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Fear/Info on Recurrence - Stage III

novatocabruce
Posts: 19
Joined: May 2002

I was diagnosed with Stage III colorectal cancer in 11/01 and have been through a year of treatment. (Adjuvant chemo/radiation, surgery, and chemo). I completed the follow-up chemo (5fu, cpt-11, LV) in November 2002 and was diagnosed "clean" with the follow-up colonoscopy. Despite the "clean" diagnosis, I occasionally find myself with the fear and negative thoughts of a recurrence.

I'm 45 years old and have a 9 year old son.

In my readings, I've learned that, statistically, only 50% of people diagnosed with stage III crc make it five years. I don't like these numbers, and from time to time, I'm scared.

I have a grandmother who turned 106 in December, and here I am at 45 fearing a recurrence.

I've revised my diet and am trying to do everything I can to be healthy and br around for a long time. My son needs me.

I'm sure the statistics are for all ages of people. CRC is usually a disease that doesn't happen to young people, so I'm not sure how to factor this in.

Any thoughts on what I can do?

Feel free to email me at NovatocaBruce@cs.com

Thank you,
Bruce

swantia
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2003

Dear Bruce....you answered my message below (swantia) and I thank you so much for your frankness and the information about your experience. Yes, my husband is 59, so we surely don't have as good a chance as you do. From where I sit right now, I think 50 percent isn't too bad....because 50 percent are ok and I'll bet you will be in that group. Especially if you have such good genes...a grandmother who is 106! My children have one like that (my Mother) who is 95 and still walking two miles a day at a jog pace. I'll be pulling for you.

taunya's picture
taunya
Posts: 392
Joined: Jul 2002

Bruce, Read everything you can get your hands on about your specific type and stage of cancer. Remind yourself that you are doing everything possible to prevent a recurrence and speak to people who have lived through it. There is a telephone number you can call to talk to someone who has had your type of cancer. I am sorry that I cannot remember the website. Look and you will find it. Counseling has helped me enormously! Hang in there. I am 40 and have an 8 year old son and a 5 year old daughter. I really understand how you feel. Be Well, Taunya

novatocabruce
Posts: 19
Joined: May 2002

It's unreal how many people in their early 40's are getting colorectal cancer. The medical profession doesn't begin to screen until you're 50, unless you "scream" for the test. I guess that with a society in which a staggering number are obese, this disease is likely to become more common. I'm not obese, but I bet there will be more cases in the coming years.

Thank you for your kind reply. Feel free to write anytime.

Bruce

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2084
Joined: Dec 2001

I can so relate to your situation. I'm 41 now...(was diagnosed at 39 Stage III, lymph pos) with 5 kids ranging from 16 to 3 yrs old. My grandmother will turn 100 in May. The other one will be 92 in April. Both still live at home. I've watched a sister die too young (33) after having given birth and fighting this same cancer simultaneously. I hate those statistics. They never tell the whole story. How many of those people changed their lifestyles and diets? How many just rolled over and gave up? How many lived with toxic emotions that poisoned their spirits if not their bodies? How many had less than wonderful doctors? They're just numbers. But don't think for a moment that those fears don't raise their ugly heads in my day too. So keep on your health journey. You are not alone.
peace, emily

wildcat's picture
wildcat
Posts: 40
Joined: Apr 2002

Wow so many of us in the same age group but at 44 I have two in college and one in Middle School. You know I have read and read and you find conflicting theories on everything. Stick to the sites that are researched based. I too am a stage 3 colorectal survior with 8 positive lymps. I went through the radiation and chemo after surgery. It still says all clear but I still take a peak everytime I go to the restroom. The fear will never go away but day to day you don't become so self absorbed in it. Take care and there are so many of us in your same boat that I can't help but feel the positive fibes out there.

livin
Posts: 319
Joined: Jan 2003

I to was diagnosed with stage lll crc in february 2001 had chemo rad. and still have fears of it coming back. I all so had Breast cancer in 1999. Beleive me I fear the colon cancer more than the Breast Cancer because it was more servere, I hate statistics. I just turned 48 years old this month and hope to live to a ripe old age.

