Everyone has a story, how they deal with it is as unique as the individual. Mine started with my beloved parents. and their deaths due to cancer. Those of you that have been an important part of my life know the heartbreaking details. I always thought of myself as the caregiver, hadn’t considered I would become a cancer patient at 53. Maybe 70’s, but 50’s!?
What you may or may not know is I’ve had GERD for several years. I didn’t really take the diagnosis too serious since the prescription medication seemed to help. Really, how big of a deal is indigestion (that I didn’t have, I had chest pain) anyway? So I thought. I’ve had several scopes over the span of these years, had a yeast infection in my esophagus two different times, and Barrett’s Esophagus, which went away after treatment with prescription meds.
Still, I did not ever have the typical symptoms, especially indigestion. I had pain in my chest; where you would assume your chest would hurt if you were having a heart attack. Consequently, I had a stress test, with great results! Nothing wrong with my heart. Time clicks by, same symptoms, still feeling like it’s my heart that is the problem, I make an appointment for a cardio scan to see if there’s any blockage; none found. Continuing with my Prilosec seemed appropriate.
Fast forward through a few years and I begin choking, a lot. Last fall, I thought it was due to a handful of vitamins I swallowed that had gotten stuck. Assuming they’d dissolve, I carried on with my regular routine of work and home, etc. After a few days, the same area I felt the vitamins get stuck I had pain (upon eating and drinking only) that went behind my breast bone and radiated to my back.
Made an appointment, had another EGD with biopsies, CAT scan of chest. Results came back with cancer. PET scan showed nothing else, it hasn’t spread! My diagnosis is a stage one, with a good chance of total cure. I do not know why I’m so incredibly blessed, but I am thanking God for another answered prayer. I’m set up for chemo, radiation, then surgery to resection my esophagus.
I’m only telling this story as one for hope, and that finding this cancer early may be possible. If you have GERD, please take it serious. I did not really think it was anything that could be fatal. If you have not looked up the symptoms and risk factors of esophageal cancer, do it today! It may just save you. Although I know I’m in for a rough few months, and who knows about the future, I am grateful to have this blessing of early diagnosis.