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Going in for surgery soon

RonWatt
Posts: 12
Joined: May 2005

I'm newly diagnosed and going to surgery in two weeks. Does anyone have any thing to share that may give me a heads up as to what to expect? Been struggling a bit mentally ... ugh. Any suggestions there? Thanks much, Ron

tkd3g
Posts: 768
Joined: Aug 2004

Hi Ron. Welcome.

What kind of surgery are you having?

Barb

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

Howyagoin Ron,from OZ. Welcome to our family mate. Barb beat me to it Ron(as these guys here always do). Give us as much info as you an and I am sure that you will find the answers you need. All of us have gone thru many stages of teatment and have had to deal with the anxiety you are feeling so you are certainly not alone. There are no holds barred here Ron so you can be as bold as you like when talking about your surgery, treatment, bodily functions....nothing is taboo here.
Let us know your story mate,
cheers, kanga n Jen

RonWatt
Posts: 12
Joined: May 2005

I just left you a new message, before i checked to see if i had another response. To fill you in i was diagnosed in March with early stage III rectal cancer. I have gone through five and a half weeks of chemo and radiation. I am now struggling with feeling like i am not doing anything before my surgery. I have had a tough time mentally. But thank God today is a good day. Any info on what i might expect?

Ron

RonWatt
Posts: 12
Joined: May 2005

Hi Barb,
You'll have to be patient with me, I'm a very slow typer. I'm so excited to have a response,thank you. My cancer has been diagnosed as early stage III in the rectal area. The surgeon feels he can "connect" me, but I'm not sure what type of surgery I'm going to have.

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

Firstly.....it is usefull Ron to also check out personal webpages here as that will give you a lot of insight into our "family" and their personal experiences. For example on the personal web page search box....type in "kangatoo", that would bring up my page.
As for your cancer it seems your surgeon thinks that he will be able to "connect you". In some cases of rectal cancer depending on the extent of the cancer, patients are unable to have the "resected part of the colon" re-connected to allow normal bowel function thru the anus.They then are required to have a colostomy, where the waste products are collected in a "bag" via an artificial anus(stoma) made in the abdominal wall. If you are able to be re-connected that is a really big plus for you. Your unsurity of your surgery tells me that you need to ask lots of questions of your surgeon to get a very clear report on exactly what is going to be done and how it will be done. Do not be afraid to ask these questions..you have a right to know.
The type of surgery performed usually is given a name. For example in my case it was called an "high anterior resection". I was stage 2 and had the majortiy of the sigmoid colon and descending(left side) colon removed. Low anterior resection, colectomy are other examples of the terms they use...depending on what is done. Some surgeries use abdominal incisions..others are done laparoscopically thru the abdomen or internally via the anal canal. Much depends on the original dx and the surgeon/hospital involved in the operation. The more info you can get on your surgery the better you will understand how to prepare yourself. Being afraid is as normal as all hell Ron....thats hy we are here to help you thru this. We all are afraid....no getting away from that mate.
cheers, kanga n Jen

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

Hey Ron ...seems we are both typing at the same time..lol!
Keep the questions coming mate. It is morning over here and I am still waking up!!! lol!!
Barb!!!!????.....Hey sweetie....how do I get to your web page??? Typing tkd3g in the search box ain't working!
luv kanga n Jen

tkd3g
Posts: 768
Joined: Aug 2004

Morning Kanga. How is Jen feeling?

try : Laugh till it hurts. That should work.

By the way Ron, I am/was stage 3 rectal also. Check out my personal web page for my story.

I have to run now, but I'll give you some of my tips for a safe and speedy recovery.

Barb.

