Thirteen years ago, I chose a different path for my rectal cancer treatment. Instead of the LAR surgery, I chose to undergo a full thickness transanal excision preceded by chemoradiation and chemo. When I finally convinced my surgeon that I was aware that my choice was against the 'standard of care', she agreed to the surgery BUT....made sure that I understood that meticulous and thorough follow up would be in my future. I agreed and I finally GRADUATED yesterday from the last vestige of this thorough surveillance.
I've long since stopped having CT scans ....which was my insurance company's decision. I stopped seeing my onc about 5 years ago when he moved (I didn't want to start up with a new onc just for blood work). My GP took over the CEA surveillance and she stopped that about 2 years ago - especially since it was never a good indicator for me from the get-go. Although I had 'graduated' to the 5 year colonoscopy plan after my last scope, my surgeon still insisted that, in between that 5 year interval, I needed a mini flex sig to inspect the rectal area. Well, yesterday, after a perfectly clean colonoscopy.....she told me I could stop the mini flex sigs!!
While I know that I will NEVER be able to do the 10 year scope plan, I am still eternally grateful that I have been able to get to 13 years from diagnosis and am fine. For so long, I had doctor after doctor tell me that I was going to die if I didn't do things their way. At one point, in November 2016, I had my then surgeon tell me that I would be dead in two years if I didn't agree to his plan! Honestly, there are times that I want to march right into that surgeon's office and say, 'Hey, remember me? You know, my 2 year expiration date that you gave me has LONG SINCE PASSED!'
Even though I don't think about my cancer journey on a daily basis anymore, I will never shake that feeling (thank goodness!) that I once did have cancer. When I have any GI distress for more than a day or two, my instinct is to think the worse. I will admit that prior to this scope, I was VERY nervous....afraid to wake up and hear those words that I NEVER want to hear again. I certainly didn't like the prep but thanks to so many on this board, I just did the Miralax/Gatorade/Dulcolax prep (I substituted Tang for Gatorade) for the Prepopik that she Rx'd for me. Yeah, I know that I should have checked with her first but I was no nervous in the first place, I just did what I felt was best for me. Well, guess what? She said....above average clean! My attitude....it all comes out the same in the 'end'. Now, before school starts up again, I can enjoy the rest of my summer vacation!
Dx 6/22/2006 IIA rectal cancer
6 wks rad/Xeloda -finished 9/06
1st attempt transanal excision 11/06
11/17/06 XELOX 1 cycle
5 months Xeloda only Dec '06 - April '07
10+ blood clots, 1 DVT 1/07
transanal excision 4/20/07 path-NO CANCER CELLS!
NED now and forever!
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