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Old 02-27-2006, 06:46 AM   #1
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Cool Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

No doubt most of my questions will be answered elsewhere on these boards but I'd appreciate any advice.
I went to my doctor in December - saw a surgeon early January who diagnosed a bowel tumour after a biopsy with a sigmoidoscope - and had me admitted to hospital for surgery last week 20th Feb. On the 21st had a CT scan prior to surgery and he then annoounced that he wanted to hold fire on the surgery till he consulted his colleagues. ( I'd had picolax by then so had a thorough clean out for free!!) He had spotted five black marks on the liver and when challenged to the prognosis he said that it was terminal.

He went on to say that with modern chemo drugs it was possible that my lifespan consistent with reasonable health could be extended for some time but that he would consult with his oncologist colleagues and let me know on Friday 24th.

Friday came and he announced that they had decided that my best option was still to go for the surgery in two to three weeks time followed by chemotherapy about a month after that. I asked to speak with the oncologist and an appointment is to be arranged shortly, I hope.

OK I accept that statistically this may be terminal over a period of time, but I I hope I'm an individual not a statistic and I aim to make the period of time as long as possible. Also I am in reasonably good health with a supportive wife who is a nurse. As a family we have already come through our two daughters surviving cancer (leukaemia [ALL] and Hodgkins) and if they can conquer it, I'm going to have a bloody good go as well.

Being an Internet fanatic, obviously I am reading as much as I can on the subject including alternative therapies etc but have a few questions which someone might like to comment on.

Firstly, I have read that surgery now might enhance the secondaries and chemo first might be more appropriate.
Chemo frightens me in terms of pouring all the poison into the body. OK it might kill of the weaker cancer cells but also the immune system. Any recommendations for supplements etc to combat the effects of chemo?
Have read about Haelan 951 - anyone have any experience?

Any other comments - most welcome.

Thank you if you read this far and a bigger thank you if you can be bothered to reply.

 
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Old 02-27-2006, 08:18 AM   #2
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Re: Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

Hi, sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis. However, I love your attitude! You are so right...you are not a statistic and there are several options available. Don't forget, we are all terminal in some way or other as the only certainty of life is death....at some point! I cannot comment on Haelan 951....I live in a small country where our options are very limited. However, I agree the thought of chemo medications weaving their way through your body is scary but try to visualize them killing a bad cells, and even though they may weaken the good cells, time will repair those good ones. When my husband was getting chemo, we were advised not to take any antioxidant supplements as they can be counterproductive to the effects of the chemo's efficacy. Mind you, there appear to be different views on this. What my husband did was to maintain a good diet even when food tasted awful and he did not feel like eating, he still made sure he ate. Even though he lost quite alot of weight...due more to the effects of surgery and complicatons than the actual chemo, he was still able to maintain a certain level of energy and general good health (apart from the wretched rectal cancer, that is!). I don't know either about surgery enhancing the secondaries, but hopefully others will respond to that. My husband had surgery first as there was concern that he might have a blockage if the tumour was left any longer than necessary. His cancer had spread to the lymph nodes but not to any other organ.

Your family has been through alot...but you have made it! Do keep us updated in decisions you make and how you are doing.

Take care,
__________________
Husband dx July 2003, advanced rectal cancer stage 111C; myself dx July 2006 indolent lymphoma; husband dx February 2010, stage 2 prostate cancer.

 
Old 03-01-2006, 12:05 PM   #3
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Cool Re: Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

Many thanks for your response, Alison - and thanks for your encouragement and outlining your husband's option of surgery first, which is the path I am to take also for the same reasons. I took the liberty to read up on your other posts - your husband and you have been through the mill with all these obstacles and having to travel to the UK etc whereas I'm so lucky living in Scotland to have all these things on my doorstep. ( By the way - I am impressed with the web-design!!)

Saw my oncologist this afternoon - like a breath of fresh air compared to my surgeon who calls a spade a spade and gave me "months". He obviously covers his back painting the worst scenario and anything beyond that is a bonus. Spent two hours chatting with this doctor and looking at at CT scans (enlightening stuff)! I was amazed he had that amount of time for me but he assured me that he'd get me through 2006 and would be helluva disappointed if we didn't make it through 2007 as well - adding that beyond that he wasn't equipped with a crystal ball. I suggested that possibly I had a commmunication problem with the surgeon and he agreed that I wouldn't be the first to say this but 'on the other hand if he ever needed his guts sorted out he would beat a path to this surgeon's door'!

So there it is - surgery in a couple of weeks or so - I have to await a summons and chemo four to five weeks later.

May I wish your husband and yourself continued good health and thanks for stalwart contributions to this board. Whilst I indulge in white snow here, I'm just jealous of you basking in sunshine there.

 
Old 03-01-2006, 02:11 PM   #4
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Re: Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

I am so glad the oncologist was more encouraging. Yes, I do think they try to cover their backs, but there are other ways to say they cannot guarantee survival....no-one can anyway, and we all know that. But to tell someone they are terminal is so presumptuous! I hope the next couple of weeks pass quickly so you can get the surgery over and done with and be ready to start chemo soon after that. In the mean while, build yourself up with a good diet and try not to worry too much (I know that is easier said than done!)

We were lucky here in that my husband had surgery just three days after diagnosis so we really did not have much time to think about what was happening...it all seemed totally surreal anyway. One of my greatest dilemmas was knowing what to say to my children in the UK as we were supposed to travel there to be around for the birth of our first grand child. In the end I lied to them about the reasons for our delaying the trip, until the surgery was over and our grand daughter's birth two days later. Only then did I feel more comfortable telling them the truth.

Do keep us posted. I am sure the snow is very pretty but give me the sunshine every time!!

