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Cancer: Colon Message Board

Cancer: Colon Board Index

Hello Sarah: :wave:

I am 42 and was diagnosed with rectal CA the day after Easter 2004, following the finding during a colonoscopy on 4/8. It was there and they saw it, so they immediately took a biopsy. There is no presence of this type of cancer known in my family, and at my age it was a devastation, so for you at 31, it is more so. I began chemo/rad treatments on 5/10 and they continued for 5 weeks. My surgeon is a colorectal specialist (a true gift) and his recommendation was to do the treatments first. They were successful in shrinking the tumor as much as 95%, which was his guess following surgery on 7/27 in which they resectioned my sigmoid colon (thisclose to the rectum), game me a complete hysterectomy, and removed my appendix. Doctor said that in women, colon ca and ovaries and breast are all related. I was perplexed about also removing the uterus, and it was a difficult decision, but I got second opinion and made the decision to move forward.

2 weeks following the surgery, I developed an abcess and was back in the hospital for 7 days. They had me on TPN IV infusion and NO food whatsoever. They wanted me to completely rest my bowels. Even after I came home, I continued with IV TPN and had a nurse come in once a day to connect the concoction. I went without eating for 20 days. Not a morsel. Because the TPN was so nutritionally complete, my appetite waned anyhow, so I really did not feel I was missing much. I turned zombie-ish and just scuffed around the house, making few ventures outside for doctor appts., runs to the mailbox and small walks up and down the sidwalk in front of the house.

Since the beginning, I sent emails to those close to me, initially to announce my diagnosis. I am a people person, and I care greatly for others. I figured if I received responses from people, that they would be behind me and become my support system. They have been just wonderful. You need to get positive people behind you. Throughout my hospitalization and recouperation, I've received cards, calls and visits from all my friends and family. There were few days that no one contacted me by some type of communication. It kept me going. Gave me good reason to be positive. Otherwise, I would've just layed around feeling like the victim and being negatively charged. A positive outlook is the best thing you can have. Mental attitude has so much to do with healing and becoming well. I truly believe that. Many offered to be there "whenever" to vent, cry, complain or just talk and share. If you have people like this in your life, it will make your job as a patient much easier, and makes things seem more possible. There will be ones that shy away because they don't know what to say, or they are threatened, contemplating their own mortality. (a humanly natural thing.) Don't worry about the ones who don't respond, there is a reason they don't, but it is not for you to be concerned with. Keep in touch with the ones who do. Send them periodic updates of your situation and how your treatments are going and how you are feeling. This will keep them all in the loop. What a wonderful thing email is. It will alleviate lots of phone calls, altho once in a while, you will need that. Allow people to become involved in your journey and your quest to battle this thing. People are curious anyhow. Many have been near similar situations and can help. Utilize what you have. Take advantage of people who care about you. If you include them, they will become a part of your healing process -- an important part. Try not to shut people out (altho don't bring in anyone who might be negative. Sadly, I think we all know people who are generally just unhappy in life for no real reason.)

I've been slowly getting back on a soft food diet as of last Tuesday, and late yesterday afternoon, the surgeon squoze me in for an appt. following a test Wednesday (fistulagram) that sent dye back into the catheter and into the abcess, then they took x-rays. The result was that the abcess had NO connection to the GI tract, and the liquid that had recently been drawn by the drain was abdominal fluid and pretty clear. The doctor pulled the drain line out last night and I no longer feel like there is a crooked stick up my backside.

I'm still recouperating from the surgery and still quite quite sore. I'm actually again feeling the same pelvic pain that had since subsided from the radiation., but again returned. Maybe because of more x-rays on Weds. I think sometimes the body remembers and rekindles things. The oncologist is waiting in the wings for me to begin a final 4-month regimen of chemo, just to be sure. I won't be ready for that for a while. BTW, I'm on an estrogen patch that seems to be doing the trick in handling night sweats, hot flashes and some irritability. They started me on 0.1 and that was too much. I'm now on .0375, and I'm thinking we might need to bump up to a .05. Touch and go, but you should look into it if you havent already. Just follow the directions, and with your history, they recommend not putting the patch near your breasts. Instead, place it on your lower abdomen or lower back.

One day at a time, Sarah......lean on those you love and who love you......and by all means, don't beat yourself up, physically or emotionally. Your body has been working hard on the inside for a long while now. The best thing you can do is keep positive so that all your workings can happen in concert to be strong, fight hard, and get healthy.

If you have a general md that you see (or any of your doctors), ask for something for your anxiety. I've got some Lozepam and that helps tremendously. It keeps the mind from taking flight with all kinds of overwhelming ideas. It's a good chill pill. Ambien is also good for a good nights rest.

Stay cool Sarah. You're in charge. Stay calm and I will pray for your strength to get you through. We are all here for support, and I am here if I can help you in anyway. I'm sure others on the board will do so as well. We've all been through the mill, and are still here. Here to share and help. For me, and I'm sure most will agree, this journey has taught me to recognize what is REALLY important in life. There are some very special people on this board, as you will find, and your condition is not something that you should take on without the help of those who can and are willing to help. Hang tough sweetie!!

And, as always, I cannot close without saying and shouting :yawn: CANCER SUCKS!!

With prayers for strength and rays of healing powers :angel: ,
until later...Julesss

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