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esophagus cancer and trouble with it closing up after surgery

Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2012

My sister had esophagus cancer. She had surgery about a year ago. They took out part of the esophagus and took half of her stomach and pulled it up the remaining esophagus. Long story short. She has been having problems with the esophagus closing up on her. She has alot of scar tissue which was cause after her surgery and she had got ARDS after the surgery and was on a ventilator and in ICU for 2 months. On plenty of meds as well. Long story short again, she pulled through but eatting is a issue and she has had 10 or more stretches since being out of the hospital since May. For some reason it keeps closing up to 8 to 10mm in size. It only last for about a week and then in the second week she is really havin problems. My question is this pretty common or does anyone have any suggestions on what she might be able to try. They told her at one point she wouldnt have any acid. Yet experiences it at times. The new doc told her to try prevacid. I was wondering if it would help with imflammation at all. How is she suppose to heal this scar tissue if they keep doin these stretches? Any info would help.

tcaba's picture
Posts: 41
Joined: Nov 2012

I too have a large amount of scar tissue that interferes with swallowing. At the worst I was about 8mm and will have another stretch in 8 days which will be my third in two months followed by up to two more. I take Protonix twice a day. My doc has never mentioned it but I will discuss with him the possibility of a stent. However I do not know if I am a candidate for that. Best of luck to your sister. Keep us posted.

Btw, my surgery was December 2010 and I started having problems about 6 months ago.

Posts: 15
Joined: May 2012

My husband had surgery in April. He has had one stretch, which didn't seem to help at all. He also has a lot of acid, and is taking an offbrand of Nexium. (Nexium was $180) It does not seem to help a bit. He takes excedrin and Lortabs for the pain. Cough drops soothe his throat a lot. He eats those more than anything. Tums helps his stomach (formerly, his small intestine) a little.

sandy1943's picture
Posts: 883
Joined: Jun 2010

I had my surgery 41/2 yrs ago and had several stretches. The last one was a year ago and even though not completely open it is better. I opt not to have another stretch for now.I do have an occasional problem with food sticking but I'm just not ready for a stretch. My doctor told me it was important to keep the acid down, because it would cause irritation which causes the esophagus to close.
I take OTC omeprazole in the morning, An extra strength Zantac at night and tums when I do get reflux. I buy store brand (Walmart) which saves a lot of money and I have found them to work for me as good as anything.
I don't understand her being told she wouldn't have acid. The surgery takes away the flap in the esophagus that keeps acid from coming up.
It's also very important to sleep elevated at night. This will also help with the acid coming up and causing irritation.

Posts: 22
Joined: Nov 2009

I had an Ivor Lewis Esophagetemy in July 2010. In the 9 months that followed I had a persisent benign stricture that would cause my throat to close up completely every 3 weeks. In that 9 month period I had 8 dilations, 6 stents, and 10 laser ablations. It was tough. Finally I met with a new surgeon - Dr Shanda Blackmon at MD Anderson in Houston who performed a second esophagetemy called a Superchaged Jejunum esophagetemy. I had that in November of 2011 and have not had any issues since then.

In my original esophagetemy I had about 1/2 of my stomach and 1/2 of my esophegus removed. With the supercharged procedure I have 10% of my stomach left but my throat and esophagus are directly connected bypassing my stomach.

Recovery has been a longer road then I anticipated but I am recovering none-the-less! 

Ucsf_smile's picture
Posts: 81
Joined: Sep 2011

It seemed like me mom needed stretches/dialations at least every 3-6 weeks.  At the time this really concerned me because I read of folks on here that only had stretches a few times a year.  I never brought up my concern because the stretches seemed easy...and I didn't want to stress her out.  It really didn't have an impact on her overall health in general.

tcaba's picture
Posts: 41
Joined: Nov 2012

I had my 4th stretch last week. Different from the 1st two was injection of steroids in the scar tissue. Doc explained that the steroids tended to make the stretch last longer.  Length of time is unknown although he did say his hope is to only have tostretch once or twice a year. I can tell you that I can tell a difference so we'll wait and see. Hopefully a long time.

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