July 4, 2020 – Update from Deborah Aldrich

July 4, 2020 By

Dear Friends,

We write to you with sad and unfortunate news about Steve’s health.

For weeks following his most recent round of radiation and chemotherapy treatment, Steve has been unable to consume liquids or solid food and hold it down for any length of time.  He has also been experiencing quite a bit of pain throughout the middle of his body, making it difficult to relax and sleep.  These symptoms were confusing to us and to his doctors because the results of his post treatment testing showed no sign of cancer.

Thursday, after some additional tests that included a CT scan, Steve’s oncologist gave us the difficult news that the symptoms are almost certainly due to severe radiation damage to his stomach as a result of the radiation portion of his treatment.

Normally, these after effects subside within a month after the treatment cycle, but in Steve’s case, the symptoms have worsened rather than improved.   As a result, currently his oncologist feels there is only a very small chance that the radiation damage will heal.

Additionally, the results of a blood test he took this morning revealed signs of his liver beginning to fail, which will almost certainly accelerate the severity of his current condition.

We will of course be seeking other opinions on the chance that there might be a remedy for these new problems which are, not at the moment, cancer, but problems stemming from severe radiation damage.

He is currently at the Gifford Medical Center in Randolph and is comfortably ensconced in one of the “garden rooms.”  He is very happy with the set up and the care, and wants to remain there rather than trying to set up a home health solution.

Although the general hospital pandemic policy allows only one designated visitor for the duration of the hospital stay, in the case of the “garden room,” arrangements can be made for others to visit via the interior garden which connects to his room.  (All visitors are required to wear a mask in the hospital.)

We are making arrangements for Steve’s large extended family to visit beginning tomorrow. It remains to be seen how much time and energy he will have for other visits, but I know he would very much like to see any of you who would like to visit if indeed he does have the time and energy.

If you would like to try for a quick visit, the best thing to do is to call the Gifford Medical Center (802-728-7000) and ask to speak to the charge nurse; she will be handling the flow of visitors and logistics.

It goes without saying that we are heartbroken.

Thank you for holding us in your hearts.