My Husband's Experience With Esophageal Cancer and Esophagectomy

Updated on April 2, 2020
Blond Logic profile image

In 2018, my husband was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Through my articles, I share information about the treatment he received.

Surgery for Esophageal Cancer
Surgery for Esophageal Cancer | Source

In September 2018, my husband, Ian, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. I would like to share with you some of the things he went through with an aim at helping you understand what you or a loved one might expect if this happens in your family.

This article in no way should be considered medical advice, and I encourage you to go to the doctor straight away if you are at all concerned about the possibility that you may have this.

Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer

The initial symptom my husband had was difficulty swallowing. He felt as though there was something possibly stuck in his throat.

At first, he didn't experience this all the time. He thought it might just be allergies, a sore throat, build-up of phlegm, or something that just hadn't gone down completely. He would eat, but not all the food would pass into the stomach. Most of it would be brought up again.

It wasn't only the swallowing. There was a lot of spitting of clear but very thick phlegm and mucus. Again, this didn't happen all the time, and some days were better than others, although this progressively became worse.

In addition, because of growing pain in his back, he had problems sitting for long periods of time.

These symptoms persisted for about four months, slowly worsening. My husband only decided to seek treatment when, one day, he found that he could no longer swallow water. He also realized he had lost a good amount of weight due to the problems with swallowing.

Possible Causes of Esophageal Cancer

Although the causes vary slightly between medical sites, according to the NHS, these are the most common:

  • Persistent gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD in the US, or GORD in the UK)
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having an unhealthy diet that's low in fruit and vegetables.

Preliminary Tests and Worsening Symptoms

We went to our local 24-hour hospital, and the doctor told us Ian would need an endoscopy as a matter of urgency. Where we live in Brazil, this procedure isn't offered locally, so we had to take a taxi to the state's capital (about 50 miles away), where he was able to get an endoscopy as well as a biopsy.

With the images from the endoscopy, we returned to the walk-in clinic. The doctor told him she was very concerned and instructed him to go home, pack a bag with personal hygiene products, and return in the afternoon. Her plan was to admit him into the hospital ASAP, but that wasn't to be. He arrived home in a taxi the following day. The doctor had arranged an appointment with a digestive surgeon.

At home, Ian was able to eat some food and drink some liquids, but the doctor had said to avoid products that would cause him to produce more phlegm.

Often, when he brought food up, it would be encased in a thick wad of mucus. It was as though a large lump of mucus was sitting in the esophagus, not letting anything pass. Once the majority of that was cleared, he could get some food in.

The lack of food and growing cancer caused him to have an awful taste in his mouth. It smelled foul and made anything he tried to eat taste bad. When it wasn't a thick phlegm, it was nasty tasting froth and foam. Wherever he sat, he needed a bucket to spit in. This, too, began to stink, so we found that filling it partly with water helped. I tried putting a little soap powder or bleach in it, but he found the smell made him nauseous.

CT Scan
CT Scan | Source

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Before he saw the surgeon, Ian had to have a CT scan, another endoscopy, and some blood tests. Based on the results form these tests, the consultant surgeon told Ian he had esophageal cancer and said that treatment would have to start very soon. Although the doctor told him he was otherwise in good health for his age—he was 67 at the time—without the surgery, Ian would have about six months to live.

Radiation Therapy, Chemotherapy, and Esophagectomy

My husband's plan of treatment for esophageal cancer began with radiation therapy and chemotherapy to shrink the tumor followed by surgery.

If you don't think your life can be put on hold, it can. Everything began revolving around those appointments.

Radiation Therapy and the Toll It Takes

In the second week of October, we had an appointment with the radiation consultant. Looking at the latest endoscopy results, he noted that the cancer appeared not to have spread. He said there was an 80% success rate with radiation therapy. Our hopes were immediately lifted because we had read on the British National Health Service website that the odds were closer to a 12% survival rate after five years. The survival rate depends on the age and general health of the patient. Ian, although 67, had been physically active all his life.

This clinic was also far from where we lived, so we had to take a taxi an hour each way, every day for the five weeks of radiation therapy. All this traveling tired Ian out. The actual therapy session is very short—only about 10 minutes—but the waiting time can get pretty long, depending on what time you arrive at the clinic and how far you are down the waiting list.

