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NinthWard504 03-19-2008 10:37 AM

Insight on symptoms
 
Ok I want to state up front that I have made an appointment with my doctor next week, which is the earliest I could get one.

I am 39 years old. I first noticed blood on toilet paper in 1996. I did see a doctor at that time but they didn't see anything in a cursory examination. I was told it was 'probably' a hemmorhoid

I was given perscription antacids for symptoms of an ulcer in 1998, which seemed to fix it. It seemed to be caused by heavy coffee drinking associated with the onset at that time of sleep apnea. I have had stomach problems on and off over the years which caused me some concern, but this seemed to be cured by improving my diet. I also went to a free prostate cancer screening in order to get an exam, but it didn't indicate anything.

Over the years though I noticed off and on that some blood was in my toilet paper, a little more over time. Drops.

A few months ago, I'm not sure how many, I noticed one time I had a lot of blood. Like a teaspoon. I had had a particuarly difficult bowel movement. Painful. My girlfriend told me it was probably a hemmrhoid.

I started seeing blood more often though, and more of it, several times about a teaspoon.

About three weeks ago I had a period of moderately severe abdominal pain, which I attributed to having been drinking a huge amount of green tea and a lot of coffee. I stopped drinking tea and coffee and the pain went away after about three days.

Today I noticed it wasn't just on, but in my stool. Still basically bright red. I also noticed that the toilet at my office has a reddish stain around the waterline from blood. I'm pretty sure from me.

I have also had periods of intense itching, which was part of what had convinced me I had hemmrhoids, but I have never actually felt one. I haven't usually noticed any thin stools, sometimes loose but usually pretty "normal" looking, except for the blood which seems to be more frequent now. I should also add I have to go pretty often two or three times a day, it's been that way since I was a kid.

Now I feel like I am going to die or have to get a colostomy bag, or both. I am frankly terrified. Since I wont actually know anything until I actually have a scope done, I want to find out as much as I can. I was researching bleeding symptoms but there is a very broad range of possibilities. Anything anyone can tell me would be appreciated.

N

WA_LADY 03-20-2008 10:44 AM

Re: Insight on symptoms
 
I am sure that you have seen all the posts before so reiterating them won't do a whole lot to calm your fears.

Yes, blood CAN be from cancer, but there is an equally good chance that it's not. Yes, hemorrhoids can cause bleeding in some people-oftentimes quite a lot. Regardless, you must have a colonoscopy to get this checked out. One thing I would like to really stress to you is DO NOT allow a doctor (and I am NOT saying your doctor will do this) to tell you that you are too young and don't need a colonoscopy. That is just plain BULL!

Another thing to make sure doesn't happen is to have the doctor do a simple digital rectal exam (DRE) and say everything is fine. That is a totally unreliable test. Yes, it is ok IF you have a low rectal polyp/growth/tumor and IF you have a hemorrhoid. Even then, simply by feeling a doctor cannot adequately distinguish between a hemorrhoid and a growth (whether it be a polyp or tumor). Obviously something is going on and you need to have it checked out.

As to what is wrong with you-well it is just too difficult to tell without being scoped. AS for whether it is cancer, well that is just ONE of MANY things that could be causing your symptoms. You could have IBS, Crohn's, bleeding polyps just to name a few.

Just to tell you my story. I had a mid rectal tumor, no bleeding to speak of, an occasional (and really, not very often) teeny tiny drop of blood (no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence) on the toilet paper after a particularly difficult BM. However, I was having smaller BMs but since they had evolved over time, I never paid much attention to it. Looking back at it I can see it, but didn't during this period. This probably was going on for 4 years or so. Somewhat upset stomach, but more gassiness and uncomfortableness lower down. Now, I DID have hemorrhoids which helped mask the problem and explained some of the symptoms. Fecal occult blood test was negative as were all other stool tests. Finally I got up the courage to get my hermorrhoids banded and that's when the surgeon 'discovered' my growth. Had the colonoscopy and things went from there. That was almost two years ago. My point in telling you this is that I had only very vague symptoms.

