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Another warning of sorts

MelStar
Posts: 31
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi everyone. I've been reading everyone's posts and replies and sitting here laughing and crying and nodding my head in agreement and/or understanding, and I just want to tell my own story and give my own words of warning.

In 1996, my grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer and ended up having an ileostomy. She underwent chemo and radiation therapy after she healed and she has been cancer free ever since. At the time all this was happening, her oncologist suggested that her immediate family have colonoscopies, "immediate" meaning her children. We were told not to worry about the grandchildren. Well, I'm here to tell you, if your grandparent is diagnosed with colon cancer, go get a colonscopy regardless. Better safe than sorry!

I am one of those people who had no symptoms at all to indicate anything was going on in my colon/rectal area. No change in bowel movements, no blood in the stools, nothing. I started running these low grade fevers for seemingly NO reason, starting losing my appetite and losing weight without even trying. I was having severe back pain; however, my fiancee and I had just gotten a tiny puppy and I was bending over a lot to pick him up, so I thought that was the cause of the back pain. Just by mere chance I went to see my endocrinologist for followup on my thyroid problem and she ran some lab studies, which showed an elevated alkaline phosphatase. So I went to see my PCP and he sent me for all kinds of x-rays and a full body bone scan. The bone scan showed "hot spots" and so he referred me to an oncologist who ran even MORE tests, and on Valentine's Day, 2003 a colonscopy ( just what every girl wants for Valentine's Day) showed I had a quarter-sized tumor in my rectum, which had metastasized to the bone. I was stage IV at that time. I had no surgery because my onocologist said there was no time, we needed to get chemotherapy started right away, so on February 21, 2003 it began. I had my last treatment on Halloween, and another colonoscopy November 17 showed that the tumor was gone, and a biopsy showed no active cancer. So, fortunately, I am currently in remission.

I'm very grateful to be a survivor! But I will always wonder if I had only had a colonoscopy back in 1996 (and yes, I was only 39) could all this have been avoided???

MelStar

StacyGleaso's picture
StacyGleaso
Posts: 1246
Joined: Mar 2003

Welcome Melstar...

Your letter will hopefully inspire those who think "it won't happen to me" to just get things checked out anyway...it doesn't hurt and may actually help.

Thanks for sharing your story, and congrats on your remission status!!!!!!!!!

Stacy

pattieb
Posts: 176
Joined: Mar 2003

Melstar
Like you I really had no signs. My primary dr suggested I have one done due to my age 57 atthe time so I made an appointemnt went to see this dr and made an appointment to go in and have a colonscopy done. I started feeling like you did and went to see my dr who ordered all kinds of blood work and he told me he thought it was something else, I started feeling reallysick and went back to the dr and they rused to to the er because they thought I had divertiulistis(can't spell) well the surgeron after he opened me found I had a tumor that had burst and there was cancer all over they took 12 inches of one colon and 7 inces of the other and a complete hys. my overies were covered in tumors they at that time didn't know where the cancer origniated but after test said from the colon. Needless to say I never made it to my original appointment for the colonscopy. They seemed to think that they got all the cancer but because it had burst thaey don't know where those tiny peices will show up which they have, so know I'm fighting another battle of sorts. I have had chemo then rads with 5FU/leu and now more chemo I'm hoping this time it all goes away for good but you never know. Just taking it day by day and my semi colons here are a really big help.
Pattie

kangatoo's picture
kangatoo
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hang in there Mel and Pattie--I just finished my 6 months of chemo today and will now join you in the "waiting room".Am told if I can get thru 5 years with no secondaries the doc's will tell me to go away!!!!I ONLY WISH!
luv and hugs guys, kanga and Jen

ABETHM
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2004

Hello to all - I am brand new to this group (as of about 30 minutes ago). I am looking for some guidance from those who have "been there". My mom had a right collectomy 2 weeks ago. She is 67 years old, about 5'4" and weighed 99 lbs soaking wet before the surgery. She has lost at least 15 lbs since the surgery and I'm trying to help her figure out how to put some weight back on her itty bitty frame. The good news is that she goes to her surgeon for her last follow up tomorrow and she doesn't require any further treament. She has tried the standard stuff of "Boost" and "Ensure" but can't tolerate the taste. I'd appreciate any advice anyone can give

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