It was six years ago , at the age of 70, on September 5, 2007, that I had my first operation, an esophagectomy. I had been diagnosed at the end of June. I came through the very long surgery and the day after was doing relatively well but my blood pressure was quite low. The second day I ran into some severe complications which turned out to be caused when the stomach connection necrotized . I was moved from the step down unit into the ICU and my head had blown up like a football . They nearly lost me at that time. My doctor was quick to recognized the cause and I was rushed back to the operating room for emergency surgery to undo everything that had been done initially and the toxic parts were removed...My stomach was put back and I had all sorts of tubes connected to his body. At the top of my neck , what was left of my esophagus was brought out and a bag was placed in it to catch my saliva . There was no connection between my and my stomach and I had feeding tubes directly into my stomach. I could no longer eat or drink anything by mouth and was tube fed for many months. I was very, very sick and was in the hospital for over a month before I was released to come home with Home Care to gain my strength back before the doctor would attempt to reconstruct a false esophagus for me in the future. We had all kinds of Homecare helpers including Occupational and Physio therapists, nurses, dietician, social worker, PCA ‘s , our family doctor for the next 8 months. All this including the formula and drugs I needed, was supplied and covered by our OHIP. Eight months after my first two surgeries I had some further tastings regarding the feasibility of the reconstruction and in April of 2008, I had an 9 hour surgery during which my doctor constructed a new esophagus using 18 inches of my colon, She was able to leave his stomach where is was supposed to be and attached the colon at the top of his neck after she removed his collar bone on the left side to be able to make the join. I survived yet another operation and eventually was reintroduce to food and liquids. I continued to have home care for several months after I returned home but I was once again able to eat real food and because my stomach was in the right place , I can eat normal meals and most everything. I continued to see his surgeon regularly over the next few years and had the CT’s and other tests that were necessary . I was very heavy before my initial surgery and I eventually lost a lot of weight. I did not go back to where I was before the surgery but I now maintains a comfortable weight and looks and feel terrific. I had my 76th birthday last June. At my five year appointment in September 2012, my doctor deemed me cancer free and she released me back to our family doctor who keeps regular checks on me. I am quite a miracle and we thank God every day for the care I had and the prayers that I am quite a miracle and we thank God every day for the care I had and the prayers that were said on our behalf. We are very much into promoting awareness and early detections and we try our best to be supportive of other families who are going through their treatments with this dreadful disease. Our prayers are now for them.
Years since diagnosed:11