I've recently been reluctant to post in this thread because I feel like I won the lottery compared to the pain and suffering other brave souls on this board are going thru. I hope it doesn't seem like I'm bragging about my good fortune, but I do feel I have a responsibility to recount my experiences because others may be able to similarly benefit.
Last week was the two year anniversary of the beginning of my radiation treatment, and in another couple of months, touch wood, I'll be two years NED. I understand the risk of recurrence decreases over time, and decreases significantly after two years (I sure as heck hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying this!!!)
Mozart13, if you do decide to go w&w I would encourage you, and particularly after Ronjay's unfortunate experience, to start a six month course of Folfox or Xelox asap. It will not be easy, in fact I would say those six months were perhaps the most miserable period of my entire life. There was a time towards the end of the third cycle that I became a human fire hose at both ends. I was tempted to quit right there and then but, in retrospect, it was all worth it. My body has recovered from the neuorpathy, fatigue, loss of taste buds, cold sensitivity, body rash, etc etc, and I'm almost back to were I was before diagnosis. I'm so glad I was given the opportunity to go w&w, but of course everybody has to weigh their particular situation, and make their own decision.
Peter, age 65 at dx
DX 4 cm x 4 cm very low rectal adenocarcinoma into the sphincters 01/15
Stage III T3 N1 M0 with two suspicious lymph nodes
26 sessions IMRT radiation with 1,000 mg Xeloda twice per day 03/15 to 04/15
Complete clincal response to the chemoradiation...the tumor shrank completely away 06/15
No surgery...Habr-Gama watch and wait protocol instead
Xelox chemotherapy 07/15-12/15
MRI and rectal exam every three months starting 07/15
MRI and rectal exam every six months starting 07/17