CSN Login
Members Online: 9

"Small hiatal hernia present" (September 2005) And what might have been..

jojoshort's picture
jojoshort
Posts: 241
Joined: May 2011

During the initial phase of testing in 2010, the doctor who performed the endoscope tried to prepare us for what he suspected. "I don't like the looks of this", he said; "You probably had this for years and never knew it". Later testing confirmed Stage IVb esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Really? Not know having Barrett's and a cancerous tumor? We tried to think back to signs we missed. The usual culprit, acid reflux, was only a sporadic visitor.
Having to find some paperwork last night, I stumbled upon a C/T scan from 2005 and re-read the report. "Small hiatal hernia present." Bingo.
If only we knew then what we know now. That C/T scan was for another issue altogether, but there in front of me showed the beginnings of what surely was his cancerous tumor.
I know there's really nothing to be done at this stage of the game, but I can't help thinking: "What if?"

dodger21's picture
dodger21
Posts: 83
Joined: May 2011

Can someone tell me if hiatus hernia is a precursor to barretts or adenocarcinoma. Every time I have an endoscopy the surgeon makes a point of telling me specifically that I don't have a hiatus hernia and I always brushed that comment off until I just read this post

dodger21's picture
dodger21
Posts: 83
Joined: May 2011

Thanks William. You're a wealth of information. Who needs google when we've got you

hopper52's picture
hopper52
Posts: 117
Joined: Apr 2011

I think lack of EC awareness contributes to a lot of what if's. Reading these posts it seems like many general practioners take the approach of "acid reflux".....take two Tums and call me in the morning. I am T3N0M0 and currently taking chemo and undergoing radiation but it was almost like pulling teeth to have my primary care manager refer me for an endoscopy. I started having chest pain and pain between my shoulder blades in 2008. When I researched my symptons on the internet it pointed to my heart although I found one reference to esophaegal cancer. I went through the cardio thing and they did find an 80% blockage in Dec 2010 and put in some stents. Beginning mid 2020 I started feeling it hard to swallow (only on occasion, mainly with things like bread). I didn't pay much attention to that and thought it was normal...i.e, maybe I'm just trying to stuff my mouth too full. After my stents, I kept having the same pains (chest & shoulder blades). My cardiologist assured me it wasn't my heart so it was back to the internet. I then discovered hiatial hernia and I had 90% of the symptoms, but shoulder blade pain was not on that list. I told my doc and he said it could be a hiatal hernia and agreed with me I needed a scope which I had on 04/07 and was diagnosed with EC.

I can't help but think, what if I had the scope done in 2008?

But in 1972 Dandy Don Meredith told Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football, "Howard, if if's and but's were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas."

Another one I like is, "Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery, today is a gift.....that's why it's called 'The Present'

jojoshort's picture
jojoshort
Posts: 241
Joined: May 2011

I like that saying hopper. We enjoyed our "gift" of the present today immensely.

sandy1943's picture
sandy1943
Posts: 883
Joined: Jun 2010

I was like hopper--same symptons, hurting in chest and shoulder blades. Twice over a two year period checked for heart. It was fine. when I would check on the internet, I didn't seem to have enough symptons to be worried--No acid reflux after I ate or at night, but I did have heartburn occasionally. My doctor obviously didn't think my symptoms were bad enough for a scope, until my food stuck. I also had a hietal hernia I didn't know about. Fortunately it was stage 111. I believe some of our doctors are not aware how rampant adiocarcinoma is becoming in the U.S. Wake up medical world!
Sandra

ecourtney
Posts: 40
Joined: Mar 2011

It comes as no surprise to see these postings. Below is an extract from my brother Peter's medical history>>>> EC4B, deceased 2 weeks.

Medical History : Hiatus Hernia diagnosed six years ago. No medication or interventions required. Advised to use an extra pillow at night. Very occasional restricted swallowing over six years. Careful diet for short periods appeared to resolve any issues. Until being diagnosed with cancer in 2010 no illness. I have never required a day off work due to illness.

>>>
He tolerated his hernia for 6 years and even adjusted his lifestyle to live with it - for example by asking hotels for extra pillows while on holidays. His Doc did not see this as an issue when he had his regular medical checks and Peter did not count his HH as an illness!!!
If we could turn back time.............

