2ndtimearound's Journey with Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Esophagus Ca...

Patient: Esophagus (Esophageal) Cancer > Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 6 years ago, Female, Age: 76, Stage III

  1. 1
    over 4 years ago
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    To scope esophagus

    Decision Point

    Dr wanted to scope because of symptoms - hoarse voice & lumped feeling when eating

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  2. 2
    over 4 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    Scoped one month after GP Dr ordered test. When Dr. scoped, he noted it was cancer, but didn't tell me what I should do next. Ultrasound nurse called & scheduled ultrasound 1 week later to help stage the cancer. Determined it was Stage 1A or B. Thought no lymph nodes were involved.

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  3. 3
    over 4 years ago
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    Treatment Options

    Decision Point

    1 week after ultrasound, met with Oncologist who ordered CT & PET scans over next three days. Results confirmed surface lesions only with no lymph node involvement. Though one node was swollen. Met surgeon one day after PET scan. He recommended immediate surgery to remove the esophagus. We talked about his experience with the surgery & the possibility of using radiation prior to surgery. Radiation had been used prior to my Breast cancer surgery 30 years prior. I had one third of the lymph nodes involved @ that time. Surgeon told me radiation would not be his recommendation in my case. Met with radiologist one day after talking with surgeon. He concured with surgeon because of the lack of lymph-node involvement & because I had radiation treatment before.

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  4. 4
    over 4 years ago
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    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    Met with surgeon a 2nd time before surgery. As I had done some research on the internet, I asked the Dr if he could do part of the surgery laprascopically. He said he thought so & that he might even see better with cameras. He answered all my questions, walked me through what would happen & assured me that he would have minimal discomfort after, but would have a two week stay in the hospital. Surgery lasted 3.5 hours and the laprascopic incision was made through the scar from my breast cancer surgery. I had very little pain because of the effiicient use of drugs, but was off heavy drugs by day 7. Post surgery exam of tissue did find lymph node involvement. Big dissapointment!!! Was released from hospital on day 10. Dr. was very pleased with my recovery from the surgery. Went home with feeding tube.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  5. 5
    over 4 years ago
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    Weight loss

    Side Effects

    The biggest difficulty was trying to eat enough calories to get off the feeding tube. I experienced "dumping syndrom" & a lot of times felt bloated. To complicate matters, the feeding tube plugged up by the end of the first month. It was too close to the surgery to replace it, so the doctor asked me to try to consume at least 1200 calories a day for the next week. If I could do it, he wouldn't have to replace the tube. He could just remove it. It was uncomfortable, but I was able to accomplish the task. It turned out to be a good thing as it helped me get started on chemotherapy sooner. It turned out that lymph nodes were involved after all.

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  6. 6
    over 4 years ago
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    What treatment to pursue upon finding lymph nodes with cancer cells

    Decision Point

    Apparently, my case was very unusual. Treatment after surgery is iffy. Finding lymph node involvement was a surprise to every one. So now my chances of survival are much less. My oncologist took my case to the hospital tumor board to get authorization for the use of an alternative chemo drug. They settled on using Oxiplatin for a six month period or for as long as my system could take it without having neuropathy side effects. I agreed to try the treatment.

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  7. 7
    over 4 years ago
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    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    The first two months (4 doses) went well. Then the trouble started. I got diverticulitis. Treatment for that & recovery set us back on chemo treatment. Intestines were extra sensitive after that & my blood counts were frequently low. I ended up taking 8 months (instead of 6) to complete 10 out of the 12 treatments prescribed. By that time, I did start having signs of neuropathy, particularly in my right hand. I'm sure that occurred because of the loss of lymph nodes from my breast surgery 30 years ago.

    Easy to Do: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  8. 8
    over 4 years ago
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    Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)

    Side Effects

    Lots of side effects continued after chemotherapy stopped & lasted for about 6 months. Neuropathy, fatique & general malaise, irritable bowel syndrome. Medication given for neuropathy has helped. Must now really pay attention to what I have eaten if I have an IBS attack.

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  9. 9
    over 4 years ago