I have been diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the dura, which is the junction of the oesophagus and the stomach. I was diagnosed on the 30th March, 2012, but it has taken this long to get me to the stage where they can start therapy. Originally they wanted to do the surgery straight away, but during the workup for that they found that I had heart problems. I had a 90% blockage in my coronary artery and a stent was inserted. The heart stuff moved very quickly, but I have had to wait until the stent settled in and I was able to come off blood thinners before I began chemo.
I start Chemo on Thursday, at Bendigo Oncology. I am having two drugs intravenously on Thursday and a PICC line with a continuous infusion put in at the same time. I have continuous infusion of a drug called 5-FU and the other two are Carboplatin and Epirubicin. Every 3 weeks I will have a top up and the bottle and the PICC line will be flushed and changed each week. I am also having radiotherapy during the chemo, and I am being measured up on Tuesday for the guard etc.
At the end of the 9 weeks of chemo/radiation I will have the surgery. Pretty drastic stuff, I am loosing 10cm of my oesophagus and half of my stomach. So I am sort of having a drastic gastric bypass.
Most of this year is written off with this treatment, but I have booked a week long cruise with P&O for January 2013, so I am planning to be healthy for that. A celebration cruise for the end of the major treatment.
I must admit it has taken a lot to get my head around this Cancer, I have had cardiomyopathy/heart disease for the past 11 years, but I am viewing that as just practice for what I am now undertaking. I am taking one day at a time, any other approach just sort of blows my mind, but I am determined that I am going to beat these little cancer cells, and come out the other end.
You are going through what I have just been through although my chemo before surgery did not involve radiotherapy as well. The good news was that the chemo regime of 9 weeks killed off the tumour so I was cancer free before they operated which obviously I did not find out until the histology results after the surgery but I was informed that to make sure it did not reoccur it had to be removed anyway. I could not eat at all when I was eventually diagnosed and had a feeding tube in place straight into my duodenum but after the first rounds of chemo I was able to eat again with me enjoying a full roast lamb dinner the evening before my surgery.
My stomach is now in my chest and I have to say I now feel that I was never ill until I look in the mirror and see my hair still has to grow back and I need to put some weight on. My eating is back to normal now although after the surgery it was a little difficult at first and the main problem was the discomfort around my chest and lungs due to the surgery which caused a lot of breathlessness and it became a talent to breath and talk but my daughter husband and I laugh at it all now. I was out of hospital two weeks after the surgery which I believe is quite soon as they do expect you to be there another week at least but it was just great to be home.
Good luck with your treatment and surgery and hope all yours is as straight forward as mine.
Kasianne, I can't thank you enough for your response. It is so wonderful to hear from someone who has been through this and emerged so well. I am secretly smiling with a satisfied grin, I am still able to eat, so I am starting in a better position than you. Go me. lol
I have been told I will be in hospital for 2 weeks only, and then they are talking about another 9 weeks of chemo after that. They say they are attacking this aggressively, (with regard to the radiation as well) but I really am prepared for this, and I will cope if I know they are doing everything to get rid of it.
I am so encouraged by your success story, to be eating normally even before you hair has grown back, is remarkable. You have really given me hope.
I can't explain to you how wonderful your response to me is. I have visited the American cancer society forum for Oesophageal cancer and it is all doom and gloom and most of the people on there are either dead or dying. (Their carers are continuing on with the forum)
I must admit that my family will find it good for me to either breath or talk, they will get a bit of 'respite'.
Oh thank you, thank you, thank you. I am sharing this with my family and friends, it is wonderful to hear a success story.
hey you are welcome as I have to say everything I read and heard on this cancer was not very positive but I had decided this illness was a blip in my life and I would beat it. This does not mean I didn't have my down times as awe all do but they were very few and short lived. I was in hospital over Christmas as I was determined to have the operation before the start of the New Year so I could declare 2012 as cancer free and that I did with me coming out of hospital on New Years day which also meant I was home for my birthday on the 5th Jan although could only look at cake rather than eat it lol well I could manage a few crumbs but it was so good to be home. I was back at work 10 weeks after my operation which shocked me as well as everyone else but it was good to get back to some sort of normality and have been back there nearly 3 months now.
When i was having chemo I met another guy who had this cancer 4 years ago and it had returned but during further conversation he had been treated with chemo only and his story was looking grim as he had never had the affected oesophagus removed. I also met him again on a follow up appointment just after my op and he really didn't look too well and to be honest I probably didn't either as it was 3 weeks after my op and I was a little frail.I am so grateful for the skill of both the oncology teams and the surgeons for my outcome and I hope yo get the same results. Mine was at stage IV before it was diagnosed and as I say I couldn't eat or drink at all so you are in a more positive place before you start so you will be fine and it is a good excuse to not do a lot while you recover and that cruise you have booked will be wonderful and so good to look forward to.
Oh thank you again, I honestly believe that we have to have the surgery, and the chemo. I have sent a copy of your reply to all my friends and family, and they are also very happy.
I also am taking it one day at a time, and doing everything that I can to get through this. I know it won't be easy, and really can't say I am looking forward to the surgery, but it is necessary to do this to get my life back on track. The cruise will be wonderful, a real celebration of my life back.
I believe that I have a good team behind me, I know the surgeon is doing a few of these surgeries, as each time I have seen him he has either been doing one or just done one. So he is getting in a lot of practice before me. And my oncologist from only the one appointment is very down to earth and honest. My cardiologist has been brilliant too, he did everything during the workup quickly, and if it wasn't for the blockage I would have had the operations by now and into the chemo post operatively. I think it is better this way anyway, and my heart is the best it has been in years. I have a biventricular pacer with an ICD, so my heart is being helped all the time and protected. I couldn't be in a better position to face all this.
Again thank you and I am so pleased that you are back on track. I too have had the 'poor buggar me' times, but like this occasion, I have found hope. You have given me a new lease on this, and I am really facing this treatment positively. My best friend also said that if I get down during the treatment she will just say to me, Think of Kasianne, and I am sure to pick myself up just thinking about your success.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.