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Charles’s Story (Esophageal Cancer)

Charles's Fight Like a Girl Esophageal Cancer Story  I was diagnosed on September 11, 2007 with esophageal cancer. I was treated in October of 2007 to March of 2008 at Torbay hospital in the UK.  My specialist at the time was Mr. Simon Hickey. I was first treated with chemotherapy and then had twelve weeks of radiotherapy. There was no surgical operation. Although surgery was an option I opted out of it.

In July of 2013, I was declared “clear.” However, there have been some side effects to the cancer. I have no saliva and I eat cannot solids of any sort except very slimy foods (ex. raw fish).  I also cannot open  my mouth enough to get one finger’s width in due to muscle freezing (tismus), so I have to feed liquid foods via a RIG or PEG (don’t really know what it’s called). I happily can still taste most things okay and my taste is still improving. Although, alcohol over 7% still “burns” my mouth and throat, but that is gradually improving as well.  Like I said, I have to take 95% of what I intake through a PEG or RIG straight in to my stomach. I was offered two options: an overnight feeding process or the option of feeding myself via a syringe (60 ml) three times  per day. I chose to feed myself. For the first three years, the process of taking 25 or so syringe full’s (I also take 500 milliliters of water each time) three times a day became a chore  that I started to resent. I have now devised and built a small battery powered pump which I connect to my feed tube and each feed now takes me about six minutes. I can take it anywhere with me. It has transformed my life. My hospital nutritionist is fascinated and has no issue with my use of it.

I am pleased to be alive and that I didn’t have surgery, as that would have cost me my voice. I was a bit of a guinea pig with the forms of chemotherapy, but it worked. But, every case if different.  There is some advice I wish I had been given during the course of my radiotherapy and forever after and that is;  I should have always practice fully opening (stretching) my jaw as often and as much as possible. I feel this would have helped. I am now a nightmare for my dentist.

That’s it. I hope that reading this helps you – please pass it on if it does.

Charles
United Kingdom
Submitted 12/23/2013

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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One comment

  1. Congratulations on being cancer free!! what a very trying time that must have been to feed yourself that way…but way to take matters into your own hands and created something that works for you! you should probable get a patent on that!!
    thanks for sharing:):)

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