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Cryotherapy

Hope_Faith
Posts: 164
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi. I am new to this site. My husband, age 39 was diagnosed with stage III esophageal cancer on August 4, 2009. We have two daughters, ages 3 and 7. Naturally, we were in shock at first and crying all the time. Now, it has settled in a little and we feel much hope and faith that he will make it though it will be a bumpy road.
He will have 4 rounds of chemo prior to his esophagectomy surgery and 4 rounds after. He also has a choice of either radiation or cryotherapy along with his chemo. The surgeon is highly recommending cryotherapy instead of radiation. I was wondering if anyone here has had this done and if they could please share their experience.
I am learning a lot from all of you by reading your experiences. Even though we have never met, we all share a special bond.
Thanks, Shelly

MOE58's picture
MOE58
Posts: 649
Joined: May 2009

Shelly,

Well you have come to a good site to get help and discuss things, my husband of 45 years old and we were diagnosed on april 1, 2009, fortunately we do not have any kids ats home, but he was a man that worked from sun up to sun down either at work or at home, it all began because he couldn't swallow and hurting by his gallbladder, to make a long story short after many test and many doctor we found out he had this terrible disease we call CANCER,he was diagnosed with stage 2 and no mets, we had the esophojectomy surgery on July 23, and came home around 11th of august, the surgery went fine he was in 6 hours, it was afterwards that he had problems, lungs, sinus infection, and etc. I will tell you this is not a easy journey and its a long process, preparing for surgery and after recovery. Being a caregiver is just as hard as the person having cancer. I was scared when we found out and didn't know what i was going to do, i also found this site and found it very helpful, I will tell you this is a person on this site named "WILLIAM MARSHALL" he is a very knowledgeable person, and can lift your spirts when you don't think you can do no more or take no more, he will scare you in the beginning, as he did me but in the end he has been my best friend, as we all say we are not doctors, on this site but we are ones that have walked these shoes, so we try to help as much as possible, there is another person on this site named KITTEN0385, she was also diagnosed stage 3 and only 23 years old at the time, she will also be a very good assest to you. she had the same surgery my husband had, and other than a few bumps in the road she is doing good. You don't say where you live or what hospital or etc he will be attending.

Shelly, I have walked everything you are getting ready to walk and if I can help please know i am here. I will try to answer any quesitons you have if I can answer them.

Please know we are all friends here and you are right we might not ever meet but we all share this same ugly disease we call CANCER,

Please let me know
Lori aka MOE

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass its about learning to dance in the rain

Hope_Faith
Posts: 164
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi MOE! Thank you for all the encouragement! I really could use that right now. I'm so glad your husband is doing well now. I am looking forward to that day for us too. Thanks for being here for me. I will probably take you up on 'questions' in the near future. My husband will start Chemo on Tues. Aug. 25th. His surgery will take place at UCLA with Dr. Maish in about 5 months. Dr. Maish and the UCLA team seem wonderful! We have every confidence that they will take great care of my husband. We have only found out about the cancer 18 days ago and have already been through so much. They are going 'fast' with everything to try and cure him of this disease.
Thanks again for welcoming me and being here for me. It's great being able to talk with others who have gone through this.
~Shelly

kitten0385's picture
kitten0385
Posts: 278
Joined: Apr 2009

Shelly,

Welcome to the site!! I have been through radiation, and came through with no complications, but I don't have any experience with cytotherapy, so I can't help you in that regard. Hopefully someone on the site will have more input on that subject. A cancer diagnosis is hard in itself to get through, but you and your family can get through this. I was diagnosed when I was 23, underwent an esophajectomy right away as the scans did not show how large the tumor actually was, so after surgery I was told I was a stage 3...if they would have known this I would have done pre-op chemo, instead I did post-op chemo/radiaiton. My scans at the end of May looked good, as of last week my cancer is back in the fluid surrounding my organs, but not attached to my organs yet, so we started chemo again right away. Cancer can be a long and bumpy road, but with family, friends, and online support, you and your family will get through this. Please chat anytime, since I am off work again due to my treatments I will be around. It's very nice to "meet" you.

