Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

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kmv
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:56 pm

Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby kmv » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:20 pm

Hello everyone,

I was diagnosed with rectal cancer last week, six weeks after the birth of my third child. I had symptoms of blood and narrow stool off and on for two or three years, but didn't believe it could be cancer. During my pregnancy the symptoms got worse, and after I delivered I had terrible constipation and bleeding. My family was supposed to go back to our overseas assignment (we came back to the US for the baby's birth), so I knew I needed to get checked out. The GI said it is probably nothing, but let's do a colonoscopy just in case. Well, it wasn't nothing. He found a large tumor low in the rectum close to the anal verge. I am devastated - this diagnosis changes everything, not just for my health but for my life. I feel like I am losing everything at once - my career that I worked so hard to build, my happy marriage, my ability to be a mother to my children. I have a wonderful family and friends, but feel completely alone. I will know more about what I am facing until I have an MRI and PET scan next week, but I am very worried because of how long I have had symptoms. Reading your posts has already helped me a great deal, especially posts from fellow mothers. It is too painful to imagine not being here for my children.
39 yo mother of 3
7/29/13 dx rc six wk postpartum, met to liver
10/9/13 finished 2 cycles FOLFOX
12/2/13 finished chemorad
1/3/14 liver resect
2/28/14 APR
7/16/14 finished 4 cycles FOLFOX
7/28/14 CT scan NED
10/27/14 CT scan 3 lung lesions
2/15 finished 4 cycles FOLFIRI
4/15 VATS on right lung
four mets in left lung, 2nd VATS on 5/21/15

Jachut
Posts: 1137
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:16 pm
Facebook Username: hutchinson@aanet.com.au

Re: Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby Jachut » Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:11 am

Im so sorry youre facing this. It really is painful when your fear is more for a young family than for yourself.

I had a low rectal tumour too, and it was large when discovered. I had obvious symtoms for a few months but in hindsight had had sporadic episodes of being very symptomatic for over five years - because it always hppened at the start of my period it was put down to endometriosis.

I felt that same terror - but i was still at stage 2 with no lymphnode involvement. What you are going through now is one of the hardest parts. Once youre scanned, scoped and have treatment organised, you can move forward somewhat. Hang in there.

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RayGirl
Posts: 1281
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:21 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby RayGirl » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:59 am

The best advice right now is- Breathe in, breathe out, and repeat.

Yes It's very, very devastating, but while you wait for all the test try not to dwell on the worst. I had symptoms for years, the symptoms became severe for six months before I insisted everything was not just stress and/or hemroids.

My youngest was 2 at the time of diagnosis, trying to act normal for her in the early days helped me keep it together. I only allowed myself to breakdown in the shower. I'm sure my kids thought mom was really dirty because I was taking extra showers.

Some people work full time through out treatment, except for recovery time for surgery. I worked a reduced schedule during most of my treatment.
Stage III Rectal: T3, 3/21 Nodes
dxn:Feb-10
Radiation&Xeloda
7.5 hr surgery
12th FOLFOX Nov-10
Takedown:Jan-11

"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the rain."

tammylayne
Posts: 2177
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:24 am

Re: Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby tammylayne » Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:30 am

Yes...this is the hardest part...HUAW I always called it...Hurry Up And Wait. For me, it was tough because I had no control. I didn't know totally what I was up against, didn't have a treatement plan, didn't know the outcome. Once the first 2 were covered, the last one didn't seem as scarey. As much as I hated chemo, radiation and most of all surgery, I knew that these measures were saving my life, and that is all that mattered. Oh yeah,,,,and Ativan helped keep me sane when I had really bad moments. For me...after HUAW, once treatment STOPPED was the next hardest phase - mentally. All of a sudden your safety net is yanked away...another mind adjustment needed. :?

