roadrunner wrote:I was just using a colorful term for the area in the rectum that’s in the radiation field when rectal cancer is treated. Even with current technology, healthy rectal tissue is irradiated, which causes permanent damage. In some cases, this can lead to an accelerated polyp process in that area.
prs wrote:lakeswim wrote:Oh my, I haven't been on here in at least a year but just received a rare email notification (not sure why I don't get them more often) that you posted and what a time to pop in and see this first thing. CONGRATULATIONS, PRS! This is truly AMAZING to read! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
Do you have any LT side effects or do you feel as good as new? (I know I have some - only a few years out - so wondering about how you feel - besides ecstatic right now, obv.)
I need to update my signature and update the group (and will soon) but suffice to say for now that this is wonderful news and I'm thrilled for you, PRS!
p.s. I had chemo before radiation.
Thank you @lakeswim! Yes I do feel great, and even though it's six years out I still see signs of gradual improvement in my recovery from treatment. In particular my rectum is decreasing in sensitivity and the frequency of those sudden urges to use the bathroom have all but gone. I think I can safely say my toilet habits are just about back to normal. Unfortunately this has been offset by the old man's prostrate problem of needing to take leaks much more frequently!
The only long term effect I see is the continued low blood counts from the effect of radiation. These have been pretty constant the last five years and I do not expect them to ever change. All my numbers were well into the normal range before treatment began. I get a blood test every time I do a follow up visit with my local oncologist. Here are the last week's results versus the Kaiser "normal range".
WBC 3.2 vs normal of 4.0-11.0
RBC 4.05 vs normal of 4.7-6.1
HGB 12.9 vs normal of 14.0-18.0
HCT 39.6 vs normal of 42.0-52.0
Platelets 144 vs normal 130-400
These low numbers don't really have any effect at all on my ability to lead a normal life. The only real impact I've seen is I can't exercise with the same intensity level as I once did. My heart rate gets too high and my legs get tired much sooner, presumably because my blood can't carry the same amount of oxygen as it did before treatment. Of course I'm also getting old so that isn't helping either!
I skipped the five year follow up visits because of Covid, but now that I'm six years out from CCR both my surgeon and oncologist said I would be switched to annual follow up visits from now on.
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