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Some good news

Posts: 120
Joined: Jun 2012

For those who have recently lost loved ones, or gotten some not such good news, my thoughts are with you. EC is such a tricky cancer, and so many times it out smarts our best efforts. But for now, we (Dave and I) have beaten back the ole SOB... :)

Dave's PET scan came back and his medical oncologist said this is one of the best he's seen with Stage III EC. No mets to any place else, and the tumor has responded beautifully to the chemo and radiation. For those of you just starting out, yes it is hell, no two ways about it, but the outcome is so worth it. Dave had 4 weeks of continous 5FU, and then oxaliplatin on alternate Thursdays. Oh and a course of radiation 5x a week for 5 weeks. It would have brough me to my knees, but he was a trooper and perserved. So for Kristin, whose dad is at Hopkins right now, please be sure to tell your dad that this is do-able!

Our next hurdle is surgery, and we know that is a big one, but with a surgeon like Dr. Yang who is such an expert in EC, we feel that we are in the very best hands. I know William always touted the MIE, but the way Dr. Yang does the THE, its an incision from the sternum down to the belly button, and then one in the neck below the collar bone. Not too bad... I will pass this along from Dr. Hales, Dave's radiation oncologist. When Dave asked his opinion on the MIE vs the THE, Hales was in favor of the THE. He prefers a wide open viewing field, and likened the MIE to the old "Operation" game where you have such a narrow operating field. We just found that humourous. And he was not dissing the MIE, said he's seen great results with it, but his preference was for teh THE. But that's the beauty of having all these excellent centers and doctors to chose from, you can choose what is best for you.

Thanks for letting me share. And I especially wanted to give encouragment to those just starting out. In the beginning of June of this year I thought we'd never get through the chemo and radiation, and we did. You will too.

paul61's picture
Posts: 1250
Joined: Apr 2010

There has certainly been a lot of discussion on our board about the best approach for esophagectomy with gastric pull up. From a patient's perspective; the MIE seems to provide the best recovery profile in terms of time to leave the hospital, and time to recover. From a surgeon's perspective; it seems that a more open field and the ability to actually touch the organs involved, seems to be their preference.

You are certainly right; at the end of the day, you have to go with a surgeon and a facility that gives Dave a feeling of confidence.

I do know one thing though; the very "best" operation is one that provides clear margins, no leaks, and extracts enough lymph nodes to insure that metastasis is not an issue post surgery.

It looks like things are moving along just as they should for Dave and he is in a great position to have a successful surgery.

Sounds like great news!!!!

Best Regards,

Paul Adams
Grand Blanc, Michigan

DX 10/22/2009 T2N1M0 Stage IIB
12/03/2009 Ivor Lewis
2/8 through 6/14/2010 Adjuvant Chemo Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
Two year survivor

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

sandy1943's picture
Posts: 883
Joined: Jun 2010

Great news on Daves Scan.
We've had a lot of different surgeries on here. I would never knock mine (Ivor Lewis) because, even with the long recovery, I am doing good.
I'm the only one I know that didn't have rad. I'll let you know a few years from now ( ha, ha) if that was the right treatment. I did trust my doctor completely . He is a very well known thoracic surgeon. When I have an appointment with him tuesday, I am going to ask him if he does the mie or The.
You're so right, the treatment is so rough, but it is worth it .

Posts: 665
Joined: May 2010

Glad Dave got great news. On to the operation. Another milestone in the making. Very excited for you. As Paul says, a successful operation is the best operation.


Josie60's picture
Posts: 81
Joined: Jul 2012

As said each surgeon has their choice. I was stage 3 with multiple lymph nodes involved.When I asked my surgeon why THE vs MIE, he felt that research was showing less leak issues. The surgery is a bit tough for recovery and I've had some setbacks but after 12 weeks the incisions are healed and I am able to do some of my normal activities.

I did just found out that even though pathology report after showed the cancer cells were dead, a needle biopsy showed cancer in some lymph nodes up by my collarbone at the incision site. So Monday I go back to the oncologist then get a PET scan and develop or plan for round 2 of chemo.

Good luck

Posts: 53
Joined: Aug 2010

Must say after reading about your surgeon you are in great hands. He is doing the same as Nino's doctor did. More nodes get removed, surgery is not that bad as some make it out to be. The rib cage is not broke which is a plus. Nino was in the hospital for 10 days only because he pushed himself to hard with over doing walking. You have to walk but you have to know your limits and not push it.
I have read lots about the different surgeries and after having open heart surgery myself where my rib cage was broken but my cut was not any larger from neck down to just below my breast as the THE cut from sternum down to the belly button is, Nino actually healed faster then I did. He also could lift and do lots more then I was able to do sooner after surgery.
Also I feel the difference in the MIE and the THE is how much cancer is there and how much do they have to remove??? As I have posted before "INDIVIDUAL" means a lot as far as why a great surgeon may pick THE over MIE or vice verse. In the long run it is YOUR CHOICE the PATIENT to decide. If you have any doubts with what your surgeon plans then get a 2nd opinion. We went with the knowledge we had great doctors who gave us all the options and gave their choice for what they felt was best for us and why. Great to have a team of doctors who answer all your questions and listen to any concerns you have plus give you the best they have to offer.

captdave's picture
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

Great news! The surgeon makes all the difference no matter which procedure is chosen. It sounds like Dave is in great hands. I had the THE in January and had a very successful outcome. The only complication I had was I got up to speed to fast and ended up with an incisional hernia which had to be repaired in June and that repair took as long to recover from before I was cleared to work as the THE. So please tell Dave to take it slow and easy and not jump into things to fast after his surgery.


Posts: 24
Joined: May 2012

Surgery at University of Michigan. Clean margins and 0/8 lymph nodes showed cancer. Biggest problem so far is re-learning to eat. Recovery is slow but managable.

Posts: 74
Joined: Jul 2012

Had some relatively good news myself last week - likewise responded well to chemo & some liver spots disappeared, and the mothership tumour shrunk a bit. Not gone, and still stage 4, but the prognosis is that I'm being prolonged a few months. Funny feeling that. Not sure what to do with them - although have already started booking Christmas in Hanoi & Halong Bay - that's a start I guess.

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