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28 year old husband - bowel cancer

RebeccaJane
Posts: 19
Joined: May 2004

Hi, my 28 year old husband was diagnosed with bowel cancer on 29 April 2004. He had a large part of his bowel removed and we have been advised that he had Dukes B Cancer. He starts Chemotherapy on Monday. Of course this has been a difficult and scary time but we have had incredible support from family & friends. Also the Australian health system is excellent and there has been no real drain on our finances. I am looking to communicate with other young bowel cancer sufferers as I feel this would help my husband over the next few months. We also have a 4 year old daughter who has given us all strength. Thanks so much for reading.....

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

Hi Rebecca, Although I don't thnk I qualify in terms of your definition of "young" (I'm 53), I do want to say welcome to this distinguished? club. Sorry, though, that you have to be here. You will hear back from others (like Stacey, our young resident stage 4 survivor, and others who are as young or younger than your husband.) Hope his recovery from surgery is going well. Be sure to take care of yourself; this can feel like a long haul. I am nearly 3/4 of the way through my 24 weeks of chemo, which has gone relatively smoothly so far. Hang in there, Judy

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

Hiya Rebecca-welcome to the "semi-colon gang"-sorry to hear about your hubby.As you can tell from my name I am also an Aussie--from south aus. in fact.
I was dx'd the same as your hubby--basically stage 2 and have also had surgery to remove about 1/3 of my colon.This happenned in august of 2003 and was followed by chemo(5fu/leucovorin) for 6 months.
Hey--nice to see an ozzie on here!!!-although the circumstances leave a bit to be desired.
The guys here are great and will all lend support and help you with anything you need.
Let me know what regime your hubby is on.Tell me if you have any concerns----ANYTHING!
Nobody here is coy about asking questions--we are one big family and need all the support we can get so make sure you let us know any concerns.
You are both obviously very worried about this horrible thing--just remember that most here are either going thru it or have already done so.
Let me know if hubby has any problems at all with his chemo---and make sure he tells his clinic nurses ANY unusual side effects!
Our luv and huggs to you both Rebecca--kanga n Jen

ipetrou
Posts: 33
Joined: Apr 2004

hi - my husband Matthew is 34 and was diagnosed early march 2004 with stage III (dukes C) rectal cancer - he has undergone chemo and radiation, will be having surgery june 16, and then more chemo. we have a 2 1/2 year old daughter. so i imagine i know a lot of what you and he are going through and my heart goes out to you.

RebeccaJane
Posts: 19
Joined: May 2004

Sorry he was actually diagnosed 29 March 2004, not April......I will reply to all messages later tonight....thanks again

RebeccaJane
Posts: 19
Joined: May 2004

Kangatoo, my husband is having the same chemotherapy as you had. Today the first day went well.....did you have many side effects??? He is a very fit and healthy person, I am hoping that this will mean less trouble with the 5U. Your reply was lovely and so positive, thanks. Judy, I hope you are feeling well. Your reply was appreciated and thanks for welcoming us!!! You must be happy to getting close to the end of the chemotherapy. Which country are you from? Ipetrou....you must be going through such a difficult time, your husband is also so young. Is there a history of this type of cancer in your husbands family? We are seeing a Geneticist soon to investigate my husbands family history. Take care and I hope your husbands surgery goes well.....thanks to everyone who replied, it is great to speak to people who know exactly how we feel.

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

Hi again Rebecca--Things re; chemo were not too bad in the first 3 sessions but got a little worse as time went on---please remember that everone on chemo suffers different effects.
My side effects were;
Nausea--24/7 but meds. stopped vomiting-flat ginger beer and dry biscuits help.

Metallic taste-yuk--nothing helps that, although you could try crystalized ginger.

Diarrhea in the second week after chemo for 48 hours.

Some mouth ulcers--tell hubby to keep his mouth "very" clean--DO NOT USE LISTERINE!

Loss of memory--"chemo brain"

He must be "very" carefull not to come into contact with people who have colds/flu etc. and be carefull not to cut himself-infection is easy to get.

He MUST tell his clinic any concerns no matter how trivial and keep an eye out for fevers/high temperature.This is very important as his immunity levels will be low.

Depression/anger are a normal reaction.

Fatigue/tireness is one of the main side-effects so sleep/rest is very important!
Tell hubby he should not overdo things--do the "important" things and let the trivial wait--trust me--chemo can be the pits!
OK-now he may not get any or all of these effects but let me know if you need info.
Here for you both--luv , kanga n Jen

ipetrou
Posts: 33
Joined: Apr 2004

We will also be seeing a geneticist but not for a while. They want to biopsy whatever they find during surgery - which I hope is nothing! Matthew banked sperm when we first found out about all of this but if there's a genetic angle we won't be using it. No history in Matthew's family but his father has had polyps removed (at a normal age) so hard to know if those would have turned in to anything. May just be a random dose of terrible luck. I hope your husband does well with the chemo. Acupuncture was a big help for mine- both for the nausea and it just generally made him feel much better. Also, the hospital nutrionist strongly recommended glutamine and aloe vera juice to help his "gut integrity" and they really do seem to help - something you may want to look in to if you haven't already.