As for the anxiety, it is only natural. However, you really need to stop worrying about dying and/or having to have a colostomy. I DO know how you feel because I went through those exact same feelings in the beginning. Let's suppose you do have cancer. Having colorectal cancer does NOT necessarily mean that you have to have a colostomy. As a matter of fact, most people don't. Even people with rectal cancer don't usually have to have a colostomy. The earlier a patient catches the cancer, the better the chances that there are alternative surgeries that can be done. I am a perfect example.

There are no guarantees with any disease or illness, and it is perfectly natural to be scared and anxious. However, I want you to know that IF you do have some form of colorectal cancer (notice the large sized IF!) it is NOT a death sentence.

I am only starting to frequent this particular board so I don't know if there is a way to send a PM. If so, please send me one with any specific questions or concerns, and I will try to help you. Try and relax and take the first step by getting in to see the doctor and being very proactive with your health care.

Good luck.
Jaynee

NinthWard504 03-21-2008 01:12 PM

Re: Insight on symptoms
 
Thanks so much for your post. You gave me good advice and a lot to think about. I will post here how the exam and everything goes, I will have the colonoscopy. Crhons disease et-al can be almost as bad can't they? I will really feel relieved to finally know what is going on regardless. The uncertainty is not pleasant, and has been building for a long time as I've worried about this on and off for years.

Thanks again, I mean it.

N

geezgeez 03-25-2008 03:39 AM

Re: Insight on symptoms
 
Just to reiterate that 39 is not too young to get colon cancer, you can get it at any age. My best friend died at the age of 25 from colon cancer.

But he was just extremely unlucky, some freak genetic defect that caused a very very aggressive form of cancer.

I would say the fact that you have been suffering with this problem somewhat for the past 10 years would probably sway in the favour of not being colon cancer. And more like a chronic bowel disorder such as IBS or Crohns disease (plus a million and one possible other disorders).

And even if you were to have bowel cancer, the survival rate is generally pretty good especially taking your age into consideration. As already stated you really shouldn't be worrying about a colostomy bag.

My friend required a colostomy bag after the initial discovery of the tumour, and they had to remove a large portion of his bowel and stomach. But it was only a temporary measure while the surgery healed, within a couple of months he had full use of his bowel again.

So remember only in very rare cases will full dependency on a colostomy bag be needed, usually they are only a temporary measure.

GarynFlorida 03-26-2008 07:47 PM

Re: Insight on symptoms
 
I was diagnosed ith stage 3 colon cancer 3 years ago at 39....doing well. Colon cancer runs in our family and they have done genetic testing to prove that.

On another note though, my mom had symtpoms similar to yours and it ended up not being colon cancer.

Dont worry until you get results from colonoscpy.

Gary

lilsis1071 03-31-2008 03:35 PM

Re: Insight on symptoms
 
Gary ,

Could you please post what your symptoms were before you were told it was cancer.

I am awaiting a gastro doctor visit, I have had a positive rectal smear (stool sample test) for blood in the rectum. I have had a couple bouts of blood in the stool and on the paper when I wipe. I have also had very bad bloating and bowel habits are sometimes unpredictable. I was told years ago I have IBS. Never have I had blood before though.
Thank you for your insight.

Lilsis

MissB999 04-02-2008 11:42 AM

Re: Insight on symptoms
 
Hi, I just wanted to wish you well with your Drs appointment and hope it all goes ok. It sounds to me like you could have anal fissures from IBS or similar. I had them for years and sometimes a small amount of blood can seem like a tablespoon! I had them checked twice by the Dr and they rip/heal, rip/heal and were sometimes agony and frightening but are there because I have IBS and suffer with major constipation. Over the years theyve healed up and I dont suffer with them now due to a good change of diet and plenty of fluids (not alcohol!)

Good luck again
Rachel

NinthWard504 04-28-2008 12:17 PM

Re: Insight on symptoms
 
I went and had my scope, and apparently it was just internal hemmhroids. The whole thing went pretty smoothly, it was hard to fast and I didn't enjoy the procedure, but I'm very releieved how it turned out obviously.

This whole thing was a learning experience for me and a major reality check, I am reminded to pay attention to my health, and not take anything for granted. I had a full checkup and I'm pretty good surprisingly, but I'm trying to make an effort across the board to lose weight and a bunch of other stuff.

Thanks for all your support and help here and I wish everyone the best of luck.

NW


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