Gary D. DeForest, is currently in a fierce battle with cancer and he and his family-wife, Lori, and daughters, Kaitlyn, 20, and Mackenzie, 18, could use the support and encouragement of our community. The cost of the dinner is a donation to the DeForest family.
On Friday, August 30, 2013, Gary went in for an outpatient endoscopy as he was having some problems swallowing. He thought he would end up having his esophagus stretched, no big deal. However, after the procedure, the doctor told him that he had an “angry, aggressive tumor.”
In a few short hours, Gary’s life changed, forever, when additional tests confirmed he had Stage 3 Esophageal Adenocarcinoma. September through November he underwent 10 weeks of chemo and 8 weeks of radiation. Later testing showed that the cancer was not in remission, it had shrunk but it was an active aggressive tumor. However, Gary was told some good news that the upper lymph nodes showed no signs of cancer.
In early January of 2014, Gary met with the oncologist, who told him that he needed to make an appointment with the cardiothoracic surgeon, to see if the surgeon would do an esophagectomy…it would be his best chance The surgeon told him that this is a very invasive surgery, and the recovery is at least 6 months. He also stated that this might not cure him since he had had cancer, and still might have microscopic cancer in his upper trachea lymph nodes. This would mean that the cancer would spread everywhere. The surgeon was hesitant and said he needed to talk with his team. On January 9, Gary’s birthday, the surgeon called and said they had decided to do the surgery on the rare chance that the cancer had not spread. On January 20, Gary underwent surgery – the esophagectomy – only a handful of Stage 3 esophageal cancer patients are given this “gift” of surgery. Due to the first winter snowstorm, “Snowmageddon,” continued heart arrhythmia and a fever, he finally left the hospital on February 1. The next week, Gary was told he did have microscopic cancer cells, and after six weeks into recovery he began chemo again. After chemo is done, Gary is expected to see his oncology radiologist in mid-July.
There have been many miracles already, including the surgery itself. The main tumor is gone and, with his “new” esophagus, the opportunity for more radiation targeting the microscopic cancer cells is yet another blessing. Doctor are keeping an eye on Gary and his treatments continue.