Esophageal Web and radiation induced scarring-Tonsil Cancer Survivor

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Esophageal Web and radiation induced scarring-Tonsil Cancer Survivor

by Dls5419 on Sat Jul 24, 2010 03:51 AM

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My mother(46 years old) is a 6 year stage 4 tonsil cancer survivor(as of may). After surgery to remove tonsils, 22 treatments of radiation, and 2 different concurrent chemotherapies, she was given the thumbs up for no cancer. However, she had been severely burnt from the inside out with sores from her lips down her esophagus. She was sloughing, was deaf in one ear, and could not swallow even water. She was receiving nutrients from a port on her chest (TPN) and pain meds. After months of healing, mom was left with only a few working saliva glands and has had to carry water with her constantly.

The past six years have been filled with ups and downs. In 2006, mom had to have an ablation as an issue after chemo. From 2007-2008, mom was on constant oxygen for 8 months after her lungs failed to work properly (doctors never did figure out the complete reason why they had stopped working). She was literally MIRACULOUSLY healed from that ailment in early spring 2008. The doctors were amazed...her pulse ox went from low 80s and high 70s to mid 90s on the day they were supposed to put her in the hospital.

NOW that leads me to current day: I came home from school and mom had slowly dropped 20 lbs in 10 months (102 at her worst) and began to have issues swallowing. She claims she has had issues for a while but they are not "the problem." "The Problem" began about three months ago when she started choking on anything from food to pills---like not breathing, not moving, choking. After a barium swallow we were told she has an esophageal "web" that they have no idea what caused "it" and no one really knows much of anything.The past few months have been really awful for her and her health has declined rapidly. She has no strength at all and can barely walk around the house. She can't even dry her hair without turning very pale and feeling faint. Everyday around 1:30pm mom gets a headache and her eyes dilate. She is so weak, and the corners of her mouth are red and sore along with her tongue. 

Mom had her Endoscopy/dilation/biopsies today. They put her under watched anesthesia. When she was finished the doctor told her and dad that she was shocked mom had been able to swallow anything. Apparently, she had extreme scar tissue all down her esophagus. I never got the chance to ask what she thought of the web and she never told us...which is interesting. She told us mom's esophagus was so small and that they could only do a slight dilation and that she needed to be very careful and cautious until Tuesday's consultation and results. She also explained that she took ***many*** biopsies from her esophagus all the way into her stomach, and she told us she put a rush on getting the results back.

They also discovered she has (either gastroenteritis or gastritis...mom wasn't clear on what they said.) Mom was really woosy when she came out and asked the doctor if it "looked" like cancer. Dr. Pandya said there were not any obvious spots and that she took plenty of biopsies that we should get back Tuesday. She explained to mom that she can only eat very very very mushy foods until Tuesday, and that she would be sore. Mom was in pretty bad pain and had think-ish mucous come up about 3 hours after the procedure, but after some numbing pain meds she is resting well. She is very pale and just looks awful.

Now I guess we wait and pray. We are very hopeful its not cancer. If all goes well and it is not, then we still have to figure out what is causing her to be so ill, and what caused the web. I ask for the doctors to have guidance and help as they look at the results and figure out the best plan of action. 

I was wondering if anyone has experienced ANYTHING like this? A "web" and/or scar tissue YEARS after radiation therapy?

God bless.
Dani

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