April 15, 2013

Discussing Esophageal Cancer

It was the summer of 2010 that I knew something just wasn't right.
My dad had recently lost his brother to cancer and just wasn't himself.
I chalked it up to him grieving.
He was the last one left in his immediate family.

His younger brother had passed away the year I was born in a horrific accident.
His mom passed away in her sleep at the young age of 60 or 61 when I was just a kid.  {I must check on that}
His father passed away 20 years ago due to complications from emphysema.
And now his older brother was gone.

He was the only one left.
He was quiet.  He didn't have much energy. 
I can remember going for a boat ride that summer and sitting beside him as we pulled the kids behind on the tube.
He said that it was very upsetting that his brother was missing "all of this".
He was gone too young and now he was going to miss out on so much life.
So many moments.

I agreed and thanked God for keeping my daddy here with us.

That weekend my daddy took a 3+ hour nap in mid afternoon.
And was still exhausted.

I remember the exact moment, sitting in the lawn chair at the lake, knowing something wasn't right.

That was the beginning of what I now consider theworsttwoyearsofmylife.
Dad was diagnosed with bronchitis and given puffers to clear it up.
It didnt go away.
More puffers.
No change.

Months later they found something on his lung.

But he also had issues swallowing.
He could swallow but the food just wouldnt go down all of the time.
He had pain in his chest area.

When the doctors tried to biopsy his lung, they realized that his esophagus was very narrow.


Lung cancer.
Esophageal cancer.

My daddy was sick.
And I was sick knowing that my daddy was sick.
I became an expert about this horrific disease.
My husband's father had passed away of the same cancer, believe it or not, so, sadly, our previous experience with the monster was not good.
I hate esophageal cancer.
I found blogs.
I read the research.
The prognosis and treatments.
April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month and I beg you to get yourself familiar with it.
It is the fastest growing cancer in this part of the world, yet most people know nothing about it.
Please think about what youre putting into your body.
Your esophagus is a fragile organ.
Like everything else, we have to take care of it.

Symptoms of esophageal cancer Heartburn
Difficulty swallowing
Inability to swallow solid foods (eventually liquids also)
Pain with swallowing
Food sticking in esophagus
Weight loss
Regurgitation of undigested food
Vomiting blood or passing old blood with bowel movements
The saddest part is that most people dont have any symptoms until the advanced stages.  By the time my dad and my husband's dad knew something was wrong, it was advanced.
I will say this, though.
My father knew something wasnt right, long before anyone else did, but he just kept it to himself and crossed his fingers that it was just "nothing".
Prevention is the key.
Preventing esophageal cancer
Dont smoke.  For eff sakes, just dont effing smoke.
Avoid or limit alcohol.  That shit is poison to your esophagus.  Mix it with tobacco and it is the perfect concoction to damage the esophageal tissues.
Damaging the esophageal tissues=BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Get treatment for your heartburn if it happens often.  Stop eating stuff that causes heartburn.  Do whatever you can to prevent it. 
Popping the antacids does not solve the issue!
Go to the doctor the first time you have problems swallowing.  Like, immediately.
I know all cancers are horrible, but, when your loved one cannot even drink water, it is just.........the worst thing ever.
When they rely on feeding tubes.....the worst ever.
{pass the tissues}
That is my speech for today.
Thank you for listening...err....ummm....reading.


kristi said...


Anonymous said...

Hugs to you too! Patty/BC

Buttons said...

Hugs yes it is horrible I am sorry I know so much about it myself. I hate it.B

Larisa said...

I've been a long-time reader. I don't usually have time to write up comments but my heart stopped when I saw the title of your post today. My dad just went in last week for an endoscopy (camera down his throat), because he had been having fits of coughing/choking on food that would last over an hour. He swore that it was nothing, but my mom finally insisted. The test results showed lots of inflammation and a hiatal hernia. They took several biopsies, so we will know more next week.
The doctor thought he may have Barret's esophagus (a precursor to esophageal cancer). We're just hoping that it was caught early enough to be treated. Thank you so much for informing people about this horrific disease.

Foursons said...

I'm so sorry sweetie. One day someone is going to Google esophageal cancer and will come across your blog. Any you will have helped them. A lot. ((hugs))