Concentrate on that baby, every moment, every breath, every change. That baby is your proof that miracles happen. Try to keep that balance in your life, and you will probably find this journey a little easier to take. It isn't easy, but it is doable, and the reward can be a long life. Motherhood isn't easy, but VERY doable, and I don't need to tell you what the reward is. Try not to worry beyond the NOW...it serves no purpose, it doesn't change the outcome of the story, it just makes it so you miss important parts of the show :wink:

Come here often when you need to vent, need support, or just to feel like you amongst friends who get it, because we do.

Sending you and baby many gentle hugs...
51 F
'06 Stage 1 CC,
'10 Stage 3 Rectal

"You never know how strong you are until you have to become your own hero."

kmv
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:56 pm

Re: Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby kmv » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:48 am

Thank you so much for the encouragement! I will post again when I have more news.
39 yo mother of 3
7/29/13 dx rc six wk postpartum, met to liver
10/9/13 finished 2 cycles FOLFOX
12/2/13 finished chemorad
1/3/14 liver resect
2/28/14 APR
7/16/14 finished 4 cycles FOLFOX
7/28/14 CT scan NED
10/27/14 CT scan 3 lung lesions
2/15 finished 4 cycles FOLFIRI
4/15 VATS on right lung
four mets in left lung, 2nd VATS on 5/21/15

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Phuong
Posts: 1500
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:43 pm
Facebook Username: Phuong Ly Gallagher

Re: Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby Phuong » Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:46 pm

I know it's a scary time, but I promise that you are much tougher than you know. You'll be surprised with how much you can and will be there for your kids. For now, give them lots of love and let them be your distraction until you have answers to your many questions. You are not alone. You have an entire forum of people who will go through this with you and believe me - it's an amazing group of people. I'm sorry that this is the way that you have had to find us, but we welcome you with open arms and gentle hugs.
Phuong
http://sonofamotherlessgoat.net/
dx'd Stage III Rectal (T3 N1 M0)
Now Stage IV mCRC

lauragb
Posts: 899
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:25 pm

Re: Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby lauragb » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:47 am

I am so sorry to read of your diagnosis with your new baby and what should be only a time of celebration. I just wanted to add more encouragement. I had a large tumor and had symptoms a long time before finally being diagnosed and did not have distant metastasis. Your tumor could be contained to the rectum even though it is large. Getting the tests behind you and definitive answers with a treatment plan will help your state of mind. The treatments and surgeries are not fun but you will get through them. Make sure to accept any help offered that you need, people do want to help and you will not be a burden. It makes others feel better to be useful so think of yourself as doing a favor when you accept help. That is something I have learned.

I am thinking of you, sending hugs and light your way.
Laura
RC 3B 7/2011 @ 53
Chemoradiation 5 weeks 8/11
LAR-Hysterect-temp ileo
pCR, 0/23 nodes
Folfox 1/12, Xeloda 2/12 to 5/12
Reversal 5/12
SBO,lysis of adhesions 12/12
NED 11/12, 11/13, 6/16

surveyor
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:13 pm
Facebook Username: rick.moylan

Re: Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby surveyor » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:21 pm

hello, I too had symptoms for at least 3 years. I finally decided to fess up and told the FNP and of course the 1st question was... who do you want to do the colonoscopy? then several months later a month of xeloda tablet and radiation to shrink the 4cm tumor, then one month rest, then November 2012 surgery, then about 4 weeks after surgery I had chemo every other week for 4 months, then my 1st scan in july 2013 and all looked good. anther scan in 6 months. sometimes in life some of us just put off things that need to be done. I put it off because I thought it was either stomach problem (stress) or hemorohids (spelling) or whatever. anyway my diag was stage 3a. I believe about 16 lymph nodes were removed and 2 were positive and the rest were ok. I hope all goes well with you. just don't try to beat yourself up for waiting. things happen in life, a lot of times for no reason.

sadysue
Posts: 986
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:59 pm
Location: Charleston, TN

Re: Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby sadysue » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:27 pm

