Stage 4 Esophageal cancer with Liver Mets

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“We never even knew he had esophageal cancer until he started having trouble swallowing. He was sick and always tired over the last few years he had daily heartburn and acid reflux problems”

My name is Wanda Van Horn. I am 38 years old and have 5 children and 1 step son. My children are between the ages of 18 and 6 years old.

This is the story of our fight for survival for my beloved husband Michael Van Horn. Michael was not only my husband but my best friend. He was 34 years old when we got the news. February 25th of 2010 we got the news you have cancer !!! Not only cancer but he was diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer which had spread to his liver.

Image result for picture of esophageal cancer

We never even knew he had esophageal cancer until he started having trouble swallowing. He was sick and always tired over the last few years he had daily heartburn and acid reflux problems. He was diagnosed for everything else heart burn, acid reflux depression sleep apnea but inside he was getting very very sick..He was given a 2 percent chance of survival. He was my husband and 2% was only a number to us we were going to fight this disease with all out might. One of the most painful situations of this whole ordeal was having to sit our children down and tell them there dad had cancer. Who is ever prepared to go through this but through the whole battle Michael and the children were all I ever thought about. I continued to work full time, be a wife, a mom and a caregiver.

My Michael was a wonderful bright person one of the kindest sweetest people you would ever meet, He loved animals he loved our children and tried his best to be a good father.   Why would someone so young have something so terrible?  Those words aren’t any more comforting then anything else that have been said. We want a cure for this horrible disease.

We fought for 16 months but on June 4th 2011 Michael lost his fight. He had many treatments and we tried many things but it wasn’t enough to battle this deadly disease. If only we had caught it earlier. If only we had known the warning signs. Michael was our life and died to young from such a nasty and aggressive disease which is becoming more prevalent in younger and younger individuals.

Michael was on a Duke Study of Chemo Drugs Oxaliplatin, Capecitabine and Avastin for Metastatic Esophagogastric Adenocarcinoma. Drug: capecitabine (Xeloda), oxaliplatin and bevacizumab (Avastin)Capecitabine will be administered orally at a twice daily dose of 850 mg/m2 (equivalent to a total daily dose of 1700 mg/m2) given days 1-14 of the three week cycle.

Oxaliplatin will be administered at the dose of 130 mg/m2 given as a 2-hour intravenous infusion on day 1 of a three week cycle.Bevacizumab will be administered at a dose of 15 mg/kg given as a 30-90 minute intravenous infusion on day 1 of a three week cycle following the administration of oxaliplatin.

He had Radiation to his Esophagus and later to his shoulder as it spread to his bones. He had a metal stent placed 2 weeks before he lost his fight. He was never in Hospice I took care of him until the bitter end. We traveled up and down the east coast looking for our miracle our cure but we didnt find it in time.If I can help others by sharing my story my views and my support then our fight was not in vein.

At 35 how does someone plan for something as horrible as this ? Cancer we never planned would be something in “OUR” Lives. This is something we never expected. How can someone plan for this ?  We thought just like many others we had plenty of time.

Wanda Van Horn caregiver to Michael-


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