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Old 03-19-2010, 09:11 AM   #1
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marchhare HB User
Question New colon cancer patient

Hi. I have just been diagnosed with colon cancer. So far the initial blood test shows that my liver, kidney, etc., are all in perfect working order, but I do have a mass in my colon. The cancer "marker" in the blood test does confirm cancer, and my doctor has just told me it shows up as "low grade", but that that initial diagnosis was what the biopsies showed from the outside of the mass, so it could not be confirmed until I have had my barium test next week. However, he said the odds are that it might be stage I or II. Anybody out there with suggestions, help, what to expect? And especially now that I know I will need surgery, what is the average recovery time from the surgery? Thanks. Kind of scared, but also interested and okay with it. Especially since it looks like I will have time to get my affairs in order and make sure my husband is okay.

Marchhare

 
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:45 PM   #2
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idunno HB User
Re: New colon cancer patient

Hi Marchhare.
I had around 14 inches of my colon removed for a st 111c tumour into 6/13 lymph nodes. I had the large incision because they wanted to check everywhere. I was in hospital for ten days and needed another three weeks to recover to a stage where i was self mobile(driving ect). I needed chemo and had 48 weekly sessions. It took around three mos for the chemo side effects to go after I finnished. I worked the whole time except the first month and a half. Have been cancer free for over twelve years now. Best of luck for a speedy recovery,Ron.

 
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Old 03-20-2010, 05:44 AM   #3
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Smile Re: New colon cancer patient

Hi Ron, and thanks so much for taking the time to respond. Hearing from others who have been in the same situation really helps, especially to somebody like me who is brand new to this, and I know I am going to have so many questions. As I mentioned, I don't know the size of my tumor yet, nor the stage that will be assigned. I guess I get that next week.

The doctor who did my colonoscopy said I would need the incision also, and seemed to be worried to tell my husband that I would have a scar. Good grief! Who cares about a scar? First of all, I am 65 years old and won't be wearing a bikini any time soon again and who wouldn't gladly welcome a scar as a trade-off for banishing cancer!

My tumor is in the ileocecal valve and I thought that was the mechanism that directed the feces into the colon. So if that is where my tumor is and they remove the valve and then reattach my intestines further up, I am wondering how I will regain normal functioning after the bag has been removed. (My doctor told me I would most likely wear one temporarily for 3-6 months depending on the rate of recovery.)

In any case, it sounds as if you had a fairly rough time of it with recovery, chemo, etc.. On the other hand it sounds as if it was well worth it. 12 years! Congratulations! I am so happy for you and would be pleased if I thought I had that much time.

Thanks again, Ron. until it happens to you, you don't realize how comforting it is to hear from others.

Marchhare

 
Old 04-05-2010, 01:16 AM   #4
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Re: New colon cancer patient

Hi Marchhare,
I was in a very similar situation to you with lots of questions. That was 3 years ago.

I had a colon resection done laproscopically. That does leave a smaller scar and my doctor said the recovery time was not significantly different. He also said that he would not know for sure if it would be done laproscopically until he was in there. If he needed to, he would do a full cut. He didn't think there was a lot of difference other than the scar size and the Lap surgery does take a lot longer time which is a disadvantage of the procedure.

I was in the hospital for a week. I was walking about 6 hours after the surgery. The sooner you can walk the better you will feel and the faster you will recover. Some people say chewing gum helps to get the system working again. I had very little pain and really boredom in the hospital was the biggest issue. Take some good books. I felt ready to come home after about 3 days, but the doctor kept me for a week.

Within a week I was walking the dog in the neighborhood and driving to the store. Basically I took it easy for a week. I was back at work after two weeks.

The important issue is if you have any spread to the lymph nodes and it is better if the take out and test a lot of them. The more the better. They took out 27 in my case and they were all clear. I had stage 2 tumor and it was classified as low grade. They said it was up to me if I wanted to take oral chemo, capecitabine (Xeloda) and I did. They recommended it to be on the safe side, but said it was not necessarily required. It is debatable if stage 2 benefits from chemo therapy. The oral pills are much easier to deal with. It was a 6 month course and the side effects were minimal.

