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I'm new here. Husband having surgery tomorrow. Please pray for us.

Trish_from_Pittsburgh's picture
Trish_from_Pitt...
Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi everyone!

I'm new to this site. I've been reading some of your posts and finding it very encouraging and informative.

Well, here's my story in a nutshell. My husband, Roy (age 56), was diagnosed with Stage III EC in June of this year. He had trouble swallowing in May, went for a doctor's appt. and after having a PET scan they found this. Tumor is in mid chest and has spread to several lymph nodes. After chemo and radiation and then another repeat PET/CT scan they said everything has shrunk enough for surgery. He is getting surgery tomorrow at Presby Hospital in Pittsburgh. Dr. Luketich and his associates will be performing the surgery. I've heard he is in excellent hands.

I was diagnosed in March, 1998 with breast cancer. After a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation I have been free of cancer ever since. Thank you, God! My husband was there for me every step of the way and I will be there for him, too.

One thing I have learned from having cancer myself is, once you have been diagnosed with cancer you are still the same person you were before, and how you handle any crisis in your life is how you will handle this. I know if I have a crisis, I will totally break down and cry first, then I need to make a plan to get through it. So I allowed myself time to cry over this and then I started my plan.

I know you need to be able to get through things physically, emotionally and financially.
I know that we can get through this emotionally because we have a strong support system in all our loving family and friends who will be there for us. Physically I know that I will have to take care of myself so I can take care of my husband, and I have to help him in every way I can to get him better physically. And the financial part we're still working on, one day at a time. The rest is in God's hands.

So, to sum it all up......We are very nervous about the surgery tomorrow and are asking for prayers to help strengthen us. Please include us in your prayers. It will be very appreciated.

I'm so glad I found this site. I'd like to keep in touch and let you all know how things are going. I think that might be therapy for me while he is recovering.

Thank you everyone for your thoughts, prayers and support.

God bless each and every one of you. I'll be talking to you soon.

Trish

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

First off I think you have an excellent doctor William Marshall is a survivor of his surgery and so is Kathy (mumphys) husband which just recently had this done, I live in Oklahoma and my husband was diagnosed on April fools day stage 2 but not in lymph nodes, he had the open surgery on July 23, even though he went through surgery like a breeze he had complications afterwards, This will be your therapy, as it was mine, if I wouldnt have had this site, I wouldn't have made it through everything without this site even though i was scared poopless, Mr. Marshall did scare me, cause he just tells it like it is, but he is a very very knowledgeable man, and after awhile I couldn't make it without him, if fact when my husband was so bad I begged and pleaded for him to help me. I know what you mean fiancial i just put it in GOD's hands, as my husband's company closed down while he was in the hospital after being opened since the 30's here in oklahoma. It was sad. Be sure to apply for social security for him cause it does get pushed through quicker with EC cancer.
I do want to wish you luck but if you would have let us know we could have sent you some BIG GIRL PANTIES to get through the surgery.

Please keep us informed of your husbands surgery

Lori aka MOE

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

Hi I'm Kathy(aka Mumphy)

My husband Al had his surgery on Oct. 19th By Dr. Luketich. You husbands procedure may run a little longer than he may have told you
Al's took 10 hours, but in the end there is nother like hearing everything went according to plan and you will be able to see him in
about an hour.

You will be nervous, and anxious and the whole gambit of emotions while you are waiting. Don't forget to eat you need your strength!
After a few days your husband will start to come out of the clouds, don't get nervous if he doesn't make sence it's the pain meds.

He will have a few tubes I'm sure that this was all explained to you. Al was in the hospital for a week they sent him home with a feeding
tube and a drain, neither of these are hard to take care of,or hard to do.

You will have a home care nurse 2 time a week until they think he can be released.

It will be hard for you once he gets home to not want to wait on him hand and foot. I am learning right now that its time to make
my husband get off his but and do more. They get spoiled

I just want you to know that your husband will be in God and Dr. Luketich's hands and I can not think of any one better then that!!!

I will be thinking of you all day tomarrow! Here's a hint bring an extra tote bag or jacket and leave it on your chairs because if
you leave the family waiting area they will be gone when you get back and there may not be any place left to sit, but don't sit there
the entire time just let the one of the girls at the desk know your leaving. The will call your cell phone if your needed for anything
also the will give you updates throughout the day to let you know how things are going just listen for you number and they will call
you to the front to update you.

