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Hello. I'm 10 days away from an esophagectomy. I'm wondering if any of you who have been through this before have advice that might be useful during the recovery stage. I used the "ankle problems" area of these boards last year and received many extremely helpful tips there for the issue that I was having then.
As a bit of background, you can tell from my spelling that I'm in the US. I've had Barrett's esophagus for approximately 30 years, and what the doctors all believe to be Stage 1 cancer (adenocoarcinoma) was found during a routine endoscopy last month. I know that what is believed to be Stage 1 can be found to be Stage 2 during surgery, so I'm prepared for that. Assuming that Stage 1 is confirmed, I won't be undergoing chemo or radiation. I've had an endoscopy, high contrast CT scan, PET scan and endoscopic ultrasound so far. I don't smoke or drink and I never have. I'm in good health, except for the whole cancer thing. :-)
My doctor does robotically-assisted, minimally-invasive surgery, but he keeps a thorasic surgeon in the room in case the chest has to be opened unexpectedly. My expected hospital stay is 8 - 10 days.
Did any of you use a wedge pillow? Did it help? About how long did you have to eat only very soft foods? Can you eat "regular" food now? How bad is the reflux? How long before you could drive? Anything you wish that you'd known before the surgery? Were any of you diagnosed at Stage 1 and had the cancer return?
I'd really appreciate any information that you would be willing to share. I don't personally know anyone who has had this surgery.
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