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My Cancer Story

Moesimo's picture
Moesimo
Posts: 1075
Joined: Aug 2003

I have been posting on this board for the last couple of weeks. I want to share my cancer story, especially for the newly diagnosed. I was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer on March 17, 2003. 2 out of 12 nodes were positive. Since then I have had 5 weeks of radiation treatments along with continuous 5FU. I was able to work full time during my treatments, except for 2 days that I took off from exhaustion. Two days after my last treatment, I went to my daughter's college graduation in another state. Two weeks later, my son graduated from high school. I have another son still in high school. On June 26, 2003, I had an ultra low anterior resection with a temporary ileostomy. I was hospitalized twice after this surgery with small bowel obstructions, that were treated with bowel rest and IV fluids. On August 18, 2003, I had an ileostomy reversal along with 2 sections of my small bowel removed that were damaged from radiation. About six weeks after that I had 4 chemo treatments of 5FU and leukovorin. I was supposed to get 12 treatments, but had to stop because I had diarrhea so bad I spent a week in the hospital and was on TPN (IV fluids) which I continued at home for 3 weeks. Since then I have had multiple problems with the whole bowel thing. My tumor was very low and my problems are a result of my low anastomosis. It is much better than it was. I went back to work part time in October and full time in January. So far my cat scans are negative, and my last CEA was 0.8. YIPPEE. I had the year from HELL, but am now doing better. I am telling you all this, because I didn't think that I would ever get better. I have, and for those of you just starting on this terrible journey, YOU WILL GET BETTER TOO.
I have been a nurse for over 25 years and was totally unprepared for this nightmare. Many people have asked how I was able to get through all the treatments and surgery. I am lucky for the wonderful support system that I have that includes my loving husband, 3 children, and a wonderful extended family and great friends. Everyone was great and listened to my multiple complaints all year. I couldn't have done it without them.

littlejulie's picture
littlejulie
Posts: 311
Joined: Mar 2004

thank you SO MUCH for sharing your story. my mother was recently diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer and is now doing 5 weeks of chemo/radiation. my only sanity is hearing success stories. its SO overwhelning and i've been extremely depressed in the past couple days. you telling us it gets better helps a lot. thank you and may god bless you with strength and health always.

julie
thanks again

Moesimo's picture
Moesimo
Posts: 1075
Joined: Aug 2003

Julie, good luck to you and your mom. My daughter was also a great help during my treatments. When your mom has a bad day, remind her that it will get better. I never thought it would, but it did.

KrisS
Posts: 232
Joined: Apr 2003

Thanks for sharing your story, sounds like it has been an extra rough one It is always so helpful to hear that life can bet better even when things have not gone easily.

May you have many, many years of good health to share with family and friends.

Kris

Moesimo's picture
Moesimo
Posts: 1075
Joined: Aug 2003

I also wish you and everyone on this board many, many good days.

goldfinch's picture
goldfinch
Posts: 737
Joined: Oct 2003

Your story is inspiring. Mine is siimilar to yours. I was diagnosed in july 2003 with low rectal cancer. Did the 24/7 chemo with 5 FU and radiation. HAd to take a break part way through because of an obstruction and c-diff infection in my bowel. Had my surgery in November, to remove the cancer. Got a temporary ileostomy. This is where my story is a little different. I opted to keep the ileostomy during chemo (weekly treatments of 5FU and leucovorin end sept 2004). I remember how sore my butt was from the diarrhea the first time. I didn't want to go through that again. It's encouraging to hear that you are doing better after the reversal. I am a bit anxious about that, however i have learned that things do get better. I had a few problems with the chemo when i restarted (mostly chemical conjunctivitis and some severe diarrhea), but after a little adjusting I am happy to report that i am now tolerating the chemo fine. I have had several people tell me in recent days how good i am looking (makes me wonder how bad i was looking before). I, too have been a nurse for 25 years(26 actually) and was totally unprepared to be on the other side of the bed. However the nurses were great!
Thanks for you encouraging story.
Mary

Moesimo's picture
Moesimo
Posts: 1075
Joined: Aug 2003

Thank you for also sharing your story. The reason I had my ileostomy reversed before my post-op chemo treatments was because I was already out of work and figured I would stay out instead of going back and having to go out on leave again. I had tolerated the first chemo so well, who would have known that I would get so sick. I agree with you, it's nice to hear compliments from friends telling you how good you look. I had lost 40 pounds while sick and only now are people telling me how skinny and awful I looked. I knew I looked bad, but everyone kept telling me how good I looked. Only now that I am better is the truth coming out. LOL
Since our stories are so similar, I would love to chat with you. Let me know if you are interested and I will give you my email address.

