• Stretching the esophagus

    Asked by Dkatsmeow on Monday, May 1, 2017

    Stretching the esophagus

    The therapist thinks my esophagus too narrow for food/liquid to go down. I haven't swallowed anything in over 1 1/2 years. Not since surgery to remove the cancer from my neck. It was originally at the back of my tongue in 2014 and recurred in 2015. After 2 courses if radiation (33 doses twice a year apart.), some damage is done. What should I expect from them stretching my espophagus. Will it help? How much pain? What can I do to ease any pain from this?

    Thanks!

    17 Answers from the Community

    17 answers
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      I haven't had it done, but I know others here have. I hope they respond soon.

      My experience is only what my doctor told me when she thought she might have to stretch my esophagus. Keep in mind, I havent had any treatments that would affect how my esophagus works.

      My doctor told me that it was a simple procedure to stretch the esophagus. She did an endoscopy and, had it been needed, would have done the stretching at the same time, while I was still knocked out.

      Good luck!! Since I love to eat (way too much), I can't imagine not eating anything for 1.5 years!!! Does your doctor think you will be able to eat again after your esophagus is stretched?

      about 5 years ago
    • Dkatsmeow's Avatar
      Dkatsmeow

      Though hopeful, probabley no. The best I am hoping for now is to be able to at least swallow liquids.

      about 5 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      I have to have my esophagus (what is left of it) stretched approximately every two years. It is done during an endoscopy. It is totally painless (except for the co-pay :). They put you under with twilight sleep. You might have a slight sore throat and be nauseated for a day or two. It will definitely help you swallow, For me this is a routine procedure every other year. I have one coming up in July. No Biggie (except for the co-pay:)

      about 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      Pardon me. I have no idea of the details of your treatments. Any physician who allows a G-tube to to be implanted and stay in place for over a year and has not advised the patient of the consequences is somewhere between careless and unfeeling.

      Get an opinion from and independent (as in not recommended by your current physician) specialist.

      meyati, a whatnext contributer, was harmed by a careless throat exploration.no procedure is so simple that it cant be mucked up.

      If you can get to a point where you can swallow purees, your social life and physical being with strengthen.

      Good luck

      Best wishes.

      about 5 years ago
    • Dkatsmeow's Avatar
      Dkatsmeow

      I have so many doctors. My oncologists work as a team. I have an ENT, a rediologist and a chemo doc. Rarely see the chemo doc since I have only had 2 rounds of chemo since I got the cancer thank GOD1 That was bad. Put me in the hospital with only 50% kidney function. Haven't had any chemo since. They wanted the last round, but I was too puny. Anyway they cautiously tell me that I may never eat again. That was always a possiblility. But I haven't given up yet on being able to swallow yet. At least some liquids and will explore all possibilities. Irregardless. I want to eat. But I am making a list of pros & cons. Because the reality is will probably never eat solid food again. But you never what the flesh is willing to do. So I am going to follow the program & hope for the best.
      And no they did not :"STRESS" the paralysis, but the cancer had grew more they had realized this last time & the surgery took more than they had planned. If I am going to be cut on, they had better get all the cancer. Chances are I will not let them cut on me like this ever again. But we will cross that bridge when or hopefully IF we get to it. Hopefully there will be no reason to revisit surgery again.

      about 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      I wish you luck.

      My friend, Jeff, figured out how to make whole meals, puree them, and make them thin enough to get down a g tube.
      He said the length of time it took was somewhat depressing.

      If, as @barryboomer said, you can get to a point where you can swallow purees without aspiration, I think you will be in a much happier place.

      Best wishes

      about 5 years ago
    • greytmomm's Avatar
      greytmomm

      Well said BoiseB. The cancer and the treatments are bad enough. My insurance co hates me b/c 2 years in a row I max out my out of pocket. This should not be happening but it could get worse. Praying!

      about 5 years ago
    • planogirl60's Avatar
      planogirl60

      I've had mine stretched about 5 times. It has helped, but the last time Doctor said he would be uncomfortable trying it again as he is afraid with so much stretching it would rupture. It has helped. Certainly not back to pre-cancer, but better! I was only put under like a twilight stage, I do remember some of one of the stretching's, but none of the others. As far as pain, like a bit of having a sore throat. Lasted maybe a week. I didn't go as long as you have without eating however. And you may need to see someone to re-learn how to swallow. I'd say go for it, anything that could possibly let you eat again is worth it.

      about 5 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I haven't had that done, but I feel like it's coming. I have had trouble swallowing since I had a radical neck dissection a little over 8 years ago. My swallowing has gotten harder and harder and I've choked a few times. I will wait as long as I can, I taught myself how to get things down and I try to watch what I eat. I choose what I eat based on the "slide factor".

