New and confussed

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New and confussed

Postby butrflies » Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:54 am

hi everyone! my name is Amy and i'm 31 years old diagnosed early september 06. I had surgery monday 9/25/06 and was able to leave the hospital that thursday. i've been reading a lot of the past post and doing research on the internet which has been really helpful but also very scary. i don't see my surgeon until 10/9 for my follow up but before leaving the hospital my doctor told me that they had removed 14 lymph nodes and 5 had been infected.

i am only assuming from my research that this would put me at stage III?but that adds so many more questions and is making me scared!

i know that there is a difference between acceptance and avoidance but i'm just not sure where i'm at with all this, has anyone else had the same troubles?

this is the first day in which i get up to do something and don't feel like i need to sit down and rest moments after, will i keep getting stonger or is this just a fluke? also i'm a friend of bill Ws and i finally am feeling better after all the meds they give you in the hospital, i am amazed at how long that took.

thanks amy

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Postby johnmeissner » Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:28 am

Congratulations on being a survivor! It sounds like you are on the way to getting better quite quickly. Good for you.

Doing research is a good thing. I was diagnosed at stage 1 on July 13th. Before surgery, which was performed on August 21st, I did quite a bit of research about colon cancer, it's effects and treatments. It helped me to understand what was going on and what to expect, pre and post surgery.

Being diagnosed at stage 1 was a very good thing for me. The surgeons went in, removed the affected site, in my case the sigmoid colon and also took care of some adhesions from a 1968 appendectomy, plus put my colon in it's proper place. (It apparently had been tucked up behind my spleen and ribs since birth.) Because of the extra work, my hospital stay lasted 10 days.

One thing I did prior to surgery, was to be as proactive as possible. I had extenuating circumstances that made having surgery done as quickly as possible imperative. I had to actually push and prod the clinic treating me into first scheduling me to see the surgeon, then getting surgery scheduled. It's never, in my opinion, a bad thing to become as involved as possible in your course of treatment.

Post surgery, I followed doctors and nurses instructions as best I could and asked questions whenever I had one. Knowing what's going on and what's coming up, is very helpful in dealing with any disease.

To answer your question, yes, there is a difference between acceptance and avoidance. When you accept what is happening to you, you can then get on with attacking and defeating the cancer in you. If you choose avoidance, it delays your treatment and gives the cancer more of a chance to become entrenched in your body. My advice is to first accept, then fight with everything you have. Research, talk to your doctors whenever possible and as often as necessary and come here and ask questions whenever you have one. There are many people here who know what you are going through and can be a great help.

It's not unusual to be scrared, nor is it a bad thing. Just don't let it get the best of you, okay? Good luck to you and God bless. Please visit often and let us know how you are doing. We are all behind you.
Hi, I'm John. But you can call me NED! Meet our son Jimmy at

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Postby Lee » Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:36 am


I was diagnosed 2 1/2 yrs ago with stage 3 rectal cancer. I had 6/13 nodes positive for cancer. I believe that makes you and I stage 3 C, although the C was not mentioned in my diagnoses.

I had 6 mth of chemo and today I am doing fine. I have follow ups, and hope to continue with success. You will make it, just take it one day at a time.

You are at a great site to get lots of information.

Good luck,

rectal cancer - April 2004
46 yrs old at diagnoses
stage III C - 6/13 lymph positive
radiation - 6 weeks
surgery - August 2004/hernia repair 2014
permanent colostomy
chemo - FOLFOX
NED - 10 years and counting!

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thank you

Postby butrflies » Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:06 am

Thank you for your support! I'm really glad that I found this site because although my friends and family are supportive I don't think they fully understand what I'm going through.
I feel very guilty about saying or asking for help with this but before going into surgery I was a pack a day smoker, been smoking for years. It is my crutch to get through everything. I didn't smoke for a couple of days when I got home but am smoking 5-10 cigs a day. I can go a couple of hours without smoking and then all of a sudden find myself with a cig in my hand (insanity).
Does anyone have any experience with this? I feel so dirty and disappointed in myself knowing what I'm doing.

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Postby alihamilton » Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:42 am

Hi Amy,

I am glad you found this you will discover, there are several people who were diagnosed stage 111 and are doing well. Take it one day at a time. It seems you are already feeling better and you may find some days are better than others. Look after yourself. As to the smoking, it is obvious you should try to give it up...your body does not need more challenges right now...but do not be too hard on yourself. It will not be easy and you are still in a new state of consciousness, having recently being diagnosed. I hope others might be able to advise how best to give up the habit.

Do come back and let us know how you are feeling...emotionally, physically and with any questions or concerns you might have. We are here to help as much as possible. You are not alone!

