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newly diagnosed and scared
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cjtigers posted:
I just found out last night that the polyp removed during my colonoscopy is cancerous. My head is spinning and I am so scared. I watched my father die of prostate cancer and it was a horrible experience for him and the whole family. I still face telling family and friends and can barely discuss the topic without tears. I'm still in the dark over what my personal situation is since I still haven't even seen my colorectal specialist. Any advice/support would be greatly appreciated.
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dnl_6581 responded:
Hello my wife was diagnosed with colorectal cancer on oct 2nd and altho it wasnt me I kind of understand the fear and unknown you are going thru. The thing that got to us the most was we had a ton of questions but had to wait for the answers. I would be willing to answer any questions you had ( that i could anyway). I use yahoo messenger under the name dnl_6581 and if you also use yahoo feel free to message me anytime but please you or anyone at least let me know who you are because if no intro I will not answer. The one thing I can tell you is you need to talk as much as you can and dont keep anything from family and give them a chance to support you and let you know your not alone. We got lucky that there is a Gilda's club very close and that is a cancer support group and wow has that been a great thing for us.
 
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MandyL1953 responded:
It really depends how far into the lining of the wall the cancer has penetrated. There are lots of good resources on the web that explain staging of colon cancer. I know it is scarry and overwhelming. You will need to make an appointment with an oncolgist who should guide you as to whether you will need surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.

I was dx with stage III back in July 2005. I had surgery to remove the mass in colon. Had chemo and one recurrance in the liver. BUT I am fine now - no trace of cancer.

I recommend getting in touch with an organization called Colon Cancer Alliance. They are great. they have an 800 helpline and the people can give you good advice. 1-877-422-2030

My prayers are with you

Mandy
 
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cjtigers responded:
Hearing stories of positive outcomes really helps. Even though I don't know my personal situation yet , it is very encouraging to hear that there is still hope. The fact that I have cancer is still sinking in, but that panic attack feeling I was having is finally starting to subside a little. Please keep the advice and support coming.
 
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rvrvue responded:
Hi, I can understand your fear. All of us who have been diagnosed know what you are going through at this moment. However, yours sounds like a very early stage, and maybe nothing more will have to be done than removing the polyp and getting checked real often. Try not to think the worst. Here is an example, my mother passed a large amount of blood, thinking it was hemorrhoids, she did not want to go to the doctor, but I insisted. He sent her immediately for a colonoscopy. She had a large cancerous polyp, which was only malignant in the "head" part of it. The "stalk" part of it was clear of cancer, so nothing more had to be done. That was over 10 years ago. So try to think positive. I only wish mine had been caught in the polyp stage, but even with my surgery and chemo, I'm doing fine. It was stage 3C, almost 4 years ago. Hang in there, rvrvue
 
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mike39095 responded:
Best advice...continue to post and read on this board. There are many of us in the same boat, facing some stormy sailing, but calmer seas are ahead. The "C" word is hard to accept. Mine is stage 3. A large tumor was removed from the colon/rectal area along with some lymph nodes and the surgeon feels confident that he got all he saw, but now the chemo and radiation due to the fact it was noted in 4 of the 7 nodes removed. Gall bladder removed, also, but no cancer involved there. Your having to experience your father's battle does not mean you will face the same end result. You have an early dx. The enemy was caught trying to sneak in. My oncologist said the enemy had crossed into my territtory and set up a battle station with a plan of further invasions, but he was sending in the army, navy, marines, and airforce with a joint plan of action. This being the chemo followed with radiation to "mop-up" any remaining enemy traces that may have slipped past the surgeon's main attack. The battleground will be damaged during the oncoming campaign, but repairs will take place and constant rebuilding will put things back to normal or better with time. Don't let your guard down. Keep on top of the enemy and defeat him.....Keep us posted on your progress. Mike
 
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cjtigers responded:
I had my first surgical consult last Friday. It wasn't very encouraging. Seems the site of my cancer is very low which is not good. I'm set to have the rest of the tests this week: the ct scan, mri and chest xray. I have also begun to experience only what I can call "anxiety attacks" when my heart starts to pound and I just feel like I'm drowning. An on call doc over the weekend prescribed me a drug to take the edge off. I am normally such an even keel type of person that this is upsetting in itself. I just don't want to live my life with this always running in the background of my life.
 
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bvalet2 responded:
Thee word cancer is very scary. I will just throw out my story since it sounds much like yours. They found a cancerous polyp in me in 2005. The cancer was far away from the stalk that they said I didn't need any further treatment except yearly colonoscopies. Of course I never missed an exam. This cancer is genetic in my family. My 2007 colonoscopy the area where they removed the polyp previously appeared ulcerated. They did a biopsy and it came back negative. They categorized it as colitis and gave me steroid enemas. Summer of 2008 began to feel tired, then bloated, and I new something was up. Scheduled doctor appt. Woke up the night before my Dr. appt with abdominal pain. Ended up in the emergency room that day and found out my ovary had ruptured due to metastasis of colon cancer. The tumor in my colon is in the same where they removed the polyp three years earlier and had just been biopsied a year ago. I had a colon resection and partial hysterectomy followed by FOLFOX chemo treatments 12 over 6 months. I had one clear scan after treatment and the next scan showed freckles on my lungs...next scan showed 3 months later spot on my liver and pancreas. So now I am back on chemo FOLFIRI this time due to the fact I just finished folfox a little over 6 months ago and I still have some neuropathy. If I could do it over again I would of had a colon resection when they found the polyp the first time...it was discussed and they didn't think it would greatly benefit me and it is a hard operation. If I had maybe I wouldn't be facing my death right now. I say be aggressive don't let them tell you to wait and watch. Do you have a family history of CC? Tell your family friends anyone who will listen...you can't keep it bottled up. You have a very good chance of being okay. Find out exactly where that cancer was located in that polyp and if they biopsied the area around it in the lining of the colon. If it was me I would also get a second opinion. Don't be afraid to take charge. Doctors are wrong sometimes and they don't know everything. God Bless and keep you on your journey.