There is no greater gift that you can get then when Dr. Luketich looks at you and says everthing went well you can see him in an hour
or so!

Also just a little info my husband had stage IV EC and was still able to have his surgery!!

Go to bed early 5:00 am comes early.

God Bless!
Kath

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

First, let me say I am praying for you before your surgery. Second, let me tell you that you are your hubby's advocate while he is in the hospital. If the pain meds mess him up, or he needs something, don't feel bad for asking. The nurses let me know right away that it is OK to bother them, that is why they are there.

Second, wow, a survivor who is married to a soon to be survivor! That is wonderful. Isn't it funny how going through something like this just brings out what you really ARE all along? Sure tells you who your friends are --and how strong your marriage is. (As you know from your cancer experience.)

You'll make it through this, too. God will carry you when you cannot walk.

We are here if you need anything.
Betty

Trish_from_Pittsburgh's picture
Trish_from_Pitt...
Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2009

Wow! I went to the drug store to pick up my husband's Go-lytely after I posted this morning and when I came back I checked this site again. I never imagined you all would reply to me so fast and so lovingly. I can't thank you enough Lori, William, Loretta, Kathy & Betty for all your advise, support and prayers. I read every one of your letters to my husband. He was so touched by the support we are getting from strangers (and now you are our friends). We can feel strength and love from all of you. Today has been a very emotional day for me. Been crying at the drop of a hat all day. Every kind word starts me crying a bucket of tears. I pray tomorrow evening will be a bucket of happy tears!

Love to all of you,

Trish (and Roy)

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

Another cryer in the house. I am tired of feeling like I am the only one. Sometimes I cry for NO REASON...it's so weird!

We can cry together. I learned in caretaker's classes that there are stress hormones released in every tear. Therefore, it is good to cry and wash away the stress!

You will like this site and getting to know everyone's stories. It is most helpful to have others to talk to and to hear their experiences. You can find ours on our carepage. William's is ALL OVER the internet, and everyone else can fill you in on theirs! It's good not to be alone!

Hugs,
Betty
www.carepages.com/carepages/ourjourneyinhishands

K_ann1015's picture
K_ann1015
Posts: 555
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Trish and Roy,
again, welcome--so touching too see that another is able to get comfort, strength & peace from this site---as many of us do... My dad is the EC patient--he will have surgery 12/8 at Duke in NC. I, like Betty, liked to hear that I wasn't the only crier!! But that was mostly in the beginning---this site really helped alot... I have a medical background and knowing that my dad had at least stage 3 (and possibly stage 4)--I just read too much and most is not good---but at least this site had real life positive stories---not sugar coated, mind you---but enough for hope. Also the reminder that God alone was in charge...

My prayers and thoughts swill be with you and Roy tomorrow--you are in great hands! I tried to talk my parents into a second opinion there... Just hang on for the ride--it is a big surgery and big recovery. JUst know you actually will have lots of "online" friends here. Esophageal cancer just is not something that you can talk about with a neighbor or friend very easily. Most have never known anyone that have had it. On this site--all are having very close experiences with it.
Best of surgery wishes to you both!!@!
Kim

Hope_Faith
Posts: 164
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Trish,
I know your hubby had surgery today and am very anxious to hear how it went. My hubby (Stage III EC) will be having surgery soon - we will find out on Dec. 3rd the surgery date when we meet with the surgeon at UCLA.
Thoughts, prayers, and blessings,
Shelly

Trish_from_Pittsburgh's picture
Trish_from_Pitt...
Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2009

Well everyone,

It's been a loooooong day!! It's 11:00 at night. Just got home from the hospital since 5:00 am this moning. Surgery was supposed to last 6-8 hours but lasted 11 hours! Dr. said everything went as planned, except for problems with his lungs. They think he had a touch of pneumonia going into the surgery, plus his lungs were scarred from chemo & radiation, plus he has COPD. So when they did his surgery they had to deflate one lung so they could work on his side, but his other lung was too weak to withstand the whole surgery, so they had to take turns inflating & deflating each lung and let the other one rest for awhile. But aside from the lung issues, he did very well, as planned. He certainly isn't out of the woods yet, by no means, but hopefully each day will see an improvement.

I can't say thanks enough for all your kind thoughts and prayers. They really mean a lot to both of us. Please continue to pray for good health for Roy as I continue to pray for each and every one of you.

