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Cancer: Colon Message Board

Cancer: Colon Board Index

I'm back. Just some thoughts on your situation(s) regarding your bowel issues...I NEVER want to project my condition onto any other woman. With that being said I cannot in good conscious keep quiet about the potential for endometriosis. It is a horrifically "sneaky" disease that although common, goes undiagnosed. NO DOCTOR can just tell you you're silly and you don't have this. Few, if any, are educated or qualified to recognize or diagnose. Those that are capable of diagnosis are then challenged by the various methods of treatment. There is no cure. I can only speak from my experience and cannot advise as I am no expert. I am basically self-taught after the fact (20 years post hysterectomy w/ovaries, tubes removed) at age 33. The details of my struggle are deep and dark, but well documented through months of posting.

Although I understand the angst and fear that both of you are consumed by, I don't think either of you has cancer. It's more likely Irritable or Inflammatory Bowel, which can cause both diarrhea and constipation. It could also be Diverticulitis, and you are experiencing "flares" when your symptoms intensify. I'm not clear on both of your ages, just Jas. I think you are certainly a candidate for endometriosis, and I believe you already mentioned that you have fibroids. The excruciating pain in the left side is certainly something I relate to, even now as I type. My digestive system is a proverbial "grab bag" of anatomical changes per 4 major surgeries. I have a "crimp" in my colon (left side) that hinders passage of stool. It's called a splenic flecture (sic). It was diagnosed years ago, but surgeons would never do a resection. IMO they are afraid to open that can of worms (snakes) in my case. I believe that if they went back into my belly, they would find that residual endometriosis and/or scar tissue had consumed and "strangled" my vital organs (AGAIN). It's quite possible they would have to remove large sections of bowel, possibly leaving me with a colostomy bag. That's the good news. The bad news is that even that would not eradicate my pain and suffering. The disease went undiagnosed for most of my life even though looking back, I had all of the hallmark symptoms/markers/indicators. I saw SO MANY so called GYN/GASTRO specialists that "dismissed" my complaints (including horrifically heavy bleeding/passing huge clots/fetal position pain) causing missed days of school, college, and then work. My earliest memories were what we always called back then "a nervous tummy". I had raging anxiety from a young age that perpetuated chronic diarrhea and cramping, even before I started menses. Oh my mercy the AGONY when I did start my periods at 11. I would have to see our FP regularly who could only recommend hot soaking baths (which I threw up) and muscle relaxers. For 8 days minimum of every month my life was a living HELL. I have no uterus or ovaries, yet believe it or not, I still have 8 days to 2 weeks of that same pain less the period EVERY MONTH. I get the distention and bloating in my belly/pelvic region, but visual in that left side as though being "filled" with an air compressor. I go for up to 11 days without my bowels moving, no matter how many softeners or stimulants I take. Until my last surgery in 1994, I had to take Lomotil to slow the raging diarrhea and prevent me from literally soiling myself.

I started pain management 3 months ago because I can no longer live with this pain. So far it's not been a success, with pain meds causing constipation with potential for deadly obstruction. I'm sorry I've gone on a rant. My intention remains the same for you. If you feel that the colonoscopy will ease your mind, run don't walk to get your prep and get-r-done. The prep is funky, but doable. You will be sedated for the test...won't know it happened except for the prep. Be sure to have some Gas-X meltaways for post op gas. It's my miracle drug. I have to add that a clear colonoscopy does not mean you don't have endometriosis. If your symptoms do not ease, and you see a correlation between the bowels and your period, please ask for a referral to a GYN specializing in endocrinology with endo experience.

I'm worried about you children because as I said before "They are sponges...soaking in EVERYTHING they hear". This will cause them to develop their own lifelong issues with anxiety. Please consider some counseling to teach you better coping skills. Please beware of the Ativan. It's a blessing if used properly...a curse if not. I don't think I'd have gone to that extent right now, though I do agree that you need anti-anxiety meds. You would benefit further (lifelong) by seeking therapy to learn to recognize your obsessive tendencies and fears. If you won't do it for you, DO IT for your kids. I'm not judging you. I just ABSOLUTELY know that one can worry themselves sick and into the grave. Please don't let that be you=) HUGS
No worries about me, but thank you for your kind words. If your mother had (has) endometriosis, there's a stronger possibility that you do, too. Please don't jet off to "google" any of it. My story is one of failure to diagnose. Therefore, the untreated disease ravaged my body, as did the chemical therapies and surgeries to try to contain it. No, endometriosis and scar tissue are not the same thing. I'll give you my edited version, as I have no desire to fan the flames of your anxiety. The lining of the uterus backs up or "escapes" into your abdominal cavity. Each month when you ovulate and have your period, the estrogen produced "feeds" the mutant cells of endo. Those cells scatter and attach to organs and arteries as "lesions" or implants that "bleed" in your belly each month. Your body's natural response is to kick into action to heal what it perceives as a wound (by forming scar tissue) This repeated process if left undiagnosed and untreated can severely impair surrounding organs, arteries, and intestinal tract by "binding" them in a web of lesions and scar tissue. The only diagnostic procedure is a laparoscopy, IF this disease is suspect. The treatment ranges from BC, Depo, Lupron to "shut down" ovaries to surgical removal of disease and female organs...which I DO NOT recommend.

We're getting the cart before the horse here. That was not my intention. Please follow through with your gastric testing and go from there. You're gonna be ok=)

PLEASE HEAR ME when I say this: Early diagnosis is KEY. Women have to advocate on behalf of their own bodies. I KNOW that now as I approach 53. I was na´ve and trusting of the medical profession as a young woman. I believed "them" when they told me I was normal, as was my experience and "to just deal with it".
I'm here...couldn't see any more posts for some reason until today. Been wondering how you were, Jas, and so glad you have scheduled that colonoscopy! The prep is not fun, but tolerable for the most part- I'm going through it right now as my colonoscopy is in a few short hours...scared to death but trying to stay calm and focus on loving and positive thoughts. My ct scan came out ok for the most part except for an ovarian cyst my gyn is following closely and plan to follow up on that again when this is over. I am still scared they will find cancer today. The ct scan ruled out diverticulitis and colitis they said. I just don't know what else it could be. I wonder about the PPI too but I guess I will know more after today. Trying not to think the worst. I will be 46 next month, Dixie. Thank you for sharing your story and your strength with us. It helps so much to know others are going through and learning to deal with health struggles and no matter what each of us is going through we are not alone. My husband too is tired of worrying about my health I think but he is supportive and I am grateful for that. Have no family close by so coming on here is very therapeutic for me. Try not to worry Jas, I think you will be just fine too. Anxiety sucks I know, I have it too, and have had actual panic attacks the past few nights which is new for me. Do you exercise? I know with 4 young kids it's hard to fit in, but it does help me a lot when I make it a priority on a consistent basis. My husband sees the difference too and so helps me make it happen. Haven't done anything in a week though since being so sick and can tell the difference! Got to go now, wish me luck and would appreciate any and all positive thoughts you might want to send my way! Take care of yourselves, (( hugs))

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