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Radiation Damage again

livin
Posts: 319
Joined: Jan 2003

Hi everyone I have posted here before with other problems due to radiation. My problem started 6/27/03 first time being constipated since my left hemicolectomy for stage 3 Colon Cancer. I was diagnosed in 2001. I never had any problems with my bowels. I thought I ate to much the day before. I took 20ccs of M.O.M. that didn't work. I actually became sicker. Vomiting and diarrhea spiked a temp of 101. I ended up at the E.R. they said I had a Urinary tract infection. I was having stomach pains no burning on urination. They put me on Cipro and pyridum(sp) well the drugs made me sick I did not take them properly. So I ended up at the Doctors office, she gave me Levaquin for 10 days which I was able to take. In the mean time I had not been eating or drinking well. I ended up at the E.R again treated for dehydration had I.V. fluids. I was givin Donabella for stomach pains I kept having, Well this journey of stomach pains lasted almost a month along with the stomach pains I had difficuly passing stool from my rectum. I kept telling the Doctors I thought something else was wrong and I needed a C.A.T. scan and a Colonoscopy, they just ignored me and kept treating me for a U.T.I. During my flight I loss 15 pounds many nites with out sleep. I had been to the E.R. 4 times and seen 2 medical Doctors. I was going into the 3rd week of this nitemare when I went back to the E.R. and they finally gave me a C.A.T. Scan. The first one that was offered to me on6/27/03 I couldn't take because of the nausea vomiting. They finally did it I was diagnosed with Diviticulitis and imflammation of the small bowel. I was admitted to the hospital giving more a.b.t.s and I.V. fluids, I had that
Colonoscopy which they could not get the tube pass.They seen that I had a infection in my intestine they took a biospy No Cancer Diagnoisis Stricture of my large intestine due to radiation that I had 2 years ago. They gave me a Barrium Enema ( Never want that again) Determined that my bowels were not completely blocked even though my stools were no bigger than the size of my thumb nail and painful to come out. At present I am on a liquid and soft diet for 3 weeks to see if the problem corrects it self. I had to stay in the hospital for 1 week for them to find this. Has anyone had this problem?

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Livin -

I can say I've never had that problem before (sorta the opposite for me) - UGH! That's a heck of a way to drop 15 lbs. I think I'd rather Sweat to the Oldies with Richard Simmons.

Sounds like you're hanging tough, though. Stay with it and get better. Don't ever let up on those docs who think they know your body better than you do!

Be well

- SpongeBob

KrisS
Posts: 232
Joined: Apr 2003

I can sympathize with you. I developed a stricture of my distal ileum (the most distal part of the small intestine) due to radiation of my pelvis for rectal carcinoma.

My radiation oncologist had told me that there was an approximately 5% risk of this with the type of radiation/chemo I had and that it could develop later on. I developed severe cramps and if I ate more than 400-800 cal/day, vomiting starting toward the end of radiation therapy. My medical oncologist figured that it was due to transient inflammation and also the chemo I was soon to complete.

He thought we could wait it out with antiemetics and frequent meals, but I lost 13 lb. I am rather thin when healthy so that was 12% of my body weight. I lobbied for TPN because I was so debilitated and ended up on that for 8 wks until the day of surgery. TPN allowed me to gain 8 lb. They did an ileostomy on me to bypass this narrowed area. It was a godsent. I started eating better 2 days later, and 2000 calories daily one week later. Long story but because my disease was more extensive than expected, I got more chemo and another surgery 5 mth later. They removed my still strictured segment of intestine as well as tumor. There was no inflammaton of my strictured site, it was just really thick and scared.

Is the reason they want to wait is because you also have lots of inflammation and they think that is making the area narrower, or are they thinking that your stricture it isn't bad enough to be causing your signs. Perhaps they think the diverticulitis/ inflammation in other areas is the real problem? Are there treatments for the diverticulitis in addition to diet? I'd be sure to discuss these latest findings with your radiation oncologist and medical oncologists if you haven't already.

Take care, Sounds like you have been pretty miserable. I hope that things get better quickly.

Kris

livin
Posts: 319
Joined: Jan 2003

Hi KrisS, Since the Barium was able to pass through my intestine they think maybe my intestine will heal with the rest of liquid diet and soft foods. I was on A.B.T.'s approx. 20 days already. I presently is just receiving the diet as means of correction. If this does not help after the 3 weeks the surgeon will try to widen the stricture or remove it. This Monday will be a week that I have had this diet. So far I have notice that my stools are a little bigger about the size of your index finger but still with pieces the size of a thumb nail. I must admit that I test the water sought of saying. I ate a hotdog (bad me) and the pains came back. I now stay on the diet and hope for improvement and not Surgery. Speaking of Surgery is that painful and how long does it take to heal. I always worry about getting a colostomy since I know that they have removed some of my intestine already.

KrisS
Posts: 232
Joined: Apr 2003

I hope that diet and medical management solve the problem. If however they think you have to have surgery, from my perspective it was not too bad at all. I recuperated from surgery well. The first time I got an ileostomy only. I had surgery Monday, went home Friday and was eating well by a week later. I was pretty sore initially but with pain medication it was quite bearable. I never filled my prescription for pain medications for use at home. My abdominal muscles got a bit sore for a day or so right around my ostomy 4 wks post op when I went on a trip and overdid it a bit. I felt like going back to work 4 wks later. I was so happy to be able to eat without cramps and vomiting, I love my ileostomy. From what I understand ileostomies require a bit more care than colostomies since the diversion is higher up and the material is more watery and acid, but I don't find it much of a problem. As for the resection of intestine, that is a bit harder for me to say, because at my second surgery in which they removed my strictured intestine, they removed a bunch of other stuff too and put chemotherapy drugs in my abdomen. It was a controversial gamble on my part to try for a cure. Because of all of the stuff they did, they planned I would be in the hospital for 2-4 wks. I was out in two and a half weeks. Once again, pain medication worked pretty well for me. I was up and about cruising the halls by the fifth day was able to go hiking 4 miles by week 4 (with a bit of Percocet at night to control pain).

Best of luck

Kris

livin
Posts: 319
Joined: Jan 2003

Hi KrisS, 35 pounds lighter no pain and the stricture was widen by the Doctor, I feel better still watching the stools. I was released from the Hosiptal Tuesday past. One thing I now have Pneumonia diagnosed Friday after a CAT Scan. Iam taking A.B.T's and cough meds. So glad pneumonia they were looking for Lung Cancer since I was coughing up Blood. I'll take pneumonia any day. I stayed in the hospital 2 weeks with all the test and that Colonoscopy. I thank GOD I survived this journey it was the hardest thing I had to do. The pain was just as bad as the kidney stone I had had. And we know kidney stones are PAINFUL. So I am at home recuperating with Pneumonia and GLAD to be alive and LIVIN.

livin
Posts: 319
Joined: Jan 2003

Thanks KrisS for your replies, will keep you updated. Livin

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