My Cancer Story - To help others.

Discussion in 'OT (OFF Topic) Forums' started by brucemillar, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    OK

    I am writing this not for me but hopefully to help you and yours and anybody you know who may just need this help. Please read all the post as it may just have something that helps. I want this to be a positive message and not to upset anybody on here who has, or is losing anybody to this dreadful disease.

    Symptoms:

    After spending months of increasing discomfort when eating and several visits to my GP who diagnosed indigestion. I insisted on being seen privately. This was after I noticed that I had started to bleed internally (black poo).

    Important bit:

    My symptoms meant that I had an appetite (normal). When I ate food I could swallow normally but then the food would get stuck before it got into my stomach. I could feel this and would describe it as a backing up of stuck food. or the food was hitting a blockage.

    So in May 2014 I was sent privately for a CT Scan followed within 24 hours by a Laparoscopy. 48 hours later I was asked to come in and meet with the specialist responsible for me. I was told that I had Cancer of the Oesophagus, which was visible as a tumor at the join of my stomach and my oesaphagus. The prognosis at that point was dreadful.

    I am considered young (59) for this cancer. So I was sent off to meet a surgeon who MAY be able to operate and give me some hope.

    Next phase:

    I met with Dr James Gossage in London Bridge Hospital. He explained in great detail what things meant for me and what the next steps were.

    1) More detailed scans (off to Harley street)
    2) Another endoscopy (carried out by himself)

    Both done in the same week, I was back sat in front of James. He was now confident that he could operate and as importantly he could see no visible signs of SPREAD.

    3) Onto Chemotherapy to shrink the tumor. This was done at home with one visit every three weeks to the local hospital to be topped up.

    In August I was scanned again. Good News. The tumor had shrunk and was now operable.

    On the 1st September 2014 I went into St Thomas's Hospital in London to have my oesohagus and 2/3 of my stomach removed by James Gossage. Massive surgery done in a superb place by the most brilliant team of doctors and nurses.

    5 days later I was told that my cancer was gone!!!

    I am now on chemotherapy to limit any chance of it's return. We pray that this is successful.

    Life now:

    I recovered well from the surgery. I have a rather attractive scar on my neck and a less attractive scar across my body. I can eat solid food in tiny portions and drink (not gulp) pretty much anything. I am pain free and have lost 4 stone in weight along with my hair.

    I feel good about life and positive about my future. Only time will tell how that proceeds.

    The learning:

    Don't believe everything you Google.
    Stay positive.
    Trust the doctors and surgeons. If you don't ask for a second opinion.
    It's your life. If you feel ill, get seen quickly. Late diagnosis can be a killer.

    My wife and family never changed. They stayed positive no matter how low I got. I could not ask for more than the love that they have given to me. I am here today in part through their love.

    Dr James Gossage is now my hero. He never gave up. Instantly likeable as a man he exudes confidence. He was the last man I saw when I went into surgery and first I saw when I came out. He called my wife as soon as surgery was over and was as caring on that call as any man could be.

    Next steps.

    Back to work in January.
    Restore my W124 300TE - 4Matic that I kept putting off.

    Offer any help that I can to anybody who is where I was.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014
  2. Charles Morgan

    Charles Morgan MB Club Veteran

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    Thanks very much for that, Bruce, it is first of all very heartening that you are still with us and secondly, that you have come through a diagnosis that I quailed at reading.

    My uncle, who died recently at the grand old age of 94, survived lung cancer in his 40s and stomach cancer (which removed most of his stomach) in his 60s. He remained to the end immensely good humoured if occasionally fed up with not being able to enjoy as much food as he would have liked!

    I recall my friend Nigel, who died a few years ago of liver failure, lamenting that he'd left his best wines for special occasions while he drank (far too much) all his cheaper wines. It seems to me to be a good idea to enjoy life while you can, and sometimes let posterity take good care of itself.

    Enjoy the W124!
     
  3. OP
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    brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    Charles

    Thank you. Alas I fear that the 124 will require even greater surgery than I alone can achieve. So in January she will go into WrightTec for Andy to have the gearbox re-built, new front lower ball joints fitted and a NS window regulator. Then it's of to Hastings to paint whilst the wheels are re-furbished. At that point she is good for the road. Still needs a nice mushroom leather set of 7 seats (manual only) or a really good deep cleaning of the existing may do the job and keep the car original.
     
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  4. davidjpowell

    davidjpowell Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Thanks Bruce good to hear that you have remained strong and are fighting back well.

    My grandmother suffered from Cancer of the Oesophagus, sadly it was discovered far too late to do anything effective and she went downhill within weeks of diagnosis. I believe it's a hard one to spot early and clearly your insistence was very well rewarded.

