Scared with Questions

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Scared with Questions

Postby EastCoastGal » Wed May 01, 2019 4:28 am

Hi. Yesterday I noticed bright red blood on the tp after wiping- and in checking the toilet, there was a red streak on one stool. Bright red blood persisted for a few drops on tp. I googled and nearly fainted. I may have seen light streak of blood in the past (maybe?), but nothing like yesterday. And I don't typically check my stool after a BM so maybe yesterday wasn't the first time? Then later in the day and for the first time in my memory, I passed pencil thin stools. Just did that again now (though "blood" now presenting as very light pink).

I am just recently 40 and mom to a 6 year old and scared to death.

When saw the blood yesterday and the read the internet I immediately called my PCP office. My PCP booked was for the week but they got me in with another doc for tomorrow (Thurs) morning.

1. What are the odds I could be sent immediately for a CT scan tomorrow after describing my symptoms (my PCP office is part of a major metro medical center- same building)?
2. How long would I have to wait for a colonoscopy? Should I schedule this with a well-know cancer center in the area? Or just have it done at the doctor's hospital?
3. Would I be more likely to get scans and a quickly scheduled colonoscopy if I presented in the Emergency Department today?
4. Is that fact that I have these symptoms indicative of a more advanced cancer?
5. Any folks have experience with treatment at Dana Farber?

Thank you in advance.
Last edited by EastCoastGal on Wed May 01, 2019 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Scared with Questions

Postby kandj » Wed May 01, 2019 9:55 am

First off, take a deep breath. And then another one. You are making giant leaps here. My first assumption would not be cancer, it would be hemorrhoids. And no, the ED would not schedule your for a Colonoscopy or scans. You are not presenting with an emergency. The ED gets you stable and either admits you or sends you home. Since you do not have any emergency symptoms, they would likely triage you and send you on your way.

Your doctor is the place to start. They can see you, and figure out where to go from there. A colonoscopy is a great idea but usually takes a few weeks to schedule. You have to do prep work for it and it is not done spur of the moment. See your doctor tomorrow, get some advice on what to do next. You will probably get in with a local Gastroenterologist long before you will get in with Dana Farber. And as for advanced cancer and the signs, sometimes there are some, but a lot of times there are zero. My husband had zero symptoms until about 3 days before diagnosis. No blood in his stool. Just constipation and Upper abdominal pain (from the liver mets). You are one of many that come here terrified of their symptoms and that they mean there are cancer. It rarely turns out to be cancer for them. Follow up with your doctor, listen to your body, and try not to make giant leaps. I wish you the best!
wife to DH, dx 8/15 stage IV @36, numerous unresectable liver Mets
resection and HAI placed 12/15
Liver resection 5/19/2016 15-20 mets removed (surgeon lost count, but it hopeful he got it all!)
Recurrence 7/2017 4 Liver mets and one possible lung met
Radiation on liver Mets 12/17
Lung met 10/18
VATS on lung met 11/18 started xeloda
Chemo break 6/19-11/19 lung/adrenal gland recurrence 11/19
Adrenal ablation2/20 Robotic Assisted VATS 3/20 Xeloda again

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Re: Scared with Questions

Postby EastCoastGal » Wed May 01, 2019 2:30 pm

Thank you for responding. Taking that deep breath now.

My doctors appointment is first thing in the morning- I will see what she says but push for a referral to a gastroenterologist and a colonoscopy. I’m a little disappointed to hear that appointment might take weeks, though. Another deep breath.

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Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:00 am
Location: Boston MA

Re: Scared with Questions

Postby debsta » Wed May 01, 2019 5:57 pm

We did not experience a several week wait for my husband to be seen at Dana Farber. My husband has self-referred to Dana Farber twice, once in 2008 for Prostate Cancer and again in 2019 for Rectal Cancer, and both times his appointment was within four days of calling them. We are fortunate that our insurance does not require a PCP referral and that Dana Farber is in-network for us.

In 2008 he was seen by a medical oncologist at his first appointment.

This time his first appointment was at their newly opened Cancer Diagnostic Service/Center. He met with a staff GP who took his history, ordered labs, scans, biopsies including genome sequencing, flex sigmoidoscopy, etc. A team of doctors reviewed the test and exam results, I think the team meets twice a week, and he was then referred to an oncologist appropriate for his needs. I think this process took perhaps ten days but their were plenty of phone calls during these ten days to discuss test results, diagnosis and his immediate symptoms were treated at the first appointment.

Because my husband chose to participate in a clinical trial, several tests had to be redone for the trial itself, which delayed him starting cancer treatment by two weeks. But he was having a port installed and starting chemotherapy within a month of calling them.

