Dec 14, 2012 - 9:33 pm
I wish I could write more positive news, but we are 10 weeks post-op surgery on Monday and STILL not home. Actually I can say that he is now out of Hopkins and in rehab, but I doubt he'll be home for Christmas. Dave has beat incredible odds and weathered post op complications that we never dreamed of, but he still has a very long road ahead of him. The hope is that he'll have reconstruction done in the spring, but I worry that he won't be strong enough to endure another surgery, or that there are no guarantees that he won't experience similiar problems the next time they attempt the esophagectomy. The good news (which was a week after surgery which seems a life time ago) was that the pathology report was good, no lymph node involvement. But of course he has not had any scans since then, we simply have been fighting to overcome the complications from surgery.
For those of you who are just starting this journey, I don't want to scare you, Dave is in the extreme minority of patients who experience complications after the THE, but it can happen. His stomach was not able to be used for the esophagectomy, so the colon was used instead. That became ischemic (septic) so the whole thing had to be taken down and he was left without an esophagus nor stomach. The plan is for reconstruction in the spring using his small bowel. We have a wonderful surgeon at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and he has received phenomenal care there. This is why it is so critically important that those of you starting out find a hospital that treats EC and does it regularly! A garden variety oncologist and hospital will not cut it. You are playing in the big leagues now and need a hospital and team that can handle it. I am firmly convinced that if Dave were not at Hopkins or other hospital of its caliber he would not be alive today.
At this stage we just have to take it day by day. But neither of us are giving up; if anyone can come through this it's Dave.