Oesophageal Patients Association
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Cancer Outlook post op

I have been recently diagnosed with the esophageal cancer although nothing show on the CT or PET scans. However, it did show cancer when I had the endoscopy ablation. Apparently the scans will not show anything unless it is a large mass. So far nothing in the lymph nodes but all the doctors, surgeon, iconologist and radiologist recommend the Ivor Lewis. I am a pretty health 68 yo male, played professional hockey years ago, still lift weights treadmill and bow flex workouts so it seems to me that better shape you are in prior to the surgery the better and easier recovery to get back to work and life. Correct? I do like my scotch so any time frame as to when I can absorb some of the good stuff?

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Hi. Right now getting and staying fit and putting on weight is a jolly good idea. I was told to stay off the booze at one point but my surgeon just laughed at that idea and told me it wouldn't do any harm.

Keep your spirits up (no pun intended) and keep in touch. Good luck

Haward

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I like the pun! I will ease into it though to see how if effects me. Because of the possibility of a smaller stomach I am sure there will be a difference in amount of consumption.

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Goosew

Your situation sounds very similar to my own. As it took sometime before a final decision to go ahead with the Ivor Lewis operation. I had a polyp in my oesophagus which the histology assessment confirmed as being high grade dysphasia (whereby the cells are in the process of mutation towards cancer) and the only certain outcome would be to have the op. I too had all the scans imaginable. Have you had the histology reports back yet?

If your eventual outcome is the operation you, like everyone who undergo this treatment, will have a long road ahead. The Ivor Lewis procedure is a long and very complicated operation. But you are right the fitter you are the better but, nevertheless, you will face a mountain of obstacles en-route to recovery. But you will recover, albeit in a smaller form than you present weight. I am six years post-op and can now say I’m more or less free of most issues I’ve faced during that period. I was 14.5 stones (200 pounds) pre-op now I am 11 stones (154 pounds) that is the Ivor Lewis effect for you.

Look online for the diagram of the IL operation, before and after. Also follow this forum as there are plenty of people in exactly the same situation who have undergone this and are now back to full health.

Best of luck. I hope this has been of help.

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I have a total hip replacement and recovered and back to work full time within 8 weeks. Recently had fluid drained from my left lung and was back at it within 3 weeks. The doctors were amazed and said most people do not recover for 2-3 months. Anyway, I am hoping that my body will react somewhat similarly regarding the recovery process, realizing, of course, that this is major surgery and insides all readjusted. Thanks for your feedback.

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Hi goosew!

Sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Regarding your query about Scotch - well ..... my husband (and another friend we made during this unwelcome journey) both had the op. Both are about your age'ish and both were having alcohol within a couple of weeks after! That said, I'm not sure that's what the medics et al would recommend - but (as a virtual TT myself), my attitude is that it's your body and you know what you can or can't tolerate! However, as I said to my husband too - just one note of caution! After the op, you will probably be given a liquid oral morphine and/or a Fentanyl patch for pain relief. As they are both opiates, you should not drink alcohol whilst on these. My husband only used them for about a week after he came home (he was in hospital for 2 weeks), then managed on paracetamol alone.

Everyone is different though and, as you rightly say, your fitness will stand you in good stead for a rapid recovery! All the best, Kate

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Thanks, Kate. I do not want to rush into the scotch but nice to know it maybe possible to have a relaxing cocktail on occasion.