Cathy

Hope_Faith
Posts: 164
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Cathy,
Thanks for welcoming to the site and for all your insights. I'm sorry to hear that your cancer is back, but you seem like a very strong lady and you will do just fine to beat this.
My husband went back to work two days ago after being off since he found out about the cancer. The surgeon and oncologist are encouraging him to work. We will see how he does with the chemo on Tuesday to see if he can keep working or not until his surgery in about 5 months.
It's very nice to 'meet' you as well. You, along with many others on this site are such an encouragement to me.
Thank you! Shelly

kitten0385's picture
kitten0385
Posts: 278
Joined: Apr 2009

Shelly,

That's great that your husband is going to keep on a normal schedule and try to work!! I want to work in the worst way, I teach second grade. However, my doc won't let me, says I can't be around the kids with low blood counts as to prevent infections. I totally understand, but miss being there and being on a normal schedule. I look forward to chatting with you more!

Cathy

emg09
Posts: 252
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi,

My father has EC. It's very scary, but you are in the right site for support. There are many wonderful people here. Their stories/progress is such a great comfort. I know it's going to be hard on you since you have the little ones to take care of too. Do you have other family close by? I'm so glad your husband can keep a normal schedule. It's been hard for my dad not working. He did outside work and it just got to be too much for him. We were hoping he would just take it easy, but he's been doing his own thing, upsetting us a good bit, but whatever makes him happy is all that matters, as long as he stays healthy!!! He's VERY stubborn :+) It's nice to "meet" you. I don't post often, but I read every day!!!

Erika

Hope_Faith
Posts: 164
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Erika!
Thanks for writing. I have a niece with your name but spells it this way: Arika. It's a pretty name :)
I'm sorry to hear that your dad also has EC and it is scary. My husband just started his chemo treatments yesterday and had another one today. He doesn't have a 'port' put in yet but we are hoping Monday. We'll see as he gets more chemo treatments if he can continue working or not. Yes, it is a little more difficult with little ones. We have a very loving and supportive family who are helping us out a lot!
I think it is good that your dad is keeping busy. It is probably best so it will keep his spirits up and his mind off things. My husband is also fiddling with things when he's home and I think he is trying to get his mind elsewhere.
It's nice to 'meet' you too. I too read often but don't post much.
Shelly

aunti_m's picture
aunti_m
Posts: 42
Joined: Oct 2009

Sorry to hear about your husbands dx. I saw this post back from Aug and seems we are in a similar place. My husband too has esophageal cancer, his is stage iv mets to distant lymph nodes, inoperable at this point. We have scans scheduled for Oct 26th. We also have 2 children, ages 5 and 9. The hardest thing for me is the children. They are so young and it makes me very sad. We have told them both about his cancer back in May when he was dx. They kept asking why the phone keeps ringing and why is everyone so sad. We told them their dad is very sick and the doctors are going to try very hard to make him better, but that it's a very hard disease to get rid of and he may get very, very sick and not get better. We told them we need to pray for him everyday. I was blown away by what my just turned 5year old son had to say. He looked right at his dad and said in the calmest voice ever, "If you die, you'll be o.k. because you'll be with God then." I couldn't believe it but he was right, it will be o.k. no matter what, God will help us through. My daughter has a harder time saying what's on her mind. She began telling her friends at school immediately, I told her to explain to her friends that her dad has cancer he is not contagious, she looked at me and said "I already told them that." So smart they are. Anyway I just wanted to share my story with someone who was in a similar circumstance. The children are a blessing to us, they live in the moment which helps my husband and I to be there too. There's no thinking what might happen tomorrow, tomorrow could be 5 years away for my 5 year old. It's all about today, and today I have my husband and my kids and it's a good day, I'm going to try really hard not to worry about tomorrow.
Take care

Hope_Faith
Posts: 164
Joined: Aug 2009

Thank you for writing. It's nice to meet you. Yes, it is so hard to deal with a loved ones cancer and even more hard when we have little ones too. My 3 year old understands daddy is sick, but our 8 year old knows daddy could possible die. It's really sad and scary. I'm always trying to be happy and not get depressed, but I know I still do sometimes. We just put our trust and faith in God that we know He is in control and He will take care of us, regardless of what happens.
I will be praying for you all.

mumphy's picture
mumphy
Posts: 486
Joined: Jun 2009

Shelly,

I don't know if we have met or not it is so hard to keep track. I read you first post and
was wondering if you husband had his surgery yet. I think that I must have had something going on when you first posted. Sorry that I didn't introduce myself sooner.