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

Ron.....sorry you had to do the chemo.......yuk.....I hates that stuff! I did not do the rad treatment. That is usually used to shrink tumours where a surgeon thinks that is the better course of action and as with you to rid some areas of cancer before surgery. I would "guess" that your cancer is low in the rectum and the extent of the spread of it determined your surgeons statement about being re-connected. There are others here who have been in your position that I am sure will comment.As I said, being able to be re-connected for rectal cancer is one step in your favour!
Preparing for your surgery physically really means getting yourself in as good a shape as you can. The heathier you are the better you will be able to recuperate. The healing process poste-op will be improved and much quicker if you are fighting fit before it. Mentally , it takes quite a bit of courage to wait for the day. I have said that it is helpfull for us to know what type of surgery you will be having. That will prepare you but also help us to help you. Abdominal surgery(as I had) is not to be taken lightly. It is a major procedure. Having said that, most here have gone thru it....some very well, some with complications. Nonetheless, even tho I would not like to do it again, I have to say that given the choice, I would if needs be. Fear of the unknown is our worst enemy, but don't get too worried, the surgery is doable and all the effort is taken to keep you comfortable.
cheers, kanga n Jen

HowardJ
Posts: 484
Joined: Jan 2005

Hi Ron, Welcome. The others have given good advice so I'll comment on the bit about struggling mentally. I was unprepared for the emotional impact which hit after my surgery. Some cancer patients experience a variety of negative feelings (fear, saddness, anger)associated with cancer and all that brings. Don't underestimate it and don't ignore it. I was fortunate to find a therapist who specilized in dealing with cancer patients and it's helped me put things into perspective. Don't be afraid to get help if you feel you need it. Taking care of yourself includes emotional support.
Howard

MJay's picture
MJay
Posts: 132
Joined: Aug 2004

Hi Ron~ Excellent advice from Howard. I, too, was stage III rectal cancer. My tumor was too low so it was complete removal of everything "down there" and permanent colostomy for me. I did the radiation/chemo route, surgery, and then chemo again. All medical treatments are done... just the three month followups. But I am seeing a therapist. Mentally cancer has sent me for a loop. I found one that specializes in people with chronic illnesses. It has been a tremendous help. Don't hesitate to seek a therapist if needed. I couldn't do without it. My family and I are both better off.

Good luck and keep us posted.

MJay

RonWatt
Posts: 12
Joined: May 2005

Thank you all for your responses. It's all really good advice.My problem with talking to my surgeon is that he's in the Mayo clinic in Minn. I live in Montana.We don't have any surgeons here that make colorectal there expertice.That's why we oppted for the Mayo clinic. My wife and I googled my surgeon and he certainly has great credentals.But the only thing we received was a packet that told us our schedule and what to do.I get a consultation and Sigmoidoscopy, then I meet with the Stomal nurses right after that. And surgery is the next day.

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

I did seek out a therapist Ron...shoulda told you that....dah....braindead. Anyway most hospitals have what they call a "clinical phsycologist". mine was a great help. Any hospital close by could help...it doesn't need to be Mayo.Don't be bashfull Ron....you need all the support you can get. As for your actual preparation things can get pretty hectic as the time for surgery closes in. Have you had surgery before? Is the pre-op preparation one of your concerns as far as ..what they do?..anaesthetic?.....these sorts of things?
cheers, kanga n Jen

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2084
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi Ron!

I went to the Mayo Clinic too! I had Nivatvong. Excellent surgeon and best in his field.

I live in MN now (did live in Bozeman!).

You will love Mayo. They run like a Swiss Watch. The Gonda building where you will spend much of your time is gorgeous.

Keep us posted. Say hey to the St Mary's nurses!!

peace, emily who sings Mayo's praises

RonWatt
Posts: 12
Joined: May 2005

Gonna go eat dinner. I'll check back later. Thanks again for all your comments and support! Ron

Glv49
Posts: 206
Joined: May 2005

Hi Ron,
Welcome, I too am pretty new here, just started in this group last week, everyone here is great and you really feel welcomed. Good luck on your surgery, I am a Stage IV colon cancer survivor!!! I love to say that! I had a colostomy bag but had it reversed in Jan. I will say a prayer for you.
Glv49