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I was 68 when I had my IL op last september. Being fit beforehand does help but it is a long journey afterwards. Everyone is different of course but I am only just beginning to get back to normal. Eating wise you have to find a new normal. I was told to be careful with alchol because with less stomach your body doesnt cope so well. Trial and error. Of course if you dont lose any stomach it may be diferent. Good luck. Try to keep positive

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Will do and thanks

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My advice would be to stay fit and healthy as you are, but maybe eat a bit more, as you will suddenly lose weight. Not to scare you (as everyone is different), my hubby went from 15 stone to 6.5 then to 9 where he balanced until he dropped back to 6. He was very ill and had lots of chemo and radio along with the IL and other emergency ops. Focus on the fact the tumour is so small and that your chances therefore are much more improved. The alcohol side should not even be a worry at the minute. Think about the effects on the liver. If you have to go through chemo or radio, you would be better not to give your body something else to worry about. My hubby had to have many checks on his liver functions because they had quite high levels of something and he didn't even drink. You still have a long life ahead, fight this battle with all your ability and there will plenty of time to enjoy your drinks later. Sorry, if it sounds a bit naggy, I don't mean to be harsh, just think about fighting first. wishing you the best of luck on your journey ahead. Carrie

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Thanks, good to know

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The combined chemo, radiation, IL surgery are a major assault on your body. Chemo (for me, three months) and radiation (daily, six weeks) mess up your GI tract. Post-surgery typically includes a week of IV fluids (nothing by mouth) and another ten days-two weeks on liquids. During that time your body gets the fuel it needs from your own lean muscle mass. Other folks' comments testify to the price you'll pay in weight loss. When you do get back to normal foods, reduced stomach size makes total intake an ongoing challenge. But hey: you're upright and taking nourishment and alive and it's not to complain.

No hospital I know of (tho there may be some out there) includes exercise as part of its regular esophageal cancer treatment program. Peer-reviewed studies make clear the benefits of exercise during chemo and radiation before surgery and as part of recovery, so yeah--if it's part of your life already, awesome; stick with it. A friend/nutritionist suggested a double workout day before surgery; she said the elevated endorphins would persist into the day of surgery, speed healing and recovery. I've got no comparative data to prove anything, but I did as she suggested; the nursing staff dubbed me their poster boy for healing--for what that's worth.

As for alcohol: from the perspective of your body cells it's a poison, nothing else. If your body were young and in perfect health, it's one kind of tradeoff. For a body going through cancer and treatment it's a whole different calculus.

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I appreciate your feedback and will take care of the recovery first and go from there.

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I was fed through a jjjdg tube into my small intestine (may not have spelt that right, its an abreviation and sounds like jedge) while I was in hospital. First all the time then, as I began to eat bits, just at night. Still on protien and calorie supplements 8months on. Weight now stable at just over 1st less than before

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Just a brief comment on docklocke's response- our hospital did give post op physiotherapy and a follow-on regime. It was nothing too onerous but involved walking short distances daily and gradually increasing. My husband is now having his post op chemo and walks about 2 miles a day - as well as partaking of a daily Guinness (good for him apparently as it's got iron in it!). However, as these posts have shown very clearly - everyone is different and your medical team may advise differently. All the best , Kate

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do most people have chemo or radiation post op? My doctors have yet to mention anything like that for me. Perhaps it is because it is T1 and only about 2 centimeters in mass.

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I was in a same position as you T1 and only 4 milimeters and did not have chemo and radiation. I don,t think it is offered when you are stage one. That's good if you don,t need it but the operation does take it's toll and you will be ok if you look after yourself. My operation was 11years ago.

Phil

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And you are basically back to normal lifestyle? If so how long before you reached that stage?

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I was 57 when I had my operation and like you very fit and healthy apart from this horrible disease. It took me between 12 to 18 months to regain my previous fitness. It's never quite the same but you can,t expect it to be. Your stamina levels are not at the same as they were.

All the best

Phil

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Guess I will see...thanks

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Hi you are so right ! My husband ran 16 k right up until his op and we are convinced that’s seen him through ! Keep active that’s the key ...my hubby is 64 today and diagnosed just before he was 63 x

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Thanks, Debbie. How long before he was pretty back to normal?

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Hi goosew

Almost back full time work and in process of knocking down the walls of our bungalow after 7 and a bit months ! So I’d say not bad ! AND enjoys the odd red wine ( which helps the dumping) or a Port !!

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