Not the news I was expecting

It is a year ago today that I went for an endoscopy after many months of treatment for what my GP thought was a digestion problem. I would be prescribed omeprazole which helped. However swallowing became difficult and a referral was made for an endoscopy. Two days later we attended for the procedure. My decision not to have a local was a mistake. I have never had an experience like it of retching while the camera went down. After it was over a recovery period with tea and biscuits and I assumed I would go home. Not so The endosocopist asked for my wife to come into side room and then simply said you have cancer. Therefore at 6pm on a Friday we went home with this news. It must be difficult to give this sort of news but I thought the biopsies would be sent and then confirmed which they did. My wife was very upset as losing a child aged seven to cancer means she carries grief for this even though he would have been 48 if he had lived.

I have nothing but praise for what followed. Meeting the cancer Nurse and Surgeon everything was explained very carefully. Cat scan and Pet scan heart test and ultra sound were all done and I was judged fit enough for surgery. The pet scan showed no cancer anywhere else.

I found the chemotherapy very difficult and it was stopped after two sessions due to DVT and multiple blood clots on the lung and one clot in my left leg. I was given another scan and the consultant asked for a filter to be put in via my groin. He then did a laporoscopy.

The operation was carried out on March 21st and I cannot speak highly enough of the care I received. A set back saw me back into ICU for days due to an oxygen problem.

Since discharge the filter was taken out and I have had another scan plus gastroscopy both of which showed no problems.

There you have it. At 75 I survived the operation and have been screened once by the cancer Nurse and go again next Tuesday. I have not had an issue with dumping but have had a little reflux acid on occasion. I am eating reasonable well and thanks to Jax 34 on here have switched to fresubin drinks. I find the frequent blood tests a bind until my warfarin settles at 2.5 INR. I weigh 10.8 which is a significant drop from 13 stone that I used to weigh. Therefore from a weekend when I genuinely thought my life was coming to and I am now looking forward the future. Our new Grandson is five weeks old and I have a terrific wife and family. I am so grateful to the Derby Royal Hospital and am confident with the continuing care I will receive. We have had a wonderful holiday in Spain thanks to the encouragement I got from members on here. I should have mentioned that curiously I wake with a dripping nose everyday and still have some breathing problems but the latter is is improving.

21 Replies

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  • Thank you for sharing your story you have done brilliantly it is lovely to read story's like yours as it gives others hope I had the surgery in August 2012 and have a few issues due to the surgery and chemo but am also doing well

    I'm not too far away from Derby just down the A50 in Stoke on Trent my daughter lives in Ripley Derbyshire

    Wishing you well with lots more healthy happy years

    Margie

  • Hi Margie1. many thanks for your message. Our home used to be Quarry Avenue Hartshill and my wife is from That area. Pleased you are doing well and I am sure having a positive attitude helps.

  • I know Quarry Avenue used to be so handy for A&E lol

  • So good to hear you are doing so well and enjoying life again . .keep up with the Fresubin jjucy. Have you tried the apple flavour ? I am still in the early stages . Full gastrectomy on 19th July and at present am in fear of what my post op scan will show . my appointment for scan results is on Tuesday . .Trying to be positive I find very difficult . I am so afraid . my recovery from the op has been good. I've had a few issues with the eating side of things but nothing to worry about . .I am so pleased for you and wish you all the best for the future . .keep your fingers crossed for me . .

  • Hello again Jax34. Yes the fresubin are just fine and I have had 56 delivered to me. Apple will be among them. Like you I found the post op scan made me nervous but it was fine. As for eating I have found by trial and error what does not suit me and the help from the Hospital Dietician has been excellent. have to say that injecting myself with heparin for 4 months is something I hope I do not have to repeat. This followed clots on lung and left leg. Certainly will keep my fingers crossed for you. Andrew

  • Hi Andrew . .thanks for your reply . I hope I will be as lucky as you with the scan results . all this waiting is so difficult . I try to keep myself and my mind busy . .How did you manage to get all those Fresubin in one go ? I get mine on prescription . my doctor only gave me 8 this time . .Not nearly enough when I have one a day . .My dietician is going to recommend to my surgeon that I would benefit from a stretch as I still can't eat solids but at least I am managing to retain my weight now . .will let you know the results of the scan . . Jackie

  • My GP gets me two months supply each time and they are delivered to the house by my Chemist. It was like that when I was on forticip. Like you I have one per day. Will be thinking of you re scan and good luck.