Difficulty Eating and Malnutrition

The chemotherapy didn't start the same week, and Ian was getting weaker and weaker. At the clinic we saw emaciated people with nasogastric feeding tubes, Ian was adamant about not wanting this. In the end, he had to have a feeding tube inserted because the cancerous growth and the mucus build-up it caused, were preventing him from eating enough. To be clear, he had to be robust enough to survive not only the chemotherapy, but the surgery after it.

Inserting a Nasogastric Tube

The feeding tube insertion wasn't straightforward because of how narrow the opening had become. The first attempt wasn't successful, so the procedure had to be done with the help of an X-ray. For this, Ian was put to sleep. They had to use a size 3 tube—the size normally used for toddlers. This was the longest and most traumatic day we had. We left our house early in the morning, when it was still dark, and returned home at about 8 pm.

I had never seen anyone malnourished before—his weight had fallen to 58kg (128lbs). The doctor explained that the listlessness and constant fatigue was more a result of the lack of food than the effects of cancer. The doctor sent us home with two bottles of liquid food to be used with the nasal feeding tube, instructing us to only use what was on his prescription. Within three days, Ian's health improved. He went from being a zombie back to his old self.

How to Use a Nasogastric Tube

A blockage in the tube would cause a big problem, so everything needed to be kept hygienic. I had to clean the syringes used to administer the liquid food with filtered, boiled water with a small amount of bleach. For the tube itself, I had to flush it with 20 ml of bottled water before and after administering the liquid food.

Our Liquid Food of Choice

After the doctor's prescription ran out, our nutritionist told us to get Iso Source by Nestle (below). This was the only nourishment Ian had for nearly three months. He was suppose to take 300 ml of Iso Source, six times a day. This meant feeding every three hours. The liquid had to be taken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before feeding to warm up slightly. This was injected slowly into the nasal feeding tube.

Nestle Iso Source Liquid Food

Isosource 1.5 Cal Unflavored/375/250 ml/ 24 Per Case
Isosource 1.5 Cal Unflavored/375/250 ml/ 24 Per Case
This is the same product my husband used for three months while he was undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. This was his only nourishment during that time. Even after the treatment sessions, the surgeon told us to continue drinking it as a supplement because it was high in calories and key nutrients.
 

Chemotherapy

Ian's chemotherapy began in his third week of radiation therapy. Every Monday, he had chemotherapy in the morning and radiation therapy in the afternoon. The first session of chemotherapy didn't hit him until two days later, when he became very nauseous and stayed in bed. The doctor prescribed medications to help with the nausea, vomiting, constipation and/or diarrhea. Ian refused the nausea medication, but a couple of days later, he ended up needing it. However, he said it gave him diarrhea.

When the second chemotherapy and radiation session came around, Ian didn't want to go but had to, in the end. During every taxi ride, Ian tried to sleep. He had a small pillow behind his head, a washcloth, and a bag for the spitting up mucus. After returning home, he said he wouldn't be going back for any more treatments. He felt so ill from them.

Preparing for the Esophagectomy

Around the middle of November, I informed the doctors of Ian's decision to go ahead with the surgery. For the next month, he barely left the bedroom, urinating in a bucket at his bedside. He only sat up when it was time to have his liquid food injected into the feeding tube.

We had an appointment with the consultant surgeon in the middle of December. The surgeon told Ian he could try eating again but that the feeding tube should stay in until after the surgery. The radiation therapy and chemotherapy had reduced the size of the tumor enough to allow some food to pass—even with the tube in place.

He also said it was important that the surgery be completed within two months after the end of the chemotherapy and radiation. The clock was ticking as already a month had passed, and we were coming into the holiday season.

To prep for the surgery, the doctor told us to get a pre- and post-operative drink called Impact by Nestle (below) to to strengthen the immune system aid with recovery. He suggested drinking three cartons a day for the two weeks before and the two weeks after surgery. This was not within our budget, but we bought 52 cartons, which would equate to two cartons per day pre- and post-surgery.

When we left the office, Ian felt positive. He was given the okay to eat and had a tentative date in January for the operation. Our first stop was a gas station, where he bought a Snickers bar and potato chips.