I am so sorry to hear of your diagnosis but please have faith in yourself - you are much stronger than you think. I had symptoms - blood in stool initially and then thin stools started 12-18 months later. I was not concerned about the blood, assuming it was hemorrhoids (sp?) When I started seeing thinning stools, I went to see my GI doctor, who found a large (about 4 inch) tumor in my rectum. I had no clue I had cancer. So, after chemo and radiation, I had my entire rectum removed and a temp ileostomy installed. Then two months later, started post chemo for six months. After seven months of healing post survery, my ileostomy was reversed. I am happy to say that today I feel really good and my life is moving forward and pretty normal. My NEW normal took some getting used to but everything works well :-) and I can do anything I want to do and not worry. Good luck to you and take good care of yourself. Let people help you with your family and save your strength to get your body well again. Peace.
Rectal dx 4/2011 (Stage 3B - T3N1M0)
5FU/Rad - daily/6 wks ending 6/2011
Surgery 8/19/2011
Finished 8 rounds Folfox 2/2012
Ileo reverse and port out 3/2012
NED

rosa01
Posts: 564
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 1:24 pm
Location: California

Re: Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby rosa01 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:36 pm

Just wanted to say I am sorry you had to go through this. I am the care giver for my DH and have seen good times and bad. Our adventure started before Christmas in 2011. Its been two surgery and one coming up in a few months. It's been hard but we keep fighting on. My DH has a very positive attitude which helps a lot. We both were in so much shock from him being diagnosed Stage 4. All of our children are grown up but we have six wonderful grandchildren that has to deal with all of this. I have to say that yoga helps alot because it helps through all the doctor and test appointment. Ask alot of question and keep on asking. I am one of those people who needs to understand what is going on. It sure makes it easier. But some people only want to hear the least amount just to get through with cancer thing. So if you want to know everything let your oncologist and any other doctor to just put everything on the table for both you and your husband will understand. We sometimes ask them to repeat it until we both understand it. Just some thoughts. Welcome to the group no one really wants to join.

Sheila
DX 12/11 DH Stg 4 cc age 60
12/20/1 1 lungs mets
2/1/12 started chemo oxe/ava/5-fu
3/12 liver mete fnd
5/12 new chemo irt/Eberix
8/12 lung surg
10/12 irt/Eberix
11/22- 02/2013 NED
02/13 nw right lung met
06/13 2 New liver lesion
06/13 chemo ?

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kellywin
Posts: 492
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:46 pm
Location: Northern CA

Re: Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby kellywin » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:13 pm

I really don't have a lot to add here, everyone pretty much summed it up, but wanted to wish you luck and support. Tammylane nailed it (at least for me), the hurry up and wait. It's the worst. Once you get your scans and meet with your doctors and get YOUR treatment plan, you will feel better. I really think you are at the hardest part in this train wreck, and that doesn't include having a newborn. As others mentioned, looking back I mistook symptoms as hemmoriods, hormones, eating too much or not the right foods, etc. But know that you aren't loosing everything, you can still be a great mother and have a career. With the exception of taking off about 2 months for the surgery (I probably could have come back sooner, but just needed time), I have worked pretty much full time. I never took time off during radiation (it wasn't that bad for me). Chemo has been up & down, some weeks I've only needed a couple of days off, my last one I took 5 days off. The worst part was really looking at my boss, the CEO of the bank, and telling him I had rectal cancer. Really?? Using the word, "Rectal" at work is just too horrifying for words! But you know, after all this, it's not that big of a deal to say anymore.

My daughter was 7 when I was diagnosed just last November, so she's seen this all from the beginning and she's seen be at my worst, crying a lot because you just feel like "how can this be happening to me". You didn't mention the ages of your other children, if they are close in age to my daughter, what worked for me was telling her slowly as each thing was happening. I never said the "cancer" word to her until I was well into my treatment. There's just too much of a stigma to the word and I didn't want her to freak out. At the beginning, we took it slow, just that I needed tests, and progressed it into, I needed radiation treatment to shrink something that was growing (a tumor), then to the surgery to remove it, and finally to the chemo. She took it well and when it finally got to using the "c" word to her in about the middle of the process, she was like, "what do you mean you have cancer, you have all your hair" :lol: . Had to explain that it's not the cancer that makes you loose your hair, but the medicine. And in my case, I most likely wouldn't loose my hair.

