Jan 10, 2013 - 11:36 am
I’m a long time lurker and first time poster. When I was first diagnosed with EC in November of 2011, my daughter introduced me to this site and I have found it to be very helpful and informative. The reason I’m coming out of the shadows now is I’ve noticed a lot of newbies to the site lately and I thought I’d make myself available if any of them would like to talk to someone that has gone through the roller coaster ride of EC. In my own experience, I read all the available EC articles and consulted with the staff at the hospital and Cancer Center, but I found that talking to persons that had actually gone through the treatments and surgery to be the most informative and beneficial to me. I live in St. Cloud, MN and would be happy to meet or talk with anyone about what to expect during treatment and surgery. Through this site, I had the privilege of meeting Chad and Mary Ruble and am extremely grateful for the kindness and support they gave me and my family, even though they were fighting a much larger battle against EC.
I was diagnosed as T2N1M0 Stage II-B and went through 25 radiation treatments and 7 weekly infusions of chemo cocktails consisting of Paclitaxel and Carboplatin. Other than hair loss, mild nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue, I tolerated the chemo pretty well. I didn’t have any problem with the radiation until the very end when my esophagus got burned and I couldn’t even swallow water and became dehydrated. Pain meds and an IV for fluids got me through that. On March 13, 2012, I had the Ivor Lewis surgery at the St. Cloud Hospital. There have been numerous posts on this board describing the Ivor Lewis surgery as “barbaric” resulting in “horrific scars.” I would like to defend the bad press the Ivor Lewis procedure is receiving. I didn’t think it was that bad. Heck, I slept right through it. I was in the hospital for 10 days and, other than an episode of atrial fibrillation in which my pulse rate fluctuated between 160 – 220 for about 2 hours, I didn’t have any problems or setbacks. As for the scars, since I’m in my 60s, my opportunity to be a swimsuit model vanished years ago. I had a J-tube for about 6 weeks after surgery, but didn’t need it at all after I left the hospital. I haven’t had any problems with swallowing and have not needed any esophagus stretches. Don’t get me wrong, the Ivor Lewis is a major surgery and will most likely result in a fractured rib, but it’s something that you can easily survive if the MIE is not available. I returned to my desk job 2 months after my surgery. I haven’t gained back the 30 pounds I lost during treatments, but my strength is returning and I can eat just about anything I want to eat – other than my previously favorite spicy and acidic foods. I had my 9 month post-surgery CAT scan in December and got the best Christmas gift ever – results showed NED.
I’m one of the persons Bob Haze described as the “lucky SOBs” that were diagnosed early enough to be a candidate for surgery. Believe me, I’m very well aware of how lucky I am and that’s the reason it took me so long to post on this site. Like Bob, I didn’t think I could justify complaining about the minor inconveniences I was experiencing when so many others on this board were fighting for their lives. But this site has been so helpful and informative, I felt that I had to offer my assistance to anyone that needs it, regardless of their staging. Even we lucky SOBs need help every once in a while.