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Dad and esophageal cancer...

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi my name is Shar I am now taking care of my dad after his surgery. My dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last sept. and had done chemo up to Nov. My dad had his esophagogastrectomy, with regional lymph node dissection. I got his pathology report and really don't understand it much. Dr. did say after surgery that it does not look like it spread anyway else, but later said it was in 4 of the 24 lymph nodes (3/9 paraesophageal lunmph nodes and 1/15 gastric lymph nodes) Absent of carcinoma at the proximal and distal surgical margins, however, tumore is present at the inked radial margin. Tumor was 2x1.6cm And Dr. said that he would have to go back to the oncologist for more chemo. :(

My dad did ok with the surgery , was in ICU for three days on morphine and all the tubes. Day 4 was stepped down to another room with drain tubes still in. My dad has a large incision about 8 in on his stomach, a small incision on his side about 3 in, and a incision on his back about 10 in. I was told they had to inflat his lung during surgery. After 10 days dad was discharged from hospital with no tubes, he was home for Christmas : ) But the day before New Years Eve he was admitted back into hosp. because his back incision was infected and Dr. did not like the way he looked, it turned out he had a touch on phenomia , he was back on IV and antibiotics and stay in there for 4 days.

He is now home with me and still not eating much at all, his dr. said that he will not have any appetite until 6 weeks and after 6 weeks it will come back, and he will lose weight, he really doen't have much more left, probably down to 120lbs. He said not to push food so much but do push the liquids, and breathing machine.

My dad is on percocet, which is drying him out, and has tried to not take it but then gets to irritable and achy. So now he is on 1/2 of 5 mg in the morning and half at night. Most of the pain was his rib pain where they cut in surgery.

I just feel helpless, because I cant help him as much as I would like. I keep trying to give him something I think he would like , my fridge is stocked with all this stuff and he wont eat any of it but morsels. So now I am just pushing the liquids. he is going on week 4 post op. I can see he gets depressed at times. My dad is 76yrs. and a fighter, infact, he remodled his bathroom inbetween chemo and his surgery, and told me that he would be fine after 3 days after surgery, he brought his keys to the hospital incase he wanted to drive home, I told him that it was fine to be optimistic, but, don't be surprised if he was staying with me for a couple of weeks afterwards.

I don't know what my question is exactly , but I guess I want to know if I am doing everything I can for him. They never gave me a stage for his cancer, don't know if that is good or bad. : / I know somewhat about cancer and chemo since I was diagnosed with Breast cancer 10 yrs ago and had a lumphectomy and chemo/rads. But I don't think that even compairs to what he is going through.

Posts: 161
Joined: Nov 2009


Nobody wants to welcome anyone to this side. But we are all here and what a great support system this is!

Sounds to me that you are doing what you can do. SUPPORT!!! BE there for him which you are. He will be eating a little amt for a while.

My name is Tina, I too am a caregiver for my dad who is 56.
This all came so fast for us.
November went for his scope, was told he needed a resection. Met with suregon december 3rd and they told him he had EC and need surgery. Told him that they may close him back up once in there and he may recieve chemo first. But on the 7th of december they did the surgery. 12 hrs of it.
Recovery was going great! He was walking, out shopping, felt great! Then he got a fever and his drainage was brown in his tube. Which ment a leak.

Back to the ER and they had to operate again due to a leak that went unnoticed infected his body, they had to flush him out and insert two chest tubes. spent christmas in the hospital and came home the day after. This time around its taking him a while to get to where he was feeling before..

He goes back to the dr tomorrow to see if the leak is healed then he will have some food hopefully he wants to eat so badly! he is on his J tube nitely and is taking in 1000 cal. then any more his stomach hurts.

We were not told the staging either.

My Aunt who is a Chemo RN said its more likely a III. 4 out of 20 lymph nodes came back positive.. I too dont have any clue what that means and I was going too ask that on here.

