Yep, I am without a stent once again. It was not planned this way but with what my doctor saw in my semi-emergency EGD yesterday he thought it was the best thing.
What he saw was that the area of irritation that was there 2 weeks ago was more irritated. When he biopsied it 2 weeks ago it was cancer free and he still thinks it is. His reasoning for why it is there and getting bigger is that the stents are rubbing in that area.
How This All Came About
To rewind a little bit, this all came about because I called my GI doc on Monday to tell him that food had been getting stuck, and whether this was normal for the new stent that was placed 2 weeks ago? He said no, this was not normal and got me in for a chest x-ray the same day. He wanted to see if the stent had migrated down into my stomach.
The results of the test were negative. No, the stent looked like it was in the same spot.
I told him that when the food was getting stuck it was different then in times past as it seemed deeper, like it was at the bottom end of the stent. He said we should go take a look and scheduled me the next morning for an EGD.
I had the EGD and he saw that the inflammation was indeed larger and that it was almost a complete blockage at the bottom of the stent. I had called yet another time. He took several larger pieces of the inflammation to biopsy. He still does not think it is cancerous but we need to check none the less.
Side Note – Biopsies themselves aren’t nearly as bad as waiting for the results.
At this point he is consulting his mentor who trained him to see what the best course of action is. We will probably put another stent in soon to buffer until a final decision can be made. Unfortunately my esophagus can only go a week or two before it closes enough to where I cannot eat.
That kind of picks up where we left off.
So What Are My Options?
Unfortunately they are few and not well established.
See the problem is that most people who have had the type of cancer that I’ve had with treatment and surgery that I’ve had, don’t live this long. I’m the exception. So I have all these doctors standing around scratching their heads trying to figure out how to fix this so I can live life.
So here are the options that I know of as of today:
- Put in shorter stents every 4-6 weeks (what we have been doing) And still try to figure out a long term solution
- Try the new non-invasive surgery that is done like an EGD through my mouth into my throat
- Do the big surgery that goes through the ribs where they cut the esophagus and put it back together again
I am not too fond of option #1 and everyone, especially me, do not want to do option 3. Number 2 is a pretty new procedure and there is no guarantee it will work. In fact there is no guarantee with any of these that they will work.
In terms of risk #3 is the worst. It is a major surgery and I have already had it once. I would really have to be talked into this one. #1 isn’t really a solution but I am putting myself at risk every 4-6 weeks which really opens me up to having something bad happen. If that bad thing happens then we are talking an emergency helicopter ride and basically surgery #3. Not good. I am not familiar with #2 enough to know the exact risks but I believe they are similar to the risks of a standard EGD. But that risk would be once as opposed to many times like #1.
So there it is, the last major medical thing that I am facing is demanding that it be resolved. That in itself is not such a bad thing. Better sooner then later I suppose. I just wish the options were a little more attractive.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, yes, I would rather be facing this then anything like what I had to face with cancer. Cancer sucks and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
OK. I will stop my whining/rant now knowing that there are a lot of people out there that have it much worse then I do. This is Dan signing off for now. Asta!