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Post Surgery Chemo and Herceptin

CarolandJoe
Posts: 23
Joined: Feb 2013

I have been a vistor to this site for a few months now but just today became a member.  My husband was diagnosed 9/28/12 T2N0M0.  He went through 5 weeks of radiation and chemo therapy with Carboplatin and Paclitaxel.  He waited 6 weeks and then had surgery 1/8/13 for complete esophaectomy minimally invasive.  He has exceeded the surgeon's expectations in his recovery.  He is still using J-tube but only about 2 cans a day.  Goal is to wean him off and have J-tube removed on 2/27/13.  His biggest difficulty is just learning and remembering to eat again since he was on total tube feeding for about 6 weeks before surgery. He has had no reflux but he sleeps on a wedge and doesn't eat after 8:00 pm. 

The surgeon and oncologist were surprised by the patholgy report post-surgery.  The tumor was re-staged at T3N0M0 because it was larger than they anticipated from the endoscopies at diagnosis.  They were also surprised that the pre-surgery radiation and chemo seemed to have little or no affect on the tumor.  The oncologist requested testing for HER2 and my husband is positive.  Since the Carboplatin/Paclitaxel didn't work pre-surgery, they are starting a chemo on 2/11/13 of Oxaliplatin and Fluorouracil (5-FU) every 2 weeks and Herceptin weekly.  His tumor was so unusual that the surgeon submitted it to the Tumor Board for discussion.  I feel good that we have a team approach happening to come up with the best approach to fight recurrence but I am wondering if anyone else has experienced anything similar to my husband. 

paul61's picture
paul61
Posts: 1122
Joined: Apr 2010

I had an esophagectomy in December of 2009 and I also had an unpleasant surprise from my pathology report. My report showed that I had cancer cells in one of the lymph nodes removed. As a result I had post operative chemotherapy. Since then my scans have been clear; so the combination of the surgery, and chemotherapy later seems to have been helpful. Current medical articles show promising results with the combination of Herceptin and other chemotherapy agents. And it looks like, from your husband’s staging, that the tumor was localized within the esophagus and that is a good thing.

Learning to eat with our new digestive systems is a challenge. But tell your husband it does get better over time. We just have to forget the concept of three meals a day and get used to eating small amounts frequently. I eat 7 or 8 times a day.  

 Best Regards,

Paul Adams

McCormick, South Carolina

DX 10/2009 T2N1M0  Stage IIB - Ivor Lewis Surgery  12/3/2009 - Post Surgery Chemotherapy 2/2009 – 6/2009

Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU - Three Year Survivor 

CarolandJoe
Posts: 23
Joined: Feb 2013

Thank you, Paul, for your words of encouragement.  I, too, have read good things about the Herceptin treatment.  It has made a huge improvement in survival rates for breast cancer patients and it is exciting that Joe has a targeted treatment based on genetics.  His family has a multi-generational history of colon cancer so it makes sense to have a genetic connection.  We are looking forward to Joe being able to post that he is a Three Year Survivor.  Congratulations on your continued clear scans.  There is no certainty in life and we are learning to accept that and live each moment we have to its fullest.

Sincerely

Carol

Gig Harbor, Washington

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