View Full Version : Esophageal cancer clinical trial I just went through

08-09-2010, 03:42 PM
Hi Folks,,,,nice to see such a forum exists,,good way to communicate with people that share something.
Let me tell you a story I just went through the past few months
First let me tell you about myself, I am a 54 year old man who never really took care of myself till a few years ago (it's never too late to start) I smoked, was overweight (weighed in excess of 300lbs in my 40's) Only when I got close to my 50's that it dawned on me that I better watch my eating and my lifestyle. I found out I was a type 2 diabetic also. Took a while to get my sugar down the normal and had suceeded.

This past March is where all my troubles started. My wife was in the hospital getting a hip replacement and for that time I ate take out. One night I came home with a half a submarine sandwich, my first bite into it did not feel right when I swallowed, seemed it got stuck in my throat somewhere and it wasn't a nice feeling. But the food did go down with help from a glass of water,,I waited about 15 minutes and I tried another bite (big mistake) . That bite lodged itself in the sternum area and the pain was unreal,,I could'nt breathe well and I could not drink anything to wash it down,,liquid was drooling out of my mouth. I was choking to death. My neighbour heard me hit the floor and she saw the pain I was in,,she called 911, in the meantime the lump slowly went away. The EMS took me in the hospital. They took XRays of my chest and everything else they had to do. They told me that night that I had somekind of gastric problem and I should see a specialist .They gave me a prescription for Rabaprazol thinking if I did a lot of burping the pain would be easier to live with.

2 weeks later I got a call from the hospital asking me to go for an Endoscopy. The reason was that they saw a shadow somewhere in my chest and wanted to do further testing. I did the test then sent me home, 2 days later the Endoscopy Oncologist called and told me on the phone that they had they had found a tumor in my Esophagus. The next day I went to see him and he showed me a very clear color picture of it. The tumor is right at the bottom of my Esophagus at the opening of my stomach. He then told me " The wheels are already in motion, I have contacted the Cancer Center and wait by the phone a few days and the calls will start coming in". He was right, the very next day I stated getting calls for tests and see the surgeon, the the chemo oncologist and the radiation oncologist. This was all done the very first week after finding out the news.

After a month of testing, CT scans, PET scans Pulmonary function and my heart. They assembled 2 surgeons and a lady who is head of clinical trials in that hospital.

This is the news they told me, Your tumor is blocking about 1/3 of the passage and is localized. It has not spread anywhere else and should start treatment now
and not delay this. But I also agreed to do the clinical trial (nothing to lose). The difference they told me was in the normal treatment they may do chemo and then after do the radiation treatment. But not the two at the same time, they finish it off with surgery and hope for the best.

In the clinical trial , they thought my body was strong enough of getting both Chemo and Radiation at the same time, 6 treatments over 8 weeks then on my third week I would start 25 radiation treatments, after my body recovers from all this about 6 1/2 later then they do surgery. Then they start giving the one pill called SUTENT which they want you to take every day for one year. The Sutent is a Chemo pill. It's supposed to get into the system and kill remaining cancer cells.

Within 6 weeks since getting the news, the Chemo treatments started. It was one treatment every wednesday and off the third week, then had two more with another week off and finally the last 2 treatments. Each treament takes 4 1/2 hours. You get in bed and they start by putting a heplock in my arm, then they start feeding you some Saline, then 2 fairly big bags of Chemo which I cannot think of the name at this moment.

And the radiation started. Every time I was there I never had to wait more than 10 minutes and the radiation treatment 5 minutes.

After 3 Chemo visits and 10 radiation I was not feeling any worse than I did before starting, I was a little more tired than usual but not much.

After the 4th chemo treatment and another 5 radiation I started losing my appetite, I was nauseated, could not get myself to drink liquids either. And I had lost a bunch of weight, I weighed 215lbs before starting then just a few weeks later I'm down to 190. I went to one of my Oncolgists and he saw how sick I looked. He ordered a Nurse from Paramed to come to my house and fill me with 1 bag of Saline every day for 7 days. After the week was done the nurse came in and thought I was was too sick to continue treatment at home.

I went to the hospital and they kept me in for 4 days. They sent me for more tests and found out I was low on blood, 2 bags of it. I started drinking a bit more but just couldn't eat and the home treatment continued for another 7 days. I did my 5th chemo treatment when I was in the hospital and continued my radiation. Never missed one. I started getting weak and sick again and this time It was worse than the first time. I dipped to 180lbs.

I was sent to hospital again and stayed another 7 days while they fed me, hydrated me and gave me 3 other sacks of blood. They cancelled all treatments left which was 1 chemo and 3 radiation visits. The doctors thought that even if I was not completing the treatment, I was close to the numbers they wanted.

In the hospital I started drinking more and my appetite was very slowly coming back. I had a craving for Corn flakes about 3-4 times a day. My sugars was the thing that caused a problem all week. It went for high to low every day, they finally got it straightned out and released me.

I got released 2 weeks ago and I'm happy to say my drinking and appetite are coming back, still a work in progress. By the way, my weight went down to 170 before going to hospital. I have not weighed myself since. And I'm also getting some strenght back.

Needless to say I was kicked out of the clinical program, but surgery is still coming up sometimes in September and I hope everthing goes well down the road.

I hope this thread is not too long but I just couldn't find the words to make it shorter and I apologize for that. And also it was not meant to scare people at all. I'm just making people aware of things in case you have to go through this also (hope not).

Remember 5 people can receive the very same treatments and you may get 5 different results.

Thanks for reading and if you have questions you'd like to ask , don't be afraid to ask. Questions are free but knowledge is priceless.

may got Bless All.

08-09-2010, 03:48 PM
Sorry but I forgot to tell you that I live in Ottawa, Canada and have been receiving treaments at the Cancer Center at the Ottawa Hospital Campus.

I also want to say thanks to my oncologists who have helped me through this so far.

Cancer Surgeon......Dr. T. Seely

Chemotherapy Oncologist.....Dr. A. Asmis

Radiation Oncologist,,, Dr. E. Pantoretto

and Julie Wells who was the head honcho overlooking the progress made during the Clinical Trial. Too bad I had to drop out.