“My husband Paddy hadn’t long retired in 2022 and we were busy making plans for lots of lovely travel together. Our first plan was to visit friends in Spain that summer. 

“Paddy had been suffering from acid reflux for quite some time. It wasn’t anything major but he was finding it hard to swallow some foods like bread, so we thought something mustn’t be quite right and went to get it checked out’.

“He went for an endoscope and a small tumour was identified at the edge of Paddy’s stomach and oesophagus. It felt completely unbelievable as Paddy was feeling good. Initially, Paddy’s outlook was positive as the tumour was small and removable. He went through chemotherapy in November 2021 and in February 2022, he was scheduled for an operation to remove the tumour.

“Unfortunately from there, Paddy experienced a lot of complications. His surgery didn’t go to plan and he had to have his stomach and part of his oesophagus removed. He managed two chemotherapy sessions after his surgery but he wasn’t recovering well and his scar became badly infected. There were many other issues throughout this time for Paddy to cope with and for us as a family to try and find solutions for. It was a very difficult time.

“A scan in August 2022 showed that Paddy’s cancer was very advanced and we were told there was nothing more that could be done. Paddy came home from hospital and passed away peacefully with me and his sons around him.

“To us, it is still shocking how Paddy’s illness went downhill. He was an active, fit and sociable man and sometimes it is hard to believe.

“At Christmas time, I held a fundraiser for OG Cancer NI, the charity that supports people in Northern Ireland with gastric and oesophageal cancer. I feel it is something I can do to help others in this situation. There are people in the charity’s network who have lost people to this type of cancer and having a place to talk about your feelings is important.

“Throughout Paddy’s illness, he didn’t give up. He tried everything he could to keep living and we made some special memories even though things were tough. Even during treatment and as his health was deteriorating, we were still together and that was so important for us.

“I have decided I am going to travel and have already been on some lovely trips to keep life going. That’s what Paddy and I wanted to do together – and what he would encourage me to do now.”

Lorraine's Story
"My persistence led to me being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer."
Helen's Story
"When I was diagnosed, we were all numb"
Tom's Story
"It was so distressing and a very anxious time for me"

Early Diagnosis is Key #CatchItEarly

Oesophageal cancer like many other cancers does not discriminate between age or sex and knowing and recognising the signs and symptoms are crucial to early diagnosis.  If you suffer from any of the following symptoms for longer than 3 weeks you should consult your doctor.

  • Persistent Indigestion
  • Difficulty swallowing or food sticking
  • Heartburn acid reflux
  • Hiccupping that wont go away
  • Unexplained weight loss.

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