My aunt thinks this because he was able to have the surgery. They did tell him surgery may not happen they would insert a port and he would go for chemo. But that wasnt the case. The cancer did not spread anywhere either just where the tumor was and to the 4 L.N.

Please ask any questions

Prayer to you and your dad
God bless,

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1566
Joined: Nov 2009

Hey Shar,
Yes, welcome to this wonderful site. This is the best place for support, info, and therapy.
I have been here since Nov 2009.I am so glad that I found this site. Thank you ACS!
My name is also Tina. I am a caregiver for my 70 year old dad, Ray. He has survived ec. It has now spread to his liver. He too spent 8 days in the hospital. Got home the day before Christmas. He had a blocked bile duct in his liver. So much pain in his right side, he could not stand it. He became jaundice. Dr said......you are going to the hospital now. He had to have a stent put into his esophagus because it was closed up with scar tissue, and a stent in the blocked bile duct. Now we have to fight the liver cancer. As long as treatment is available, you and your dad must keep fighting. You can not give up until the drs do.

Enough about us....you are doing a wonderful job. You are a great caregiver. You are doing the best that you can. Your dad will eat as much as he can, when he is able to. There is also the option of the feeding tube. As long as he is staying hydrated, he will be ok. Make sure he keeps getting checked, and have his blood check. A lot of the time they become anemic.

Prayers are being said right now for you and your dad. Please come to this site each day. Keep us posted. We dont want to have to worry about you too! Keep it up, stay strong, keep the faith. My strong faith has kept me going for sure.


Posts: 252
Joined: Mar 2009


I'm Erika, my dad is 70, stage 4 and inoperable. My mom is his main caregiver. They live close by and I follow everything VERY closely. I try to research everything when it comes to what they want to do for him. At this time, he's receiving Taxotere and nothing else. He has a stent in his esophagus and a lot pain. He's had 2 blood transfusions. It's a long hard process. This is a wonderful site with a lot of great information and people have a lot of advice to offer. Hang in there, stay strong and keep your faith!!!


K_ann1015's picture
Posts: 555
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Shar,
First off--you are doing a great thing by helping out your dad!!!!

I would definitely have contact numbers in hand for the oncologist or other Dr you feel comfortable with. I would call that Dr office with questions! If you think it is a silly question and it's not urgent---write it down and save for the next day---but really they won't (or shouldn't) mind. I think actually if you ask MORE questions--they actually start seeing the patient as a real person!

My dad had the surgery at Duke 12/7---I knew the surgery would be a huge deal and challenge to overcome, but I think he thought he was going to be ALL healed after the surgery! HE is eating some food and has night time tube feedings--but we are worried about his weight. He did recover very well and had a great pathology report, but is now not eating well either. I think having a variety of flavor options (maybe only a few at each mini meal-so he doesn't get overwhelmed) will help... My dad's taste buds are not doing well--assuming that is due to chemo...cant complain since chem did it's job!

I think your dad's surgery was much more extensive than my dad's--so he will be sore for quite a while// It is hard to say what is "normal" at this point. My dad like your is a fighter-but right now he doesnt have as much fight.. I think chemo. nutrition, pain and total upheaval in his life is working together to make my mom & dad overwhelmed.

I am trying to find ways right now to give him that spark in live again--but I think we need to e patient---I think we should keep in touch


mumphy's picture
Posts: 486
Joined: Jun 2009


I have been on the same side you are also, My husband was diagnosed in May with stage IV EC
We went through the chemo thing and then he had his esophagectomy in Oct. He just now starting to be able to eat things that he wasn't able to before his surgery. He sometimes has mucous build up which is nasty when he has to spit it up but they say that it is just part of the healing process.

There are many of us on this site who have either had surgery or are unable to have surgery.

We all have one thing in common EC so you have come to the right place. We all help each other
and try to answer each others questions. We are not Dr.s but as a patient of caregiver we
have pretty much seen or done most if not all of it.

Hope your dad starts to feel better it will take time, but little by little you will notice
him becoming himself again.

God Bless,
Kath aka Mumphy

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