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Oesophageal cancer and a positive mental attitude

From Paul Wilson

I was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in May 2006. I was then entered into trial 9 and was given the ECX treatment.

It is not easy but I found it manageable. The first 3 rounds were OK but the fourth round was the hardest. I was told not to expect to work during the Chemo but after the first round I went back to work as I had not found it too bad. 7-10 days or nausea etc but after that I was OK.

I have now had my oesophagectomy at the beginning of November 2006. I went back to work mid January 2007 on 3 days a week to begin with. As I write this today I am now back to working 5 days a week but not yet quite back to full time working. I hope to get back to full time in the next 4 -6 weeks.

The one thing that everyone who has supported me throughout this process is that I have remained very positive. I call this PMA - Positive Mental Attitude - and I firmly believe that this has helped me through this process.

An oesophagectomy is a major operation. I was under the knife for 9 hours but due to the skill of the surgeons in Bradford Royal Infirmary, in particular Mr Gokhale, next day I was up and out of bed and home in a fortnight.

Fortunately, they caught it early due to my GP fast tracking me when I complained I was having difficulty swallowing. No matter what you hear about the NHS when it matters they are there for you.

I have been given the all clear as the chemo before the operation clearly reduced the tumour and they have confirmed as far as they are able that the cancer has not spread. One of the most beneficial side effects as far as I am concerned is that I am on course to be the size I once was probably 20 years ago!!

Now I hope to give something back to Cancer Research UK and I am planning a fundraising event.

Be positive - there is life after this trauma you may now be going through.

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Updated: 28 September 2009