Know that you are (unfortunately) not alone. This board is great to share experiences, but it can also be frightening, especially in the beginning as there are lots of different approaches to treatment. So don't get too stuck on anything until you have your plan from your doctors. This whole process does take awhile and I've had time for it to "soak in". There are ups and downs, it's definitely a roller coaster.

Take care,

Kelly
Kelly, mom 14 yo girl
Dx 11/15/12 Rectal Cancer @ age 40
Stage IIIC
5.5 weeks Xeloda & Radiation - complete 2/5/13
Colectomy 3/12/13, 7 of 14 nodes positive - no ileo
4/24/13-8/20/13 - 5 rounds Xelox, 1 Xeloda only

ab123
Posts: 120
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 12:25 pm
Location: Boston

Re: Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby ab123 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:58 pm

Just adding one more voice of encouragement. I had bleeding for several years and finally got it checked out. I'm almost 1 year since diagnosis of RC. Seems like I'm all better. Hopefully you will be too.
Aug 2012: RC DX Stage IIIC, T3N2M0 by MRI - 38M
Fall 2012: Chemorad
Nov 2012: LAR - Path report: 0/13 LNs, tumor reduced to "microscopic foci"
Jan-Apr 2013: 8 rounds FOLFOX
May 2013: Ileostomy takedown, port removal
July 2013 (and since): NED!

cde123
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:37 pm

Re: Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby cde123 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:06 pm

Just remember you are not alone and the Colon Club will be here for support 24/7. It's a Godsend for us all
Last edited by cde123 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RayGirl
Posts: 1281
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:21 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby RayGirl » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:14 pm

Cde123-
First if your sister has not had the ct yet the GI can not know her stage, the staging that they mentioned is more likely the tumor staging, T3.

2nd if the tumor is in the rectum then your sister should see a board certified colorectal surgeon. The rectum is in a very tight spot, you want a doctor who does this specific surgery a lot and will know how to give her the best chance for "normal" bowel functions after treatment.

3rd- typically for rumors In the rectum, prior to surgery, patients do a series of radiation & chemo treatments. So yes she should seek a oncogist. However,your GI may be waiting for the CT results. If my scan had came back as stage 4, I would have headed straight to MD Anderson (I live ~1 hour from) when test indicated stage 2, everyone was comfortable letting me have treatment right by my house.
Stage III Rectal: T3, 3/21 Nodes
dxn:Feb-10
Radiation&Xeloda
7.5 hr surgery
12th FOLFOX Nov-10
Takedown:Jan-11

"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the rain."

Peabody5422
Posts: 334
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:21 am
Facebook Username: debbie.whitaker

Re: Newly diagnosed with rectal cancer

Postby Peabody5422 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:41 pm

Been where you are and the months before all the treatment starts is the worse. It is the unknown and the big "C" word. Just take a deep breath. I 1st was told Stage 1 no problem just chemo to whoops Stage III chemo and rad. It's will be 2 yrs in Nov. and so far after surgery, chemo and rad, I am cancer free so far. So don't panic. Just get as much info as you can and keep readying and asking questions on this forum. It was the best help I found. I still read and leave messages to give hope because at the 1st I felt so lost.

Good luck and prayers.

Peabody
T1n1cMX; CRC 11.22.11
Surgery 12.25.11
Xeloda and Rad: 1 -4/12
Clean scan 4/12
Clear colonoscopy 3/13
DX: RC 11/11 T1 N1c MX
Surgery: LAR 12/23/11
Rad & Xeloda: 1/12 - 4/12
Clean CT: 4/12
Reoccur: Lymp 4/14 4 new locations. 2 Aortic, 2 locations Rectum
Chemo to start: 6/14, OXI, Advastin, 5FU
10/14: One tumor left - on Avastin only
Surgeries: 4/15, 7/15 and 8/15 :last tumor w/Illeostomy then Ostomy
NED by 7/15 Surgery


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