It has been a while since I checked in on the board and wanted to share how I'd doing 5 years since my treatment ended. In short, all is good.
I had chemo and radiation prior to surgery, transanal excision surgery, and post surgery chemo for my T3 rectal cancer.
Quality of life is pretty close to what I reported back in 2012:
- I have no side effects from the surgery; some due to chemo and the radiation.
- I have no eating or bowel issues other than I seem more sensitive to fruit juices - i.e. next day frequent bathroom visits - manageable. I think due to the chemo. Otherwise same as prior to having colon cancer.
- Skin irritations at the radiation site - only an issue when using sandpaper toilet paper at cheap work and public place rest rooms!
The following improved a lot due to exercise, eating better, and meditation. Not in any ruthless fitness nut way, just simple changes. Stuff we should all do anyway, cancer or not.
- Still fighting some fatigue and chemo brain (forgettfulness).
- Post cancer depression -- I really believe mental health needs to be part of the cancer treatment journey. Sound mind and sound body - treat the whole person. Therapist thinks PTSD from going thru treatment. That has merit, but also think I had some depression issues for a long time prior. A case for baselining mental health as we do with physical health.
- Some sexual dysfunction... radiation and chemo impact plus an issue with age, weight gain and lax exercise. Continues to improve with diet and exercise and dealing with stress/depression.
- Neuropathy in feet - happens occasionally when running - feet feel like they fell asleep and I have sandbags attached to my legs. Goes away, eventually.
For more of the back story, you can check these threads out.
- Year 2 checkin: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=34910
- Post chemo and back to work: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=20059
- Mid Chemo brain fun: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=16481#p128784
- Immediately after the surgery in 2010, and my rationale for the chemo/surgery choice I made (read all threads): viewtopic.php?f=1&t=13877
I remain indebted to the people on this forum whom helped me thru this tough issue and I hope tho information can help others.
I wish you all the best - health, success, and happiness.