Compared to other sites this is rather small because EC is not very prevalent so there are less people posting, so everyone of us get to know each other quickly.

God Bless.
Kath

Hope_Faith
Posts: 164
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Kath,
It is very nice to meet you! :)
I have not posted in a while, but I do check the site almost daily. My husband has not had surgery yet. He had 2 months of chemo (Cisplatin & 5FU pump), and 5 weeks of radiation so far. They have just stopped all of his treatments to let his esophagus heal some and let the swelling go down. Then, they will do a CT Scan, PET scan, and an ultra-sound scope to see if the cancer has shrunk enough yet for surgery. If so, surgery will be scheduled for UCLA with Dr. Maish. If is hasn't shrunk enough, more chemo.

I would like to know of other EC sites to check out if you wouldn't mind giving them to me.
Blessings,
Shelly

aunti_m's picture
aunti_m
Posts: 42
Joined: Oct 2009

Did your husband have radiation or the cyrotherapy? I've never heard of cyrotherapy, is it less harmful? Hope he is doing well. Which chemo drugs is he taking? My husband has been put on EOX (Eperubicin, Oxaliplatin and Xeloda)sp? and does fairly well on it. Sorry for so many questions but did he have surgery as well?
Thanks for the prayers, I will be praying for you all too!

Hope_Faith
Posts: 164
Joined: Aug 2009

Unfortunately, the cryo machine broke at UCLA and couldn't be repaired in time for my husband to get those treatments. Cryotherapy is a brand new technology. What they do, is they put you kinda out like they do for a regular endoscope. Then, they go down and freeze the cancer. They scrape out some of the cancer during each treatment - one treatment every 3 weeks. However, the down side of this, is that it does not treat the lymph nodes like radiation does. Two of my husbands lymph nodes are swollen next to the tumor and they are not sure if they are cancerous or not. We feel that since God is in control, God must have wanted my hubby to get radiation instead of cryotherapy.

Hmmm... I wonder why the different chemo's from what your hubby is taking?

aunti_m's picture
aunti_m
Posts: 42
Joined: Oct 2009

I hope he is responding well to the radiation. I'm hoping my husband will be a candidate for it soon. His Oncologist recommended we go with a combination treatment instead of just one. The test trials we were looking at had higher response percentages with this combination. He let my husband decide how toxic he wanted to go. How he wanted his quality of life to be. Of course he decided to go with the second most toxic treatment. There was one other that had a 1.5 month longer life expectancy but was more toxic and may dramatically change his quality of life. Hope all is well.

Betty in Vegas's picture
Betty in Vegas
Posts: 311
Joined: Jul 2009

From what I have read, cryo is usually done on stage 0-1...stage III is generally radiation. Are you at a major cancer center?

Have you looked into proton radiation at all? It is much easier to handle and does not hit all the other organs--it pinpoints only where the tumor is. Therefore, less problems with lungs, heart, etc being hit by unwanted radiation.

Sorry to hear about the dx...but it is good to be among friends. My hubby is 45 (just turned 45) and we have kids at home, too, so I totally get what you are saying.

Hope_Faith
Posts: 164
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Betty,
I really don't know much about the staging for cryotherapy, but Dr. Maish, at UCLA said that my hubby could have that done even though he's stage 3. However, their machine broke and couldn't be fixed in time for my hubby to get those treatments. So, she recommended radiation. We were not given the option of Proton Radiation, unfortunately.

I'm sorry about your hubby having this cancer as well as all the others on this site.
Hopefully, primary care physician's will start doing more scopes on people 'sooner' when someone FIRST complains of acid reflux instead of just giving out pills -- to catch it sooner.

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