erica259
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2003

Bruce,
You need to remember that those Stats are old !!! Colon cancer treatment has come along way in a very short period of time. With Oxipalatin FDA approved and vaccines in current clinical trials, I am hoping the advancement will continue just as quickly. I also think you are right about those stats referring to what used to be thought of as an older person's disease.
That is a misconception. I know of plenty of 30-40 year old people who have CC. My mother was diagnosised at 54. Unfortunately she has had a reoccurence. She was dx in May 2002. She has been on the Oxipalatin and is doing really really well.
Anyway, back to my point..lol. It is vital that people are tested far more early than at age 50. I had my first Colonoscopy at 30 and I plan to do so every 3 years. I have a terrific GI Dr who completely agrees with me.
To date... prevention is the only cure.
Erica

seashell
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2003

Hello, Seems U are keeping yourself well informed, good for U. I was diag. with crc in 94 stage 4. Surg. done immed. and 15 nodules removed. Ended up with a colostomy. Had chemo for 1yr. and then colostomy reversal done. I have been cancer free for almost 8yrs. I think my best weapon, in my opion, was a positive attitude. Thought of it as I would any other infection, do what is nec. and think positive. Also, make sure U have a great doctors. Good luck and keep having your yearly test done. I now only have to be tested every 2 yrs. Hang In There!!!!!

hchambers
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2003

Hello Mo. I am so very happy for you and hope that your news is always good. I think you've got it licked. You also sound wonderfully informed and I hope to solicit your advice.

I was diagnosed after giving up on my PCP said that the years I had been complaining to him of lower lumbar pain was just aging. I finally coughed up the $2000 for a virtual body scan and colonoscopy and there it was, big as life, full blown through the wall huge tumor, positive nodes and a spot on the liver. Stage IV CRC. We opted for full course of chemo and radiation prior to surgery. More chemo after surgery consisting of 5fu, leucovorin and Camptosar. The chemo prior to surgery was 41 days of 24/7 5fu. The presurgery radiation was a 28 treatment/day course. I had a single 1cm met on the liver.

During the multiple scans that we have done we discovered a 4 1/2cm abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) which we are watching and when it hits 5cm either surgery or stent will be appropriate. But I am too weak to survive any major surgery and that is very invasive and a tough long operation.

The single met on the liver has remained constant through all of this and just now, this week, the PET/CT and the separate Hellical Scan CT suggest it is now 3cm. My choices are likely going to be surgical resection (gold standard) but I am probably too weak to survive the surgery. Radio ablation, of which I know nothing, and chemo, ho hum. I lost all of my hair with the Camptosar and it is now all back. What I most recall abut the hair issue is how cold my head stayed, but my wife found me some great products to keep me warm in the penthouse.

Since none of the earlier chemo courses seemed to kill the liver met fully, maybe we'll try something new. I know I shouldn't be here now but for the luck that sometimes visits me at crucial moments in my life.

I would like to hear from others similarly situated or with comment and knowledge or history so I can make an informed decision, or suggest alternative treatments, or if it is hopeless, maybe I'll just toss in the towell while doing the best I can.
My deepest thanks in advance for your comments. My own personal email, if you prefer is, hchambers@earthlink.net. For relaxation I tie fly fishing flies, and build fly fishing rods, and occasionally get out to my favorite spots and watch the fish. They wave a fin as they swim on undeterred or tempted by my offerings.

ddrupp
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2003

Bruce, I was diagnosed in dec 97. Stage 1.5? I think, it was in the wall but not through it. I was 44 and just started my family after years of partying and cleaning my act up for about 5( clean and sober). So I was scared to death. I still get bad thoughts and bad feeling like it could come back at any time. I have a 8 year boy and a 3 year old daughter and a 16 yr step son so I pray I can stay in remission!!!!!!!! I pray for you and me and our families. I have been cancer free for 5 years now and it seems like just yesterday that they cut me open. I do know that I am blessed to be in the position I am in(ie remission). Hang in there and just keep your chin up and keep the communication open with your son. Kids are alot smarter than alot of people give them credit for. They would rather know the truth than have it hit them in the face. God bless you and yours. Don Rupp ruppbunch@aol.com

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