Page 1 of 1

Feeling a little paranoid

Posted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:23 am
by Maggie
On a normal basis, I don't usually get too freaked out too fast. But lately, for about a week and a half, I have had constant diarhea, gas, and even throwing up. It could be the flu, but it's still getting me a little worked up. I had stage one colon cancer six years with really no problems besides a normal amount of IBS (which for me, a week and a half isn't normal). I have two more years till my scheduled colonoscopy, but I do have a cat scan to kind of "close the book" on the whole cancer thing/ seeing the oncologist. Can anyone tell me what a cat scan does? I mean, I know what it does, but what can it see in relation to your colon? Apparently, when I was diagnosed, it wasn't done each year, but I guess it is now. If there is something abnormal, can it be seen real well? I just don't even want to freak and think it's cancer again (which in my heart...I don't really think it is), but as we all know, that fear doesn't really completely go away. Any words of the calming sense would be greatly appreciated!!!!

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 3:55 am
by Colonator
Hi Maggie,

I researched this pretty extensivley about a month ago and here is what I found out re: CT scans and colon cancer.

First of all, there are several ways a CT scan can be ordered, without contrast, with IV contrast and with oral contrast. IV contrast helps the vessel-rich liver show up, to look for mets. This is primarily what a post-cancer CT scan is for, so I am sure your health care provider has at least ordered your scan with IV contrast. A scan without contrast compared to the scan with IV contrast is also useful in distinguishing mets from other lesions on the liver, mainly cysts. I can't recall the specifics, but one of the two looks different with the IV contrast, and the other looks the same both with and without. The radiologist who reads the scans knows. I suspect your doc. will, at minimum, order a CT scan with IV contrast and a CT scan without contrast. Portions of the colon can show up with IV contrast, but not to the extent that it is considered diagnostic for conditions of the colon.

The oral contrast is what helps the colon show up. This *can* show some masses and tumors, esp. if they are involved with the muscle of the colon wall. Because your CT scan is primarily being used to look for mets, it may well be that your provider will not order oral contrast. Rather then pay for an extra scan with oral contrast, you might consider moving up your scope. It is the definitive diagnostic tool, and CT scans can miss smaller masses and precancerous polyps.

Also remember that this time of year, there are lots of GI bugs going around. Given your worry and your history of colon cancer, it might well be worth it to move up the scope and put your mind at ease.

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 10:34 am
by Magnolia
First off, take a deep breath. This is probably NOT a recurrance. Now call your doctor. A checkup will ease your mind. Getting your scan and/or scope will help rule out any scary stuff, cancer or not, and let you rest easy. If there should be something there to find, of course the sooner it's found the better. Even if it is the flu, a week is a long time, and you may need some help with hydration. A call to the doc is in order in any case.

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:51 am
by colonator
another thought, maggie. You said you were throwing up. While that can be associated with a cancer-related obstruction, it is MUCH more likley to be a GI bug. Vomiting is not a typical symptom of colon cancer. All signs point to the nasty GI bugs that have been going around :)

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:32 am
by Maggie
Thanks guys for the words of encouragement. I am having my cat scan this morning. I've already drank my first coctail....YUCK! I really am doubting a reoccurance, but it can make you a little frightened. When I think about it logically, it doesn't seem like a real feasible outcome. I have been cancer free for six years, I've been diligent on my colonoscopies and blood tests with nothing even remotely abnormal. It's only been about a year and a few months since the last scope. And...I had symptoms of stage I cancer for two years when I was first diagnosed. A recoccurance is slim, not completely impossible, but certainly slim. OK...I've totally talked myself into feeling better!! Well, wish my luck on my cat scan today....especially the yucky drink and the IV part (my IBS and stomach stuff may even be nerves. I hate drinking stuff that's not great and needles send me in a panic!)
Thanks again....the colon club rocks!
PS- if it continues after the scan, I promise to call my doctor and get this stuff checked out!

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:20 am
by Magnolia
Good luck, Maggie. Come back to us with good news!

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:12 pm
by Maggie
OK, so after a long colon day (thanks to the laxatives in the barium) and a blown vein from the IV, I have comforting news to announce. The doctor called (a mere 2 1/2 hours after my scan) and said everything was normal. I figured it would be, but after this whole bout of not feeling great, it's nice to hear it!
Thanks again for your support!

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:32 pm
by Magnolia