    It's a shocking disease not least because despite all the you must not drink or smoke ot can and does attack seemingly indiscriminately.
     
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  5. OP
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    brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    David

    You are correct in what you say. In my case my description of my symptoms convinced the consultant this was the most likely outcome. That was before any scan!!

    What I have learned is that GP's are not all ready to accept your own concerns about their own diagnosis. I was fortunate to have good insurance. I insisted that the GP referred me to a stomach specialist.

    What he then told me was that the cancer was almost invisible in the scan but was clearly visible in the endoscopy. This was because it was hidden in the join between stomach and oesophagus.

    Without his diligence and care I may not have been diagnosed in time. That sadly seems to be the outcome for too many. Maybe somebody will read this and do what I did and insist on being seen by a specialist.
     
  6. camerafodder

    camerafodder Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Crumbs Bruce!
    That's all I can think of to say apart from thank you for taking the time to write that and that I'm glad you're here to tell the tale!
     
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  7. chubbs111

    chubbs111 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    onward and upward bruce
     
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  8. John

    John MB Club Veteran

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    I wish.
    Ironically, the husband of a good friend of my mum's had the same but sadly didn't make it.

    I'm glad you have got through it. As many on here know including your good self know - cancer is a rotten little sh*t and needs to be wiped out.

    I'd read that if you suffer from acid reflux, this is one thing which can increase the risk - so if anyone does on here, it's worth trying to resolve it to reduce the risk. I'm by no means an expert mind - just a passing general interest.
     
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  9. dinoy

    dinoy Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    well done

    pls pls look at none classic therapies too like bicarbonate soda and wonder fruit guana bana from latin or south america

    most importantly your story is good to inspire others

    thank you for everything
     
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  10. renault12ts

    renault12ts MB Club Veteran

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    Wow, I had no idea this was happening BM (did I miss something)...keep on trucking.
     
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  11. markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    Glad to hear you are on the mend.

    Had cancer myself some years ago, made good recovery and have been well since.

    The thing about going private... I do not know if one gets better medical care as such, but.... people tend to ignore patients' mental well-being.

    To be seen immediatly (even if it is not a medical emergency as such), and as frequently as you feel you need to be seen, at this very difficult time in your life, makes a huge difference, and helps keep a positive frame of mind.

    I wish you a complete and speedy recovery.
     
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  12. OP
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    brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    Private (for me and my family) was brilliant. I was operated in on in St Thomas's and have had my post operative care in London Bridge. Not a single appointment cancelled and most crucially everything done quickly (48 hours) was the longest I went without contact or offers of appointments.

    Mentally it was a battle. Being told was almost crushing being given a prognosis of months pulled me back to reality.

    Sitting down and writing a will, sorting out pensions etc, we all developed a black humour that got us through some really difficult times.

    Now it's strange. People walk past me not recognising me with my weight loss and lack of hair. I have bought a range of silly hats that keep me warm and my wife amused.
     
  13. Chalpkin

    Chalpkin Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Good luck on your recovery, it's nice to hear something positive concerning that dreadful disease, hope you feel better soon and you stay free and clear.
    Regards,
    Chalpkin.
     
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  14. Simon_M

    Simon_M Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    All the best Bruce, I hope you can enjoy life getting back to your fighting weight again!

    Simon
     
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  15. ItalianTuneUp

    ItalianTuneUp Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Congratulations on your recovery Bruce, and thanks for telling your story here.

    I wish you all the best in staying cancer-free, and have fun restoring your W124 and enjoying spending time with your beloved family.

    Simon
     
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  16. Red C220

    Red C220 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Good Luck Bruce.

    I'm 45 and have barrett's oesophagus, which puts me in a high risk group of people that will get the same form of cancer you have.

    I was lucky in so much as mine was caught early when I was being "oscopied" for another problem. It's being managed with simple tablets and I'm checked bi annually.

    I'd urge anyone to get checked and not take the "indigestion" diagnosis for anything.

    Spend a few pounds on yourself and get a private annual service like you would for your Mercedes pride and joy.

    Off on a complete tangent though, also do some reading about the effects of "Rick Simpson Oil" on cancer. It's interesting.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014
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  17. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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    Isn't losing four stone one of the positive benefits?
     
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  18. ChrisA

    ChrisA Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I salute you sir ;)
     
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  19. OP
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    brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    Yes indeed it is. But I started at 12 so losing 4 causes other risks. That said I actually feel good on my new weight. Doctor says I will eventually gain a little. That's fine by me.

    Sent from my iPhone using MBClub UK
     
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  20. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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    How tall are you? Are you now underweight, or about right.

    I lost 2 stone, which I didn't need to lose, in a month. It took me a year to get over the treatment and another to get some strength back.
    This was some while ago and treatments have moved on a long way since then, so are much less damaging to healthy cells.
     
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