Rikimaroo wrote:I am new here and posting for the first time. I am 38 years old with a young family. Thanks in advance for your advice and help
As we say, sorry you have to be here, but glad you found us!
As you'll see from my signature info, I'm T3N1M0, so in a similar boat, although my tumor was in the descending colon vs. rectum. Differences mostly are that for colon it's surgery first then chemo, while for rectal they do chemo/rad before to shrink the tumor. Also, my tumor was much larger than yours at about 12cm (about the size of a fist). We all can totally identify with that feeling when you get the news, and like you I have a young family (now 5-year-old son at home), so also totally understand where your thoughts go with regard to that. There are a ton of informed people here who will help to give you some of your power back.
Wow - Cleveland Clinic is a long way from Florida! Still, if you find the right doctor and treatment, that's what's important. We always tell everyone to make sure your surgeon is a BOARD CERTIFIED colo-rectal. Most likely is at CC, but just sayin'.
As you pointed out, your staging is a guess right now, so probably too soon for you to get too far ahead of yourself in terms of what will come next.
As far as starting chemo/rad, everyone reacts to these things differently. Personally, I was on Xeloda and did rather well with it. I worked throughout, and never had any symptoms that were too severe to prevent that. You're already increasing fluids, which is great for keeping Xeloda side-effects at bay. I haven't had radiation, so I can't speak to that side, but keeping your spirits up and your body healthy can never be bad. Surgery for me was over in about 1.5 hours (relatively fast per my surgeon), and I had surgery on a Thursday and was home on Sunday. Getting up and walking as soon as you can after surgery is the best thing, as it will get stuff moving in the lower extremities. Can't go home til you poop.
Try not to get yourself too nervous. Deep breaths. One step at a time. We're here for you, and if you ever need more personal advice from a Stage III-er, don't be afraid to private message me also.
Keep us posted.
Hugs and Prayers,