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just diagnosed w/colon cancer

BSNC
Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2005

on Friday 3/4, a "U" shaped tumor that is restricting my lower bowel. First time ever encountering this, so I need info. What to expect from surgery? Recovery time? Complications? Expectations? ??? Thanks in advance to all that reply. Brian in NC.

rejoyous
Posts: 259
Joined: Nov 2004

Welcome to the club. I'm so sorry that you have recently discovered your membership, but the bright side is that you have found a wonderful place for information, encouragement, and inspiration. There are many wonderful people here.

I was diagnosed last summer, had surgery, chemo, and now am waiting for my first post-chemo c-t scan results. Each case is different, so you'll discover that the more information and questions you have, the more specific info you'll get here.

My surgery was uncomplicated and my post-surgery recovery was swift. I found it very helpful to do as much walking (starting in the hospital) post-surgery as possible. It helped get the bowels moving again and certainly helped my spirits and strength.

Aside from that, I'd just recommend taking this one day at a time and doing as much as you can to enjoy the small moments of life as they come to you. Lance Armstrong's memoir, It's Not About the Bike, was also very helpful to me as an introduction to this new world.

I wish you strength and joy--yes, joy!--in the coming weeks. It's there if you look for it.

slammer
Posts: 120
Joined: Apr 2004

Hi BSNC, I am Amy, I too, like Rejoyous, had surgery, healed well, did a six mo. chemo stint, Faired well in chemo(everyone& every medication is different) but My cancer was found during an appendix surgery, not the appendix, but apple size tumor, removed it & like 6-7 inches of bowel, called a bowel resection. I did well but like she said walking to help get those inners going again. You will find out more from others in here you are in a wonderful site to listen, ask & observe too. Sorry it had to take this to meet ya but you'll be o.k. if you think well
Be strong & I too am right now reading Lance's book, like it alot! God Bless & stay involved with your DRs.
You didn't state your age, etc, but that doesn't matter, because there is a wide variety of people & ages in this Semi-colon group, Cancer doesn't specify
Amy

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

Hiya Brian and welcome to our wonderfull "family". I am in OZ(australia) and have been coming here since 03. It sounds like you are very similar to me so here goes mate.
I had a low down tumour/blockage in the region of the descending/sigmoid area. I had surgery(I think they called it a high anterior resection) where they removed approx. 1/3 of my colon. I then did 6 months of chemo(5FU/Leucovorin). I am now in remission(NED....no evidence disease)
Remember that all cancers are staged(I am stage 2) and each cancer is treated according to location/type and also depends on the cancers aggressiveness....some are more agressive than others. A lot of factors come into it so you need to ask MANY questions of your doctor and also on this board.
In my case the surgery involved an incision from my pelvic bone to breastbone. I had a choice of either epidural or general anaesthetic.(I had an epidural) If the surgery goes well, here in OZ 4-5 days is required in hospital.
I knew a guy in the same ward as me who had the same op. and recovered extremely well, however sometimes there are complications. I had a bad time with the epidural working and also with a reaction to morphine, however I was told that I "just happened to be" one of those people that the odds were against regarding a complication free surgery. I don't tell you this to frighten you Brian but this is a "major" surgery and you need to ask many questions of your surgeon to understand that sometimes things can go haywire.
Also, I was told of the possibility of needing a colostomy, although I was fortunate this did not happen.
Many people get thru surgery very well and a lot of factors come into account. ie; age, physical condition, weight, emotional state.
The after effects/recover after surgery vary greatly. Bowel function takes time to return properly and in some cases there are those who experience problems.
Brian...there are so many variables! Take the time to read some personal pages here and do not be afraid to ask as many questions as you like. We all needed information and still seek it. Keep in touch.do not hesitate to let us know how you feel. This is frightening for us all....but thats why we call ourselves a "family"...because we are here for each other.
Our very best, luv, kanga n Jen

steved
Posts: 836
Joined: Apr 2004

Hard to knwo what to say without knowing a bit more. You are undoubtably in a total spin the moment jsut trying to get your head aropund what is happening. I remember it all too well ( dx stage 3 a year ago last week- now post op, post radiotheraapy and chemoa dn looking forward again).

