“Why do you need soluble tablets?”

This was the question my doctor asked me which, unknown to me at the time, was about to save my life.

I was visiting my GP in August 2017 with pains in my hand and requested a stronger pain killer in soluble form.

I had previously choked trying to swallow a cod liver oil tablet but thought nothing of this because they tend to be a larger capsule. Fortunately the GP felt that this needed further investigation and referred me to the hospital  for an endoscopy.

Initially I was told there was nothing to be concerned about but they would do a further endoscopy in 3 month’s time (Nov 2017) just to keep an eye on things.

6mths later I was diagnosed with Barrett’s Oesophagus and on 22nd March they removed a 5cm tumour from my oesophagus. They had found a microscopic amount of cancer, the good news being that it had been “caught early” and could be treated. It wasn’t the worst news I was given, although to me it felt like it.

On the 23 May I had an operation (an Oesophagectomy) which successfully removed the cancer and thanks to my GP for her attentiveness I have been given a second chance.

I count my blessings every day for the love and support of my wonderful husband, friends, family & medical team in the Belfast City Hospital.

I am writing about my cancer journey coming up to 10 months post op and would encourage anyone who may have concerns to see their GP as a priority, early detection saved my life.

What is Oesophago-Gastric Cancer?

Oesophageal cancer is cancer of the gullet and gastric cancer is cancer of the stomach. Combined, they are medically known as oesophago-gastric (OG) cancer. The oesophagus (more commonly known as the gullet or food pipe) is the long tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach.In Northern Ireland in 2016, a total of 226 people were diagnosed with oesophageal (gullet) cancer. In the same year, 214 people were newly diagnosed with gastric (stomach) cancer.

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