Gullet (oesophagus) cancer

A support group for anyone affected by gullet cancer (also known as oesophageal cancer) to come together, share experiences and ask questions.

Surgery & Recovery Issues...

Pink Hippo
Posted by

Hi Sherry

I still experience pain in my right side seven months after the operation, especially if I exert myself.  I asked my specialist nurse about this when I went for my last check up and apparently it's normal.  The surgeons have to prize your ribs appart during the operation and that is what makes the area so tender.

Best wishes

Janet

 

SSaunders
Posted by

Hello Janet -  Thanks so much for your response.  I kind of suspected that and can imagine that the rib cage is trying to heal itself by moving back into place.  And how are you doing at the 7 month mark?  We are almost at the 3 month point so it would be interesting to see where we might be at that time.

Thanks so much again for your reply - take care, Sherry

Pink Hippo
Posted by

Hi Sherry

At month seven I still feel I'm healing.  I look OK on the outside, maybe a bit frail sometimes according to my daughter.  I get very tired still but I work full time and use public transport to and from work so getting there and back is quite tiring in it's self.  Food gets stuck sometimes so I may have to go and have another stretching at the end of November (I had it done in July).  This is due to the healing process and the scar tightening as it does so.  My main problem at the moment is my shoulder:  I have a pain under the scar on my right shoulder which travels down my right arm, it varies in intensity but there is always at least a niggle.  It feels like a trapped nerve but I have been told it is where the nerves are healing and meshing together again.  I take painkillers for it but it tends to wake me up in the early hours (I think it's when I lie on my right side and put pressure on my arm.  I have toyed with the idea of getting one of those TENS machines.  Best wishes to your husband for a speedy recovery.

Gillygill
Posted by

Hello Sherry, i was interested to read about your particular nerve pain, as it is EXACTLY the same as my husband gets, and he is 3 years on from his surgery.  He describes it as toothache in his right arm, right down to his finger tips and the muscle of his thumb, and it drives him crazy.  Sometimes it is worse than others, also depending on how he sleeps.  I am a massage therapist, and have found that by deep massaging the tissue around the right shoulder blade, and working down the arm to the fingertips, it offers some relief. He was also told this is nerve damage from the scar, and we know that nerves take a long time (if ever...) to repair.  Try some massage, but be sure to explain the surgery to the therapist.

By the way, his food doesn't get stuck exactly, but he has definitely found some foods just don't sit right (and have to come back up), e.g. bread, pastry and sausages!

SSaunders
Posted by

Dear Gillygill -  Thanks so much for your note.  I do try to rub my husbands back when I can to help the aches and pains.  A heating pad works well.  Now that you have suggested the massage I would be curious to see if he would go for that.  As you stated, we would be sure to explain the surgery to the therapist before proceeding but I am betting he would like that.  Thanks again for the suggestion!  All the best to you and take care, Sherry

SSaunders
Posted by

Dear Pink Hippo - Thank you for your note.  So far Brian has not had too much of a problem with swallowing.  Certainly the odd food may stick a bit (toast) but over all he can eat pretty much anything.  But as I mentioned, it is the rib pain that is the worst if he has sat for long periods of time.  I mentioned to Gillygill that a heating pad seems to help. 

So nice to hear from you and thanks for your good wishes - Sherry