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Old 05-28-2010, 04:16 AM   #1
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Recovering from Colon Ca @ 28

Hi All,
I've been reading these boards for about a month and finally decided to introduce myself. I am 28, diagnosed with Colon Ca just one month ago when they found a 12mm flat polyp during a early colonoscopy screening. Colon Ca runs very heavily on one of my parent's side so I got screened just 10 yrs before my parent was diagnosed. 28 is too young for cancer but there it is.

Everything after that was a whirlwind, I was tested for Lynch Syndrome which was positive, I met with my GI Dr. and surgeon and we scheduled a pretty aggressive surgery. To lower the risk of colon cancer coming back we decided to remove the ascending, transverse, and descending colon. I would only have my sigmoid left (about 1 ft). Before I had agreed and accepted this I was in total shock. I was too young, this wasn't happening, why me I had no symptoms! But I quickly came to put a positive spin on all of it, we had caught it early and that was very good.

My first surgery was laparoscopic, I healed pretty quickly but I hated those awful gas bubbles that rise to your shoulders from all the gas they pump into your body to do the laparscopic. I healed unsteadily but was discharged in about a week. I spent 1 day at home before I felt like something was wrong and went back to the Dr. where he took a blood test and found out my white blood cell count was through the roof. I was re-admitted, did a CT scan and found out there was a leak... sepsis.. oh no. Back in to Emergency surgery I went that night and they did a traditional surgery, extending my incision from 2in to 5in (which is a lot for me- I'm tiny!). I awoke in the ICU that night in total pain and stayed there for 2 days before moving up to the regular surg/med floor because I was at high risk for infection from the sepsis. They put me on a bunch of antibiotics as well. I actually wanted to stay in the ICU because they take SUCH good care of you =) And it's one nurse to one patient, I didn't want my nurse to leave at the end of her shift. Recovery for the 2nd surgery was 10 days and it went a lot slower but I felt it was more thorough- of course they could have been handling me with kiddie gloves since the first surg went wrong but whatever. Having both types of surgery I actually prefer the traditional one, I felt the recovery although longer was better for some reason.

My Dr. said my diagnosis was between stages, maybe someone could help clarify? I had some cancerous cells on the polyp itself and after the surgery they tested my colon and found only a few cancerous cells on the layer below but that's it and it had not penetrated the wall and there was nothing found in the lymph nodes. Is this a Stage 1 or 2?

I am now recovering at home but it's a slow mess and I feel so down in the dumps some days. My Dr. recently took me off a monster dose of Ibuprofen because it was giving me unwanted side effects and prescribed me... TYLENOL, yes regular 'ol Tylenol to go along with my Percocet. Yes the Tylenol did NOTHING, and the Percocet is the only thing that takes the edge off. He says to stay on the Perc until I see him again next week. It's been one week since I was discharged and am wondering how long it will be until the pain subsides??? I am tiny and I'm not putting the weight back that I lost (I'm under 100lbs now). I feel weak and boy when that Percocet wears off it is not a pretty picture. I feel like someone used my guts as a punching bag. I just want to know if anyone out there can tell me when it's going to get better. Am I just impatient? What worked for you? I use a hotpad on my belly sometimes and that helps =) What can I take with my Percocet so I don't have to rely on it all the time? I'm sorry for the vent, but maybe it's good therapy because I feel a little better =)

Anyone and everyone please feel free to respond and even if you just took the time to read my long post.. thanks =)

 
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:59 PM   #2
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Re: Recovering from Colon Ca @ 28

Hi. I enjoyed reading your post. Hope things are getting better at this point. I had a cancerous tumor removed from my colon in May 2008. Stage 2 only and only lost 2 feet of my colon. Had to only take the xeloda pills (chemo) for five months after that. I had the surgery thru the stomach muscles (metal stitches in stomach). I still have pain in the lower pelvic area. I am hoping and praying that this is the only time I will go through this but have to admit that I sometimes think (not often though) of what if it comes back. Good luck and many prayers for you in the future.

 
Old 11-10-2010, 12:39 AM   #3
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Re: Recovering from Colon Ca @ 28

Thanks bgone =) It is now November 9 and I am feeling so much better than when I wrote that post almost 6 months ago.

I will have to get regular colonoscopies every 1.5 years since I am "high-risk" and I am being carefully monitored for other possible cancers connected to my condition (Lynch Syndrome). It was not recommended to get radiation or chemotherapy because I was stage 1 with no lymph nodes affected. But I do have to be careful and watch out for any other cancers that may develop. It sucks for sure- but I don't want to lie around having a pity party for myself, I still have so much living to do.

I am quitting my full-time and going back to school to become a nurse. Can you believe it? This event has been life-changing and I feel I have what it takes to become a great nurse. I know what a difference it made for me to have great nurses take care of me and I want to do that for other people. It's incredible. Someone please remind me about this passion when I am complaining about studying come Spring Semester!

