David Broadhurst: Shining Light on a Dark Journey
We all lead busy lives. The hustle and bustle of work, family, and personal life often leaves little time to appreciate simple things like the sound of one’s own voice, the taste of a flavorful meal, or a comfortable body temperature. These everyday things we might take for granted changed forever for David Broadhurst after receiving a stage III esophageal cancer diagnosis.
In 2008, David went to see his doctor following a sudden onset of fatigue. The doctor discovered David was anemic and believed internal bleeding might be the cause. An endoscopy revealed cancer in David’s esophagus. Therapy was grueling as it began with aggressive treatment through a clinical trial followed by surgery to remove half of his stomach and all but five inches of his esophagus.
David required a feeding tube, or what he refers to as “pre-chewed food,” for months following surgery. Thankfully, his wife, a physician, had what he calls a “low ick-factor.”
“I remember about two weeks before my feeding tube was to be removed the tube came out and made a horrible mess on the floor,” says David. “I immediately panicked and called for my wife. She came into the room and joked, ‘Well I guess we are off the feeding tube now.’”
Her support and “tough love” during his journey coupled with David’s own quirky humor served him well during treatment. Now five years into his survivorship, David faces everyday challenges such as neuropathy in his feet, weight loss, chronic chills, a change in his voice, and a modified diet.
“I always have a jacket because I just know I’m going to get cold. I’ve also found six small meals per day as opposed to the usual three large meals have helped me adjust to my ‘new normal,’” says David. “I’ve also found in my journey that men do not want to discuss cancer.”
Armed with humor and experience, David challenges this notion and passes his wisdom on to other esophageal survivors as they begin their journey. Part of that guidance includes referring them to PearlPoint Cancer Support.
“Those facing cancer have endless choices to make,” says David. “It can be a dark process but PearlPoint shines a light on those questions. It makes the process easier when you are not heading down a dark hallway.”