Feb 10, 2012 - 7:11 pm
It has been a while since I have been on the boards here but I wanted to update folks to give a little encouragement.
I was initially diagnosed with EC in September 2009. I had chemo/radiation and everything looked good. In May 2010 EC popped back up and I had an Ivor Lewis in June 2010. The result of the surgery was that the surgeon had gotten all the know cancer out. Woot! I had follow up chemo just to be on the safe side.
6 weeks after the surgery I had trouble swallowing again. I got scoped and my GI doc found a stricture at the junction area where they sewed the stomach and esophagus back together. To make things short I had ~10 dilations, 6 stents, and 10 laser ablations from August 2010 until September 2011. This was all due to the benign stricture coming back ever 2-3 weeks to the point that I could not swallow.
That was a tough year.
The 12 month of that year I ended up hemorrhaging from my esophagus the day after my 10th laser ablation. I miraculously stopped bleeding on my own on the way to surgery after losing over 10 units of blood. The surgery was aborted. They almost lost me that day.
After this event we decided that these "repair" procedures were doing more harm then good so we started talking to surgeons about another surgery. We talked to 3 surgeons around Texas and decided to go with one in Houston. I had a Supercharged Jejunum Esophagectomy in November 2011 which is still considered an experimental operation. The surgery was successful in creating a new stricture-free esophagus from my small intestine.
It has been about 12 weeks since the operation and I am doing well.
All of the procedures from late 2010 forward where not cancer related but procedure from cancer treatment related. My oncologist considers me to have been cancer free since the date of my last treat (chemo) which was December 2010. That puts me at about 14 months of being cancer free.
I am now recovering and am not sure if I will return to work due to aliments from treatment (fatigue, neuropathy, chronic pain). While this can be discouraging at times I sit back and look at everything that I have come through and am happy to still be hear for my wife and kids.
I tell you all of this as a word of encouragement. Yes, treatment sucks and there were points where I did not know if I was going to make it - but I did. The key to all of this is to push forward and don't except defeat as an option. Half the battle is in your mind.
I wish you all well and pray that your battle against this disease is a successful one.