Nestle Impact Recovery

IMPACT Advanced Recovery® Immunonutrition Drink Vanilla 6 fl oz Box 15 Pack
IMPACT Advanced Recovery® Immunonutrition Drink Vanilla 6 fl oz Box 15 Pack
The chief surgeon suggested my husband drink this nutritional boost three times a day for two weeks before surgery and two weeks after. He the benefits are remarkable, and the results were documented in The Lancet Medical Journal. It's supposed to help boost his immunity to fight off potential infections and aid in his overall recovery.
 
Click thumbnail to view full-size

Esophagectomy

Our next appointment was in the middle of January to confirm the surgery and speak to one of the surgeons. There were three surgeons who would be operating. Ian's surgery was scheduled for the 21st of January. He was admitted the day before, when I was told he would need a companion. In Brazil, if a patient is older than 60, they need a companion with them around the clock. After he came out of the ICU, I then stayed.

The esophagus was removed and the stomach stretched up and stitched near the base of the neck, where there is now a 4-inch scar. He also had a row of incisions in the abdomen—one at the base of the sternum and some on his back. In total, there were 12 incisions. Two of those were for the drains that were on the sides of his back. There was a lot of fluid that needed to be expelled to reduce the chance of pneumonia. These drains caused him a lot of pain. The pain was keeping him from sleeping, which, in turn, slowed the healing.

The physical therapist came twice a day to try and get him to walk up the corridor and do breathing exercises. The lack of sleep and the pain made exercising very difficult. It was a catch 22—he would heal faster if he got up and moved around, but doing so created more pain.

When the first drain came out, it greatly reduced the pain he was having and allowed him some comfort for resting. The final drain came out the day we left the hospital.

In total, Ian was in the hospital for 12 days.

Post surgery at home
Post surgery at home | Source

The Importance of a Good Support System

Although the doctors and nurses treat the patient, it's left to the caregiver to do the rest. If this is something you are planning on shouldering on your own, I would strongly suggest you have a support system. Although I had no one here, I was able to speak to my sisters and cousin. The patient will experience mood swings during this time, and the burden of responsibility for virtually everything will shift to you the caregiver.

Iso Source and Impact by Nestle
Iso Source and Impact by Nestle | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Mary Wickison

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      3 weeks ago from Brazil

      Hi Cecilia,

      A friend had mentioned the use of hemp oil, but I don't believe it is readily available here. From what I've read, regarding it here in Brazil, it is only poor quality and expensive. There is a push here to allow farmers to grow it for medicinal purposes. However, this is very recent and the market hasn't caught up.

      We are managing the pain with tramadol drops and paracetamol and will move to morphine as the pain worsens.

      Massaging his back lightly also helps with the pain. Also to minimize bedsores he is trying to alternate how he lays.

      I mentioned the need for oral care and he is brushing his teeth more frequently. However he is getting a build up of what I believe are tonsil stones (although he has no tonsils) on the feeding tube and in his throat. This is only an annoyance for him, in the whole scheme of things though. I have read about gargling with salt water but he is worried about choking. I suggested a salt water rinse for the mouth but he is rather dismissive of this as an idea.

      We are falling into a routine that seems to be working at the moment. I know things will progressively worsen but feel able to cope with it.

      Thanks for your help.

    • profile image

      Cecilia Santiago 

      4 weeks ago

      Hi Mary,

      Sorry for my late reply. Hope the last 2 weeks have given you more positives than otherwise.

      Wondering if you have had a chance to speak to your local doctor about the benefits of hemp oil for managing pain? I have only had the experience of using it with our dog who suffered a nasty spinal injury and it allowed him some sleep and comfort. Please ignore this if this suggestion is not appropriate.

      So sorry to hear that the palliative team are so far. Purely from a swallowing and voice perspective, I can only imagine the struggles your husband may be going through. If you haven't already, maintaining good oral hygiene is vital in ensuring an onset of a chest infection is kept at bay as best as possible. The other issue you may be dealing with is an extremely dry mouth which can be very off-putting resulting in a bad overall feeling (on your husband's part).

      I don't particularly want to be making suggestions or giving advise when it is not required. Just know that I would be happy to communicate with you for any help related to what I practise (at no cost) if you so needed it. I would always advise you run whatever suggestions received past your local doctor managing your husband's care.

      Keep well and best wishes.

