” bracelet every day and I look forward to the day when I get to meet you and your wife. In the meantime, I’m praying and cheering for you. I know you’ll beat this!

  3. Hi. Hayden…it’s me, Charlotte, your Auntie Angie’s friend since 4th grade from our DeLand, Florida days.
    I am thankful that Carey has been e-mailing me and giving me updates! I ask her about you. She asks me about my 52 year old brother-in-law with pancreatic cancer, and she prays for him, Greg…as I pray for you. I have known your father-in-law, Johnny, since I was 9 and he was in Jr. High or high school. He’s so fun and funny. I pray for him all the time as well as your Uncle Ronnie. I ask the Lord to keep you all strong, courageous, at peace and rest, and to not lose hope; the hope that only He can give to any of us who believe in Jesus Christ; and through the power of the Holy Spirit. I really like your blog and think it’s a great idea! You are a very good writer and have a great sense of humor! Post a picture of you and Shelly, ok? And, for comfort, my advise is to read Psalms as much as possible!
    Love, Charlotte
    On Facebook I am Charlotte Page Rorech

  4. Hayden, I am sure you don’t remember me from high school but I have been following your story through other friends posts. I just wanted to let you know I was thinking and praying for you and yours! Keep fighting!!!

  5. Hayden, Great News. I have been keeping up with your progress through your MOM. I know you will never give up. I saw that as a young man at NS. We pray for you daily. Kick Butt and don’t take any prisioners. Much love from the Mangan Family.
    Coach Bob.

  6. I will be thinking of you tomorrow, but then I do that every day. You are always in my prayers and never far from my thoughts. I have such admiration for the way you are handling all this. Having gone through chemo myself, I know it is not easy. Of course mine was mild in comparison and I realize that but no chemo is fun. I know I don’t have to tell you how much I care about you. Just wanted to remind you that I will be among many holding you in thoughts and prayers.
    With much love,

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