    Andrew

  • Nice 1 mate. Positivity personified. Uplifted everyone. Cheers. G

  • Tank you for your comments.

  • Thanks for your story which is very interesting for me.

    Incidentally I also tend to have a "dripping nose" problem but never associated it with the Operation!

    We wish you well !

    Kind regards,

    Val

  • Before my operation I had no problem with dripping nose and sneezing. The cancer nurse told me that chemo does cause this in a few patients. Thank you for your comments and I wish you well.

  • I must admit I shed a tear when I read this as it so reminded me of my journey (started 7 years ago) -and of others on this site. I too had a brilliant team at the Cumberland Infirmary and some problems on the way BUT I have lived to enjoy see my 2 gorgeous grandsons

  • Having something positive helps no end. For us it was the grandchildren and my garden and of course my wife anf grown up children. Glad you had a brilliant team.

  • Keep positive and you will be fine!

    Regards,

    VAL

  • Thank you Val. I am determined to be positive.

  • I had fantastic care at Coventry University Hospital and will always be very grateful to them. I also have the runny nose problem but I think it's a small price to pay. James.

  • Good to read you are doing well and thank you for your response. Andrew

  • Hi Andrew

    Reading your story reminded me so much of my husband's whose diagnosis was December 2013 - went for an endoscopy with no thought in our heads of anything to worry about. I went to pick him up and was ushered into a 'quiet room' where my husband was sitting in tears. Told the devastating news they were 99 per cent certain it was cancer and further biopsies confirmed this. We both then began the journey, which I cannot fault -held up a little due to Christmas but in one week cat scan, further endoscopy and ct scan and laparoscopy to stage the cancer. Chemo began but like you had to be stopped as half way through the second session Brian developed sepsis which in the end turned out to be more traumatic than the surgery which he had at Nottingham City in May 2014. Again cannot fault the skill and care of the surgeon and nursing staff and after 7 days he was home. Here we are now 2 1/2 years since surgery and two further scans which were clear and he is doing well and any problems that do occur as he says are a small price to pay. So good to hear your story. Hope your wife is ok considering the loss of your son at such a young age and then the worry about you. By the way Brian has the drippping nose problem as well.

    Sue

  • Thank you sue for your response. So good to hear things are going well after a tough start. Vivienne is my rock and yes losing a son aged seven was very hard. I go for my second check up in Tuesday and fingers crossed everything will be okay. I am fortunate in having a GP who from the outset has always encouraged me to be positive. I trust her completely.

    All the very best to you

    Andrew

  • Similar story other than I was early stage and didn't need Chemo etc. this started 2 years ago, due to a fantastic crew at Broardgreen Hospital quickly and was home after a week I recovered quickly. However, eating is a problem, firstly i have no appetite, and when i do eat i am nauseous, so it was tempting not to bother, this led to a weight loss of 5 stone. Finally i have been fitted with a J Tube. this perfect. I use it 3-4 nights a week, and if i start to get past "perfect weight" i reduce the feed. other than that life's good. That is apart from the dripping nose...! For those who are about to undergo this operation i can hand on heart say i had 1 or 2 short bouts of moderately sever pain, but if i had to go through the same again pain would NOT be a worry. Best of luck to you all

    Mike

  • Thank you Mike for sharing this. Glad you have made progress with eating. I have had odd days when I have not wanted to eat but this has been less of a problem of late thanks to the help I received from the dietician. I wish you well for the future.

    Andrew

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