My husband was recently diagnosed with esophagus cancer

After just beginning to regain his strength from a stroke 10 months ago and two major surgeries on his carotid arteries, in January my husband  was diagnosed with Inoperable eosophagus cancer.  From mild symptoms he now cannot take anything orally and has been fitted with a RIG feeding tube.  We are into the fourth week of chemo/ radiotherapy. In the first weeks after the diagnosis I'm afraid I completely went to pieces. Disbelief followed by anger, helplessness, and uncontrolable outbursts of sobbing. Finally I managed to get myself together somewhat,  and focus on my husband and how frightened he must be. It's frightening that he has deteriorated  so quickly .The daily 70 mile round trips for treatment are not helping him, especially as they are always running at least an hour late which is very distressing for him.  Practically  I do all I can for him but although he doesn't say , I think he thinks I have turned into a real nag. I worry he's always cold, that he takes all his medications and feeds through the feeding tube.  It's just my way of coping, otherwise I feel so helpless.  He sleeps most of the day when we are not at the hospital and is very depressed, saying very little. Terrible to say, but I already miss the larger than life husband with a wicked sense of humour and endless practical jokes. I love him to pieces and to see him so frail is breaking my heart.

People say to make the most of each day, and to make memories but when someone can't eat or drink at all  and walking is difficult  there is really nowhere we can go which doesn't involve either.  There is no answer I know.  Family say if you need anything, just ask, but there really isn't anything .

  • Linda,

    I have tears in my eyes reading your message. You have a lot to deal with and of course you're missing your husband's lovely wit and personality. it is heartbreaking seeing the person you love, admire, like and respect being unwell. Cancer is a bee, it steals so much from us. 

    You are incredibly strong, I can feel it in every word you wrote.

    Is the chemo for a fixed period so you can both have a physical break after the course? The travelling must be draining and the waiting infuriating as if you're like us, you're always at an appointment early. 

    I have found some friends didn't know what to say and have dropped us (never mind) and some say things, as your friends do, about making memories. I roll my eyes inwardly! 

    All I can say is what I say to my Dave (kidney cancer) and myself: keep on, keeping on. One day at a time. Make sure you are eating regularly, eat what you fancy and can you have a five or ten minute walk round the block or just a a breather outside to get some fresh air or are you too bushed after the chemo appointment?

    You are not alone, Linda. 


  • Big hugs, my heart goes out to you. My husband was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus 18th March. 

  • My husband diagnosed 23rd March, 24th May was told 18mths left, this was after a week after having feeding tube fitted. We were on a bit of a high as after the pet scan we were told had not spread anywhere else. He was looking forward to having it shrunk an then operation to remove , I knew in my heart that the operation would go ahead as had read not many ops went ahead on this type of cancer but we were not expecting it to be terminal yet, he’s only 61. I am scared to bring anything up to discuss to get it out of the way and concentrate on what we have left, I know the chemo and radio therapy will be gruelling for him too

  • That is so scary ! So sorry. My husband is 64. Initially he was told he would have chemotherapy, surgery and then more chemotherapy. Doctors have refused him an operation as he has COPD so that leaves radiotherapy and chemotherapy for treatment. He has seen the oncologist last week, and we are currently waiting a decision if he will have radiotherapy....everything is taking such a long time as doctors have been off sick and I guess there is the Covid back log. He has been told if he does not have radiotherapy he will have a low number of years to live. Yes it is a rollercoaster. Every piece of news makes me feel very stressed as I try to digest it. My mum has breast cancer, she has had mastectomy and she is currently going through chemotherapy so cancer dominates my life. 

  • My heart goes out to you Linda. My beloved husband has been diagnosed with inoperable oesophageal cancer a few weeks ago. The plan is to start chemo and immunotherapy sometime soon, and they have said that will continue indefinitely which is hard to process. I just don’t know how to bear it but he is the one who will going through the awful symptoms. He can still eat, very slowly, and is quite fit so we are trying to make the most of each day. I identify so much with your feelings and wanted you to know we are in this together. Hugs Lisa

  • Hello Wave I’m so sorry to hear this,  my partner was diagnosed with OC last year and has been through the mill not being able to eat or drink . He was fitted with a peg feed at first then his tumour started to shrink now he’s back to square one not eating or drinking again . He’s got to have a tube feed to help him, the chemo he’s on is making him sick . 
    I do feel for you it’s exhausting to just sit and watch them suffer and to be sleeping there life away . All you can do is your best, I have a good family around . Hope you have too ? 

    Take care . You’re not alone this group is very supportive also .

  • My dad has just been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer last week and we've been told he has weeks to live. He was a very active 71 year old, still working (been trying to get him to retire for years!) 

    He only started feeing unwell about 6 weeks ago!! We brought him home from hospital but he's gone down hill quicker than we thought he would, he had a UTI shortly after leaving hospital which made him very confused we thought following the antibiotics he would start to come round but he still seems a bit confused and he has very little conversation which is really hard, he's eating very little and obviously loosing weight.  We're struggling to get our head around this....we're just watching him disappear.

  • Hello Wave I’m sorry sorry to hear this about your dad , it’s a very cruel cancer. Not being able to eat or drink is a basic need for any human, my partner isn’t doing very good either he’s got pain to even swallow hopefully having a tube fitted this Friday . I have to love him from a far as he’s moved to his moms, that’s hard in itself. I really have no words other than look after him the best way you can, that’s all you can do and make him comfortable. X 

    Take care .


  • Hi,  It's my husband, and it really is a cancer that is very debilitating from diagnosis on. So sorry to hearabout your partner.

    The feeding tube is a godsend in terms of keeping the weight more stable but it is also very limiting in every day life.  Feeding through a syringe 3/4 times a day and administering 5 liquid medications twice a day takes a considerable amount of time and patience.

    I hope he will feel a little better in himself once he is getting enough nourishment to regain some strength.

    All the very best


  • I am so sorry to hear about your dad.  They say there are no early warning signs with oesophagus cancer so when finally diagnosed it is often advanced. My husband is 66 and was very active now he is a shadow of his former self in just a few months. He doesn't talk much either, because he is so exhausted all the time and understandably, very depressed.  Im afraid I have no pearls of wisdom to give you, all we can do is be there for them and make them as comfortable as possible.

    All the very best