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Thread: Esophageal and stomach cancer

  1. #1
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    Sep 2014
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    Esophageal and stomach cancer

    Hello all,

    I am new to the forum and was just after some support/ advice.

    My dad has recently had his entire stomach and esophagus removed, due to cancer. The entire thing came as a massive surprise as he was originally scheduled to have surgery for a different ailment (achalasia of the esophagus).

    He started having difficulty swallowing and keeping his food down, about 6 months ago. He then had multiple endoscopies and scans to see if there was any cancer, but every time the doctors assured us that there was no cancer, and that he just needed to have his esophageal muscle loosened to allow the smooth passage of food in to his stomach.

    Under the operation they found cancer in his stomach, which had spread up to his esophagus, and they removed all of it (both esophagus and stomach). Initially, we didn't know if he was going to survive the operation, and the first few weeks were touch and go.

    It has now been just over a month since the operation, and he is back home with us. He is able to eat, though smaller portions.

    He is still very week and has lost a lot of weight and muscle mass.

    The hospital pretty much sent us home with no meal plan and no idea of what to expect.

    I guess I am just reaching out to see what people's experiences have been following a similar operation?

    He seems to get really severe diarrhea from time to time, to the point were he is bone crushingly tired afterwards.
    As the hospital gave us no help whatsoever, I have tried to follow some basic food guidelines I found on the internet, for this sort of operation (things like eating small, frequent meals, not too much sugar or fiber, not to drink until after meals etc). But he still seems to get the diarrhea, and I'm not sure what, if anything in particular, could be triggering it.

    I also don't know how much I should try and push him to activate himself a bit more, at the moment he basically just lies or sits in front of the TV, whilst mum and I get him drinks, food, etc.

    I get the feeling he can do more, but he says he gets very easily winded. Surely it would be good to take short walks (I'm talking five minute walks with crutches) every now and again, to get his muscles active again? Or am I expecting to much of him? Should I give him more time?

    ANYWAY, this has turned in to a big essay which wasn't my intention, but if anyone has any tips, ideas, advice...ANYTHING, it would be much appreciated.

    Thanks all.

  2. #2
    Moderator Top User esk2poo's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    Sorry to hear of your dad's situation.
    First: surgery was just a month ago and he had a tough time. It takes the body a long time to heal from that so I wouldn't push him.
    As far as the big D: know plenty of that as I was affected for about 1.5 years after my surgery. Had a couple of important valves removed that slowed the progression of food from passing through. The body also needs to adapt to that.
    As far as diet, keep a journal of what sets him off and try to find something that works. My GI told me to use fiber/Metamucil, to help. I would reach out to his GI doc.
    Good luck,
    Allen
    Stage 3B Colon cancer 8/23/2011
    Resection 9/15/11
    Folfox starts 10/31/11
    Dehydration,blood clots, numerous hospitalization due to complications
    Gall bladder/ hernia repair, 4/2013
    Melanoma sole of right foot 2010
    Clean scans so far.
    12/14/14 that little puppy in my avatar went to heaven

  3. #3
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    I am 6 weeks post op and a young minded 50 year old, I was being pushed in a wheelchair for a few weeks as couldn't walk for long, I am now fully mobile, driving my car etc, however I have not returned to work yet as am still healing internally. My body wasn't absorbing the fats or proteins from any food I was managing to eat, I knew this because my stools were very pale yellows colou and difficult to flush. I contacted my dietician at the hospital and she prescribed Creon, check with your dad what's happening in this area. My stools were diarrhoea. Since taking these, I have got better and am currently weighing 7 stone 5 lbs, I was dropping weight before. Don't push dad, encourage him but let his body tell him when he is ready. I found it quite helpful to have a hot water bottle to help with tummy pain. I've come a long way but am aware it's still early days. Good luck to you and your dad. ⭐️

 

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