Thursday, 26 May 2011

My Oesophageal cancer - the way it started

Thought I would tell you my tale, how it started. Some 6 years ago I nearly choked, some food 'went down the wrong way' or so I thought. I was alone in my car in a car park at Seascale in Cumbria, The Lake District, it was winter and I was alone, I had just finished work and as it was winter it was dark, raining and a horrible night.  I fought for breath and really thought I might die there all alone.  My throat had tightened and I could hardly breath, each breath was a labour.... in.... out.... in... out, one at a time. Gradually it passed and after about five minutes I could breath almost normally again.  In my hotel room I phoned my wife and told her what had happened, but said I was ok now and not to worry.  Maybe I was eating too fast or the food went down the wrong way.  A few months later it happened again, while eating chinese food and I put this down to maybe an allergy to something in the meal.  You look around for a reason when this sort of thing happens, you clutch at any solution, and say 'yes, that must be it'.
This went on for a while, on and off over a couple of years. I went to the Doctors about it, but it was put down to indigestion, a reaction to something, but not worthy of further investigation, at this time. I was prescribed tablets to reduce acid and that sort of thing and carried on with my life.Time went by, it happened again on and off and then after a particulary bad 'reaction' the Doctor refered me to an allergy specialist, who listened to my story and decided it was probably my vocal chords reacting(going into spasm) to the vinagar in the food, he thought this had triggered the restriction in my throat and that made it difficult to breath.  I had no tests, and no follow up. That seemed to be the end of that avenue and so I got on with my life, until it happened again.
I learned to avoid foods that 'appeared' to make me react, I then started to drink after each meal "to help the food go down ok". Boy was it slow and insiduous, the difficulty, then drinks to help swallow, then avoidance of some foods and the gradual changing of my diet, to eat easier and easier food.  The final straw came just over a year ago when I ate something I thought would be ok, but it didn't go down and the customary drink didn't help either, In fact I choked, couldn't swallow, was sick, couldn't breath for a while and generaly thought, this was it!  My wife took me to hospital, quicker than calling an ambulance, and after a worrying time and reasurance that "I was ok now" the Hospital Doctor advised me to see my own GP, the next day. And so it started....

I post this to help those who may go through a similar experience and welcome feedback and discussion, I will help others who find themselves saying... "this is happening to me what do I do"!


  1. Been meaning to write a comment for a while now! I think it's a great beginning to your story and wondering what happened next, in so much detail.

  2. Bryan i posted a comment on mac site, i had the same problem as you but i went to the GP a lot sooner than you, i went a few months after the first episode but the results were just the same oesophageal cancer.