Oesophageal Patients Association

What a difference a year makes

Bonfire night prompted me to write this, A year ago I had only been out of hospital for a couple of weeks and my husband drove me to a hill outside the village so that we could sit in the car and watch the fireworks. It was my first trip out and I was weak, feeling sick and unable to stand up straight.This year we have just got back from 4 days in Paris where we did loads of (gentle) walking, ate lovely food and drank nice wine

In August 2010 we were on holiday and I felt fine apart from a slight "lumpy" throat which I put down to air conditioning making my throat feel funny. Three weeks later I was in hospital unable to eat or drink anything. I had my oesophagus removed on Sept.12th 2010. Soon after getting home from hospital my wound opened up and did not heal until after Christmas so my follow up chemo, which should have started in December actually started in February. I had six session - which I found pretty gruelling - and they finished at the end of May.

So what can I say to people who are still going through this?

The main thing is that you will feel better,it just takes time,

I have been very lucky to have amazing support from my husband and daughters in particular, I'm not sure whether I would have been able to go through this on my own, I have learned how strong a family can be, I think it might have been worse for them than me, I have just sat there while things happened to me.

Some friends have been wonderful, others I have hardly seen, perhaps it is an illness that some people find hard to face and don't know what to say,

Feeling sick does gradually get better and I rarely feel sick now and can eat just about anything I want In the early days I found that ginger was really good and started every day with a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit in bed - you need the old fashioned biscuits, the supermarket own brands are not gingery enough!

Dumping was more of a problem early on, it still occasionally happens for no apparent reason but only a couple of times a month. I did have to run out of a lesson a couple of weeks ago - I told the kids that I had fogotten some books

I still get quite a lot of pain around my middle, nerve pain above my scar can be quite bad and I take gaberpentin and paracetamol everyday but it is better than it was,

When I was still at home all the time and unable to do much the days seemed very long and I often felt depressed, anxious and hopeless particularly when I was on my own, I have often spent the whole day just sitting there doing nothing, As you get stronger it is important to get out even if it is just for a walk or to go into town and have a cup of coffee and, as my daughter said "you only have to sit there mum" when I said that I was too tired to go to the cinema,

I think that the main thing that you loose apart from health is confidence. I was always the strong one who juggled family, job and kids and that disappeared overnight. It has taken a whlie to build that up again but it happens in small steps - the first time you drive a car again or go shopping alone, For me the big turning point was going back to work, I'm a part time teacher and went back to school in September after a year off, I often feel exhausted but I do feel more normal again,


3 Replies

I had forgotten what it felt like to do things for the first time but can assure you that your body will change for years. You will also notice the difference.It is 4 years since my op and it changes all the time. For the better by the way!



Hi Ann

I agree with Andrew, I used to mark each anniversary with a mile stone, but now 3 ½ years on I have the luxury of looking back over years to mark my progress. I used to wish time away in the early months and imagine a time when I could feel normal again. That time has arrived and like Andrew things just get better which is of course something we all wish for during our recovery.

All the best,



I am just past the driving again milestone, eight weeks post op. I go to the gym (though the excercise is very gentle) I cycle, walk, have visited museums etc. Anything other than watch Jeremy Kyle! I was told to expect a year off. No chemo for me this time as I was allergic to the drugs. I too am a teacher. Hopefully this years exam classes will be out the way by the time I go back. I hear a lot about Ginger & Peppermint, I just dislike both of these things. I may try some Ginger biscuits though. Thanks for the post.


You may also like...