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33 year old female - Just Diagnosed

Ahill80
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi all,

I am 33 years old and about three weeks ago I was diagnosed with EC.  I had no symptoms and went in for an EGD and the dr found a very small polyp which he thought was nothing but, he did a biopsy anyhow. Well turns out it is EC.  I have had a PET scan and it is just isolated to one spot and MD Anderson did a EUS and again says it is localized but it was still staged as T3N0.  I meet next week with the Dr. and surgeon at MD Anderson to figure out what the plan is but, I am having moments of being so scared.  I have faith but, I can't help when the fear creeps in. It's mainly because I have a 10 year old son and was recently married and he has two boys so, life was going so great and then this came out of no where. All the physicians were shocked due to my age and I have always been very healthy, in shape and eat fairly well. The only thing I have is GERD and I am told this could cause this.  Mine is adenocarcinoma and it is at the junction of my esophagus and stomach.  I am just looking for some encourage and what I should expect to come and any suggestions. 

God bless everyone

 

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

I can understand that at 33 with small children the diagnosis of esophageal cancer is shocking. I can tell you as an EC survivor, that the treatment can be challenging, but it is survivable and life goes on after treatment. I was diagnosed and had my surgery in December of 2009.  Approximately six months of 2010 was consumed in recovering from surgery.  I am now three years from surgery and back to doing all the things I love with some minor life style adjustments to accommodate my modified digestive system.

MD Anderson is one of the leading treatment centers in the US for EC so you are certainly in the right place to get the best diagnosis and treatment. It sounds like your cancer is localized and that is a very good thing.  Depending on the grade and location of your tumor you are either Stage 1 or Stage II. You are fortunate to be diagnosed at an early stage.

What to expect?

Most EC patients have some chemotherapy and radiation therapy first, then surgery to remove a portion of the esophagus and a portion of the stomach. Since your tumor is at the GEJ, your surgery will probably be an esophagectomy with gastric pull up. Given the location and your staging I would think you are a candidate for minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery called a minimally invasive esophagectomy  or MIE.  This approach has a much shorter recovery time because the incisions are much smaller than the traditional surgical approach.

Here is a brief overview that describes EC staging and treatment:

http://www.upmccancercenter.com/pdq_xml/cancer.cfm?id=54#

Given your age and overall health profile I would think your recovery time from surgery would be much faster than mine (I was 61 when I had my surgery and I had chemotherapy after my surgery because they discovered a positive lymph node in my post-surgical pathology)

Life style changes include the necessity to eat more frequent smaller meals than the typical three meal plan most of us are used to. I eat small amounts about 7 times a day with no meal being larger than about half of the amount I used to eat prior to surgery. You will also find you will need to avoid certain foods. In my case I have to avoid food items that are high in processed sugar.

The good news is that you are young, in excellent health, diagnosed at an early stage, and have a supportive family to help you through the treatment. I think you have every reason to be positive and optimistic.

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

Ahill80
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2013

paul

thank you so much for this. It is very encouraging and what I needed. The last two days have been difficult just because my thoughts have been getting the best of me. I can't wait till Wednesday when we find out the treatment plan. I am ready to get started. Really thank you so very much for your positive words. I have read the advice you have given others and you seem to help everyone. 

Amanda

tmclain
Posts: 11
Joined: May 2012

Hi Paul

 

Thanks for the phone and i did call my doctor to find out where the that lymph node was found and i was told it was an axes from the tumor whatever that means and it was a local and not distant. that sure made me feel real good. again thanks for the phone call it dide sure help to talk with someone.

 

tom

DX 1/23/2012 T3N1M0

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

Tom,

That is good news, which implies that it is probable that the cancer cells got into the lymph node through the local lymphatic’s rather than through the blood stream. There are of course no guarantees with this stuff but at least you know that the node was removed, it was adjacent to the tumor and not distant, and you have been given a highly targeted “mop up” plan to take care of anything that may have been left behind.

Sounds good!!!