God bless,

Trish

Trish_from_Pittsburgh's picture
Trish_from_Pitt...
Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2009

William (and all my new friends),

First thing I saw when I got home from the hospital last night was your post you sent to me as we were preparing for surgery yesterday. Then first thing this morning was your reply to me after I had gone to bed last night. Do you ever sleep or are you at your computer all day and night to guide and protect me and all the others on this site? lol Seriously, though, I think God has brought us to each other through this site. Your words are very comforting, my guardian angel.

Well, I tried to deliver your message to Dr. Luketich yesterday but I never saw him all day, just his associates (who are wonderful people!).

About the private e-mail - I didn't know about that feature, so I'll have to sign up for that today if I get a chance.

Roy did have a stretching of the esophagus when they inserted his infusa-port in July. But I didn't know that he may need to have it done repeatedly (good info to know, thanks), but let's just keep that our secret because if I tell that to Roy he'll never tell me if he is having any issues because he wouldn't want any further surgeries, minor as they may be, I'm sure.

Dr. said they were able to remove all of the tumor and he said the lymph nodes they removed did not appear to be cancerous. We will wait for the results from pathology. They were able to use his stomach for the new esophagus, as planned and didn't have to use any of his bowels which was good because Roy said "that would make everything I eat taste crappy". lol He hasn't lost his sense of humor! They also were able to use MIE and didn't have to do an open procedure. Good, too.

Yes, he was a smoker for over 35 years (at least 2 packs per day). That lead to his COPD. He has been smoke free for almost 5 years now!

You are right, this definately will be a beautiful Thanksgiving with lots to be thankful for (my family, Dr. Luketich, and you and all the friends on this site who have been with me these last couple days)! I wish I knew about this site a long time ago, but I found you all now and I have to say "Thank you all from the bottom of my heart and may each of you have a very blessed Thanksgiving"!

Much love,

Trish

Hope_Faith
Posts: 164
Joined: Aug 2009

Just a quick FYI. The facility my hubby had his chemo/radiation treatments at also have the CyberKnife radiation machine. However, because of the location of the esophagus and surrounding lymph nodes, it can't be used. With esophageal cancer, they want more of a spread due to possible lymph node involvement. Maybe if there is no possibility of lymph node involvement it could be used but I didn't think to ask that question - now I wish I did.
Blessings,
Shelly

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

Hi Trish

I can relate thats exactly what they had to do to my husband during surgery, no he isn't out of the woods yet if he can get through the weekend he will make it, mine i almost lost cause of his lung issue, Mine had the open surgery, it makes it a loooooooong day when you are up there so long, I know you are glad its over, I was but the waiting is the hard part. If I can help please let me know, sounds like your Big Girl Panties worked just right, I am so happy that things are looking up I am off to work and really cant read much posts so will read them tonight.

Take Care
Lori

chrisk06's picture
chrisk06
Posts: 114
Joined: Nov 2009

Trish,
I am new here to, but my husband (Steve) surgery was like your husbands. Tooko way longer than they thought, and he had the lung issue to where they inflated and deflated throughout the surgery. Just wanted to let you know both of you will be in my prayers. Take care!


Chris

Hope_Faith
Posts: 164
Joined: Aug 2009

Yay! I'm so glad that he is out of surgery and on his way to recovery! God is so good! I will keep you guys in my prayers.
Blessings,
Shelly

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1561
Joined: Nov 2009

Dear Trish,
Hello! I am also new to this wonderful sight. I have been following your story, and was so thrilled to hear that your husband's surgery went as planned. I was thinking of both of you yesterday. My father, Ray, 70, was diagnosed with EC Nov. 2008. He has completed oral chemo, and 6 wks of radiation. Last pet scan showed considerable shrinkage of the tumor.

There was quite a bit of discussion on whether or not to have the surgery. We were all on the fence about it. Thoracic surgeon was all for it, ongologist was questioning it, and so were we. Well, here we are one year later, without having the surgery, and dad is still hanging in there! Just went for a check up yesterday, and the ongologist has suggested dad have an angioplasty dilation done to open the esophagus more, due to what he feels is scar tissue from the radiation. Dad is still having some difficulty swallowing. So...we are in the process of making the appointment to meet with the gastro dr. to discuss the dialation process. Dad is also due for another pet scan.
All of this has been done at University of Virginia hospital in Charlottesville, VA

That is my story of EC in a nutshell! Please know that I am keeping you and your husband in my prayers, and just ask that you do the same! Thank you, and God Bless!

