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Esophageal Cancer Surgery

Master P's picture
Master P
Posts: 9
Joined: Sep 2012

Hello, I am Active Duty Master Sergeant in the US Army. To make a long story short. My DR. saw Barrett's in Jan and it came out + for ESO CA, I had 2 GI Procedures to remove it and 2 Negative Biopsies' for Feb - May. The last appointment I had on Aug 7th is showing "High Grade Dysphasia" in the mucosa. With that being said, I have elected to have my Esophagus removed!!! After 4 procedures and in a 7 month time frame CA is "Trying to form up" I came across this site looking for recovery information and it is good to see great recover information from survivors.

How did I get CA you ask. From years of GERD/Acid Reflux!!! I was going to get my knee checked out and my Dr asked why i was taking Prilosec, I explained it was for Acid Reflux. She asked had I been scoped in the past, I replied, Nope, no one told me I needed one, just Prilosec, she when in to the damage that could be done from years of reflux, she scheduled me for a EGD and Colonoscopy...and caught early stage I ESP CA only on the mucus and no tissue or surrounding organs!!!! Praise but now God has spoken again and I got it...I weighed all the options and it is time to nip it in the bud!!!

Thank you for letting me vent.

Army Strong

P

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

Welcome on board, I would like to commend your excellent doctor. She is a rarity. Very few doctors take reflux seriously and very few order scopes until it is so often too late.

I have a friend who lives in fear constantly because her condition was similar to yours.She did have a procedure and now is scoped every six months. Her doctor says it is just a matter of time. I wouldn't want to be in her shoes, but every individual has to make their own decisions for their health.

Keep us informed on yout treatment. We have a lot of knowledgeable folks more than happy to answer any questions.

Sandra

lenlee65
Posts: 47
Joined: Aug 2012

I agree with Sandy, you have a good doctor. When my primary care Dr started me on Protonix about 6-7 years ago he never told me what it was for. I had complained about having gas pains that seemed to move all over the place and that when I took Tums they went away. His comment was I will prescribe this drug Protonix for you its like a super Tums. So I just started taking it and a couple of years later finally realized that I had acid reflux. To be fair my Dr kept urging me to get scoped but I didn't do it until it was too late but I was told later it would not have mattered because I had Barretts. Hang tough man and Never Ever Give Up. I salute you and thank you for your service to our country.

Master P's picture
Master P
Posts: 9
Joined: Sep 2012

I know it will be a long road to recovery but I am ready. Am I nervous...HELL Yea!! But I got God, Family and Army behind me.

More to follow.

P

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

Sounds very similar to my circumstance. You are not alone here there are a couple of us that were blessed to be diagnosed so very early. Please feel free to ask anything you'd like. What type surgery are you having? Where? Is your surgeon a thoracic surgeon who performs many of these procedures a year?

Feel free to PM me here. I had the THE in January.

Dave

Master P's picture
Master P
Posts: 9
Joined: Sep 2012

CAPTDAVE, I have the chief of surgery and the chief of thoracic doing my surgery. They are the best in the DoD. I will be having my surgery at Walter Reed Bethesda, "The Presidents Hospital" where I am currently stationed. I will be having an esophagectomy. I looked at all the GI procedures that could be done but none address the acid reflux which is the cause of the barrett's. I had 3 GI procedures from Feb - Aug. I had 2 negative biopsies and my last on on 7 August showed High grade dysphasia. With that being said and weighing all the options I elect to have my esophagus removed to eliminate any chance of the cancer coming back. I know the road to recovery will be long but I will have piece of mind. My wife does not want me to get the surgery she wants me to get a second opinion but all other options can't stop the acid and the years of damage from acid. Plus I am on the clock the surgery looks like it is going to take place the 1st week of Oct. and can't come fast enough. I don't want the cells to make that turn.

Thank you

flmo's picture
flmo
Posts: 72
Joined: Jan 2011

It sounds like you are making the right decision about having surgery soon. My husband was told he had high grade dysplasia in early Dec. 2010. By the time of his MIE surgery at UPMC with Dr. Luketich in Feb. 2011 it had progressed to stage 1 cancer. Time is of the essence. He didn't need chemo or radiation since it was found so early. Best of luck to you.