      about 5 years ago
    • welderdan's Avatar
      welderdan

      I have had dilation three times since my 2012 laryngectomy, the first one went without any problems, stretched all the way to size 51Fr, and absolutely no discomfort. the second and third this past yr was combined cause the gift of radiation therapy continues to make tissues stiff. But the process of dilating to a size 46, and a few weeks later on out to 51. went smooth. The first of these two left me feeling only a minor sore throat, did not interfere with swallowing, and the second dilation was completely uneventful. Eating is definitely one of life's little pleasures. Pray you have similar or better results, Dan

      about 5 years ago
    • Dkatsmeow's Avatar
      Dkatsmeow

      God Bless you all! It gives me courage to go on. I told my husband I don't want to hope too much. I don't want to disappointment, but yall give me hope. I am sitting here this morning trying to enjoy my coffee. it is hard when all I can do is cough it all back up. but it won't go down yet, no matter how I turn/bend/tuck my head. So that pleasure I AM looking forward to.

      GOD BLESS! And trust me I pray every day some kind of "cure" will be found. Maybe they can find a treatment to treat like HIV or diabetes without all of the side effects & damage treatment now entails. Right now if the treatment doesn't kill you, you just might make it.

      about 5 years ago
    • Dkatsmeow's Avatar
      Dkatsmeow

      God Bless you all! It gives me courage to go on. I told my husband I don't want to hope too much. I don't want to disappointment, but yall give me hope. I am sitting here this morning trying to enjoy my coffee. it is hard when all I can do is cough it all back up. but it won't go down yet, no matter how I turn/bend/tuck my head. So that pleasure I AM looking forward to.

      GOD BLESS! And trust me I pray every day some kind of "cure" will be found. Maybe they can find a treatment to treat like HIV or diabetes without all of the side effects & damage treatment now entails. Right now if the treatment doesn't kill you, you just might make it.

      about 5 years ago
    • Dkatsmeow's Avatar
      Dkatsmeow

      God Bless you all! It gives me courage to go on. I told my husband I don't want to hope too much. I don't want to disappointment, but yall give me hope. I am sitting here this morning trying to enjoy my coffee. it is hard when all I can do is cough it all back up. but it won't go down yet, no matter how I turn/bend/tuck my head. So that pleasure I AM looking forward to.

      GOD BLESS! And trust me I pray every day some kind of "cure" will be found. Maybe they can find a treatment to treat like HIV or diabetes without all of the side effects & damage treatment now entails. Right now if the treatment doesn't kill you, you just might make it.

      about 5 years ago
    • welderdan's Avatar
      welderdan

      Remember you have everything to gain....Onward

      about 5 years ago
    • Dkatsmeow's Avatar
      Dkatsmeow

      Excuse sarcasm, But at what price? I am already having quality of life issues. My mind wants to do things but my body says no! I can't eat or drink. I am very uncomfortable. I feel that Mr. Balloon head off the Simpsons. I can barely walk. My feed spasm when they are not numb like my hands. Gain what? Right now the only thing I want to gain is weight. I can't even play with my grandson. I hope that Russian doctor gets right & can put a head on a new body. I would give it a try. I did not deserve this & I hate it. What have I done to be punished like this. And yes it does feel like a punishment. If I had breast cancer & lost a breast they could fix that. They can't fix me. I'm stuck. How much more treatment do I want go through at what price. What more do I have to give up just to breathe. I want to live and that is hard to do right now. I have to wait on everyone else for help. I am afraid to go a store alone. I am afraid someone is going to knock me over & break my hip worse than already is. I am only 2 years into this. What other issues are going to crop up down the road? What if the cancer comes back? What treatment then? How much more am I expected to take? Yes I want to live, but I want to enjoy that life also. Not sure I can anymore. I just keep put 1 foot in front of the other. Wish I could afford to retire. But I have to keep working if no other reason than I NEED the insurance.

      about 5 years ago
    • welderdan's Avatar
      welderdan

      The truth is in my situation the struggle never ends, but comes anew everyday. You and I are here because we refuse to give up... We each live with the same convictions, same caution, disappointments, doubt, and for many reasons. Greg is a personal friend of mine here in Paris Tn. He can give you my contact number should you like to talk about this, but please don't give up I pray..Dan

      about 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      Excuse because it isnt really my place but words have power and can, amaxinlgy change your thinking

      I am, At Current, having quality of life issues adds a temporary quality to their grip over you.

      I cant eat or drink Yet.

      I Can walk, barely, So Far.

      I Feel stuck is different than I am stuck. We all do better when we allow for hope.

      You need to get over your store fear. Stores have those sit down motorized carts. Even such a slight thing as asking a stranger to reach for an item for you will begin to reconnect you to other human beings. Sometimes you will be ignored or need to speak up more loudly. Sonetimes there might be a language barrier. Sometimes a stranger will feel better about his or her day knowing that, in some small way, they helped someone. Im only 5'4" so I know about needing help for reaching up for stuff. Call around and see which stores provide equipnent you can use.

      Baby steps.

      I cant play with my grandson is difficult. I can watch my grandson at play and (perhaps) interact verbally with him is a blessing.

      Best wishes

      about 5 years ago

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