Sincerely hoping you just have a case of hemorrhoids!
Caregiver of DH age 68 at DX w/Stage IVb rectal adenocarcinoma - mets in liver and both lungs
MSS MMRp Kras/Braf/Ras all wild-type TMB 3.04 poorly differentiated CEA 14.7
2/2019 Clinical Trial at Dana Farber - mFolfox6, Avastin, Nivolumab
9/13/2019 CEA 1.0 67% reduction by Recist dropped Oxaliplatin due to neuropathy

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Re: Scared with Questions

Postby Soccermom2boys » Wed May 01, 2019 8:29 pm

EastCoastGal wrote: I’m a little disappointed to hear that appointment might take weeks, though. Another deep breath.

Just a little bit of comfort—even if it takes you weeks to get to a colonoscopy if that is the route you end up needing to go, take heart in knowing that it will not drastically alter your outcome if they were to find something. I had my colonoscopy in early August and it was another six weeks before I even started my chemo-radiation treatments so in general the process itself can have gaps of time in between that can feel endless because you just want to have everything out of you and resolved, but this is for sure a game of patience.

I think I was the opposite of you when I first saw blood on the tp. I was like oh it’s just a hemorrhoid and didn’t even mention it until I had my yearly gynecologist exam about eight months after first seeing the blood. I didn’t go sooner because I thought what were they going to do about a good old fashioned annoying hemorrhoid. And my gynecologist did a quick rectal exam and thought that was what he felt and gave me a referral to a Colon and Rectal doctor who knew immediately at the first quick digital exam that I was dealing with more than a hemorrhoid. I personally did not see a gastroenterologist, my colon and rectal doc is who did my surgery as well as all of my colonoscopies which I like because we have a history together now and he has me check in annually besides the colonoscopy.

Excellent advice from kandj to try and breathe and to take it step by step. Do not go to the ER for this, take the time to follow the process and if anything get a colonoscopy well before a CT or any other type of scan. If it is a hemorrhoid you can have them do a digital exam or a flexible sigmoidoscopy in an office visit which are way less invasive and easier to schedule to get you started. Keep us posted on what you find out and hopefully you will be among the many who truly have just a hemorrhoid and not cancer.
8/3/15 Went in with a hemorrhoid, came out with a tumor
8/12/15 Biopsy from colonoscopy confirms RC (45 yrs old--zero family history!)
9/21 - 10/29/15 chemorad 28 tx (with Xeloda)
12/17/15 APR with perm colostomy
Pathology report stages me as IIIA (T2N1M0)--1/15 LN detects cancer
2/3/16 chemo port inserted
2/8-6/2/16 8 rounds of Folfox

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Re: Scared with Questions

Postby EastCoastGal » Thu May 02, 2019 8:23 am

Thank you again for the replies.

I had my pcp appointment this morning. Upon conducting a rectal exam, the Dr saw an external skin tear and hemorrhoids. However, she also referred me for colonoscopy and ordered lab work to check for anemia (just had the blood draw) because she thought it would put my mind at ease. I am grateful and get that scheduled. If it hadn’t been for what I’d read here I might have just let it go after this appointment, but now I want to be sure. So thank you for that.

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Location: New Brunswick, Canada

Re: Scared with Questions

Postby DarknessEmbraced » Sun May 05, 2019 11:36 am

I'm glad that you'll be getting a colonoscopy.*hugs* I hope all goes well.
Diagnosed 10/28/14, age 36
Colon Resection 11/20/14, LAR (no illeo)
Stage 2a colon cancer, T3NOMO
Lymph-vascular invasion undetermined
0/22 lymph nodes
No chemo, no radiation
Clear Colonoscopy 04/29/15
NED 10/20/15
Ischemic Colitis 01/21/16
NED 11/10/16
CT Scan moved up due to high CEA 08/21/17
NED 09/25/17
NED 12/21/18
Clear colonoscopy 09/23/19
Clear 5 year scans 11/21/19- Considered cured! :)

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Re: Scared with Questions

Postby EastCoastGal » Mon May 13, 2019 10:51 am

Had my colonoscopy this morning and got the all clear and was told to return in 10 years.

You are all in my prayers.

Posts: 520
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:40 am

Re: Scared with Questions

Postby boxhill » Wed May 15, 2019 4:44 pm

F, 64 at DX CRC Stage IV
3/17/18 blockage, r hemi
11 of 25 nodes,5 mesentery nodes
5mm liver met out
pT3 pN2b pM1
BRAF wild, KRAS G12D
7/18 CT NED
11/18 CT NED
12/18 MRI 5mm liver mass, 2 lymph nodes in porta hepatis
12/31/18 Keytruda
6/19 Multiphasic CT LNs normal, Liver stable
6/28/19 Pause Key, predisone for joint pain
7/31/19 Restart Key
9/19 CT stable
Pain: all fails but Celebrex
12/23/19 CT stable
5/19 MRI stable/NED
Suspend treatment

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