Oesophageal Patients Association
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Chemo after effects

I have been told that my fatigue, memory problem are effects from the chemo I thought they were from the Ivor Lewis surgery I had as I still have numbness in my left leg nightly pains appear anywhere lol sore ribs and when walking I'm unable to walk far for breathing problems and pain in my left leg but I can't feel anything when I touch the side of my leg !

Has Anyone else had any of these ? I'm not complaining I'm just wondering if these effects will get better?

Marg xx

4 Replies

Hi Marg - how long is it since the surgery? Last year I suffered a lot from fatigue but that's improved with time. Likewise the numbness around the scarring has reduced as has the pain on my right side where the sharkbite is.


Hi Haward my surgery was in August 2012 so just over 2 years now I only have numbness on the side of my left leg and still have niggling pains in my back and rib area


Margie, I had have nerve damage (documented by conduction studies) and nerve pain in my left leg ever since my transhiatal esophagectomy. The surgery was 4-1/2 years ago, and the nerve pain began about six months after surgery and continued to worsen. The nerve damage is of the axon degeneration type, meaning that it is likely permanent.

I also have bone pain that is due to unknown-type bone lesions in the pelvis, again which started after the surgery.

The docs are unsure of the cause of the nerve damage or bone lesions. Possibly positional during the long surgery, possibly due to my malnutrition at the time of surgery. All are accompanied by osteoporosis, likely also post-op.

Gabapentin helps my nerve pain (600mg three times daily) and I go to pain management for the bone pain. I have tried to make Peace with the fact of never finding out the cause, just having to treat the symptoms.

Best wishes and Merry Christmas to you, and know that you are not alone. \wc


Some doctors talk about 'chemo brain' affecting the memory - the drigs do take a long time to drain out of your system completely, so you should gradually get better. Fatigue also takes a long time - you just have to take things gently, take time to rest, and just do gentle exercise, gradually increasing, things like taking deep breaths, which eventually you will be able to do without soreness / coughing. All these things are relatively normal and don't mean that there is anything seriously wrong - it is just your body taking time to recover from the assaults made on it by the surgeons. Often the physiotherapists can help.

Nerve issues are a bit mysterious because they are so inter-connected. Sometimes they do gradually get better over time.


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