Sincerely,
Tina

Trish_from_Pittsburgh's picture
Trish_from_Pitt...
Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi everyone,

Just got back from seeing my hubby at the hospital today. They still have him on the ventilator. That is the part he doesn't like (He had a triple bypass surgery 4 years ago and still remembers that as being the worse part)! His blood pressure was low but is coming up now. The nurse said he has made significant improvement in the last 12 hours! He was on total life support last night but tonight all that is left is the ventilator and they are trying to wean him off of that late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

He's still medicated and only opening his eyes a little but I asked him to squeeze my hand if he loved me and he just about stopped the circulation in my hand from squeezing it so hard! (More tears!!!)

I can't say enough about UPMC Presby Hospital in Pittsburgh and their staff. This is my first experience with this hospital. We usually went to St. Clair Hospital but they said Dr. Luketich works out of Presby Hospital, so I said OK I guess that's where we will go. I didn't know anything about Presby Hospital but I thought would you rather be where your doctor is more comfortable or where you are more comfortable? Thank goodness I picked where the doctor is more comfortable because I love the doctors and nurses at Presby Hospital!

Love & prayers to all,

Trish

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

Hi Trish,

I'm glad to hear that your husband is doing so well, after he comes off of the ventilator he
should progress daily. I think that we are truely bless living in Pittsburgh and to be able
to have access to a facility like UPMC, Dr. Luketich and the wonderful staff.

I know that without them most other Dr.s would not have been willing to take on Al's case being that he was stage IV. It has now been 6 weeks since his surgery. I just want to let you know this because your husband will be home and recovering in no time.

We truely have been blessed this Thanksgiving.

Just remember to get your rest, eat and don't get run down. I tell you this because he is in good hands and you need to be ready for when he comes home.

Keep us updated on his progress and if you have any questions there just ask someone is always
here and most of the time we can answer them.

God Bless!!!
Kath

Trish_from_Pittsburgh's picture
Trish_from_Pitt...
Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2009

Just talked to nurse at hospital.....She said hubby was so aggitated last night they had to sedate him again. He spiked a fever, too (102.6), most likely from pneumonia. Today's plan is to try to wean him from the ventilator again and control the pneumonia.

I don't know quite what the "Big Girl Panties" thing is about (if someone can explain that to me), but right now I think mine are slipping........

Donna70's picture
Donna70
Posts: 920
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Trish,
I am late welcoming you to this wonderful board but I just read all the posts now and I will keep your husband in my prayers and glad he got thru the surgery and now with all the positive support lets hope the ventilator and fever go away. I don't think it is unusual for a person to get agitated on a vent. Lori could probably help with that info. Stay positive. you found the right place here. Much information and many positive happy endings here. I go on 12/8 for my surgery and am a crier too. Not for myself but every sad news story makes me cry maybe it is a substitute for the EC. take care and get rest to keep yourself strong for your hubby!!!
Donna70

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

Trish,

I read your post last night but was giving it some thought, my husband was on a ventialator too, don't get to alamred yet, Jeff did the same thing, he spiked a fever as he had the worse sinus infection a doctor had ever seen, Jeff was very agitated also every day and and every night it comes with the surgery and the infection, Jeff was sedated also, for 12 days in ICU, Its hard not to worry I did every single day, he would breate 40% on his own and the rest the ventilator did it for him, if you have a good doctor which I know you do big time, then he will do okay, its because of his lungs, trust me thats why Jeff had all the problems he did, lungs play a big source in this, even though he stopped smoking he still has the bad lungs, plus when they deflated one thats another set back thats what happened to jeff, even though your husband didn't have the OPEN surgery sounds like he has alot of Jeff's symptoms, you just have to be strong, and go in there all the time and talk to him, tell him you are there and he has to get better cause you need him his family needs him etc etc, that what i always did to Jeff, then one day the nurse called me and said he was awake and asking for me that was 12 days after surgery it was like a miracle he woke up i will say my husband was knocking on heavens door, cause his blood pressure dropped to 50/30 he spiked a fever and he couldn't breathe so he was very very critical. I certainly know how you feel, and just keep up the strong will and if I can help on anything let me know I will check this periodically.