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Ron -- and welcome.
I was diagnosed with Stage III rectal cancer. Like you, I had chemoradiation, followed by surgery. I then had more chemo after the surgery. In my case, the tumour was very low, and I ended up with a permanent colostomy. That was an adjustment -- but, in truth, is not all that bad. The surgery I had was called abdominal-perineal resection (APR). No matter what surgical procedure you have, you should be prepared for the fact that it will be "major" surgery. It will take you some time to recover afterwards. I am sure you will get a lot of excellent advice from the medical team prior to your surgery, but my two "tips" are: (1) make sure you get adequate pain relief afterwards [don't try to be a 'martyr'!] and (2) walk a lot after the surgery. I can understand your feelings about waiting for the surgery. I remember feeling like I desparately wanted it OUT. My understanding is that the radiation continues to work for several weeks after it ends -- so the treatment is still going on in your body! Also, it is important that you be nicely recovered from the radiation before the surgery -- go into the surgery strong!
Like several others on this board, I went to see a counsellor -- in my case, after all the treatment ended -- which I found very helpful.
Best of luck with your surgery.
Tara

kerry's picture
kerry
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003

Hi Ron,

Welcome to the site. A great place to be and as SpongeBob said, after your surgery you will be an official "Semi-Colon". We are always here to help any way we can.

Tara had good advice about pain control. My anesthesiologist gave me an epidural of pain meds which lasted for about 3 days to relieve pain. It helps the healing process when you don't have the stress of pain on your body. Again, DON'T be a martyr - take all the pain meds they can give you.

Let us know how you are doing. We are good counselors, uplifters, information providers and especially good friends.

Take care.

Kerry

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

Ahoy, Ron -

Welcome to the Semi-Colons... don't worry, you'll be an official SEMI-colon after your surgery!

Tara is right on the money with her two tips! I would also add to be sure to drink LOTS of water... every day for the rest of your life. Part of the colon's job is to replace the body's water supply. If you have part removed, your ability to supply some of your ownwater through waste filtration (I know, kinda gross, eh?) will be lost. It's very important to keep that water level up.

Hang in there and take heed of all the great advice that's been sent your way.

Best regards

- SpongeBob

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

Oh... one other thing, Ron

Above Barb (tkd3) advises Kanga & Jen to "laugh til it hurts"... Despite the fact that laughter is the best medicine, you should probably stay away from that "Meet the Fokkers" or your "Seinfeld Season 4" DVDs for a few days. Rest assured that in your case "laugh until it hurts" will pretty much be instantaneous!

Be well, Ron

- SpongeBob

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

Yeah....and I don't advise fallin' off yah chair n rollin' on tha floor too soon after surgery Ron.....hurts like hell. Tell your joker mates to stay away for a while too. Jen's girlfriend promised me she would come into hosp. to cheer me up. Needless to say Deb is a practical joker and had absolutely no mercy on me. Geeeezzzzz--it hurt!

Barb....Jen is fine now sweetie....thanks for askin.
I know when she is back to her healthy self when she asks me...."where's me cuppa????!!!!"....lol!

RonWatt
Posts: 12
Joined: May 2005

Good morning everybody,except for you kanga I guess I need to say good night.I'm going to head up to Flathead lake today.For some womder and awe therapy.Say 2bhealed why would you leave such a pretty area as Bozeman and move to MN.?Well I've got to say it GO GRIZ!!!! THanks again to everybody.It's a great comfort to know there's a place I can go to now and talk with awesome people who have gone through the same experiance.I'll be back on Monday.Oh yeah have a great memorial day weekend.

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2084
Joined: Dec 2001

Hey Ron,

Believe me, I went kicking and screaming back to Wisconsin and 7 years later we moved to MN. It took me two years to get over it!! But then my sister got sick and I was glad I was "back home". Then my hubby went into the mission field and we ended up in MN. Now we are in the North Woods or the Norwegian Riviera and loving it. Don't knock it til you see the gorgeous Great Gitchee Gummi! (Lake Superior). The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is worth the trip, but yeah, I miss the Big Sky!

peace, emily the flyfisherwoman (well, in my old life before 5 kids)

taunya's picture
taunya
Posts: 392
Joined: Jul 2002

Hi Ron,
The thing I remeber the most about the day of my surgery was the WAITING! I hope you won't have a lot of it. I arrived at 7 or 8AM and I don't think they actually started my surgery untill afternoon! I was parked in a huge pre-op room with a bunch of other people (who all seemed to come and go). That was the hardest part for me. I bet it will go very well for you. It sounds like Mayo is a very orderly place. Good Luck to you friend.
I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
Hugs to You,
Taunya

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