I'm 3.5 years post oesophagectomy and no signs of any recurrence which is fantastic! But ever since I had my cancer treatment I've felt really 'old' physically.
I was diagnosed with stage 2 oesophageal cancer at age 46 and was always fairly fit and active up to that point. I had 4 rounds of FLOT followed by oesophagectomy. I didn't have any post op chemo as there were no signs of any cells in the lymph nodes that they removed during the surgery. Complications whilst I was still in hospital after the op were that the lung that they had deflated filled up with fluid so had to be drained off. Other than that, all went well with no other issues. I also have a chronic immune condition for which I have to have weekly immunoglobulin infusions for the rest of my life (that was diagnosed about 15 years ago).
I know my body has been through a hell of a lot with the cancer treatment and obviously I'll start to feel older physically as I get older (I was 50 last month - glad I made it!) but I'm wondering how much of the downturn in my physical abilities is down to the cancer treatment, if any. I know I've got my immune condition which won't be helping but that never bothered me or affected me pre cancer. I always used to feel younger than I was but since my cancer treatment I feel about 20 years older than I am, it's a huge change for me. My body aches, I have pain in lots of places, I sleep so much more than I used to. I'm just not physically capable like I was.
Of course I'm really lucky to still be here and I'm not complaining in any way, I have a curious mind and I like to understand things. I'd be really interested to hear other people's stories about how they've felt post treatment. Does this process 'age' us? I'm unsure of the long term effects of the treatment I've had so I don't know if this is normal. Feel free to tell me I'm being ridiculous and 'of course it's normal after what you've been through!'
Thanks in advance
Hi Deborah ..
Firstly BIG well done for the 3.5 years of being cancer free ️ It’s fantastic to hear .
My husband was a very fit and youthful man for his age before he was diagnosed with OC last year at the age of 64 …Although he’s very grateful his treatment and surgery has gone well he feels the same ..He says it’s aged him and he now feels a lot older physically and psychologically than he used to feel ..I have to say he does look older but I would never tell him as I want to surround him with as much positivity as I can ..Our children have commented about it too but only to me and not to their Dad …He’s definitely not the man he was before but I’m just delighted he’s still here with us after a nightmare thirteen months of fighting this terrible disease .
I didn’t notice it at first ..it was only when a nurse at the hospital mistook me for his daughter (there’s three years age difference ) ..that I actually saw what the disease and subsequent treatment was doing to him ...He now has mobility issues brought on by the chemo and the lengthy six months diagnostic process didn’t do him any favours either ..He still needs assistance with things he didn’t before this all began . and he’s definitely not as fit and agile as he was before which he finds frustrating ..I look at it from the point of view that you can’t put your body through all the aggressive treatment and major surgery and walk away from it all the same person as before ..and I know for him it’s only seven months post surgery and five months post adjuvant chemo so there’s time for improvement yet .
Putting all that to one side ..we are just so proud of what he’s put himself through and achieved ..not just for himself but for the family too …You should be proud of yourself too ..It’s a massive process to go through and to come through to the other side is admirable to say the least …You absolutely deserve to wear your scars and maybe a few extra wrinkles with pride ….The aches and pains are probably a natural symptom of getting older and would’ve probably happened anyway ..but who knows ? Just enjoy your second chance at life and just be YOU
.Just to add ...I tuck my husband into bed every night ..kiss the top of his head and say ‘What a superstar ! ‘..It makes him smile
Wishing you a happy and healthy future