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Problem drinking

wilsontrees's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2009

My husband Jim had his esophagectomy on August 10th....He was stage 1, so we are extremely grateful to be among the few diagnosed so early. Since that time, he has battled a persistent thrush infection, and is finally over that. Last week was a milestone, as we ate dinner together for the first time in two months. He was able to eat pot roast and keep it all down. His J tube is still in, although he is hoping to remove it in a day or two. He has not been using it for the last five days or so, and has kept it in as an emergency back-up, if it is needed.

Jim is a big man, about 6'5", and has lost 45 pounds. We are tracking his caloric intake carefully (to keep it up). We own a wholesale nursery, and he has been going out for a few hours to help with the fall inventory, and check on our crews.

The problem now is that he is very weak and tired. I feel that this stems from dehydration. He has great difficulty drinking fluids. A small glass of juice or water gives him trouble, and he says that it physically bothers him to swallow. For some reason milk is a little easier for him. When he had thrush, he relied on herbal tea, but has not tried that yet. Yesterday for the first time in weeks he did not have soup as any of his meals, so my thinking is that he is not getting enough fluids. The glass of juice he poured last night that contained about 4 oz. still has about 3 oz. in it..... He can eat my homemade pumpkin bread, chicken, eggs, you name it, but liquids are near impossible for him.

Does anyone have any insight or tips? He's sleeping now at 9:00 in the morning, after sleeping all night, and has barely moved from his recliner, other than to eat a slice of the afore-mentioned pumpkin bread. I'm about ready to call the nurse! He says he will just go back to tube feeding, but it seems that since he's eating so well, he should stick with his original plan and get ready to jettison it.


mumphy's picture
Posts: 486
Joined: Jun 2009

Nice to meet you

I don't know the whole situation but I would call the nurse or Dr. just to be safe. If
he has been able to dring in the past then this should be checked into.

It can't hurt.


Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2009

Tell him to stick with it. My dad has not taken anything by mouth for over 8 months and is now paying dearly for it. His tumor is dead but he is not operable until he gets stronger. His swallowing problems are all in his head. We've had it checked out various ways and through various tests. Try him on Ensure or Boost, whatever flavor he likes. Also, V8 has fruit flavor's which will give him the nutrition and vitamins and minerals. My story is under HELP!!!....
The speech therapists are now trying to teach him to learn to swallow again. Of course, he's 77 and has gone from 230lbs to 171. If he can eat food, that's great. Just try him on liquids that have a little more substance to them like milk shakes, etc. I'm just the daughter of a cancer patient but have been caring for him w/my mother for the last 8 months day in and day out....
Hope this helps as you don't want him dehydrated...also watch his salt levels...he may need MORE salt to keep whatever liquids or nutrition in him longer. This too can cause weakness and lethargy.

Kenem's picture
Posts: 21
Joined: Oct 2009

What symptoms prompted the initial endoscopy?

wilsontrees's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2009

Jim had acid reflux, and he was always clearing his throat. Many nights he would go into another room and sleep in a recliner. The pepcid just wasn't doing the trick. When he was scheduled for his colonoscopy, his doctor suggested that if they were going in one end, they might as well go in the other on the same day. (Thank you so much, Dr. Bryan Peterson!!)

The surgeon saw abnormalities, and sent the tissue out for testing. Jim was then fast-tracked with recommendations to either Mayo or the University of Minnesota. He opted for the U of M. Since then, we have urged anyone with a history of acid reflux to be aware and to check with their physicians. As I said, we are so extremely grateful to catch this in an early stage. We realize most are not so fortunate, and that is why we are on a mission to educate our friends and family.

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