Chlyothorax after Esophagectomy

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My husband had an Esophagectomy 7 days ago.  Complications during surgery caused a bleed in his chest. 10 units of blood and 3 units of plasma later and he was doing well.  Advanced to clear liquid diet, all was well for about 30 hours.  Now we have been informed that he has a chlyothorax.  Nothing by mouth and PICC line was just placed.  He is so angry.  He has been up walking since day 1 of coming off the ventilator.  Yesterday he walked a mile combined; morning and evening.  We have no idea what is going on or what to expect. He is very frustrated and angry.  Oh I forgot to mention he had stage 3 esophageal cancer. Tumor was 10cm with 2 lymph nodes affected.  Chemo and radiation shrunk the tumor slightly. We have not heard the final pathology but are told they feel they removed it all.  We have no idea what to expect next.  No idea what caused the chlyothorax.  Has anyone else had these complications?  

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    It is major surgery and almost by definition there is plenty of potential for complications.   There are quite a few people who visit this site who have had troubles of various sorts after the surgery, but there is no reason to think that your husband has anything other than an a normal chance of recovery.   But it will take time.   There is a lot of emotion that gets carried along with the medical progress, even without the effect that the strong medication might have during the surgery.

    This is easier said than done, but he has to let his body heal itself in its own time, and it will not be possible to rush things.   I know that is frustrating, but the tension that anger brings won't help.

    There is always a certain amount of frustration and anger that one develops cancer in the first place.   There is grief at the loss of previous good health, and this takes some time for the best of us to work through.   It may be that the nurses will be able to suggest a contact from the local cancer centre, if there is one.   It is surprising how many people benefit from talking things through with a trained counsellor.


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