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

Hi moesimo--great to hear yu are doing so well--thanks for your story--the positive things that happen to us are an inspiration to all I am sure.
When I was told of my cancer I really thought that the end was not far away--then an op. then the chemo--hey I got thru that all and have regained weight and feeling much better.All is not yet clear but am hoping for good results after I see my specialist this coming tuesday.
I was stage 2 and had 1/3 colon removed, then 6 months 5fu/leuc.--thank goodness the chemo is over.
I know about the year from HELL---our best wishes to you and here's hoping your joy will continue!
luv kanga n Jen

Moesimo's picture
Moesimo
Posts: 1075
Joined: Aug 2003

I hope that you also continue to hear good news. From the postings on this site, I noticed that you live in AUS. My family traveled there in 4/03 to visit my daughter who was studying in Sydney for 6 mos. What a beautiful country. When I was first diagnosed, I thought of our trip to AUS and was glad that we had gone. We went to Sydney and also the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns. We even went scuba diving. My 2 teen age boys had the trip of a lifetime. (I am probably still paying for that trip) LOL

Moesimo's picture
Moesimo
Posts: 1075
Joined: Aug 2003

OOPS!! My tipe to AUS was 4/02. One year before my terrible diagnosis.

goldfinch's picture
goldfinch
Posts: 737
Joined: Oct 2003

I'd love to chat with you. My email is maryp84@hotmail.com

jsabol's picture
jsabol
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi M,
Thanks for the good news. Whenever I feel down about my situation, I get a reality check from this board that reminds me I have a lot to be thankful for. It is so helpful to read stories from people who have gotten through all this.
One of the books I read had a proverb that went something like "the road ahead is best described by those returning from their journey." And what a journey this is! I am also a nurse, but for (yikes) 32 years. dx'd this past Nov, surgery in Dec (hemicolectomy with 1 positive node), and now halfway through my six months of 5FU and leucovorin. I had returned to work 6 weeks after surgery, but after my second course of chemo, the fatigue was too great, and I keep having blood pressure (too high) and potassium (too low) problems. The potassium level also contributes greatly to my fatigue. I have a dghtr going to college next year, and a son who is a junior in high school, so taking this time off allows me to have a life beyond chemo and work.
I am continuing my campaign to get folks like you to complete a web page, so your story will just be out there for others who need the encouragement. Please consider, and thanks again for your story. Judy

Moesimo's picture
Moesimo
Posts: 1075
Joined: Aug 2003

Thanks, I have thought of a web page and hopefully soon will make one. On my last visit to the surgeon it was 9 months since my original surgery. He told me it was alittle too early to celebrate yet. My year anniversry will bo on 6/26. I hope and pray everday that i don't have a re-occurance. I don't know how I would handle that. For those of you that have had a re-occurance, I admire your strength.

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

Yes-we are in South Australia--not far from the capital of our state, Adelaide.We were fortunate that I was able to take a holiday up the east coast of OZ only 4 weeks after completing chemo.We went thru Melbourne/Sydney/Brisbane then on to Bundaberg(just off the Great Barrier Reef).
Although I was very tired from the chemo we managed to do 7,000 ks in all--on a motorcycle!!
This was kind of a reward to both of us after our year of hell.
Here's hoping you may again get the oportunity to travel our country again.
stay well and be safe , kanga n Jen

livin
Posts: 319
Joined: Jan 2003

Thank you for your journey, I don't think nothing can prepare us for this trip. I was dx with stage 3 2 pos nodes Feb. 13 2001. It is a long hard battle but we will survive. Welcome to the Semicolons. I have been a nurse since July 1977. I remember that day well, one of my happiest days of my life -smile.

bob000
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2003

My story is similar to yours. In 2001 I was diagnosed with colon cancer, just days before Christmas. They couldn't operate until January 4th so I went through the entire holiday season knowing I had to face surgery. They removed 1/3 of my colon and the cancer had spread to the tissue outside the colon and was in 7 of 13 lymph nodes. I was hospitalized for over a week and lost about 15 to 20 pounds. Then I went on chemotherapy for 7 months (5fu and lukevorin). I had diahhrea so badly that I ended up in the hospital on IV fluids and had to skip chemo.
But the good news is I am now 3 years cancer free, am having good CEA tests and CT scans and life is good! So it IS possible to make it through. We are not necessarily going to die when diagnosed with cancer. They are making great headway. Just remember to get your colonoscopies on a regular basis and eat lots of broccilli and fiber! Congratulations to us both! Carol

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