Stricture, Stricture, Why Won’t You Go Away?

esophageal-strictureAs most of you know I finished chemo up 3 weeks ago this week. I met with my GI doc a week after that last dose and he now does not consider me a cancer patient any more.

That is great news!

Although I am no longer considered a cancer patient, I am now considered a stricture patient. The stricture I have was caused by scare tissue in my esophagus from the surgery that I had back in June which removed all the cancer. Since the surgery I have had several dilations and 2 stents due to this stricture.

The last stent was taken out 4 weeks ago and I have started to have trouble swallowing again. It started on Thanksgiving and has been consistent since then. I had a barium swallow yesterday and it confirmed that there is a narrowing of my esophagus where the surgery was at. No cancer, nothing like that, just scare tissue.

I am having another stent placed on Thursday

So I am no longer battling cancer but being inconvenienced by 1 cm of scare tissue. Yes, just 1 measly centimeter of tissue. It may not sound like much but it does make a difference. The standard esophagus is anywhere from 18 to 25mm and mine is about at 6-7mm at the stricture point right now. What that means is that I am basically on a liquid/mushy food diet right now.

The Real Issue

The real issue here is that putting stents in and taking them out every 6-8 weeks is not a viable long term solution. What we are doing is buying some time, and space, that will allow us to do some research and let me eat normally – for now.

What we really need is a long-term solution.

The issue is that there is no textbook answer for what to do in this situation. Dilations work for some people – they do not work for me. Stents work for some – not me. Another surgery has not been ruled out but my wife, GI doctor, and I really want to go down that road if it can be avoided.

So we are doing research.

We are trying to see what other solutions their might be out their for a tough-throated person like me. We are only one day into looking into it so we do not have any viable solutions at this time. The internet is wealth of information though so I am sure something will pop up sometime soon. W also have our awesome GI doctor as well looking into solutions.

Still Thankful

Despite not quite being done with the after affects of dealing with cancer I am still thankful for where I am at. This issue is not life-threating but it is inconvenient. I can deal with inconvenience. Really, I can.

I believe that we will find a solution and that this will no longer be an issue. It is just going to take some time like everything else in life.

Thanks again to everyone for their support while we work this out.