Jul 18, 2012 - 11:25 pm
I received my EC diagnosis (stage 3 with lymph nodes involved) in March. I have been through chemo and radiation and had a full esoughgetomy June 5. The stomach was resected into a gastric tube. About day 10 after surgery I developed a fistula just above the collarbone in the neck incision. My surgeon says this happens in less than 5% of his patients ( he does 2-3 of these surgeries each month) and will take about 8-12 weeks to heal on its own. He is doing weekly endoscopy to stretch the throat to insure any scare tissue does not form a stricture. The surgeon keeps telling me it's healing as expected and he isn't voicing any concerns..
Has anyone else have/had this problem? What has been your experience with the healing? I'm trying to be patient with the healing but it's slow and frustrating. I was rehospitalized for a week so they could open the incision and pack it while they monitored the fistula. The incision will now need to heal and fill in on it's own. Right now when I cough air escapes from the hole the fistula created. If I cough real hard, mucus is forced out of the stomach through the hole.
I am still on J-tube feelings and I am concerned about food getting lodged in the fistula channel and getting infected or something.
I will add that the biopsy on both the esoghus, stomach portion and the lymph nodes that were removed all indicated that the cancer had been killed, so at this time my oncologist and surgeon are both quite positive about my long term prognosis. I am hoping for several good years ahead of me to enjoy being retired.