Jsut take time to allow it to settle in and gather a bit of info. you may have preop chemo and radiotherapy to shrink it odwon to make it easier to resect. This is usually for six weeks and hwile it isn't pleasant I managed to work through out it so it isn't somehting that needs to take over your life.
The operation is a hard thing to take though- allow yourself 2-3 months to recover as it is a major insult tothe body and you need to be realistic about ow long it takes to recover.
most of all jsut take time to talk it over- your fears, expectations etc- withthose that you care about. They will be scared too and it is iomportant that you give yourself time to come to grips with this.

Sorry for the vague info but it is hard to be specific without more details. Feel free to let us know a bit more about you and let us know how things pan out,
Steve.

BSNC
Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2005

WOW! Some great info and encouragement from people so quickly. Thanks for the info.

To "fill you in"...I'm 43, relatively good health so this was definitely a surprise. I actually get to visit the surgeon tomorrow/Tuesday AM for a consultation. I do have a bunch of questions for him, and I've been calling many friends and asking for referrals, recommendations, etc. One great aspect of all this is I'm getting a ton of support and encouragement from my employer. This has really helped to ease the anxiety of the whole scenario.

For those that mentioned Lance Armstrong's book, I read it several years ago and literally did so in a weekend. I was engaged from the first chapter and had a hard time putting it down. Very intense book, which is pretty much Lance's character in general.

Re: surgery, ironically I had a disc removed from my neck on 2/5/2004, so I've been down the surgery road in the past year. I saw on one of the websites I was exploring over the weekend, a visual of the incision. Ouch! Oh well, I am far from a male model, so I'll wear the scar with a smile...

I am curious to hear more about the recovery time. They told me I'd be out 6 weeks with my disc surgery, and I was up and about in 3 weeks. Something tells me when you cut open your abdomen, the time to recover will be much longer.

Colostomy will probably be avoided due to the fact the tumor is apparently in the decending section of the colon. Again, I'll know more tomorrow.

Okay, I feel better already having simply posted this reply. Thank you to all of you for the replies. Signed off for now, Brian.

PS - "Semi colon club" >> THAT is HILARIOUS!

HowardJ
Posts: 484
Joined: Jan 2005

Hi Brian and welcome. I just went through the surgery end of December so it's all pretty fresh. I'm stage II and only had surgery, no chemo. I had a right hemicolectomy (right side of colon removed), and it was done laprascopicaly which helped with the recovery. I was in the hospital 5 days (they also found and repaired an umbilical hernia which caused most of the post-op pain). Walking really helped my recovery and I did as much as I could handle. Each week getting stronger. I'm now doing almost everything I did before surgery. But, as others have written everyone is different, and there's a difference if chemo is involved. As for what to expect...I was not ready for the emotional aspect which hit a few weeks after surgery. Some people naturally cope really well. I'm learning to...
Howard

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

Brian. I started my chemo a month after surgery and it does slow the healing process somewhat. The chemo is killing off some good cells as well as the bad and consequently has an effect on healing. It is quite noticeable. I can't comment on the healing process without chemo but would imagine that in those cases, like Howards, things get back to reasonable normality quicker. From what you have said in this post you are almost identicle to me so I might be of more help to you in the future. But do remember that there still may be a lot of differences in the surgery and recovery.
I note Howard that you did not do chemo? Over here in OZ is is pretty much standard procedure for anyone from stage 2. It is also offered to stage 1 I believe as an option. Laparascopic surgery is also an option here as well although it was not for me.(I am told it is easier to cope with post surgery, Howard)
Brian ...6 months of chemo took its toll on me so it was well over 9 months post surgery that even some form of normality returned....but that was just me...others may have faired better.
As Steve said..this is "major surgery"....take his point on 2-3 months to recover...but if you do chemo..you can almost be assured it will take longer.M y surgeon told me that bowel surgery is considered these days to be more complicated than open heart surgery. I am glad to hear that the colostomy may be avoided.
They can do some pretty amazing things these days. I still find it hard to believe that I could use my bowels 4 days after they resected it--truly amazing!!!
Keep us up to speed Brian..all the best from kanga n Jen

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