This is a great forum to share our experiences and get support with colon cancer. Thank you for reading, sharing our story helps me cope as well!
Last May, my father in law, 74, was diagnosed with Late Stage 4 Colon Cancer with Liver and Portal Vein Metastisis. He passed away 2 months later peacefully in hospice. He lived on the other side of the country and upon our return to our home in August, our Doctor booked my wife, who just turned 50, a colonoscopy screening. We researched the risk factors and thought even though her father had colon cancer, we were in great physical shape, we ate a healthy diet, her age and no symptoms at all, we thought a few polyps at worse.
We were shocked when the surgeon who performed the colonoscopy identified a 4 cm tumour in my wife's lower sigmoid region and she would require a low anterior resection, very likely a temporary ileostomy bag. The surgeon booked her for a CT, MRI, Ultrasound and Bone Scan. Needless to say it took a few days to get over the shock, especially since she was still mourning her father. Lucky for us the tests confirmed the tumour was still contained in the colon, Stage 1, and it was located 3 cm higher than the surgeon thought. This gave the surgeon confidence he could perform the LAR laparoscopic and not open and likely a temporary ileostomy bag would be unnecessary.
This forum gave us a lot of information what to expect from a laparoscopic LAR and the recovery. For those that share their information, thank you, every case is unique (as is said repeatedly) but you gave us confidence things would go well.
Our surgery was last Wednesday, in pre-op, they pre-warmed my wife using a Bair Hugger for 45 minutes prior to OR- explained this helps reduce the risk of SSI, I was called 4 hours later that the surgery went very well and the tumour was removed and he surgeon did not visually see any spread to the lymph nodes, he took the required number for pathology. My wife awoke in post anesthesia recovery warm and comfortable, pain was managed with morphine.
She was transferred to her room that afternoon and slept most of that day and evening. The next morning (day 1 postop) she sat up on the side of her bed and took her first walk. By noon, she decided to get off the morphine and take OxyContin for pain. The oxy managed the pain well enough and she felt less nauseous and more comfortable walking. Liquid diet but I went out and brought in tastier liquids, hospital food horrible in Vancouver, BC. Day 2 she was out of bed and sitting in the chair and walking frequently, very slow and could manage the pain on extra strength Tylenol. She was passing gas and began having bowel movements almost immediately so she did not experience any paralyses of the bowel. All good! The surgeon released her from hospital at the end of Day 3 after seeing her 1st day on a soft diet.
We followed a strict soft diet for the next 5 days, avoiding all bloating foodsand spicy and focused on balancing fibre, carbs and protein as well as liquids to ensure neither diarrhea or constipation (recommend speaking to a dietitian, this helped us) . Today is Day 9, we are recovering very well, no set-backs, her stools are getting better, scars are healing and she stopped taking regular Tylenol yesterday. She walks daily, including outdoor walks, we even went to the mall together today. She looks great although she has lost about 10 pounds through the process and is underweight but each day she is taking more calories and we think we should have bottomed out on the scale.
Next Thursday, Day 15, we have our out-patient meeting with the surgeon, his secretary called and left is a message and said the appointment would be short, 10 minutes, for a quick examination and she has she's healing. She didn't mention the pathology report. This is our only remaining fear! Maybe my remaining fear. My gut tells me we're out of the woods and no need for radiation or chemo, hopefully just close monitoring. I will let you know..
I hope our story gives some comfort to others as your stories did for us.
keep positive always, stay strong, hopefully all goes well for you,