Regurge, reflux, nausea.

I was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in February. I have since had 3 courses of chemo lasting 9 wks. A full gastrotectomy as the cells were also on the stomach and I am currently on last push. 5 wks of radiotherapy and chemo combined.

My question:

I am currently having issues with swallowing. It feels like something is in my throat. This is causing me to feel nauseous and has affected my appetite. I have been back and changed anti sickness tablets but I just feel fed up.

Has anyone else had this issue and is there anything they would recommend?


11 Replies

  • Hi

    Well done to you in getting this far. You may require a dilation (stretch) of your throat. This is a very common and painless procedure. Normally done as a day case (about three hours in & out if you have full sedation). I have had this done many times both to my throat and my stomach exit. Both provide immediate relief. The throat removes swallowing difficulties and the stomach exit removes the "filling up too quickly, discomfort". Have a chat to your medical team and mention dilation(s), see what they say.

    Good luck, you are over the worst now.


  • It may be to do with how well your system is passing food through to lower down in your system. If it is actually food sticking in your throat, then a barium swallow test and endoscopy should be able to work out why. If it is an issue of FEELING as if it is stuck in your throat it might be the effect of the nerve damage inevitably created by the surgery, or some effect of undigested food hanging around for too long. If you still have a pylorus sphincter (normally at the base of your stomach) this can indeed be stretched sometimes to good effect. And sometimes medication can help against the nausea if there is no 'mechanical' / physical cause for it.

    Keep your mouth clean and moist because your saliva can be very helpful in making sure that swallowing takes place more happily.

  • Hi i had similar problem where food felt stuck a lot further up than before surgery. I didn't have radiotherapy. Chemo after surgery takes a lot more out of you. I was told to take lansaprozole twice daily and gaviscon and it settled down. Now eating well little but often. Also went off a lot of foods which is quite normal after chemo, kept gagging and being sick.

  • I thought it was part of the recovery, my follow up app after op surgeon asked me what I could not eat told me I needed a stretch, worked walk in the park compared to op. I had many times fed up had to work on other things tests, diet (low weight, bowel problem).

    It does get better with time you are still early days and going through the mill!! My daughter once said to me feeling poorly knew me too well! "Am I being a negative Nigel or Positive Nigella" Did buck me up put a smile on my face. Tell yourself that when you get fed up. Might help. Good Luck!!

  • Thank you all for your advice. I have a mtg with oncology team Tuesday so I will ask them about stretching my throat.

  • Hi Zantri

    I am having similar problems (I am 9 1/2 weeks post op). I have had 2 dilations and the second one made the sensation worse. It is now so severe that the nausea and feeling of needing to gag it wakes me up at night. I also have a constant sensation as if something is stuck in my throat.

    Please let me know if you get any relief/solution as I am going mad too.

  • Not gotten total relief but the following has helped, Antacid and Oxetacine oral suspension. This has helped calm my throats down which is now very sore from 25 radiotherapy sessions. Thankfully had last one this morning so I can concentrate on healing.

    To help with sickness I am on levomepromazine, cyclisine & ondansetron. The nausea is wearing off but I still feel like something is stuck in my throats but it's easing off got told affects may not calm down until 7-10 days after radio stops so I am biding my time and hoping to find something I can eat which does not hurt to swallow or make me gag. Jelly is not too bad.

  • Dear Zantri

    Oh didn't realise you were doing radiotherapy - I also had 25 sessions and couldn't eat anything for 7 weeks (3 weeks during and 4 after) except chemotherapy shakes eg. fortisip, ensure, etc. It took about 4 weeks after last session to eat normally and before all the side effects to go. I think I took longer than most to recover from the chemoradiotherapy (I had chemo with it as well as 3 previous 3 weekly cycles).

    The good news all the symptom/side effects clear up fast and then I ate like a horse for 2 months in preparation for my oesophagectomy. I know it's hard during as the days pass so slowly but it does actually just become a distant memory fairly quickly.

    All the best for a speedy recovery.

  • I was hoping recovery may be sooner! I miss food & I cannot stomach the shakes or juices but know I need to just to get some strength back xx

  • But it likely will be sooner - as I said I think I just took longer than most.

    The shakes are disgusting but I survived mostly on a brand called Supportan 'cappuccino' as tasted a lot better than the sickly sweet other ones. The other option was Ensure compact 'vanilla' as it is 300 calories in 125ml which I drank in 2 shot glasses and it was over. Had no choice as I was already so thin and was not going to have a feeding tube no matter what!!

    Oh and forgot to tell you that sucralfate (it coats your oesophagus) helped too.

    Swallowing all those wretched medicines and shakes is REVOLTING but it ends and it's survival.

    Hang in there!! You have my sympathies - I was miserable...

  • Forgot to mention that when I asked about a stretch or a stent I got told they would not do that but they would insert a feeding tube if I could no longer eat. I did not fancy that so I am really trying hard to find food I can eat.

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