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

susanvarrone's picture
susanvarrone
Posts: 7
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi There. I wish you all the best. You will be fine. Have faith. My husband was diagnosed 2 years ago with stage 3. We were all is shock. How can you ever prepare for this. What the gentelman posted before is all the right things. My huband spent monthe in cornell university in ny. The dr. there saved his life. You have to have a positive outlook. I know it is easier said then done. Believe me it works. If you ever need somone to talk to im here..  917-880-7880.. My best to you.  My husband was diagnosed on his 45  birthday..   <3

 

susanvarrone's picture
susanvarrone
Posts: 7
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi There. I wish you all the best. You will be fine. Have faith. My husband was diagnosed 2 years ago with stage 3. We were all is shock. How can you ever prepare for this. What the gentelman posted before is all the right things. My huband spent monthe in cornell university in ny. The dr. there saved his life. You have to have a positive outlook. I know it is easier said then done. Believe me it works. If you ever need somone to talk to im here..  917-880-7880.. My best to you.  My husband was diagnosed on his 45  birthday..   <3

 

South Side Steve's picture
South Side Steve
Posts: 24
Joined: Nov 2011

Amanda,

Until you've been through it, there's no way to explain the feeling when your doctor tells you that you have cancer. Even though your world has just been turned upside down, you can overcome this hurdle. Last month marked the one year anniversary of my Ivor Lewis surgery and I'm doing everything I did before my diagnosis. I can eat just about anything I want to and the only lifestyle change is I have to sleep with my head and chest elevated. The chemo/radiation treatments and surgery are by no means a walk in the park, but you should be able to come through them just fine. Your age is definitely a big advantage for you. The other important factor is keeping a positive attitude. Even though you have been diagnosed with EC, be thankful it was caught in time for you to be a candidate for surgery. There will be some rough days ahead during the treatments, but stay focused on the finish line after surgery. I was 61 when I had my treatments and went back to work at my desk job 2 months after surgery.

Good luck in your EC journey. You'll find lots of support on this site. Feel free to ask any question because the survivors and caretakers are very willing to help.

Steve

DX 11/2011 T2N1M0 Stage IIB, Chemo and radiation 12/2011 - 1/2012, Ivor Lewis surgery 3/13/2012

KYsis's picture
KYsis
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2013

Just saw ur April posting....my prayers will be offered in ur name as u and ur family journey thru this difficult time. I am a 6 yr survivor of this horrible disease. I'm sending u this note to hopefully offer u encouragement and confidence that u will succeed in survive this! Early stage is a major plus for you. I was stage 4 and had 4 wks, 24 hr day chemo,accompanied by 39 radiation treatments, followed by 2 months of hyperbaric treatments. I won't lie to u, it was very, very difficult. The side effects were very difficult and scary. With support from family and cpl friends and prayers from around the world, I refused to ever give up. I just never let defeat enter my mind!  I owed it to all of them to survive. I know that u will!!! I feel strongly ur prognosis is very good. Your kids will be ur strength, ur love and devotion to them will give u the strength u need!! don't worry about tomorrow, just concentrate on today!  I'm hoping as I write this that u are determined and confident. Realize that it will b difficult for quite a while but a day will come when u realize what a strong person u are and that u did survive!!!  I just wanted to try to tell u from one mom to another...as alone as u may feel at times, u just never know how many strangers r sharing ur pain and praying for ur strength. My tears r for u as I understand ur fears so deeply. I hope it helps to know ur understood. 

Dad'sfight
Posts: 155
Joined: Feb 2013

I hope that you can find hope by reading all of our stories on here. Mine, is nothing short of a miracle. My father was dx with stage 3 EC 9/2013. It was a HUGE tumor 7.7cm located at the junction of stomach and top 1/3 of stomach had cancer. Spread to lymphnodes, "several" we were told. He did chemo/radiation with the plan of surgery to follow. Well , he had a lot of set back's prior to even starting chemo, delayed his tx, didn't start until end of Nov. He got through chemo/radiation with no J-tube, any nutrition had to be swallowed. Anything he would swallow would come right back up from chemo. It was VERY HARD, but he didn't complain once, and pushed through it everyday. He basically didn't eat anything, was just kept hydrated through IV at home. Towards the end of chemo, they said dad wasn't a good canidate for surgery. Even though he was only stage 3, they felt the set backs and lack of nutrition during chemo would keep him from healing. WE WOULDN'T ACCEPT NO FOR AN ANSWER. They were even more elated when they did the post op pet scan from chemo/radiation and said that he had a complete response. Even with that, we still pushed for surgery. He had the espohegectomy 4/1/13, and is on the road to recovery. He's improving little by little everyday. The greatest news was that we were told the lymphnodes removed during surgery showed no signs of cancer, even the "huge" one they found hidden behind his stomach. At this point, today he is CANCER FREE!!
When dad was dx I immediatly started researching on the internet. What I found and read was horrible. The day I joined here, I read stories of success, things I couldn't find on the internet. I know the news is frightning, and when they say your a statistic of one, it's so true. My father made me a believer. We will be praying for you!!!

dwhite0002
Posts: 130
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi,

I was diagnosed at age 32 and am now 38! there is hope! If you ever want to talk about it, you can e-mail me.

God's Peace to You!

David,

Hillsboro, OH

dwhite0002@aol.com

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