Hope after Oesopagectomy

I wanted to share my recent experiences post Oesophagetomy. The obvious need to recover after this major operation was of course made very difficult because of my unsurprising problems with eating. My digestive system was like a war zone of conflict, with a loss of appetite and the limit of what I could eat combined with sometimes regurgitating food and sometimes dry retching.

I had the backup of the night feed pump but that I could use but sometimes that didn't agree with me. I did have the pyloric stretching procedure which stopped the sickness and enabled me to tolerate a wider food range. But I still was struggling with both the belching and discomfort in my abdomen and eating just wasn't a normal experience. I also lost a lot of weight including muscle loss.

The most distressing thing was that I often felt unwell; whether I ate or not. I would say that this period was probably the most challenging part of the whole cancer treatment. My life was just dominated by this struggle.

However there is hope. Recently and what was ten weeks after discharge I had a marked improvement and was able to eat much more normally and it was such a relief. I was now making progress. I feel that my disrupted digestive system had now “figured out” what was going on. I am now eating mainly normally and able to focus on other things.

During this time I made full use of the excellent specialist nurses support at Oxford hospital and didn't hold back on sharing my suffering. Sometimes I just had to accept that I was feeling rough and take the pressure off about trying to do the “right thing.” It was always made clear to me that things would improve – it just felt a long time coming.

So if any body reading this is having their own problems recovering after this operation. Don't loose hope – there can be a remarkable turn around awaiting for you.