Although I have been ‘lurking’ on this discussion site for a couple of weeks now just getting the feel of things, this will be my first post to the site.
My name is Michael and I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the esophagus on Jan. 18th, 2010.
I have been a member of another listserve site for several weeks now since my diagnosis and that site has been extremely helpful for me. I’m sure that there are many members of this site that are members of the other site also so I hope you’ll forgive me if I repeat some things for my introduction to this site.
In Oct. or Nov. of 2009 I began to notice an “irritation” in my throat when I swallowed food. It really wasn’t painful or difficult to swallow, just something different and mildly noticeable. My father suffered with an untreated constriction of the esophagus for years because he was too stubborn to get it fixed and I thought that that’s what I probably had also. The short version of my story is that I went to my family doctor for another minor situation on Dec. 22nd 2009 and just mentioned the swallowing irritation and he referred me to a gastro-doc for a colonoscopy and endoscopy. Thank God he did. The gastro-doc said that he found a “small ulceration” in the very bottom of my esophagus and took a biopsy. He said it looked very mild and prescribed Omeprezole. I took the medication and after just 2 days the “irritation” disappeared and I still have no discomfort what-so-ever to this day. On Jan. 18th 2010 I received a call from the gastro-doc and he said that the biopsy came back as cancer. As was probably the case with all of you, I could have been knocked over with a feather and I don’t really recall much more of the conversation with him after he said the “C” word.
I’ve been through all the poking and testing - blood tests, barium swallows, CT scans, endoscopies, endoscopic ultrasounds, regular ultrasounds, stress tests, pulmonary function tests......yada....yada....yada, and it comes out as T2,N0,M0 - Stage IB or IIA.
This may sound strange, but I’ve think I’ve been truly blessed so far in this journey. The “beast” was discovered relatively early and I think that so far, I’ve had great physicians guiding my case.
Now for the future. I’m scheduled to undergo a Minimally Invasive Esophagectomy at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh with Dr. James Luketich doing the surgery. (I would love to hear from Mr. Marshall about his experience with Dr. Luketich)
I realize from my research and correspondence with other EC patients, survivors and caregivers that my journey has just begun and there are bound to many curves, bumps and wrong turns in the road ahead, I am prepared for the miles to be traveled and I’m optimistic that I’ll be posting messages on this site for a long time to come.
I have made up my mind to adapt, persevere and survive and I am quite confident that everyone on this list will help me as much as possible. I look forward to a long relationship with each of you. Thanks in advance for your help. Just by being able to write this is helping me deal with this situation.
Michael R. Leahy -mrl706