Brenda
 
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tspetter responded:
A very good friend of mine just found out she has Stage IV incurable Colon Cancer. She was having pain in her side/stomach and finally went to the doctor. They found cancer in her liver which was a secondary cancer. They have since done tests and found she has colon cancer with spots on her liver, lungs and lymph nodes. It seems as though this has progressed very rapidly in the last two weeks which worries me. She is in so much pain, and of course the information she has been getting is just making her head spin. I feel so bad for her and wish I could do something to help. They are supposed to start treatment this week and after reading several of the stories on here I am at least more hopeful but still very concerned because of the progression she has shown. They say that the chemo will help with the pain from her liver and haven't really discussed surgery at this point. My friend is only 38 years old and the most bubbly and full of life girl you would ever meet, until now. I told her about this website and I hope she will check it out, you all are very helpful. Good luck to all. And would appreciate any info if you know someone who has gone through the same. Thank you
 
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cjtigers replied to tspetter's response:
I see both the chemo and radiation drs this week. The plan seems to be 6 wks of chemo/radiation, then surgery 6 weeks after that when I will definitely end up with a colostomy. I am scared to death of the chemo/radiation treatment, even more so than the surgery. I'm still an emotional wreck, crying at least once a day (but only in front of my husband, poor guy). I hate feeling this emotionally weak, not my usual personality type. Any advice out there from people going thru chemo/radiation would be so appreciated. I'm already anticipating the worst.
 
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moonbeamgarden1 replied to cjtigers's response:
I had 26 treatments of chemo/radiation. 5 days per week of radiation and oral chemo 7 days a week. The first weeks aren't that bad, just you have to go every day. The last 2 weeks aren't that fun. I basically didn't go out of the house much at all except to go to treatment those last few weeks. It wasn't painful, I was just tired and took Imodium a few days at the end.

Do you know what stage you are? Everyone is different, but it helped me to understand my staging and my prognosis. I've got two more rounds of chemo to go and then follow up tests to make sure I'm still cancer free. I figure until my doctors tell me its back, I'm cancer free and living my life! Now I just have to get through these next two rounds of chemo.

Good luck to you!
 
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jbearva replied to cjtigers's response:
I am in the second week of radiation/chemo (5FU pump). So far it is not bad, only a little abdominal cramping in the morning. I still work, which actually helps provide a distraction from all this. When I got the diagnosis (January 15th), it seemed forever for them to start the treatments. I was more than ready to start the fight by then. My wife and I had been taking turns with the depression and, while it still hits me, it has waned greatly since the diagnosis. I have found that exercise (walking 30-45 min daily) also helps keep me on an even keel. A good sense of humor helps a lot as well. That one is a little tough sometimes, but it does help. All I can tell you is what I have been experiencing and, other than having to throw my modesty out the window, the other stuff has not been very bad at all . . so far. We will see how it goes, but so far so good. Wish you luck in your treatment and just believe the tears are healing and you will get out of that stage at some point.
 
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cjtigers replied to jbearva's response:
thank you so much for the encouraging words. They sure help. I now know what the game plan is. I will start 5 weeks of radiation along with the pill form of 5FU. You are right about modesty being thrown out the window, I am beginning to feel a little like a science experiment gone bad. I know everyone responds to the the treatment differently, but I am hoping for the best. Still scared out of my mind though. The road ahead still seems so daunting.
 
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jbearva replied to cjtigers's response:
How are things going for you? Have you gotten any further along? Just wanted to update on my situation . Had a bout with stomach issues last Sunday and was hydrating with water all day. The next 2 days I kept hydrating to get the system going again. Tuesday night I started to have heart palpitations and my oncologist had me call 911. He did this as a preventative measure so that someone was monitoring my heart to see if there were true fluxuations that could be recorded while I was on the way to the hospital. Long story short, the wek before my blood tests had shown a reduced Potassium count (3.2). I had started eating a banana a day, but the water hydration also caused me to flush electrolytes out of my system. My Potassium had nose dived to 2.4. I should have known this because when I was in Afghanistan last year, we were told to hydrate with more than just water, as guys were passing out from loosing electrolytes. I am good now, as they put me on a Potassium regimine (plus schooled me on high Potassium foods - banans actually were one of the lowest on the list, Lima Beans and baked potatoes with skins were much higher). Unfortunately, since my chemo doctor was on vacation last week, my radiation oncologist made the decision (with me) to discontinue the chemo for the weekend until the other doctor gets back. It is nice to take a real shower again, but I feel like it is a setback. I write this to you so that you may not make the same mistake about flushing your electrolytes. Hopefully someone can benefit from me being a dumba**. Good luck and let us know where you are at with treatment


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