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Esophageal Cancer Surgery

shelbydlphn's picture
shelbydlphn
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2008

Mine was phase 1 that required surgery. I would be happy to put fears to rest and help explain my surgery to anyone it might help. To everyone, stay strong and positive and laugh when it hurts. God never leaves your side or misses a prayer, I am proof!

paul61's picture
paul61
Posts: 1373
Joined: Apr 2010

Wishing you the very best of results from your surgery. I am sure your doctor has told you that you are very fortunate to have been diagnosed at such an early stage. Hopefully your surgical pathology will be clear and no follow up chemotherapy will be required. Recovery from surgery does take some time but life goes on. I am now almost 7 years out from surgery and enjoying life.

 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
Six Year Survivor

 

Frankjw1964's picture
Frankjw1964
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2020

Hi Paul,

I was diagnosed with stage 2 with one lymph node much like yourself. It was a year ago I was given the awful news. I had 6 rounds of the same chemo you were given the. i was then given Ivor Lewis. I was in the hospital for 10 days and all went great. I did one more round of chemo 8 weeks after surgery and could not do the the last round. About 2 months later I felt better and started to take up fly fishing and golf. I'm thinking I might have over did it a bit as my right should blade is hurting so bad I now need PT. My big concern through all this is my lose of appeite. At first I was doing ok but it's gotten worse. My scans are clear both endoscopic and CT. I know I need to work on drinking more water but that fills me up so then I can't eat as much as I need. And eating out seems much more difficult then staying home and eating. Did you experience any of this?

paul61's picture
paul61
Posts: 1373
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Frank,

Unfortunately, I experienced all of the issues you have described. The area under my right shoulder blade stayed sore for almost a year; and when I did anything strenuous, it ached for a couple years after surgery. I am a golfer like you and I found that after about 8 or 9 holes the right side of my back started to ache and I just had to push my way through it and take acetaminophen when I got home. I also found that sitting with a heating pad on my back after golfing was helpful.

The good news is; even though it took over two years for me, it does get better. However, I have to admit, even now, 10 years later, the right side of my back still tenses up and becomes sore when it is cold and wet outside.

As far as appetite is concerned, I do not experience hunger. I eat about 7 small “snacks” a day “by the clock”. I do eat relatively “normal” meals at the normal breakfast, lunch, and dinner times but only half of what a normal portion would have been for me prior to surgery. For the first couple years after surgery, I was very sensitive to foods high in sugar, or foods that were fried or had a high fat content. They would cause “dumping syndrome” for me, but that gradually went away for me over a few years.

My “typical” diet would be:

Breakfast:   One egg scrambled, one piece of toast, and coffee

Mid morning snack: Package of peanut butter crackers and diet Coke

Lunch: Half a ham and cheese sandwich, a hand full or potato chips and diet Coke

Mid afternoon snack: High protein smoothy made with banana, frozen strawberries, chia seeds, protein powder, and walnuts.

Dinner: 4 ounces of chicken, small serving of corn, some kind of potato or rice, iced tea

7 PM snack: One apple peeled and sectioned

8 PM snack: Small portion of ice cream or yogurt

Eating out is a challenge. Luckily for me, my wife is a small person, and does not eat very much, so she and I almost always split whatever we order. Since I have to be sure I eat slowly so I thoroughly chew my food, and carefully swallow before taking another bite, I tend to eat slower than most people. Our friends all understand my issues and while they originally made comments about how little I ate, they are now used to it. A couple of times we have run into restaurants that want to charge us an extra fee because we are splitting an entrée and we just tell them “fine add it to the bill”.

I have gotten used to not having an appetite, I look forward to some foods because I like the way they taste, but I am never “hungry”. If I don’t eat for more than four or five hours during an active day my body lets me know by having a “low blood sugar” event; where I get weak and shaky and anxious feeling. I always carry a package of Lance peanut butter and cheese crackers with me. I eat those and I am fine within about 5 minutes.

 I am 5’5” tall and I weighed about 150 lbs. prior to diagnosis. After surgery I weighed 105 lbs. I now weigh about 135 lbs. which appears to be my “new normal”

I just think of food as being similar to the medication I take. I need to put a certain number of calories in my body each day. The three meals a day routine most people follow is history for me. I have also learned to ignore comments from friends and family about how much I eat or when I eat. I have learned what my body requires and what happens when I break the rules.

But on the other hand; I am still here and even though my golf game stinks, I can still walk 18 holes of golf at 72.

Hang in there and have patience it does get better.

Best Regards,

Paul

Frankjw1964's picture
Frankjw1964
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2020

Thank you so much for the information, I was concerned that maybe this wasn't normal and feared the worse even though my doctors tell me Im doing great. I need to eat more like you and drink more water. 

My golf game stinks to lol

 

tanseyj's picture
tanseyj
Posts: 16
Joined: Aug 2015

Had the operation on March 16th, 2016 after being found cancer free. This is my webpage of my '2 Year Battle'!     http://thetanseys.webs.com/Cancer%20Update.htm       Many pics and anecdotes about my life! Updates from my FB page of my cancer! Lot's of people read this if they have cancer and/or know someone else to read it. Esophageal Cancer can be placed in remission, or at least for the moment? I was refused the operation in March 2014 because of a tiny malignancy in my armpit, not a lymph node. One year later, canacer was gone due to radiation and chemo and more chemo. Unable to eat as radiation had blocked my esophagus. Had a stent put in esophagus after balloon failed to dilate. Couple of weeks later stent slipped and I was coughing up blood. Airlifted to Banner Univ Hospital in Tucson. Stent removed! Tried to get it back in with clamp but doc refused at last minute and tried to dilate it again without any success. Then the operation! Wen't well but still could not eat as throat muscels refused to work? Speech Therapy for 2 months and finally able to eat! Wonderful to eat after not being able to eat or sip water for over a year and a half! Survivors are rare. My cancer had dissappeared before the operation. There is hope! Never give up! Keep optimistic and treat life with a lot of humor. It was 'hell' for 2 years! J-Tube after the op for several months. Feeding  with Two Cal HN for hours during the night. Only thing I could eat or drink. Now bowling and playing softball again at age 75! Still down about 40 pounds. My motto has always been: Cancer is not a death sentence. . . It is a will to live! I am originally from Leominster, MA and now live in Sierra Vista, AZ. Served in the US Alir Force from Oct 1960 to Apr 1965, 4 years in England. 

nehagill's picture
nehagill
Posts: 26
Joined: Nov 2019

I believe most of us here have had surgical removal of the oesophagus and a large part of stomach for removal of the cancer. All I wish to know here is how are you guys coping up with the post operative changes? How is food and what are the precautions? How does it feel to not gulp food and has the capacity of the stomach reduced?

 

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