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Son Of A Union Ironworker Thriving After Pleurectomy


Edward 'Ed' Guerra was one of five children of a union ironworker. Born and raised in San Francisco, California. Ed saw firsthand the benefits of hard work. His father would put in long, hard, hot days building high rise buildings in downtown San Francisco. No matter how tired he was at the end of the day, he always made time for his children.

When Ed was in his teenage years, he worked afternoon and evenings at his father's ornamental ironworks shop in San Francisco. He learned how to weld and helped his Dad weld gates, rails and windows at the shop. He very much enjoyed working with his Dad.

As Ed got older he began working as a salesman. He was selling automobiles in 2006 when he first began to notice something was not right.

Ed enjoyed good health until he began experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms in June of 2006. He was also experiencing severe nighttime sweats and a bad cough. "I would turn my pillow over due to the sweat and then have to change the pillow case." He sought medical treatment from a Kaiser facility near his home in Sacramento. The doctor prescribed antibiotics for what she believed was pneumonia. Ed experienced gastrointestinal side effects from the antibiotics, but continued to have the flu-like symptoms which increasingly included shortness of breath.

Eventually, the doctors began to suspect a lung disorder and performed X-rays and CT scans before performing two biopsies, the last of which was performed on July 14th. Tissue from both biopsies were interpreted by Kaiser's Oakland, California Pathology Department and resulted in a diagnosis of right-sided pleural mesothelioma.

Ed then began a chemotherapy regime that included doses of Aimta in combination with Cisplatin. After CT and PET scans showed the chemotherapy had controlled the tumor, Ed began researching his surgical options. He met with Dr. David Jablons, a thoracic surgeon at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center in San Francisco. After several tests and a careful evaluation, Ed was accepted as a candidate for the extra-pleural pnuemonectomy (EPP).

After a few delays in the surgical schedule, Ed was finally scheduled for surgery on February 15, 2007. In the interim, Ed exercised daily. He spent hours on an elliptical machine and performed breathing exercises daily. He wanted to be in the best shape of his life before the surgery.

During the February 15 procedure, Dr. Jablons decided to not remove the lung, but instead scrape as much of the cancer from the lining of the lung. In effect, he performed a pleurectomy with decortication (P/D).

After approximately three months of recovery, Ed began radiation treatments.

*** POSTED APRIL 15, 2008 ***

An Update -- 5/5/2009

Ed is currently researching alternative therapies and new clinical trials to help him beat the odds. His last Alimta/Cisplatin treatment in January was able to temporarily shrink a tumor located close to his heart. Unfortunately, his last CT scan showed the tumor has since doubled in size. Ed’s oncologist recommended trying out a new chemo cocktail and his surgeon Dr. Jablon’s, recommend an upcoming clinical trial at UC Davis. However Ed is still mulling over his options before he makes a decision.

In spite of this recent setback, Ed’s feeling quite well and enjoys taking daily early-morning walks along the river. He also maintains his strength by doing resistance-band exercises and is shopping for a new bicycle. When Ed’s not working on his fitness, he’s immersing himself in his religion. He’s currently finishing up a series of Bible school courses which he plans to continue over the summer. He’s even planning a trip with his mother to Israel and has even taken Hebrew and Biblical language courses to help prepare for the trip. Ed’s great-grandparents were German-Jews and he has always been interested in learning about religious history and culture.

Ed’s also looking forward to fishing trip is Alaska this year. He sets the bar high with his activity level and plans on being around for a long time.

*** Mr. Ed Guerra passed away on February 7, 2010 ***