Take care,
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Husband dx July 2003, advanced rectal cancer stage 111C; myself dx July 2006 indolent lymphoma; husband dx February 2010, stage 2 prostate cancer.

 
Old 03-01-2006, 02:47 PM   #5
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Re: Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

Hi I just wanted to chip in and wish you all the best for your surgery. Hope all goes well.

Take Care
Lalee

 
Old 03-01-2006, 06:18 PM   #6
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Re: Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

I just wanted to put my two cents in too. I must say you have an awesome attitude, don't let anyone put you down or deam you "terminal", that's a place for airplanes. Doctors PRACTICE medicine, they're not God, pardon me if I stample on your religious beliefs, etc., however, you seem to have the fighter attitude.

I am glad you saw another oncologist. My father is seeing an oncologist similar to the one you were seeing and I've had one consult with him, my self-referred surgeon, a specialist in colon rectal surgeries was more than a breath of fresh air when I met him, as opposed to this oncologist.

Good luck on your upcoming surgery and post operative chemo, we'll be routing for you!

Christy in MD

 
Old 03-02-2006, 06:22 PM   #7
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Re: Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

Ditto (To what Lallee) says !

Maz

 
Old 03-03-2006, 07:12 AM   #8
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Cool Re: Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

Pheww!!

Hey guys (girls) thanks so much for all your posts and encouragement. I'm a lucky sod. I've spent some time looking through all your posts on this board and am stunned at what some of you have been through and still find the time to support others. I take my hat off to you.

I've been a lucky sod all my life so I've nothing to complain about and whilst we are talking about cancer here, I feel (certainly in the UK) that there is so much support available and so much charity money raised for cancer. I'm not saying I'm lucky to have cancer, but feel so much more for poor souls with say Motor Neurone Disease or even Parkinsons. I guess this is because so many families are touched one way or another with cancer whereas these other terminal illnesses don't receive the same publicity.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted on developments but just wanted to say thankyou along the way.

 
Old 03-16-2006, 09:20 AM   #9
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Cool Re: Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

Tomorrow (Friday) is now prep day for surgery on Monday to get shot of the colon tumour. I've followed this board with avid interest - thanks to all who contribute - and will hopefully contribute when I can get back to the computer.

Out of interest I am going to tell the surgeon who gave me "Months" that I've had one of them and still don't feel any worse than I did a month ago. I've never been a helluva religeous guy - but if that's a response from praying then I can't knock it.

 
Old 03-16-2006, 10:07 AM   #10
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Re: Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

All the best for Monday and the following days of recovery. Keep us posted when you can.
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Old 03-16-2006, 12:33 PM   #11
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Cool Re: Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

Thanks Alison - not only are you a 'veteran' on this board but also a real brick. I haven't got your temperatures yet which I envy, but at least the snow has gone.............one day the Bahamas!!!

 
Old 03-16-2006, 04:37 PM   #12
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Re: Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers , larbo's wife

 
Old 04-20-2006, 04:58 AM   #13
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Cool Re: Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

Firstly my thanks to all who supported me on this board with all the good wishes and secondly my profuse apologies for not having got back to you all before now.

Surgery took place and was all OK. Officially I had an 'Anterior Resection' which basically removes part of the colon near to the rectum and the remaining colon is stretched out and sewn back on again. Operation with sedation etc took about five hours. The operation was performed not by the 'consultant' but by his assistant 'registrar' thankfully who was a helluva sight more caring, I'd say. Beautiful scar now from breastbone to scrotum which healed up perfectly. (I offered to buy him a steel ruler for the next time so that he might get it in a straight line). Absolutely no pain whatsoever afterwards thanks to an 'Epidural' in my back for two days which blocked of the lower part of my body. After that two days was up and walking and aware of others in the ward who were much worse off than I was. I was equipped with PCA ( patient controlled analgesia ) which basically allows you to squirt Morphine into your blood stream at the rate of 1 mg/minute up to a maximum of 12 squirts in an hour. I found that 4 an hour was enough for me because at five I would drift in and out of a funny sleep with attendant funny dreams. If that's what morphine and heroin do for you, I'm glad I missed out - and I'll stick to Whisky.

Anyway got home after 6 days as I was too fit and they needed the beds. Truth is that as soon as you confirm that wind is passing then your off as there is nothing more they can do for you. And that's where the trouble starts. After the catheter, I suppose, I got a urinary track infection but it took my (nurse) wife to pick this up although I'd been having a high temp every second day since my op. Antibiotics from my doctor fixed that but it pulls you down and also having no one else to think of and worry about but myself also pulls you down. It took me a day or so to appreciate and realise this and pull up my socks.

So that's my poor attempt at an apology for not updating this sooner, but here I am now four weeks since the operation and getting stronger each day. I'm now awaiting the call back for a post op consultation and the subsequent chemo but Easter has been and gone so that will have delayed things a little.

If anyone has any questions about my type of surgery and the feelings that go along with it then I'd be happy to answer them but if I start here, I run the risk of boring you all.

 
Old 04-20-2006, 05:18 AM   #14
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Re: Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

I am so glad to hear from you that everything went well and that apart from the uti, you are healing well. This is the time to rest, heal and eat a good balanced diet so that you are in top form for the next stage of treatment....chemotherapy! I am sure that with your positive attitude and supportive wife, you will do fine. Do keep us posted....don't worry, you will not be boring us at all!
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Husband dx July 2003, advanced rectal cancer stage 111C; myself dx July 2006 indolent lymphoma; husband dx February 2010, stage 2 prostate cancer.

 
Old 04-20-2006, 12:12 PM   #15
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Re: Newly diagnosed Bowel and Liver

dss... Glad your surgery went well. Keep up the positive attitude now for the chemo and you can poke your tonuge out at the doc taht said "months"
(hugs)
Maz

 
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