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Postby missjv » Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:10 pm

hi, i don't mean to sound harsh but please quit smoking i know it is hard i was an on and off smoker for years. i quit in 1998 when i was pregnant then i started up again in 2003 when my dad died, then quit agin january 2006, found out i had stage 4 colon cancer june 06. the risks from smoking and colerectal cancer are significant the majority of people with crc are smokers, and smoking is something that can be stopped. if you have to go through chemo and you smoke you will be hurting yourself especially when your blood counts drop. i know it is hard and i know you are under alot of stress but the best thing you can do is stop smoking and eat a healthy diet i did a complete 360 as far as my eating habits and my drinking of lots of coke, and lots of chocolate coffee while enjoying my marlboro ultra lights. i am now strictly on fresh fruit, veggies, no processed foods, no sodas, basically no crap food and i think it has made a world of difference my bloodwork stayed perfect through chemo, i did not get sick and the best news is my new pet scan showed a 70% shrinkage in the lesions on my liver after only 5 chemos which docs say is fabulous. but im thinking if i didn't change my lifestyle then i don't think my response would have been as great. we all know that smoking causes cancer and it can cause lung cancer many years down the road after someone has quit i know someone who quit 22 years ago and now she has lung cancer so that right there is a good reason to quit especially now that you know you have cancer in your body, like i said im not meaning to sound like a but you have to get yourself under control and kick your cancers butt and the better you feel and the healthier you are the easier it will be.


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My experience

Postby ASTEPHENS33 » Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:59 pm

From my experience, the follow-up doctor's appointment after the surgery was lots of information to process under normal circumstances and with the emotions of cancer was a bit overwhelming. I took a "second set of ears" - another person with me, who could help me hear things. I would suggest that you go in with as many questions as you know - like what is my staging. I would also suggest that you ask for copies of all tests, including the biopsy report, as when additional questions up you can more easily research them.


Postby margotmagoo » Thu Oct 05, 2006 6:21 pm

Hi Amy,
I was diagnosed on Jan. 5, 2006 at the age of 40. I had 12 lymphs removed and 6 were positive. I am Stage IIIc. I finished my chemo two months ago. Now I am on a 5 year maintenance plan. I will be happy to act as support as you go through your journey. I am at a place now where I want to be of help to others and offer guidance. I was scared, too. If you have questions or just want to vent.....

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Postby Magnolia » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:33 pm

I was diagnosed in March of 2006 with Stage IIIC colon cancer. I had 6/6 nodes positive. I just finished my chemo today! I get my next scan next week. I had one in June that looked good.

Good luck. We have a treatable disease. We are survivors. Make up your mind to fight it, and it will be fought. I can't say often enough, read "The Anatomy of Hope" by Jerome Groopman.

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Postby ASTEPHENS33 » Wed Oct 11, 2006 11:55 pm

The doctor can probably tell you the staging, but its dependent on a few variables. Here's a description I got from another website.

TNM Staging System (Tumor, Node, Metastisis)

T1: Tumor invades submucosa.
T2: Tumor invades muscularis propria.
T3: Tumor invades through the muscularis propria into the subserosa, or into the pericolic or perirectal tissues.
T4: Tumor directly invades other organs or structures, and/or perforates.

N0: No regional lymph node metastasis.
N1: Metastasis in 1 to 3 regional lymph nodes.
N2: Metastasis in 4 or more regional lymph nodes.

M0: No distant metastasis.
M1: Distant metastasis present.
Stage Groupings

Stage I: T1 N0 M0; T2 N0 M0
Cancer has begun to spread, but is still in the inner lining.

Stage II: T3 N0 M0; T4 N0 M0
Cancer has spread to other organs near the colon or rectum. It has not reached lymph nodes.

Stage III: any T, N1-2, M0
Cancer has spread to lymph nodes, but has not been carried to distant parts of the body

Stage IV: any T, any N, M1
Cancer has been carried through the lymph system to distant parts of the body. This is known as metastasis. The most likely organs to experience metastasis from colorectal cancer are the lungs and liver.

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Postby popcornkel » Sat Oct 21, 2006 10:55 pm

As far as your surgery recovery goes, yes you should start feeling stronger. Try not to be discouraged by bad days you may still have. Make sure you get a lot of rest!

You should try to get a copy of the path report from your surgery. It should say on there the information on your staging that ASTEPHENS33 posted above. Or call the surgeon's office and ask. That way you can have some research ready. You may also want to ask around about oncologists now to compare to your surgeon's recommendation. And get second opinions! At the colon cancer alliance site and the american cancer society site, you may be able to find out if you can get into a clinical trial.

Stay in touch here as you go!


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