      Sincerely, Cecilia.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      5 weeks ago from Brazil

      Hi Cecilia,

      We have been unable to go to the palliative care department which is about 70km away. The coronavirus has thrown many departments into chaos. We do have a health visitor who has brought me feeding bottles, syringes, and a wheel chair. Also the local doctors are sympathetic and will give me prescriptions without Ian needing to be present.

      The pain medication may prove problematic as just last week I had to go to 5 pharmacies before I could have a prescription filled. Because of the difficulty in swallowing we are using drops that I insert into the feeding tube. The doctor checked and not many companies make their pain medication in liquid. Because the benefit of pain medications is reduced the longer the patient needs it, I don't want to begin with morphine until the pain is much worse.

      What I didn't mention in this article, was four months after the initial surgery he had a diaphragmatic hernia and had emergency surgery. Following that surgery, he was unable to stand up straight as some vertebrae had collapsed. Sitting in a chair for any length of time became painful. One of his vocal chords became paralyzed towards the end of last year, and he can only speak in a whisper.

      Even if the cancer hadn't spread, the quality of life would have been poor.

      Thank you for your kind words.

    • profile image

      Cecilia Santiago 

      5 weeks ago

      Dear Mary,

      Thank you so much for penning all this down despite the journey you have been travelling over the past 18 months or more. I stumbled upon your article about making neem leaf tea as a pesticide and fell in love with how you write. I then started looking up other articles you have written.

      I was very sad to read this article of yours. I am a speech-language and swallowing therapist. Although we are not often referred patients with esophageal cancer, we sometimes are the ones who make the referral to the gastroenterologist as the signs and symptoms are different to that of someone with pharyngeal cancer or swallowing difficulties originating in the pharyx. Your article shed light on the early signs and symptoms and as such will definitely help others concerned by the same.

      Judging from your sequence of postings, Ian and you may still be receiving palliative care. I hope and pray this part of your journey is well supported. I will keep you both in prayer. Blessings to you and Ian.

      Warm wishes, Cecilia.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      3 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Rajan,

      Sadly he isn't going to recover. An inoperable cancer has reappeared.

      He was told he has 6 months to live if he doesn't have chemotherapy or maybe a year if he opts to undergo the treatment. He has declined the treatment.

      It is now about pain management and palliative care.

      Thank you for your kind words.

    • profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 months ago

      I hope your husband is getting healthier by the day after all the ordeal. A wonderful life partner can certainly make it a bit easier going through all this. My prayers for your husband's complete recovery soon and best wishes.

    • Carol Morris profile image

      Carol Morris 

      9 months ago

      I wish your husband a speedy recovery.

      Yes, the artical was very helpful. My mother has cancer and is undergoing chemo, so this was very informative and helpful. Thanks and stay strong.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      9 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Carol,

      There were further complications since writing the article. Four months after the surgery he had a hernia. This is one of the potential problems that could occur. He had to have emergency surgery and was in the hospital for another 2 weeks.

      Recovery is a long slow process with regular checkups.

      I hope the article was useful for you.

    • Carol Morris profile image

      Carol Morris 

      9 months ago

      Thanks for writing this hub. I hope your husband is doing well.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      13 months ago from Brazil

      Thank you for your prayers and kind words Linda.

      Ian has had a complication, four months after the operation.

      The intestines began to twist and push upwards into the diaphragm. This created liquid in the body cavity. I came home from shopping and found him unable to stand or move without pain. He was sweating profusely. We spent the night in the local emergency care hospital and the following day he was admitted to the University Hospital where the original surgery took place.

      This is not uncommon, the surgeon told me. This time it wasn't keyhole surgery but a long incision below the sternum past the navel.

      Recovery will take some time.

      Linda yes I do go out to the shops, and am outside most of the day. Being cooped up in the hospital for 2 weeks nearly drove us both crazy!

      It's all about priorities. Some tasks that seemed important, can wait.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      13 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary, I thought I was "following" you on HP, but discovered just today that I was not. Therefore I had not read this story until now. I knew of Ian's diagnosis but did not have all of the details. The two of you have been through such an ordeal. I am glad that you both have a team that you feel confident in and that you have a support system.

      I will continue to pray for you both. And Mary, I hope that you will be sure to take care of yourself as well. Ian needs you, but you can't be your best for him if you are exhausted or ill. Are you able to get away for a few hours? A time to go shopping, take a walk, or even a quiet time for meditation can do wonders for your spirit.

