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Oesophageal Patients Association
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Surgery planned for 11th April

My partner is going into hospital to have surgery to remove the tumor in his oesophagus on Thursday. We are meeting the surgeon on Monday. Is there anything you'd recommend he does or that we ask? Thanks as always for your help!!

12 Replies

They will explain everything which all sounds scary but think positive and go for it - it will be a new start for you both.

I got as far as gown on and stockings on and all set when the surgeon explained that they had not got an intensive care ward available so had to cancel the opp.(not the first time that's happened so be prepaired)

We didn't know whether to cheer or weep but the opp was done two weeks later by which time we had got our heads round things better.

Very best wishes - I am sure you will be fine

kind regards



Hi Clary, I had the same operation last March,I had 16 weeks from diagnosis to the operation having 10 weeks of chemo, the medical team were brilliant and it gave me time to adjust mentally to the operation, as Clary said they will explain everything and it sounds daunting, but both of you think positively, I just handed my self both physically and mentally to the operation team knowing that they had carried out these operations successfully many times and that I was in good hands, and the after care was also brilliant after the operation, persevere with the recovery, it takes some time to get back to normal so slowly but surely things will get better, and we are heading into the summer months so hopefully this year will bring some sunshine into your lives.

You can read my blog on this by New Beginning which tells you my story.

Warm wishes



Hi Clary

The main thing to remember is that the surgical team are experienced and skilled and you are very much in their hands. We place our trust in them which is how I felt when I had my op last summer. When I woke up after the op I thought it still hadn't taken place and was amazed that it was all over!! In saying that, one must be patient during the long recovery period. The first few days are especially disorientating as the effect of the anaesthetic passes. I had difficulty focusing so couldn't read for over a week. I also had hallucinations.

It is also very uncomfortable due to being 'rigged up' with various drips etc. but this is all worth it as one feels a dawning realisation that you have come through it!!

I don't think any number of questions or answers can truly tell you what it is like. The fact that you will be there for him is perhaps the most comforting thing for you both.

I wish you both all the best for the op and a steady recovery

Best wishes



The idea of the surgery can be scary, not least because they are obliged to point out all sorts of risks, but they would not be offering the operation if there was not a good chance of a successful outcome. Statistics are meaningless when it comes down to an individual, and there are lots of people who have had this surgery, sometimes many years ago, and have a good quality of life afterwards.

I remember one patient who got so worried that he discharged himself on the morning of the operation. The hospital then arranged for him to speak to a patient who had had the same operation a few weeks before. When he phoned up he was so reassured by the fact that this person was back at work that he went straight back in and had the operation which was very successful.

It is a big operation, and progress afterwards can seem slower than we would want, and it does consume all your attention and anxiety.

The relationship with the surgeon is usually quite a special one, and their skill makes us profoundly grateful for saving our lives.

If you would like to talk to a patient who has had the surgery, do give our helpline a ring 0121 704 9860 or send a message to me.


Hi Clary

The main thing I would say to you is that yes it is a big operation but if I had to have it done again next week I would go through it again without a second thought. Pain management is really excelent these days and I must say it was more discomfort than anything. As everyone has said here the surgical team will be experienced so go for it with confidence. I am now 6 years post op.

Kind Regards



Thank you so much for your answers - it's help put my mind to rest which means I can focus on supporting my partner & being positive. Thanks


The other thing you might do is to look after yourself as well, because it is a strain on spouses/partners/carers, and whilst it is natural that all the attention does to the patient, make sure you keep up with friends who can be supportive.

Dealing with phone calls can be a chore - a phone that you can carry around, perhaps, with an answer message so that that you can pick it up for some people, but not others if you do not feel like it. And finding somebody to pass on the regular bulletins on your behalf is also a good idea!



I hope everything went well with the operation and that your partner is now in the high dependency unit.

I had the operation last October and am doing very well. I know it's a little early but tell him to try and get up and move about as soon as they will let him

All my best wishes



Hi Phil,

I know things happen for a reason - but yesterday we were at the hospital for 7am and waited and waited. At 10am the surgical registrar came and told us there might be an issue with beds in the intensive care unit - and they were carring out a ward round to see if anyone could be moved to step down. Unfortunately after the ward round the situation was such that no ICU bed would be available so we were sent home - well via the pub for lunch!!

The brighter side is my parter has had a call this morning and it's possible the surgery will take place next Tuesday 16th April (which is still just inside his 7 week window from taking the last chemo tablet). We've been assured having had this happen once if there is 1 bed and 2 possible ICU patients that my partner having been bumped once will get the bed.

So we've gained some more time together - it means a meeting on Saturday my partner had given apologies to he can now attend.

Good advice about the moving around - the phtsil team have made it really clear that 'no' most certainly does not mean 'no'..




the phtsil team have made it really clear that 'no' most certainly does not mean 'no'..

Woops That should be physio!!


Off to Hospital again this morning - fingers crossed there are beds in the intensive care unit and all goes well.


The surgery took place on Tuesday evening - and my partner was in good spirits when I visited yesterday and really chatty as he's on epidural pain relief currently. Hats off to the surgical team this is a life changing and life saving operation. Big sigh of relief!! Thanks for all your wise and well informed advice Xx


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