1st Time Poster

South Side Steve
South Side Steve Member Posts: 32
edited January 2013 in Esophageal Cancer #1


     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.



  • paul61
    paul61 Member Posts: 1,391 Member

    Welcome Steve,

     And thanks for offering your assistance to newly diagnosed survivors.

     Like you, I was diagnosed at an earlier stage and had Ivor Lewis surgery. I definitely agree that there are various options for surgery and reasons to select one option over the other. I think it is helpful for new survivors and caregivers to understand that there are survivors out here who have had treatment and surgery and have recovered and are now leading “normal” lives again.

     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