Now for the BIG GIRL PANTIES, well while I was sitting in the hospital while Jeff was sick one day he wasn't doing good, and I had to sign alot of papers for them to do different things on him, I was scared and knew I had to do something, and when my mother was so ILL and i had to make alot of choices i told myself OKAY LORI YOU NEED TO PULL UP YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES, and get on with the show, so when I posted this on this site one day about i need to pull up my BIG GIRL PANTIES, and move on, it has just been an awesome joke, and keeps everyone laughing so that is just our saying on this site.

If yours are slipping than maybe we need to ship you a different size, (this is just something we talk about) so with that being said just pull up your big girl panties and go take care of your hubby.

Give us a report when you can

Love and hugs
Lori

Trish_from_Pittsburgh's picture
Trish_from_Pitt...
Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2009

Lori,

Thank you so much for your help. I seem to be crying a bucket of tears today again....I thought I have been so strong through all of this but today I seem very frail. It's so hard when you see your husband like this....He shook his head yesterday that he wasn't in any pain (which is a good thing) but I'm just so nervous. I'm praying to God for strength.

You just can't believe what a help this site has been to me. I feel like each and every one of you are standing right beside me and walking me right through every step. I can feel all the support, love and encouragement everyone is giving me.

He sailed right through his chemo and radiation, no problems, even continued to work every day. So this has been our first "bump" in the road. Is there a rainbow at the end of the road? I'm praying there is...

Again, thank you, Lori. I guess I need to tell myself "Crying time is over, now make your plan to handle this and get on with things". It's just hard...

I'll be waiting for some new BIG GIRL PANTIES. lol

Off to see my hubby, I'll let you know how he's doing tonight.

Love,
Trish

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

Trish,

I know you are having it difficult but just hang in there, each minute, each hour and each day will be different, I hate to say this but the first 72 hours is the hardest, I saw Jeff for 14 days with 14 tubes hanging out him, I would go in at night and bath him, talk to him, hold his hand, and make him squeeze my hand, his daughter that lives in texas came up and she did alot for him, you could see tears coming down his face, I know this isn't easy but he is alive, but remember no matter how long they have quit smoking those lungs are going to hurt them, and with them deflating one in surgery is not helping.

When you go back up there as the nurse how much he is breathing on his own? That will tell you something? Then ask the nurse is he better today than last night in your opinion? Alway always let him know you are there, even if you don't think he knows you he does.

I know exactly what you are going through and if you will go back on posts to July 23 you will see everything I went through with Jeff. Of course Jeff had the open surgery so count your blessings that your husband didn't cause the OPEN is a harder recovery period but he could not have the MIE surgery.

I know you think will I ever have him home, and I told Bill Marshall I would never fuss with him again after seeing what he went through, i never thought I would have to wipe my husband butt, or help him open things, bath him walk with him etc etc, but I have, he was a very independent man and still is to some point.

I have faith that you are doing all the things right, and you have every opportunity to cry but doing all now before he gets home or out of ICU, stay strong no matter how hard it is.

Now for those BIG GIRL PANTIES, you must not have them on right, just make sure you have your feet in the right holes, and if they are too loose than maybe i need to put new elastic in them, i know they are slipping down a bit, but I know tomorrow they will be back where they belong, sometimes those BGP have a tendency to slip down when we are down, but you are a strong person or you wouldn't be helping your husband.

Stay strong and keep me posted.

Love and Hugs
Lori

K_ann1015's picture
K_ann1015
Posts: 555
Joined: Aug 2009

Trish,
boy aren't we tested---with this esophageal cancer thing! we are all pulled farther than we think we can be---like taffy. reading yours & Lori's posts make me nervous for my mom & dad (surgery 12/8)--but I know somehow---all will end up OK.,. I am just worried about what my dad & us will have to go thru!!! You are lucky Trish to have found and be open to this site to get support. Hang in there---you are in many's thoughts and prayers even if they don't post...
Kim

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

Hi Trish,

I am so sorry to here about your "bump" in the road. I've had them to Al did not have any problems with the surgery, but boy we had lots of bumps getting there. First reaction to chemo, then a bout with c-diff, then his had leukopenia he had have blood transfusions. Finally pneumonia from swollowing barium and it leaked into his lungs.

So I have much sympathy for you. Your husband is in good hands. I do know that much as
you know we also have the same Doctors.

I want you to know that we all feel or have felt the way you do. Thats why we are here a never ending supply of hugs, and prayers and yes sometimes a good swift kick in the butt.

Please keep us posted on his progress.

God Bless,
Kath

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