Problems with stent

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My husband has been diagnosed with incurable cancer to the oesophagus and had a stent put in around a month ago. Before he had that almost everything he ate would come back up again. The weeks that have passed since the stent was put in have been fine. Largely his swallowing seem to be better and he´s been eating food like yoghurts porridge and a couple of times he´s also eaten cottage pie without any immediate problems. He has lost a huge amount of weight though and hasn´t put any back on yet.

But strongly encouraged about his eating habits that seemed to be better yesterday I decided to serve him steak and mash. The meat was very soft and easy to mash up into little pieces and I served it with extra gravy and a little bit of very soft broccoli. IF ONLY I HAD NEVER DONE THAT! He ate a bit and then threw it back up and since then he has hardly been able to swallow anything - food or drinks - at all. I really blame myself for this set back because he was all fine in the morning (well as fine as you can be when you have advanced cancer and are fatigued because on top of that you might be anaemic) and just because I decide to serve him this stupid steak and mash we´re almost back to what things were like BEFORE he had a stent put in.

I feel so at a loss now and don´t know what to do for him other than maybe calling one of the nurses on his team and hear what she has to say about the whole thing. I feel useless as a wife and that I can´t care for him properly :-( 

What I would like is to hear if anybody else here has experienced these kinds of set backs once a stent has been placed and how you cope with it

  • Hello Lotus72

    I am so sorry to hear about your husbands oesophageal cancer. It must be really tough for you both with him being unable to eat properly and having problems swallowing. Is your husbands team able to give you any advice?

    Please do phone the Support Line and speak to one of the nurses. They will want to help and will be able to give you some advice on foods to try etc. 

    You are most definitely not a useless wife, however you are feeling right now- you are doing everything you can to support your husband going through something that would be extremely difficult for anyone. 

    Give them a call, and get some advice- they are lovely on the Support Line



    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

  • Hi Lotus 72 

    So sorry to hear your husband and you are going through this ..It must be very distressing for you both .You can only do your best and it certainly sounds like you are caring for your husband very well …It isn’t your fault things are not progressing well with the stent ..There could be a number of medical reasons why things aren’t settled yet   ..Please reach out to your husband’s medical team for support and advice ..They will help …I sincerely hope your situation improves very soon 

    regards J 

  • Don’t blame yourself. Hopefully the nurse team or A&E team will have been able to assist with this problem and that it will be temporary and he can get back to a better place when eating. My dad has incurable oesophageal cancer too. He had a stent fitted after getting to the point of not being able to drink a sip of water. He is now being careful, eating soft foods and soups etc, but I do have to say he is sometimes ‘pushing it’ with chicken and other foods he ‘shouldn’t have’ and your post has given us a wake up call. All the best to you both. This is a very difficult stage. I understand and sympathise totally. 

  • So hectic here these days. One hospital appointment after the other. But I just want to say a big thank you to those of you who took the time to respond to my post. It´s really heart warming to read all your comments. Things have setteled down a bit again and since the incident with the steak and mash there has been no problems. It finally looks like my husband will start his chemo treatment soon. But I´m just so worried because the shortness of breath and dizzyness that he seems to be suffering from has gotten worse. So I´ve made an appointment for us to go up to the hospital today and discuss it with the doctor. I really think they need to address it. Thank you all so much again xxxx

  • Hope all goes well today ..Thumbsup

  • I'm going through something similar with my mum, the stent was put through the tumor as her food pipe had almost sealed completely. She'd been 'going off' food since November/December before being diagnosed in April and has lost so much weight. We're struggling to put it back on especially when she is bringing the small morsels of soft food she's eating back up!

    A lot of the sickness she is attributing to nerves about her 2nd chemo session but she also has the dizziness like your husband so her mobility is suffering too.

    I'm struggling to find foods that she isn't associating with sickness and she's refusing to have soup as she's fed up with it.

    It's so hard seeing someone you love going through this x

  • Ohh gosh SCW I´m so sorry to hear what your mum is going through and it is indeed horrible! You look at your loved one who used to be SO alive and present in the moment and all of a sudden he/she is reduced to a complete shadow of their former self. It´s so sad!

    Like your mum my husband also has a big tumor which more or less has sealed his food pipe completely; hence why they put in the stent. And I have been quite successful in serving him cottage pie with generous amounts of gravy a couple of times. Don´t know if you have tried that with your mum already?

    Is your mum on any kind of medication that can affect her blood pressure? If so it might be worth speaking to her doctor about it. We were up at the hospital for an appointment with the doctor earlier today and he took my husband off 2 kinds of medication (Amlodipine and Ramipril) We hope that maybe that can help with the dizzyness and maybe even make his red blood cell counts go up.

    My husband will start his chemo treatment tomorrow morning and we hope that it will be able to stop the cancer from growing and shrink the tumor enough so that he´ll start eating somewhat more normal again.

    Fingers crossed for your mum as well SCW and I hope the very best for her

  • I wish your husband all the best. Will he be getting any immunotherapy alongside the chemo?

    My mum's first one, although nervous, went well and she certainly had more energy afterwards.

    It could be that the beta blocker might be contributing to the dizziness but she's also diabetic so it could be sugar levels.

    Tried cottage pie, bolognese, finely shredded chicken in gravy, soups etc. Tuc crackers or the Carrs melts are a good consistency and melt well in the mouth. I can recommend maize crisps too such as onion rings or quavers. I'm now trying to blend things down further into more purees but that texture will get boring soon no doubt. The one thing she does enjoy are steamed puddings with plenty of cream/ice cream although cold things were off the menu for a bit following the chemo (as was paté)! 

    She's very withdrawn. Accepted the diagnosis but still very much in the 'why me' mindset which is totally understandable, just wish she could get some fight back in her! 

  • Ahhh I can see you have tried quite a lot of food; more than I have up to this point. But I´ll definitely go with some of your suggestions xxxxx

    My husband is also diabetic (Type 2) he´s had his blood sugar levels measured but blood tests show that everything´s fine in that department so I think it´s a combination of the huge weight loss he´s experienced + those 2 medications the doctor took away yesterday and the cancer spreading in his body that contributes to the dizzyness. I hope that treatment will do him some good.

    Immunotherapy hasn´t been on the table yet. I did intend to ask the doctor yesterday but forgot unfortunately. I will next time we meet up with him cause there has been a couple of suggestions in here about that treatment. Right now his treatment will consist of 2 kinds of chemo: Capecitabine and Cisplatin. And he´ll be getting a targeted treatment as well called Trastuzumab. He´s not so much in the "why me" phase right now. More in "I want to get rid of this damn thing" phase.

    All of this is really horrible and you can´t really switch off from it and decide you won´t have anything to do with it. That´s why it´s a wonderful thing that there is a forum like this where you can share thoughts and experiences with like-minded people xxxxxxxx

  • Because its spread to her lymph nodes there is no option for getting it out. She's getting the xelox combination for chemo and nivolumab immunotherapy xx