      Thank you for sharing your journey. I'm certain this will be of help to many other people. And, I'm also glad that you allowed us to know--there are many people here on HP who care about you. I do.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      13 months ago from Brazil

      Thank you Kimberly, it's much appreciated. I hoped the article would shed some light on what it's like to go through it.

    • KimberlyLake profile image

      Kimberly Lake 

      13 months ago from California

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I am sure it will help someone who is going through a similar experience. I will send prayers and good thoughts to you and your husband.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      13 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Rochelle,

      I am sorry to hear about your father and glad your aunt's recovering. Cancer makes life stop its normal routine.

      My husband is still recovering but doing more outside. His weight is increasing slowly. Food does not taste the same to him but apparently this is a common side effect.

      Thank you for reading and your comment.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      Rochelle Ann De Zoysa 

      13 months ago from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

      Hi Mary, I hope and pray that your husband get well soon.. I can understand how it might be affecting the whole family.. I have an aunt who is recovering from cancer and my dad died of lung cancer. Thankfully my dad didn't suffer that long, otherwise for him it would have been a nightmare as he was very active. We diagnosed that he has cancer a week before he passed away. It was very sad to see him bedridden, although I was sad to see him suffer in pain, I thanked God for taking him to His side and relieving him from pain. I hope that your hubby would get healed. Take care and may God bless you both!

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      15 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Mary, before something serious happen, people should be in contact with their doctors. Just by paying the doctor a short visiting, I think you've got to jaw-jaw for a short while. He or she can tell you what to do or not do as regards your health. I hope I make it clear here. Many thanks.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      15 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, I am noting. please. And, thank you.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Dianna,

      His recovery is taking longer than we thought. I think part of it is his age, he's 68. Plus because he was so active before, he gets agitated that he can't get up do what he wants.

      I hope if people feel their is something wrong, they'll seek medical advice quickly.

      Thank you for your good wishes.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      15 months ago

      Mary, I admire you and your husband for being such strong warriors through his experience. Your sharing will encourage those who are going through or may in the future have to deal with this cancer. So good to see how he has recovered and continuing to gain strength. Sending you hugs and prayers.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Shauna,

      As one of the local doctors explained it, although the cancer may be in one area, it can cause pain in another place. One night Ian was experiencing chest pains so we rushed back to the local hospital. They hooked him up to the heart monitor just to check everything was okay with his heart, it was. This was before we knew exactly what it was.

      I think not knowing is the worst part. Once we had a diagnosis, and a treatment plan in place you just have to trust in the process.

      The cancer was quite low down in the esophagus towards the stomach. In fact a portion of the stomach was removed. Then the remaining stomach was stretched up to fill the gap.

      The doctor said it could take 2 years to heal completely. Ian still has to rest but today was out on the farm with the brush cutter for a short time.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      15 months ago from Central Florida

      Mary, I'm so sorry to hear this. The two of you have been through a lot. How is Ian doing now? Is he eating and resting?

      I'm curious about the back pain he felt before he was actually diagnosed. How does esophagus cancer affect the back?

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      15 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Mary, "stubborn" "nagging", I giggle. What a nice couple you both are! The good news that his up and running is great. He has now learned a life lesson. Good for him as a human being. Have a great time on your farms.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Miebakagh,

      I agree with you he should have gone to see the doctor sooner. He calls himself independent, I call him stubborn! My suggestions (he would call it nagging) to go to the doctor were ignored.

      Daily working here on our farm has kept him physically fit and that helped him initially. However, his reluctance to have a feeding tube sooner meant he lost a lot of weight and became weaker.

      Eating fruits and vegetables are so important and we live in an area that is abundant, especially in fruits.

      This disease has forced him to make lifestyle changes.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      15 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Mary, if I realized that a health issue is complex at first, I straight way went to see my doctor. This will avoid complications later. I think your husband was a little late. But I am glad that at 65 years he was still and very physically active. This is his saving grace.

      Eating fruits and vegetables every day I think guarantee that we stay in optimum health. This significantly control the the body mass index. I am glad that your husband came out of the surgery and healthy. Thanks for sharing.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Dora,

      I think the earlier the better. In my opinion, men especially tend not to go soon enough. I honestly believe if my husband had seen a doctor sooner, he would have had a speedier recovery.

