Geoff's Story

OESOPHAGEAL CANCER FROM DESPAIR TO HOPE AND A NEW LEASE OF LIFE

DIAGNOSIS
On diagnosis of having oesophageal cancer one is faced with:
Shock – why me?
Despair – onset of low mood or feelings of despair or depression?
Fear – of the days ahead and how one will cope with the future?
Worry – for impact on family, work and money?
Belief - looking for spiritual guidance or direction?
 
OPERATION 
Hospitalisation – pre-operation preparation is critical to allay any fears which are inevitable
Major surgery – support through intensive care treatment and dedicated nursing staff are first rate
Pain control – modern pain relief assures one of excellent pain control
 
RECOVERY
Slow recovery – one must allow time to heal and not expect too much too soon - 9-12 months normally sees a big improvement
Side effects – the side effects of the operation must be recognized and explained to patient to give reassurance before being discharged from hospital
Nausea – unpleasant but as time passes the nausea lessens and is understandably managed
Acid reflux – controllable with medication
Diarrhea –unpleasant in initial stages but frequency diminishes with time
Dumping – initially unpleasant and frustrating with each bout taking time to pass but overtime becomes manageable and a side effect which one learns to live with
Sleeping arrangements – a raised pillow usually controls acid reflux at night
Lack of energy/weakness – reduced energy levels result in tiring easily - one needs to pace oneself
 
FUTURE HOPE AND LEARNING TO LIVE LIFE AFTER CANCER 
Managing change – from here on it is about managing change which the cancer has brought about
Given hope – being thankful for being given a second chance
Target –need to focus on living life to the full
Work – ability to go back to work on part-time basis which allows mind to focus on other things
New lease of life – opened up opportunities for travel – Krakow, Prague, Lake Garda, Dubrovnik and Maderia
Patience and Time – be patient, allow time to pass and being reassured that living with the aftermath of oesophageal cancer is manageable
 
Geoff