Living with Esophageal Cancer July 2024 Update

On July 9th, it would be three years since my wife was originally diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. As you might expect from this update, something is wrong.

A few days ago, July 5th, she had a CT scan and we learned that she has two cancerous tumors in her neck.

Our first indication that something was amiss was toward the end of April when, with no explanation, the pitch of my wife’s voice changed. I would describe the change as making her voice “muddy” and similar to the classic Mickey Mouse. It also has significantly decreased in volume. She was a voice major in college and when she can’t sing, then it’s a problem. She just sang at Carnegie Hall in February and two months later she couldn’t sing anything. Big red flag.

In addition to the changes in her voice, she now is having difficulty breathing after doing mild exercise or working around the house. This symptom is scarier than the voice issue to me.

Modern medicine being what it is, she couldn’t see an ear, nose, and throat doctor without a referral. He ran a scope through her nose and down her throat and found that the right vocal cord was not working correctly. A week later, we had to take a road trip to the big city to get a CT scan.

Folks, after leaving the scan, we went to one store to shop and then stopped for a cold drink at Wendy’s. We weren’t even out of town on our return trip and had the results. Elapse time was about an hour and a half.

My wife has two tumors, the larger is 2.4 cm (about an inch) and the other is 1.2 cm (about 3/8 of an inch). One tumor is described as “necrotic mass or lymph node” and the other as “metastatic lymph nodes”. These are in the lower neck and in the area of the esophagus and trachea.

Here’s what the internet says.

necrotic mass or lymph node

Necrotic lymph nodes refer to lymph nodes that have undergone necrosis, which means that the tissue in the lymph node has died due to a lack of blood supply or severe infection. This condition can be an indicator of various underlying health issues, ranging from infections to malignancies.

Necrotic Lymph Node

Furthermore, certain types of cancers, such as lymphoma or metastatic cancer, can also lead to necrosis of the lymph nodes as the disease progresses.

Metastatic cancer is the same description as the original Esophageal Cancer three years ago.

metastatic lymph nodes

Nodal metastases refer to the spread of cancer cells from the primary tumor to nearby lymph nodes. Lymph nodes act as filters in the lymphatic system, trapping foreign substances, including cancer cells. When cancer cells invade these nodes, they can multiply, leading to the formation of secondary tumors within the lymph nodes.

Nodal Metastases

We have been assured that a “STAT” order has been placed for a PET scan and biopsy. We anticipate more tests in the next week.

Given all of the structures and functions of the human neck, we know there is a real possibility that surgery will not be an option. Also, has this cancer spread anywhere else? To us it appears that this round of cancer is fast growing.

I will provide further updates, but a few prayers would be in order. Thanks.