Maureen

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

It sounds like you made a well thought out and informed choice. I cant argue with your reasoning or decision as I made the exact same decision. There are a couple types of esphogectomy one is the Ivor lewis (IL) the other is the trans hyadal esphogectomy (THE)sorry for the horrible spelling. any way do you know which one you're having? The recovery from each is a little different. I had the THE and recovered spectacularly. Which I attribute to my surgeon, My attitude and drive and to getting myself in as good of physical shape as possible before the surgery. Especially important is cardiovascular conditioning. Your lungs take a beating with these surgeries so they need to be in the best shape possible going in. The other thing that really helped me recover was always doing a little more then the Doc asked me to do. Instead of just the requested three laps around the nurses station do four then five and so on. I was able to get up to two miles before my discharge. I also was back at work full time exactly two months after surgery. it is a tough surgery but you can bounce back from it as good or better then before.

The best thing I heard after my surgery was my Doc say to me over lunch one day that I now had the same risk of dieing of cancer as she did. That made it all worth wile!

Dave

Ginny_B's picture
Ginny_B
Posts: 537
Joined: Sep 2011

Welcome! And how terrible that the acid reflux went that far. This is something that we need to bring up so that folks don't just pop tums and not worry that it could be something else. Good for your doc and you to pursue this.

Keep up the good fight! And a big thank you for defending us and our Country!

Master P's picture
Master P
Posts: 9
Joined: Sep 2012

Thank you Ginny_B!!!

jaycc
Posts: 130
Joined: Jul 2012

Master P,
I'm so glad you found this site, there are many good knowledgeable people.
And thank you for your service to our country as well.
Adding you and your family to our thoughts and prayers, for a safe surgery and recovery.
It is scary for your wife, but extra hugs for her too.

Master P's picture
Master P
Posts: 9
Joined: Sep 2012

I read online that you go home a feeding pump and a home health nurse to check on you, tubes and all kinds of stuff...lol If so, Hooah! but when you are a Former Airborne Paratrooper, a Former Drill Sergeant, I know what I will be dealing with but adjusting to my body being "Fileted like a fish" as I call it is the hardest part to deal with. You read all the horror stories and I say, "That won't be Master P" but damn am I making the right decision? what if I just have GI do ahother procedure, will that clear this up?...The long term answer is NO, Get the surgery Soldier and drive on!! So, be ready for many updates and photos.

No one travels alone

P

Ginny_B's picture
Ginny_B
Posts: 537
Joined: Sep 2011

It's a blessing just to BE operable! Lucky are the ones that have that option. Read as much as you can. Prepare yourself as best you can. God speed!

jaycc
Posts: 130
Joined: Jul 2012

I am no doctor, just my opinion, but one who can speak to late stage EC, from late husband's standpoint.
EC is a fast growing cancer, it is very specialized in the world of cancer, so varying levels of knowledge exist across the US. As you stated you have been trained well, it will be a challenge, you and your love ones will need to adapt/change things. But strength you definitely have that is obvious. Sorry navy oriented myself,no one knows for sure,but head on into the wave, because broad side will turn you over. ie. if it grows, my husband was only 50 , you don't get many choices.

jaycc
Posts: 130
Joined: Jul 2012

I am no doctor, just my opinion, but one who can speak to late stage EC, from late husband's standpoint.
EC is a fast growing cancer, it is very specialized in the world of cancer, so varying levels of knowledge exist across the US. As you stated you have been trained well, it will be a challenge, you and your love ones will need to adapt/change things. But strength you definitely have that is obvious. Sorry navy oriented myself,no one knows for sure,but head on into the wave, because broad side will turn you over. ie. if it grows, my husband was only 50 , you don't get many choices.

sideways's picture
sideways
Posts: 21
Joined: Aug 2012

Have you had the surgery yet P? Thinking about you amigo, I'm post surgery 1 month now. Give me a shout when you feel up to it.

Greg

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