Why Worry About Recurrence Of Esophageal Cancer?

Bart Frazzitta: on the recurrence of esophageal cancerWhen I was initially diagnosed with esophageal cancer, doctors told me I had a 5-10% chance of living 5 years. I was totally destroyed when I heard this. Even if they could halt the disease, there was always worry about a recurrence of esophageal cancer.

After a demanding career of 35 years, working an average of 50 hours a week and traveling the world on business, I was on the threshold of retirement. Now esophageal cancer had put all my plans for the future seriously in doubt.

The chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery I went through were all to give me the opportunity of living an additional 5 years — maybe. I thought of that experience as phase 1 of the rest of my life. It was during my post-surgical recovery that I began to think seriously in terms of a phase 2.

Was A Recurrence of Esophageal Cancer In My Future?

As part of phase 2 of my recovery, I now wrestled with the possibility of the recurrence of esophageal cancer.  Would it rear its ugly head again? Might this just be the final phase of my life? What could I do to increase my chances of a healthy future?

Spiritually I felt strong and the saying I developed while going through the phase 1 experience was still prominent in my thinking:  God sits on my right shoulder and there is nothing that He and I together can’t handle.  Still, it hurt to think that a recurrence of esophageal cancer might mean I would not be here physically for more than 5 years.

Actively Managing My Health

That’s when I decided to consult a doctor who specializes in nutritional supplements. He recommended regimen of supplements which I took religiously for 5 years. Did they help me survive the 14 years since my surgery? I don’t know.

What they did give me was the feeling that I was actively managing my health and reducing the chance that I might experience a recurrence of esophageal cancer.

Why I Don’t Worry About Recurrence of Esophageal Cancer

During my recovery I had lots of time to think and read. I realized that the PAST was behind me and there was nothing I could do about it. The FUTURE I have no control over; despite my best efforts, only God could control my future. That leaves only the PRESENT. I can live each moment in real time, in a positive and joyful way, appreciating the PRESENT to the fullest.

My conclusion was simple:  Why worry about the FUTURE and the possible recurrence of esophageal cancer. I had no control over what lay ahead, but I could live in the present, enjoying each day fully. Since then I have lived by the saying that anchors me fully in the present: Make where you are better because you are there.

Enjoy the day!


Bart Frazzitta is an esophageal cancer survivor and the founder of the Esophageal Cancer Education Foundation (ECEF). Read more of his story here >


4 Responses to Why Worry About Recurrence Of Esophageal Cancer?

  1. Michelle says:

    What were the nutritional supplements you were taking?

    • bart says:

      I took a mushroom supplement called Coriolus.I also took an energy supplement and a multi vitamin. You should not take these unless you have spoken to a doctor.

  2. Steve says:

    I read your story and was wondering how you are doing today

    • bart says:

      Thank you for asking. I am doing well for an almost 75 year old. My weight is a little over (5-10 Pounds) from what I would call ideal. I play golf (9 holes) 3 times a week and the Esophageal Cancer Education Foundation takes a great deal of my time. We have in ECEF two support groups that deal with post surgery patients and caregivers and we have one group for recurrence patients. They all meet by conference call once a month. We have a phone hot line dealing with patients who have question about this cancer and looking for help and we have fielded about 120 calls in the last year. Take a look at our web site http://www.fightec.org

      We also are involved in Google Ad Words and that has produced 39,000 clicks to our web site over the last 6 months. We also have a video about awareness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQ4qFYq3rSg Please send this video to your email list as it will help someone see that Heartburn can cause this horrible disease.

      One last thing is I thank God every day for giving me the time to give something back. Our live are God’s gift to us and what we do with those lives is our gift to Him.

      Take care


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