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Post esophagectomy diet update

Post esophagectomy diet update

Posted by CaregiverCAL on Jan 21, 2020 10:10 am


we are now 8 months post surgery and we have hit a large bump in our road.  In some of our first CTScans it was noted that there were gallstones but this was never discussed as they were not problematic an compared to the cancer they were thought to be a ‘paper cut’.   Our diet has included generous amounts of fats to pack as many calories into portion size as possible. It worked great - gained back 14 pounds and had good energy. 

Now his gallbladder is now reacting badly to any fat - lost the 14 pounds and 5 more!  Have had an ultrasound where they find a gelatinous mass and stones.  We are waiting for another CTScan. In the meantime energy is very low and he is feeling very ill. Probably feeling worse than any time during cancer treatment.  

CDN Traveller‍ , RonD‍  and any others beginning this journey there was one additional question we wish we would have asked rather than just focusing on the cancer diagnosis.  Do the tests show anything else we should be aware of?  Please tell us what else the tests found.  I do hope you both are recovering well - please let us know how you are. 

kindest regards,

CaregiverCAL Catherine 


Re: Post esophagectomy diet update

Posted by CDN Traveller on Jan 21, 2020 6:38 pm

CaregiverCAL‍  and Douglass,

I’m sorry to hear about this setback - having gained all that weight and then to lose it due to gall bladder issues. I hope that your CT scan is okay and the gall bladder issues can be resolved. Douglass and you do not need this additional concern to deal with on top of the esophagectomy recovery, which from your previous reports was going very well. Thanks for the tip re asking about other details and concerns from scans and tests that are important to know about. I’m now at 5 months post surgery and have followed a similar path - weight loss plateaued at about 3 months and has stayed stable, on a normal diet and getting used to the 4-6 smaller meals and snacks routine. Overall doing well. I will post more in a 5/6 month update.

Re: Post esophagectomy diet update

Posted by CDN Traveller on Mar 25, 2020 10:28 am

CaregiverCAL‍ and Douglass. A note to follow up and ask how Douglass and you are doing?  I hope you were able to resolve Douglass’ gall bladder and diet issues.
Best Wishes, CDN Traveller.

Re: Post esophagectomy diet update

Posted by CaregiverCAL on Mar 25, 2020 3:04 pm

Hi CDN Traveller‍ 

it has been a long and difficult journey... turns out there was no problem with Douglass’ gall bladder, rather he was having trouble with passing food from his ‘stomach’ to intestine.  This was causing interference with his chest and somehow fluid built up in his chest and his lung collapsed.  At Emerg they drew fluid to test for infection and during this procedure they may have nicked his stomach and drew some foreign material into the chest cavity.  No way to be sure but the result was a life threatening infection in his chest.  He spent a total of 2 1/2 weeks in hospital with chest drains and IV antibiotics and then it was determined the material was too thick to drain.  He was then transferred to the hospital and surgeon who did his esophogectomy who did a procedure called a chest wash.  He removed about a litre of thick infected material. From here they put him back on another 2 weeks of intensive antibiotics to get rid of what ever was left.  

We were home for a week when it was determined Douglass had developed a blood clot in his lung. This is causing shortness of breath and new meds are slowly helping him recover.   

All in all I would tell you this has been a much more difficult year than last.  The lesson we learned and advice from our surgeon is to contact him first if any such concerns a

Thank you for follow up. I hope all is well with you and you have been able to find a good path forward.  


Re: Post esophagectomy diet update

Posted by CDN Traveller on Mar 25, 2020 6:49 pm

Hi CaregiverCAL‍ 

Oh my, I'm sorry to hear of Douglass' and your ordeal and these complications over the past couple of months. It's challenging enough to recover from the surgery and establish / maintain a stable diet, and then have to deal with a collapsed lung, infection and blot clot in addition to the overall recovery. It must have been extremely discouraging and frightening to have all this happen, but it does sound like there is light at the end of the tunnel. I hope that once Douglass' blood clot resolves, he and you will get back on track. Given how well his recovery was progressing until these problems occurred, I hope Douglass and you can draw on this success for encouragement moving forward.   Please pass on my encouragement to Douglass as he recovers. My own recovery is going well, thanks. I am grateful I have not had major complications. I will post a 7 month update. Thanks to you and Douglass for sharing your experience which has been very helpful to me and others.

Again, I hope that Douglass is on the mend from these complications and will be back on track soon.