Joel C's picture
Joel C
Posts: 173
Joined: Mar 2011

I complained to my primary for three years of a shooting pain from my left chest to the center of my back between the shoulder blades. Twice I had stress tests and tested normal. I never smoked in my life, exercise every day, ate right, never had reflux and would have only a couple of beers on the weekend. I guess with all that said my primary never thought I was a candidate for EC. Then I started to complain of pain between the shoulder blades when eating and was finally sent in for the scope and diagnosed with stage 2B EC. The first thing I asked my surgeon was how long he thought the tumor had been growing. You guessed it 3 years, big surprise.

Joel

ecourtney
Posts: 40
Joined: Mar 2011

Joel, how are you now? are you still doing well?
Regards
Maurice

Joel C's picture
Joel C
Posts: 173
Joined: Mar 2011

Hello Maurice,

I read your profile with your brother’s situation and I’m very sorry to hear what he has been going through.

My recovery has gone pretty well. I spent last summer into the fall receiving 28 rounds radiation and six rounds of chemo followed by MIE on 11/18/10. I had my first follow up CT scan about a month ago and it came back clean. Recovery and adjustment to my new self has been a challenge but I guess it’s going as well as it can. For me living with the statistics is just as hard as the recovery. I hate to say it but I’ve always been a my cup is half empty type of guy so when I read the mean survival time for stage 2B EC is 18 months post surgery I can’t help but feel a little bewildered. I’m 49 years old with a wonderful wife and two great children in college so in the mean time I just keep pushing on.

I see that your brother is only 50 years old. How is he handling his situation emotionally? Like I said for me that is the hardest part.

Best regards,
Joel

linda1120's picture
linda1120
Posts: 438
Joined: Oct 2010

Dear Joel,

Do remember that the survival rates you are reading about on the web are a few years older. Jim is a stage III survivor, responded extremely well to his chemo and radiation, with his MIE January 5, 2011. The oncologist told him his survival for five years is 40%. He did believe his survival was even better due to his cancer being gone with the chemo and radiation. I hope this helps alleviate some of your concerns.

Enjoy each day! I am a ovarian cancer survivor that had a 10-15% chance of surviving five years and it is 12 and a half years later! Only God knows our time.

Linda

Joel C's picture
Joel C
Posts: 173
Joined: Mar 2011

Thank you Linda for the kind words of encouragement. It’s funny, one day I’ll be feeling good and just living my life and the next I’ll be beating myself up with dread thinking about what could be around the corner. I guess it’s the engineer in me that wants to understand why things are what they are but the problem with this disease is there are no real answers. When I started on my journey I had to know everything but the more I learnt the less I understood, it was driving me crazy. I’ve had several nurses tell me engineers make the worst patients.

I’m happy to hear that Jim had a complete response to treatment. What a relieve it is not to have to face additional chemo post surgery.

Thanks again,
Joel

ecourtney
Posts: 40
Joined: Mar 2011

Hi Joel,
Unfortunately my brother passed away around 3 weeks ago but he was stage 4b so we are not starting at the same reference point as you. Since you are not at this late stage I pray that time and good fortune are on your side. He was also an engineer and I agree that they are amongst the worst patients ( with this disease everybody should be allowed to be the worst patient at some point) like you he needed "absolutes" for example he would ask the consultant if an issue was "biological or mechanical" and he and the consultant would take a piece of paper and set about drawing parts of the body and fall out about percentage increases and variances in tumour size (he quickly worked out that maths was not a consultants strong point). When I came to him with some literature to encourage him to go for a j tube, he was not encouraged by the "mights and maybes" -I NEED PROOF & FACTS he would argue. I would have loved us to be in a position where we could forecast outcomes based on inputs but right up to the last the mystery of right and wrong choices remained. Peter also had his dark moments most of which he kept to himself but he did a fantastic job of getting all his affairs in order ( another quality of an engineer) and was always fantastic company.Hopefully you can put a positive spin on your research and I know you will find that this site will help you fill in the gaps left by "mights or maybes" I hope all goes well for you and pray that you can help get these stats running in our favour!
Kind regards
Maurice

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network