Angina or something else

Hi, I had my surgery in 2010 and overall doing pretty well. I have the usual digestive problems and my energy levels are not brilliant, but coping with it all. About 18 months ago I started to get chest pain and breathlessness when I pushed myself. I eventually went to my doctor who did all kinds of blood tests but came up with nothing other than my vitamin and mineral levels were a little low. Then after seeing a different doctor she came up with a diagnosis of angina, partly due I think because of a family history of heart disease. Last week I went through the agony of an angiogram (don't let anyone tell you they don't hurt!) The good news was I actually have a healthy heart :-)

The question I have is - have any of you had similar symptoms? It was suggested to me by a nurse that maybe my chest pain is scar tissue and I notice it after I have exercised or cleaned the windows etc because I am breathing more deeply so expanding my chest where all the surgery went on

Any ideas would be appreciated :-)


11 Replies

  • Hi

    I had surgery in 2012, and also have the same digestive problems .

    3 months ago I had a heart attack. I did not see that coming.

    I how have a stent fitted. My breathing and stamina is also improved .

    Looking back I did have chest movements not pain. I was told because of the operation was close to the heart it was difficult to know that there was a problem.

    Good to hear that your heart is ok.

    I also have a family history of heart problems..

    This new problem does make the diet interesting .


  • Hi Quince

    Yes, it certainly makes life interesting :-)

    I am pleased to hear you are doing ok now. I spoke with my GP yesterday but she is not at all knowledgeable about post op problems associated with an oesophagectomy. As more and more of us are survivors of this horrible disease we are giving them the knowledge to help others.

    So, onward and upward

    Best wishes


  • The breathlessness and wheeziness do take a long time to improve. There is not so much space for your lungs now that your 'stomach' is up there, so this has an effect. Personally it was about three years before my stamina really returned - the lungs do seem to take a long time to recover from the bashing they take during the surgery process. The ribs have not been expanding fully for a good many months, so sometimes stretching them causes a bit of reaction. And some specific actions will probably have a reaction for some muscles too. It must be all that diligent housework and cleaning windows that is doing it!

    But the breathlessness can be caused by other things so it is good to have a proper check up.

    The 'pushing yourself' is a significant phrase. You will suffer fatigue / a reaction, sometimes the day afterwards, if you overdo it, but sensible exercise, gentle progression and being kind to yourself usually does the trick. Keeping a check on vitamin / mineral levels is also a good thing. Sounds like you are doing really well - Well done! (It is a really good excuse to ease off on the housework jobs you do not like!)

  • Thank you Alan I will leave the windows for a while and relax a bit more. I have a very good husband who is always telling me to leave things and he will do it, but hard to break the habits of a lifetime.

    This site really is a godsend

    Thanks again

    Edwina x

  • Hi Edwina,

    The angiogram would have shown that your arteries are fine, but have you had other tests such as an ECG and an exercise tolerance test? Usually they'd only give an angiogram if the other tests were inconclusive and from what I understand angina can be difficult to diagnose.

    I'm reasonably fit now 2 years 5mo post-surgery and 2 yrs post-chemo, but I still find my stamina is nothing like it was before diagnosis, and I can easily get out of breath following exertion (especially if I've eaten or drunk something before hand) - sometimes with chest and/or abdominal pain which may be delayed (usually on my right side). I notice that when I regularly exercise (mainly walking) there is less chance of this occurring - more so when I build up exercise over the longer term and push myself a little bit more. I put all of this down to the trauma of the operation and chemo, and post-op scarring/adhesions.

    Keep asking questions of your health professionals as we are all just as likely to suffer from other conditions as anyone else. However, we also live with the consequences of the major treatments we've been through.

    Hope this helps,


  • Thanks Dave, yes I had all the ecg's and other tests. I am pleased my heart is fine, but still wonder what is going on, but I will keep asking questions and hopefully one day get an answer.

    Thanks again


  • I had problems with chest and upper back pain, they eventually decided it was nerve damage from the op and did a procedure that cooks the nerves it has worked well for me, i only get pain now at the end of the day when i am tierd around the scar xx

  • Thanks Liz, having my nerves cooked sounds a bit radical lol. I find I have more pain in back and upper chest when I am tired too. I think we are all suffering the same things, and with this site nice to know it is all just part of our recovery.

    Regards Edwina xx

  • Hi Edwina, I too was very low energy and my heart is fine as well as my blood pressure! I just started taking 50,000 U cap of vitamin D as mine was very low! I am jumping with energy even a day after, yesterday having my port out between the vitamin B shots and now the D have a lot more energy but know if I go strong for a day or two I may be down for a day and this is something that I am try to accept as I was known as the high performance woman before I went through this medical journey! Sad that it took this to make me slow down and as we always been told to slow down to do smell the roses( ours here in california are so hybrid no scent!) and be in the present as I am now writing this. I am trying to learn not to beat myself up for not getting everything done that I want to. I think this is my biggest challenge. As I have always beaten myself up fairly well as now I will not allow others to do so because I am already so good at it that I cannot allows others to do so. My windows are dirty right now and I look at them and it bugs me then I go in my backyard and look at the hummingbirds! They don't care if my windows are dirty and it is going to rain this weekend so thank god I did not wash them yet!


  • Thank you for that Lisa we sound very alike. Wish I could go and look at the hummingbirds, bit a little cold here for them I fear :-)

    Edwina x

  • Edwina do you have a inhaler? Advair, Symbicort, Albuterol? My GP prescribed me it he was one of the pioneers in developing the inhaler as I have had environmental allergies since I was a young child and since I had the surgery he prescribed it and it really helps. Keeps my lungs clear and I have submitted to modern medicine as I think with diet, exercise and eastern meets western I have excellent physicians. It helps me a lot with breathlessness.

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