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.
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.