Very scared due to symptoms

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Very scared due to symptoms

Postby storkbat » Fri Nov 19, 2021 5:42 am

Hi all
I came upon this board as I have been desperately seeking info/answers/help online. Thank goodness I see a good gastro PA on Monday.
On the night of 10/31/21 I started to have serious pains/cramps in my upper abdomen. I thought it was bc I had not eaten, was out with family. Since then I have had bloating, cramping, pain intermittently with more gas, burping and some nausea. This is not normal for me. I have a history of IBS many years ago and my digestive system has probably never been what most consider normal. I have many bowel movements per day, but usually one or two very large ones. I have been eating pretty normally and recently and this is what scares me the most, my bowel movements are much smaller and narrower. I seem to go a little bit at a time. Don't always have a feeling of incomplete evacuation, but I know this is not normal for me...the stool doesn't appear dark/bloody that I can see. I am still able to exercise, etc... Today the cramping/pain is much less/gone, but my stool is still narrow and another symptom I forgot to mention is worse and that is it feeling like my food won't go down my esophagus if it is slow or stuck. I have not had any vomiting or acid indigestion. For a time it hurt to push down to urinate or defecate but that has improved some. I am a 54 yo female. I eat low fat, well balanced
plant based diet and have done so for over a decade and was vegetarian for 2 decades before that. I have not yet had a colonoscopy, but feel sure I will have one very soon.
I feel like all of this lines up perfectly with cancer and I am scared. If anyone has any words of advice, support or information, that would be very helpful at this time.
Thank you in advance

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Re: Very scared due to symptoms

Postby ginabeewell » Fri Nov 19, 2021 2:51 pm

My advice is to schedule a colonoscopy.

There are plenty of things it could be besides cancer; nobody here can diagnose you; and you may want to consider seeking support about something that is maybe happening to you vs ask those actively dealing with disease to put your mind at rest.
45 YO mom of twins (9) and lucky stepmom of 14/17 year olds
9/17/18 DX stage 4 CRC w inoperable liver mets CEA 931
10/18 FOLFOX + Vectibix
12/18 typhlitis (7 days in hospital) but largest met down to 5 cm.
12/18 CEA 4.6
1/18 Resume chemo (#6-8)
3/19 HAI pump placement / colon resection
4/19 Resume chemo (#9-19) FOLFOX (no OX) + Vectibix
5/19 CEA 1.3
7/19 liver resection
10/19 liver resection
1/20 NED! CEA 0.6
3/20 two new liver mets; FOLFIRI (5) and then add Vectibix (5)
8/20 CEA 0.7
Resection next?

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Re: Very scared due to symptoms

Postby JJH » Fri Nov 19, 2021 2:55 pm

storkbat wrote:... I have not yet had a colonoscopy, but feel sure I will have one very soon.

I feel like all of this lines up perfectly with cancer and I am scared. If anyone has any words of advice, support or information, that would be very helpful at this time.

Thank you in advance

Welcome to the forum. I'm sorry to hear of your recent bowel problems, but it looks like you will start getting some answers soon on Monday, and then later on when you have lined up a colonoscopy.

The advice I have would be the following.

1~~ Start now by eating smaller meals and focus on low residue diets. This is because you will eventually need to have a bowel cleansing procedure before a colonoscopy, and the procedure will be much easier to handle if you don't have a lot of bulky, undigested foods inside to eliminate. When you are given the prescription for the colon-cleansing product, be sure that you follow the instructions and that you finish the complete procedure. The colon needs to be squeaky clean when the doctor is doing the colonoscopy.

2~~ Before the colonoscopy, try to control your anxiety without resorting to alcohol, anti-anxiety drugs, or mind-soothing herbal concoctions. This is because the colonoscopy procedure will probably use some sort of sedative, and if you have been on alcohol, anti-anxiety drugs, etc., then this can interact with the anaesthesia.

3~~ Whatever the situation, try to get the doctor to prescribe a set of baseline blood tests now that includes the CEA tumor marker test.

4~~ If the doctor finds anything suspicious during the colonoscopy, ask him/her in advance to take enough biopsy tissue samples to do all of the recommended tests. If a tumor is found, it needs to be tested for Microsatellite Instability (MSI) and maybe also for KRAS/NRAS/BRAF mutations.

5~~ Be sure to go to your Monday meeting with all of your medical history details accurately described. This includes the list of medications you currently take, as well as the list of any past surgeries or major illnesses you have had. Also, bring a chronological log of your recent bowel symptoms for the past few weeks.

6~~ Be sure to ask questions about anything you don't understand, and take good notes.

7~~ For the colonoscopy procedure, be sure to ask for a written report of the findings, including results of any biopsies.

8~~ If the report suggests a malignancy, then ask the doctor for a referral to a Board-Certified colorectal surgeon and to a Board-Certified Medical Oncologist.

That's all I can think of right now. Good luck on Monday !
"The darkest hour is just before the dawn" - Thomas Fuller (1650)

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Re: Very scared due to symptoms

Postby DarknessEmbraced » Sun Nov 21, 2021 11:05 am

I'm sorry you're having a hard time. *hugs* I would schedule a colonoscopy so you will know for certain.
Diagnosed 10/28/14, age 36
Colon Resection 11/20/14, LAR (no illeo)
Stage 2a colon cancer, T3NOMO
Lymph-vascular invasion undetermined
0/22 lymph nodes
No chemo, no radiation
Clear Colonoscopy 04/29/15
NED 10/20/15
Ischemic Colitis 01/21/16
NED 11/10/16
CT Scan moved up due to high CEA 08/21/17
NED 09/25/17
NED 12/21/18
Clear colonoscopy 09/23/19
Clear 5 year scans 11/21/19- Considered cured! :)

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