Life threw such a huge curveball for me, I'm 29 and never thought cancer would be in my vocabulary but there it is. But I do feel like this was a wake-up call and I intend to take the hint and make the most of life and not be content to watch it pass by.

Thanks for reading my post!

 
Old 11-10-2010, 04:35 PM   #4
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Re: Recovering from Colon Ca @ 28

Hi future Nurse! I'm excited for your recovery. I would go every 1 year....that was a close call for you...Glad you got helped and were in Stage 1.
Wondering why they say you go 1.5 years...instead of 1?

 
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:43 PM   #5
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Smile Re: Recovering from Colon Ca @ 28

Glad to hear you were Stage I and caught it early. < edited > there are quite a few young people on there that have colon cancer, unlike you they didn't catch theirs early. Very thankful that you did. When I had my colon resection they put an elastic band around my abdomen that helped me tremendously. You can get them in the drug store for about $25 Abdomen surgical binder...works wonders.

Last edited by hb-mod; 11-12-2010 at 10:31 PM. Reason: Please don't post unapproved websites, per Posting Policy. Thanks.

 
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:07 PM   #6
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Re: Recovering from Colon Ca @ 28

I think it is awesome that you are going back to school to become a nurse. I think that is a great way to make something positive out of your situation.
I am going to have colon resection in two weeks, so I was reading your post to see how it went.
I hope you are feeling better now and I wish you the best in your nursing career.

 
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Old 11-24-2010, 01:39 AM   #7
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Re: Recovering from Colon Ca @ 28

Thanks Missy, it was a close call but they caught it early and I was lucky it was only stage 1.. I'm not sure why my specialist said 1.5 yrs instead of every 1 yr but I will ask him next I see him. Is there a reason you suggest 1 year instead of 1.5? Just curious.

I am excited and nervous about my new adventure but I feel this is a calling for me and I don't want to let this opportunity go by =)

 
Old 11-24-2010, 01:48 AM   #8
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Re: Recovering from Colon Ca @ 28

Dear Gloriah, yes I have lots to be thankful come this Thanksgiving =) There isn't a day that goes by when I don't think about how lucky I was. Thinking about it makes me strive to make the most of life and do something worthwhile with it.

Oh and yes I've heard about that abdomen band but could not for the life of me find one at a drugstore! Maybe because I live on an island? ehh. Oh well, I actually found out that the less things squeezing my abdomen the better. I actually took a couple of those hospital drawstring shorts home because they were nice and loose around the waist. I came home and realized I didn't want to wear any of my shorts or pants because the waistband cut uncomfortably into my incision (yeowch).

I hope you are doing well with your recovery and health =)

 
Old 11-24-2010, 02:03 AM   #9
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Re: Recovering from Colon Ca @ 28

To gemeinschaft:

Thanks! I realized that it was something I really wanted to while I was still in the hospital. I had a few really awesome nurses who were paramount in my recovery & I realized how much a good nurse can do for someone's recovery. I want to do that, make that difference in a person's life because I know how grateful I felt towards them. =)

As for your surgery, good luck! I will be thinking good thoughts for you and a speedy recovery. Are you doing laparoscopic or traditional? Remember, after the surgery they will try to get you up and walking as soon as possible. The more you walk the faster you will recover. It'll be hard but you can do it! Just hug a pillow to your tummy as you walk =) And if they offer it, get the epidural you will be glad you did! Also I tried to get in some extra exercise to build my strength before I had my surgery.

Last edited by positiveoutlook; 11-24-2010 at 02:04 AM.

 
Old 01-07-2011, 11:09 PM   #10
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Re: Recovering from Colon Ca @ 28

Quote:
Originally Posted by positiveoutlook View Post
To gemeinschaft:

Thanks! I realized that it was something I really wanted to while I was still in the hospital. I had a few really awesome nurses who were paramount in my recovery & I realized how much a good nurse can do for someone's recovery. I want to do that, make that difference in a person's life because I know how grateful I felt towards them. =)

As for your surgery, good luck! I will be thinking good thoughts for you and a speedy recovery. Are you doing laparoscopic or traditional? Remember, after the surgery they will try to get you up and walking as soon as possible. The more you walk the faster you will recover. It'll be hard but you can do it! Just hug a pillow to your tummy as you walk =) And if they offer it, get the epidural you will be glad you did! Also I tried to get in some extra exercise to build my strength before I had my surgery.
Well, I got my semi-colon. The surgery was done laproscopically, but once they were inside, they found an abcess the size of an egg. Due to the infection, they had to give me an ileostomy for the next 2-3 months.
I am learning how to deal with the ileostomy and I have even designed a belt to better support my appliance. Who knows, maybe I will start making them on the side for other patients?
I did find that hugging a pillow was helpful when coughing or dealing with hiccups, but as far as walking, it hurt no matter what I did. LOL
I am walking 1-2 miles a day now and slowly increasing my stamina (surgery was 4 weeks ago).

 
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