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Cancer: Rectal & Anal Message Board
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Old 07-26-2003, 08:58 PM   #1
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Post rectal cancer

I have recently checked in at this board as my husband has been diagnosed with rectal cancer stage 111. He had surgery yesterday and is to receive chemo and radiation in the next few weeks and months. I guess what I am looking for is encouragement! I read so many messages that suggest that chemo and radiation do more harm than good but I have heard of people who have survived this form of cancer and are doing well. I am also hearing about coral calcium but do not think we can get it here. Can you take it along with traditional treatments? Does anyone have anything positive to say to help me support my husband at this time please?
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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 07-26-2003, 09:51 PM   #2
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Where do you live? Most GNC stores have coral calcium now. I read THE CALCIUM FACTOR recently. Im very into calcium myself now. I tale it every day with my multivitamin.

 
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Old 07-27-2003, 05:08 AM   #3
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Thanks for that....we do have a GNC so I will see if they have it.
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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 07-27-2003, 09:01 AM   #4
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I am a 47 yr old male who had rectal cancer 2 inches inside from the anus. I had my entire rectum and anal sphincter removed in May 2001 and now have a permanent colostomy.

It was tough but not unbearable. 10 days in hospital and lost 20 lbs(2 days nothing by mouth then 3 days of liquid diet then the rest I could eat a little)

The pain was not bad, the epidural worked good, hardly needed the T3's after the epidural was out. Mostly it was weakness and getting very tired easily. I also had a slight problem with low blood pressure that persisted throughout my recovery even after discharge from the hospital. The thing I disliked, bothered me the most was the urinary catheter.

Chemo started a few weeks after discharge. It was not too bad either. only had a few days when I was reaaallllyyy brung down, hung down. The chemo unit here(now this could be different for you , I am in a small town in Canada) told me to come in anytime I had a problem. I went in(got a ride there) when I was feeling that low and they gave me IV saline as I was dehydrated and also a drug called Maxeran (spelling might not be 100%) that is a steroid that brought my energy level right up(actually over the top first time,which is a funny story, I wrote two poems and prepared supper for the wife that day. My wife went to work with me all but unable to leave the bed and came home to a clean house and supper ready and me talking a mile a minute, after that they gave me a lower dose if I needed it) Chemo lasted 6 months. In the middle of the chemo I was also getting radiation for 6 weeks. The radiation was nothing at the first but near the end the skin between my legs was getting badly sunburned. Lubriderm helps as does a topical steroid like polysporin(use lightly).

Chemo was given on weekdays for one week then two weeks off then another week of chemo. The first 4 days after a week of treatments are the hardest then you start to come back. My chemo was two drugs one called 5-FU(yes that is FU) and leukavorin (again my spelling might be off). Of those the leukavorin is injected first and causes cancer cells to become more sensitive to the actual anticancer drug, 5-FU.

The colostomy is a learning experience. It takes a baby a few years to get the hang of pooping in a toilet, it will take time to get the hang of having a colostomy. Accidents happen but less and less often as you get to know what going on down there. You can swim, exercise, do physical work such as plumbing or gardening and eat whatever you want with a sigmoid colostomy such as mine. Only thing is gas. Beano works for beans and cauliflower/ cabbage family foods but watch out for onions. Also keep in mind you do NOT have to stay with the exact type of wafer and pouch they give you in hospital. Do the research and find what's best for you.

This is long a post, but I hope it helps.
Jeff

 
Old 07-27-2003, 11:13 AM   #5
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Thanks for that personal information...I do appreciate it. You have not tried to make it sound like a piece of cake but have presented a realistic picture. My husband expected to have a permanent colostomy but the surgeon was able to avoid that which was pretty amazing. The urinary catheter does not seem to bother him too much but I do think he is only now coming to grips with what has happened and the road ahead. He was only diagnosed 5 days ago, so it is still "new".
I just want to be able to be the best support possible and keep him as upbeat as possible. Have you tried this Coral Calcium....I am interested to speak to his oncologist about it. Were you able to continue working while you were receiving chemo? I just feel if he could, it would keep an element of normalcy in his life. I realize that everybody's case is different but it is still useful to know how others managed with their illness.
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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 07-27-2003, 08:43 PM   #6
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While on chemo I would take the week of chemo off and the next week then go back to work for one week. But mine is physical job sometimes. I work for a cable company taking care of the electronics and satellite dishes. I was working on Sept 11/01 moving all our equipment and dishes in one of our towns to another site(with half a dozen other guys of course) That was a 20 hour work day and it went pretty good. Even had two beers afterward then sacked out in the hotel room for 8 hours of downtime. It wouldn't have taken the full 20 hours except we stopped and had to change the order we did things so as to leave CBC and a couple of the USA networks on as long as possible due to the events in NYC. (well that was more info than you asked for wasn't it!)

Work can sometimes be slow while enduring "chemo brain". It's a problem of concentration on mental tasks, it is partly due to the drugs or dehydration but a large part of it is simply the stress. Having cancer is a BIG psychological stress hit and it can interfere with other thinking even if you aren't aware of thinking about it. You are SICK with a potentially deadly disease. Even now, typing this I can recall just wanting to cry, or shout out to God about the unfairness of it all.. BTW there was a woman about my age getting chemo for breast cancer who's schedule was similar to mine. We talked while getting our drugs. We joked that if anyone said, (think high whiney voice) "I'm not feeling well, I'm sick" then we would be justified in kicking their ***. As ill as I felt I told my wife I felt lucky compared to the women with breast cancer. Be prepared to notice a few people who look real bad and who simply don't come back. As I said I was 45, there were many much older people, in their late 60's and 70's and one with lung cancer in his 50's who did not make it and a friend of my parents, also late 60's with lung cancer. That is scary but you concentrate on how YOU are doing.BTW the woman I was talking to is still around and doing very well.

The company was real good about it, there were two days that I was at work but was real tired in the early afternoon and I said I had to go home. One of those I was told to fill out the timesheet as a full day. It's a small company but they do what they can.I am lucky in that I live only a block away from the office. Though I didn't have benefits I did get 15 weeks of employment insurance.

I haven't tried the calcium but I do take vitamin E on top of Centrum Complete vitamins and acidopholus/bifidus (supposedly for colon health). My mother bought me shark cartilage and I took a few but used the rest as garden fertilizer(they taste fishy) besides I don't want to contribute to overfishing sharks based on fuzzy info about keeping cancer at bay. I drink a lot of OJ which also has calcium and I grow my own tomatoes,carrots and potatoes in the summer all of which have good fiber and tomamtoes are supposed to fight cancer(lycopene).

Who knows if any of this has an effect? I don't but I am willing to try those things that cannot do harm while possibly helping.

One thing though. A year after the chemo was over I told the doc I was still having some trouble actually getting myself to do stuff. I would plan and plan and know what I wanted to do but just wouldn't do them. I was tested for hypothyroid (low thyroid) and I now take a pill for that. Seems heavy stress and trauma can bring this on. You will have to wait at least 3 months after chemo stops to test for it to make sure the drugs are all gone if this seems to be a problem.

Again a long post with I don't know how much useful info. I just feel I have to help in any way I can , anyone who is going through what I went through.Please feel absolutely free to ask if you think there is anything I can tell you about what to expect.

 
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