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Esophagectomy

chihuahua5
Posts: 17
Joined: Oct 2012

Glad I found this site and hope someone has experienced some of the same problems I had and can help me with advice or a pep talk at least. :)

I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in December of 2011. Had chemo / radiation and then a esophagectomy on May 1st of 2012. I had a very rough recovery, pneumonia twice and spent 5 weeks in a drug induced coma with no memory of that time. I have had pneumonia one more time after becoming conscious and had a trech installed twice. I had a couple of weeks where I was really doing well, eating small meals and dealing well with what I ate, then all of the sudden I was back throwing up in the morning. I had lost so much weight that they put my j tube back in so I would stop going down hill.

The docs still tell me that time will take care of the problem and I am at the point where I am getting a little skeptical. Not only is eating an issue but I am trying to regain my strength after spending the better part of 4 months laying in a bed in the hospital and rehab. I am on oxygen due to the pneumonia which makes it even harder to work out.

Anyone have vomiting issues so long after their surgery? I have strictured a couple of times and also currently have a stint inserted to keep it open.

But the good news is all my scans come back clean so the cancer is gone, just cannot seem to get on the road to total recovery. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

JoAnn

Donna70's picture
Donna70
Posts: 920
Joined: Aug 2009

I did not have all the post op complications you have had after my transhiatal esophagectomy but I did have vomiting 8+ months afterwards. I had lung complications due to damage from radiation and the surgery so while not on oxygen I now am told I have asthma and COPD and take meds for that. Your long time in bed alone will weaken and atrophy your muscles so you will have to be patient. A lot of us who had the longer more involved surgery feel like it takes at least 7 months to start to feel normal and that is without all your complications. Some here have had to j tubes to supplement their eating. You need to make sure you get help from a nutritionist or look up suggested diets. Supplement what you are eating with some high calorie drinks, just take your time and eat small amounts because that can cause vomiting right after meals. Also, since you have had pneumonia please always sleep elevated and do not eat or drink too late in the evening because even propped up you can aspirate while you are sleeping and that will cause aspiration pneumonia. With all this being said, welcome to this site and there are many who will be glad to help you and give suggestions. Good luck hope you will be moving along to recovery. take care,
Donna70

chihuahua5
Posts: 17
Joined: Oct 2012

It is nice to know someone else got sick for months after the procedure not that I am glad you were so sick too. :)

I was doing really well for a couple of weeks and then all of the sudden I got bad again. The doctor kept telling me that things will eventually work themselves out but I just needed to continue to keep my strength up with the tube feedings and eat a soft diet of what I can tolerate which seems to be only mashed potatoes, bland noodles and rice. I still throw up every morning but the food is digested now and it is just liquid.

I sleep on a pillow wedge and know I will be doing that for the rest of my life. I have dealt with that part of the surgery and while sometimes wish I could lay on my stomach I do sleep rather well propped up.

JoAnn

Sunshine_50
Posts: 10
Joined: Sep 2012

Hi -i'm still new to this but my dad is in a similar position with intense nausea and retching post op. he is only 1 month post, so probably different triggers and body mechanisms involved. but i was wondering what kind of antacid and/or anti nausea medication you are on? can they reassess and try something new?

chihuahua5
Posts: 17
Joined: Oct 2012

I am on Zofran and Compazine for nausea and Prilosec for acid reflux. I do have an appointment with a motility specialist tomorrow so maybe he will have some answers.

Hope you dad's intense nausea and retching are resolved soon.

It does get better I just haven't hit the full road to recovery but am getting better every day.

JoAnn

wabbell
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2012

Hi,

First let me tell you how proud you should be just on the fact you have beat the big C, well done. You hang in there, my dad at 63 did not have his esophagus removed due to cancer, but due to an stupid accident 40 years ago, causing his esophagus to turn solid and him not being able to swollow at all, the whole proceedure took 18 hours, he was on life support for 3mths, he lost 30kg, he was left with a hole in his neck on his collar bone, his swolloweing machanisims routed to the hole into a stoma bag.

He is unable to eat normally as the asperation was so bad he was drowning himself everytime. He now after 6 years still has a j - peg tube where he feeds through kitchen foods blended down and protien shakes to keep him strong, he eats what he wants but it does him no good, it is flushed down the loo.

So in you answer to building up your strength, you need to see a diettician whom will work out what foods you will best need, they can be blended down with juices, milk, water, to make it easier to put through your tube with a large suryng. He would blend down chicken livers, avos, mango juice is very good for you, maze meal, vegatable oil, bananas, bread, pasta or the water from pasta boiled, feeding small amount reagulary daily he manged to pick up his weight and muscle mass again.

However his age now at 69 is playing a toll on him, so to keep his weight up and strength up is harder, he weighs in at 48kg today.

Make sure you are getting plenty water in, you seem to think you don't need it, he has failed many a time at that and ends up very ill as he does not put enough water through.

You are still very young, and obviously have the will to survive, you can do this.

Regards
Wendy

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