That was 3 years ago and I have been fine and hope it stays that way. I hope it is for you as well. It is a very stressful thing to go through, but not to be feared as much as you might think at first. My life is back to normal completely and I am more careful with my health and diet which is a good thing. I wish you the best and will be hoping for things to go well for you.

 
Old 04-26-2010, 01:09 PM   #5
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Re: New colon cancer patient

I had a colon resection in November of last year. I had Stage 1 Sigmoid Colon Cancer. I had a laproscopic resection and was in the hospital for 5 days. They removed 8 inches of my sigmoid colon and 2 inches of my rectum. Recovery was good...a bit slow....within 3 months I was able to fly to Scotland. I'm retired but I believe if I had worked, I could've gone back at about a month. You have to heal from the surgery...and hopefully you will only have Stage 1 and will require no further treatment other than the blood tests and routine colonoscopies. Don't expect to eat in the hospital..I was kept on fluids until Day 4...then soft foods and worked my way up to regular food. You'll soon find out what agrees with your new colon surgery. Be patient and do what the doctor tells you....easier said than done. Good luck to you!

 
Old 04-27-2010, 04:53 AM   #6
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Re: New colon cancer patient

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwb123 View Post
Hi Marchhare,
I was in a very similar situation to you with lots of questions. That was 3 years ago.

I had a colon resection done laproscopically. That does leave a smaller scar and my doctor said the recovery time was not significantly different. He also said that he would not know for sure if it would be done laproscopically until he was in there. If he needed to, he would do a full cut. He didn't think there was a lot of difference other than the scar size and the Lap surgery does take a lot longer time which is a disadvantage of the procedure.

I was in the hospital for a week. I was walking about 6 hours after the surgery. The sooner you can walk the better you will feel and the faster you will recover. Some people say chewing gum helps to get the system working again. I had very little pain and really boredom in the hospital was the biggest issue. Take some good books. I felt ready to come home after about 3 days, but the doctor kept me for a week.

Within a week I was walking the dog in the neighborhood and driving to the store. Basically I took it easy for a week. I was back at work after two weeks.

The important issue is if you have any spread to the lymph nodes and it is better if the take out and test a lot of them. The more the better. They took out 27 in my case and they were all clear. I had stage 2 tumor and it was classified as low grade. They said it was up to me if I wanted to take oral chemo, capecitabine (Xeloda) and I did. They recommended it to be on the safe side, but said it was not necessarily required. It is debatable if stage 2 benefits from chemo therapy. The oral pills are much easier to deal with. It was a 6 month course and the side effects were minimal.

That was 3 years ago and I have been fine and hope it stays that way. I hope it is for you as well. It is a very stressful thing to go through, but not to be feared as much as you might think at first. My life is back to normal completely and I am more careful with my health and diet which is a good thing. I wish you the best and will be hoping for things to go well for you.

 
Old 04-27-2010, 04:57 AM   #7
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Re: New colon cancer patient

Thanks, GWB123. I had my surgery 3 weeks ago and think I had a situation similar to yours. Right hemicolectomy, they took out 23 nodes and all were clear. I am up and around almost back to normal. They classified me as Stage I, T2, M0, N0, so of course it could have been way worse. I go to see the oncologist today to find out whether they are recommending chemo or not. I was suspecting that they were going to give me alternatives and leave it up to me, but if they do say chemo might help, I probably will take it because any better survival rate is good.

Frankly, I feel pretty cured! I do have a little constipation, but from what i have read most people have the opposite problem, sometimes quite significantly. I would much rather have the constipation if I had to have anything since that is much easier to control.

Anyway, thanks again so much for responding. it is always comforting to hear from others with the same situation.

marchhare.

 
Old 04-27-2010, 05:01 AM   #8
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Re: New colon cancer patient

Thanks for responding, patter3. I've actually already had my surgery now - 3 weeks ago and am up and about pretty much back to normal. Big scar though, they couldn' do lap on me. Still, beats the alternative. I had 23 nodes removed and thank God all were clear. I go in today to find out whether they are recommending chemo but I am suspecting they are going to leave it up to me since the cancer was classified as Stage I, T2, MO, NO. Think I may have dodged a bullet here. Everything is back to normal except for a little constipation, but I would rather have that than the opposite which seems to plague most people.

Anyway, thanks again. I really appreciate your response.

 
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