I have a general idea about how things went (and are continuing to go) for you, but I was wondering a few things. You said you started bleeding at 28 but were told by your doctor that it was hemmorhoids. You were ultimately diagnosed at 31. What happened during those three years? Did symptoms gradually get worse? What other symptoms did you experience? It seems like a lot of people deal with symptoms for so long before they're diagnosed (not just with cancer, but anything). I've only had the more overt symptoms for two weeks and I'm going crazy wondering what's going on.
The more thinking I do about what might be wrong with me the more I remember. I'm currently having pain on my right side (when I push on my abdomen; I'm also cramping in the low abdomen and back). The doc I saw said it's my ovary. It's actually more toward my waist, not low enough to be an ovary. During my pregnancy last year I experienced pain under my right ribs, which I thought was a gallbladder problem. At times it was intense pain, but ultrasound and blood tests at the time revealed no problems. I wonder if something was going on back then and it was pushed up by my son, and wasn't caught because nobody was looking in the right place? I dunno. I have an appt with my primary care doc June 3, so I'm hoping she'll listen and give me the colonoscopy.
I hope no one minds me posting so much. I'm just thinking a lot lately and it seems that this is a good forum for me to do it in.
No one minds you posting!! Write a book if you want to!
As for me, like I said, I complained to my IM with rectal bleeding at 28. She did a rectal, and hemacult card was "strong positive for blood." You could see it! and I had just complained of rectal bleeding as my chief complaint! I trusted her when she told me that it might be hemmorhoids, or Advil, or stress (I had been under a tremendous amount of stress). She sent me home with the tripple seracult card to test for occult blood???, which I did, and sent back. She told me that if I don't hear back from her, assume all is OK. Again, I trusted her. Well, almost a year went by, still intermittent bleeding, and I saw her for follow up hypertension about 8 months later when I had conjunctivitis. At the time, I scheduled my next physical. A month later, I went and she again did another rectal/prostate check, and was more concerned about my stress and depression. So I saw her throughout, and still experienced intermittent bleeding. It starting getting worse bleeding around the stool, on the paper, dripping in the bowl, and I began passing mucoid clots, and had increased frequency. By this time, she had abandoned her practice, quit in a day, and they tx my files to another MD in the practice. I just called up the lady that handles referrals and said I was beginning to get concerned, and wanted to go see a GI Specialist. She said, no problem, and gave me the referral.
I saw the GI Specialist, and he said we need to get you in for a colonoscopy. I said ok. The day of the colonoscopy, the GI Specialist found a golf ball size tumor 2-3 cm up from the anal verge (opening). Needless to say I was in shock, and then everything moved at a relatively quick pace... got my port installed, had a transrectal ultrasound, ct scans, pet scan, x ray, etc. Met with the surgeon, put my semen in storage, etc. Met with the radiation onc. and onc. and began chemo and radiation pre-op within a few weeks. I also consulted other surgeons-- I know a lot of surgeons, and my company (former) had a lot of contacts to get me the best of the best. Anyway, they all concurred what had to be done, and here we are.
I have subsequently found out that had she referred me when I complained of bleeding, they would have been able to catch it when it was in its early stage, and I would have been spared much of what I and my family have had to endure. THAT ****** me off!!! Survival rates were 90+% instead of 20-45% now. It just kills me. That is why I am so vocal about getting tested. And not letting your GP/IM tell you it's just hemmorhoids. Rectal Bleeding=Colonoscopy. I know this now. Only wish I did then. But can't sit and wonder what if.
Thanks CancerDad. What exactly is a mucoid clot? I'm noticing more often that while I'm passing sticky mucus (and have been for a while now), sometimes I have small globs of mucus after I've passed the bm. I'm thinking this is what you mean by mucoid clot, but I'm not sure. A lot of this lingo is new to me!
Lyndru, noticed you want to know people's stories, so, I just posted here.
My story is similar to Cancerdad's. About the same age. Like him, when I first noticed the blood in my stools, my family doctor said it was just hemmorhoids. My mom reassured me too. I said okay. I didn't know anything about colorectal cancer at the time. Then, I started reading about Katie Couric's husband, who died of colon cancer, in his early 40s. As time passed, I also noticed the blood was more pronounced. I went to a gyno., because I was overdue for a pelvic exam. I told him about the bleeding. He immediatley sent me to a gastroenterologist, and, within a week, I had a colonoscopy. He found 2 polyps, low in my colon, very close to the rectal area. When I heard I had cancer, I went into shock. After a CATscan, MRI, bloodwork, lung xray and ultrasound, I was told the cancer was caught at an early stage and there was no lymph node involvement. I didn't have chemo. but, due to the high doses of external and internal radiation, I immediately went into menopause. That was another loss, not being to have children. Presently, I'm dealing with alot of tissue damage, like chronic urethritis, vaginal inflammation and IBS, as a result of the radiation. After my diagnosis, I also learned that my paternal grandfather had stage 2 colon cancer, in his 70s. Nobody had told me this!!! My paternal grandfather had been a very private person. The doctors told me to tell all my siblings and my parents to get checked out, because of the genetic factor. My younger brother, who was in his 20s, had polyps, but fortunatley, they weren't cancerous. Moral of this story: Don't put off screening tests and annual exams. If you notice any blood in your stools, get a colonsocopy ASAP. Know your family history. Only listen to specialists, when it comes to cancer. Young people do get colorectal cancer. In fact, one of the patients, at the hospital, was only 22.
Wmkcolors, you are so right. We think colon cancer is a disease of older men. It really can affect anyone at almost any age. I think what you have found out about your grandfather is so typical of that generation (and the next). You didn't talk about cancer-it was hidden. Probably if anyone had said anything, it would be about your grandfather's stomach problems. These "secrets" make it hard to do geneological studies of disease. I am so sorry about the effects of radiation on you. I just finished chemo, and before I started, the surgeon said that radiation does more internal damage (in most cases) than chemo.