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

Hi again,
Just wanted to respond to your questions and add some info. I live in the states, in Massachusetts. I am also receiving 5FU and leucovorin, and, as you may find out, side effects vary from none(!!!) to mild to more difficult. I have experienced NO nausea and no vomiting, occ bouts of diarrhea, controlled by immodium, some bad taste in my mouth (which is related to my potassium level dropping,) and increasing fatigue as the treatments progress. I have had annoying skin side effects, mainly cracked skin on fingertips, heels and corners of my mouth. I lotion my self up with all kinds of potions, which seem to help.
I worked for the first 12 weeks of chemo, but am now on medical leave. I have a hubby, 2 high school teenagers, a dog and cat, and a garden that is far more compelling than work right now. It's a relief to have time to do the necessary household stuff and get in good naps, and not have to worry about performing at work AND at home.
One piece of advice that I found helpful is to be sure to stay well hydrated before, during and after chemo. I understand that this stuff is metabolized pretty quickly, and having the fluids on board seems to help. I found plain water very tasty at first, but now drink diluted cream soda (vanilla flavored) or dilute ginger ale (ginger beer in oz??).
Hope you and hubby continue to do well. I was so relieved to get the chemo underway and feel like I was doing something to get at any of those errant cells. Good luck to you both, Judy

steved
Posts: 836
Joined: Apr 2004

Rebecca, I'm 31 and was diagnosed with rectal cancer two months ago now so can appreciate what you and your husband must be going through. They suspect my cancer is a little more advanced locally so am just finishing five weeks of continuous 5FU and daily radiotherapy preoperatively with a view to a resection in another 6-10 weeks. The chemo is not as bad as I thought it would be and I worked until last week when the tiredness has taken over. Otherwise some diarrhoea and soem effects off the radiotherapy but generally bearable. i think being young does make your system more robust to insults like treatment (no offence meant to teh older members of this group though!)
My wife has struggled at times, made all the more difficult due to her being due to deliver our first baby next Sunday. I will sugest she writes to you too as she has found this site very supportive.
Feel free to email if you have any queries or jsut want to offload/ chat. The fact your husband has already had the op means I can probably learn some things from you guys too- what was his op and how did he cope generally?

Hope he is recovering well and that time is proving to be the best healer of all the emotions you must be going through.

PS I to am Antipodean (NZ until 5 years ago- now living in the UK)- good to see more Down under representation on this site!

RebeccaJane
Posts: 19
Joined: May 2004

Hello Kanga, Ross had his 2nd lot of Chemotherapy today and feels a little bit off but pretty good. He and our daughter are lying on the lounge floor playing mario cart!!!! We appreciate all your tips, we are now prepared for anything!! What kind of checks are you having now to see that all is going ok?

We were just about to transfer to Sydney with work when all this happened. It was big shock as my husband had been feeling unwell for ages and then got severe stomach cramps. He had a CT scan which revealed a tumour. He had almost half his bowel removed, the operation was very sucessful and the pathology results came back indicating that the 27 lymph nodes checked showed no cancer. We feel so lucky because our surgeon said that another 6-12 months and it may have been a different story. Thanks so much for your advice, it has really helped

Ipetrou - thanks also for your great tips, Ross really likes the idea of accupunture so we will see how he goes. Where are you from? Do you have a lot of family support? Does your little girl sense that something is going on. My girl only knows that Daddy went to the hospital and the doctor cut a hole in his tummy and took out the big yukky sore......it pretty much sums it up really!!! She is such a gorgeous loving girl and she has helped us keep bright through all this. Take care.

Judy it was lovely to hear all about you and your family. I was also pleased to see the chemo going into Ross. We know there may be side effects but we want to increase the chances of this not coming back ever.....We live in a town of about 30,000 people, we moved here recently from an outback town where we spent 4 years. There is just the 3 of us and our big dog Jake. I was glad to read that you have medical leave at your disposal. We are also lucky as we both work for the government, my husband state and myself federal. I feel so sad when I read about people getting into financial difficulty when they are going through things like this.

Hi Steve, thankyou for replying to my message, my husband has been reading all the messages and it is giving him strength and insight into what others are going through. While I am sure the two of you are living what must feel like a nightmare now, having a new baby will be wonderful. I don't think there is a 'right' time for having children but I feel that your child will give you and your wife so much joy and help build your strength.

Ross had a right hemicolectomy (spelling!!)on 08 04 04. It was a bit of a shock to see him straight after the operation and the pain management took a little while to get right. Recovery seems to happen quickly though and it was strange to see him go from not being able to walk at all to a couple of days later being able to walk to the loo. He was able to eat a few days after too. Now he is great, he cant run or do weights yet but it won't be long. I feel that because the cancer has been removed after being there for so long that he is healthier than ever...I had better go now but I just want to say another big THANKS to everyone for taking the time to write to me.....

nettie4
Posts: 145
Joined: Mar 2004

hello. i was origianly dx at age 28 while pregnant with my 2nd child. in 02 we found out it recurred and right now am fighting it in the lungs and winning. i hope the out come for your husband is with little side affects. its a tuff road but taking every day and remembering what has been given instead of what might be taken makes the load a little ligther. i have a wonderful husband and 2 kids ages 5 and 7 so i know how this touches your heart in places you never knew you had. i hope all goes well and take care of you too and i hope the side affects are minimal on you too. if you need or want if i can ans anything for you please email me. i have been dealing with this since 1998 and while i am no expert i have learned some things. i am on oxciliplatin 5fu luc and avastin. hope you had a wonderful mothers day.

sincerely
nettie

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