      I don't think we could have had a more caring team of doctors and nurses.

      Thank you for your kind words.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      15 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you for sharing this experience. You show us the importance on consulting the doctor when one is not sure what's happening. Happy that the process went well for you. Best to your husband and also to you, going forward.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      15 months ago from North Central Florida

      You are welcome

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Patricia,

      Some days are good and I think we've put the worse behind us. Then other days, he is fatigued and needs to lay down several times during the day.

      We've read this is normal but adjusting to life without an esophagus is taking its toll.

      Thank you for sending those angels our way.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      15 months ago from North Central Florida

      Hoping he is doing much better. Cancer takes families on a journey no one would willingly take. The more we know and understand the better able to deal with it we can be. Angels are headed to you and your husband.ps

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      15 months ago from Brazil

      I think the biggest fear for people is not knowing what's going to happen. I wouldn't wish this on anyone but hope that anyone about to go through it will gain a little understanding from our experiences.

      There are so many different doctors involved it can be overwhelming. The loss of control over what is happening is hard for people of a certain age but you've got to have faith that what they are doing is for the best.

      Thanks for your comment, and your prayer.

    • profile image

      RTalloni 

      15 months ago

      You've done such a good job in sharing this formidable situation in an article. Thank you for working to give others a real look at the difficulties of this disease's effects and of how perseverance helped you both go through the stages you've faced with this disease. Before posting this comment I am going to take time to pray for you both.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      15 months ago from Brazil

      Bill I don't know anyone whose life hasn't been affected by cancer either within their family or circle of friends.

      I agree with you, I hate it. It seems to rip the rug out from under your feet and you don't know how everything will land.

      I am looking for the lesson in this experience. It sums up as, 'don't sweat the small stuff'.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      15 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dammit, Mary! I hate cancer....hate it! I'm so sorry you are your husband are going through this....thank you for sharing your story,and may peace be your constant companion.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Flourish,

      I think this episode has really made me realize I need to return to the UK. Negotiating bureaucracy and the medical system in a language that isn't your native tongue is difficult. Sometimes it takes a sharp jolt like this to make people take action.

      The Brazilians are so kind and go out of their way to help. Everyone from the taxi driver who reduced his rates for us to our neighbors who looked after our house and animals during the time we had to stay at the hospital. It made me realize we didn't just move into a house, we moved into a community.

      I am hoping this year will be a positive one.

      Thanks for your comment and good wishes.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      15 months ago from USA

      I’m so sorry to hear about the diagnosis and struggles you and your husband have had to endure. It’s bad enough to have cancer but the thought of making that journey to get treatment is terrible. I certainly hope he continues to do well, and I hope you take care of yourself. It cannot be easy being a person’s sole caregiver in isolated circumstances.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Pamela,

      We are taking it one day at a time. He is slowly adding more food to his plate daily, and is able to do short bursts of activity here on our farm.

      It has been a dark time but hopefully we are over the worse.

      Esophageal cancer has touched many families, thanks for thinking of us.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      15 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Mary, I am so sorry to hear what you and your husband have been through with this awful cancer. My huband's brother has gone through much of the same thing. I hope things have improved recently and in the future also. God bless you both.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Glenis,

      From what I've read, it isn't that common for women to get it. I'm glad you had those extra years with her.

      The surgeons here seem young, some are in their late 20's and early 30's. They say the training here is intensive and part of their studies are done in London hospitals. Ian was treated in the Brazilian National Health Service and we were impressed by the level of care he received.

      Thank you for your comment and support.

    • profile image

      Glenis Rix 

      15 months ago

      Mary, my heart goes out to you both. My mother had inoperable cancer of the oesophegous and eventually had two stents inserted. She survived for several years. I wish you both well.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Sally,

      We have another follow up appointment next week with the doctor. We will also receive the results of the biopsy that was taken from the lymph nodes during the surgery. It's difficult to make plans both long or short term, when you just don't know what the future holds.

      My uncle had gone through this some years ago, although for his, they opened the chest cavity. The type my husband had is less invasive. My cousin was very supportive having been through it with her father.

      Thank you for your kind words.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      15 months ago from Norfolk

      Having witnessed a relative of mine go through esophageal cancer I feel for you and yours Mary. I hope that things have improved for both of you.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, patientslounge.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)