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A Diagnosis with Esophageal Cancer

Share Your Story: My Journey with Esophageal Cancer

By Dayle Greer

Updated May 19, 2011

When Were You Diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer?

June 2010

What Symptoms Did You Have Before Being Diagnosed?

Cough and difficult swallowing

Which Tests Did You Undergo?

Scope and biopsy, CT and MRI

How Has Treatment Affected Your Day-To-Day Life?

This is about my 78 year old husband. He underwent 6 sessions of chemo and 38 radiation treatments. He was unable to eat toward the end of the radiation treatments and had to be hospitalized for a month and fed through his live port about 2 weeks of that time. This feeding caused diabetes and he was on insulin while in the hospital. He was also on strong pain medications for several months which affected his mental abilities and made his extremely sleepy. He has been in the hospital 7 times thus far from the effects of the treatments. He also had to go to a more specialized hospital and have his esophagus stretched twice so that he could eat solid food as he was on a strictly liquid diet for about 6 weeks. He once had a piece of food get stuck in his esophagus and had to go to the E.R. and have the doctor remove it. During his recuperation he had great difficulty walking and fell often. He ended up having a couple of TIA strokes which may be the result of all the falls and hitting his head often. He is currently in a rest home undergoing intensive physical therapy so that he can regain his balance and walk again. He still has difficulty eating and must take small bites and chew them extremely well. He also has to take a medication to remove the phlegm from his throat or he can't swallow food. His life has been turned completely upside down during this past 10 months and his quality of life has been very poor a good part of the time. Tests do show though that the cancer is completely gone and he now has a very positive attitude and is motivated to regain his strength so that he can enjoy a more normal life.

Advice

  • My primary suggestion would be that a person diagnosed with esophageal cancer get more than one opinion. There are several options for treatment depending on the severity of the disease. See more than one specialist and then take an active roll in deciding which course of treatment to follow.

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