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stage 3c colon cancer

MelanieT's picture
MelanieT
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

My husband is 39 and was diagnosed with stage 3c colon cancer. He had surgery to remove his tumor july 27 and had to have a colostomy bag. A week later his bowel ruptured and was back in emergency surgery where he almost died. During this surgery he had to have an illiostomy. He spent 20 days in the hospital only to return with several blood clots in his lungs which also almost killed him. He spent a total of 33 days in the hospital. He finally was healthy enough to start chemo on Sept 29th. 8 out of 20 lymph nods were postitive for cancer. I am just wondering why they did not do any scans to see if the cancer is spreading or gone. The dr said they will do PET and CT scans in March when he completes 6 months of chemo but i hate not knowing if it is still in him or even the odds of it still being there. He is so up and down with his chemo. One week he feels pretty good and the next he cant get out of bed.. Just looking for advice. Thanks..

Melanie

damama24
Posts: 175
Joined: Nov 2009

I was dx with stageIV colon cancer in Aug.09. Have not had any surgery started chemo Sept 02. I have had 3 ct scans since then and will have anothwer in one month. march seems like a long time to wait. I would ask questions.

MelanieT's picture
MelanieT
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

Thats what i thought also. I dont understand how they know if the treatment is working if they dont do scans..

dianetavegia's picture
dianetavegia
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

I assume your husband had a scan before surgery and his staging.... right? I'm also Stage III, completed chemo this past August and will have a scan in April. The new recommendations are 1 scan a year.

Sorry your husband had such an awful time of it!

It's very different for Stage IV. When other organs are involved, chemo is used to possibly shrink the tumors there, first.

Diane

MelanieT's picture
MelanieT
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

He did have a CT scan after surgery. It didnt show any tumors anywhere else, it was just in the lymph nods.

dianetavegia's picture
dianetavegia
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

Sounds like his onc is following the new guidelines. :o) I'm sure they're doing bloodwork alongside his chemo and that will show any changes in his tumor markers and liver enzymes, etc.

Diane

MelanieT's picture
MelanieT
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

Yes they do lots of blood work more so because he is on coumadin.. Thanks for your help.. I just worry because he has been complaining alot of back pain lately and the whites in his eyes look a little yellow to me.. I am probubly seeing things that are not there just because i am so scared from all this..We have 4 daughters and this is so hard on all of us..thank you

John23
Posts: 1832
Joined: Jan 2007

Melanie -

Make sure he drinks water frequently. An average of 4oz per hour
is good. It is very, very easy for Ileostomates to become dehydrated.

He can't wait to "feel thirsty", or for the common signs of dehydration
to appear. Drinking too much at any one time is useless, since
it will only go into the bag; his body can only absorb a specific
amount at one time. Drinking small amounts of water more frequently
is better than more all at once.

I was diagnosed with colon cancer 3+ years ago, staged at 3c/4.
The tumor consumed and totally blocked the colon, and grew through
that section of colon and into the next section of colon where it folds back.

Due to surgical errors, I had to be re-operated/opened a week after
the initial surgery, and received an ileostomy at that time.

It took me months to recover, so your spouse shouldn't expect too much.

Each case is different; each cancer is different. The statistics are
grim for all of us, regardless (if you believe the statistics).

I prepared for the worst, and remain thankful for seeing today.

The UOAA website for ostomates is here:
http://www.uoaa.org/

My best to both of you.

MelanieT's picture
MelanieT
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

thanks so much... It is a challenge everyday with having both the colos and the illiost... He has not been back to work and between healing from all the surgeries and now the chemo he is just to weak.. He gets very dehydrated very easy and has to go get fluids once a week from his oncologist.. your imput really helps.. thank you

Melanie

John23
Posts: 1832
Joined: Jan 2007

Melanie -

The UOAA site is great for ostomates in general, just as this site
is great for cancer victims in general.

You mentioned he has a colo and an ileo? Does he have a colostomy
and a urostomy, or "had" a colostomy and now has a ileostomy?
(I confuse easily) ( age, ya'know?) (it's the 2nd thing to go)

Generally, when they resect to an ileostomy, they remove the
ileocecal valve. I'll make this simple..... That's the valve between
the upper and lower intestines. The "valve" has two functions;
it keeps waste from backing up from the colon and into the
upper intestines.... and.... it allows the brain to control the flow
from the upper into the lower. So without that valve, everything
from the upper portion just flows down and out as fast as it can.

It presents two problems for the ileostomate. We become dehydrated
very easily (it's a constant battle), and we don't get the benefits
from our food intake as well as we should (it's going in/out faster).

Eating smaller portions more frequently, can be of benefit. But
much of the nutrients and minerals are absorbed in the colon,
and that's now missing.

The bigger problem is the hydration, though. So he has to make
sure he takes in water at least hourly. Remember, too much at
one time goes through and out. Small amounts more frequently
are best.

Good health!

MelanieT's picture
MelanieT
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

he has both right now but we just cap off the colost.. it only puts out a small amount of mucus.. thanks for the advice on keeping him hydrated that has been a huge strugle:)

my best,
Melanie

khl8
Posts: 809
Joined: Nov 2009

Melanie,
I was diagnosed with Stage 3 rectal cancer, had the scans right away, 6 weeks of oral chemo and radiation, then surgery to remove the tumor, a temporary illeostomy, then iv chemo for 6 months. Then I got the second set of scans and then the reversal of the ileostomy was done. So, not getting scans can be normal until treatment is complete.
Kathy

MelanieT's picture
MelanieT
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

thats good to know, thanks... i think one of the hardest parts is waiting...

jillpls's picture
jillpls
Posts: 241
Joined: Mar 2008

Hi John,
I too was Dx almost 3 years ago with stage IIIc rectal cancer. I've done the surgery, radiation and chemo but it's come back. I am interested in alternative treatments because I know that the poisons given will one day kill me if the cancer doesn't. Could you please tell me what treatment and where you found it? I am totally lost about Eastern meds. Thank you so much for any info you can pass on.
God bless you
Jill

geotina's picture
geotina
Posts: 2053
Joined: Oct 2009

Welcome to the board. My husband (Stage IV) had a CT scan right before surgery and then was not scanned until he completed his first 6 months of chemo. I asked midway about scans, etc. and our onc just said for his stage, we wait until after the chemo so we have a good picture of where we stand. Blood work was done weekly. Special blood work was done once a month. All indicators were that the chemo was working during treatment and the onc was right, the chemo definitely was working. Sometimes you just have to give it a little time. We all want it gone when surgery is done but sometimes it just takes some time but the waiting for results can be torture. George does not have a colostomy so I can offer you no information on that. I wish you well in your journey - Tina

MelanieT's picture
MelanieT
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

thank you:) they seem to only do blood work once a month to check is CEA levels. Most of the time he does not even tell us the results of that.. I assume they are good and it is working or he would tell us... i hope anyways..

coloCan
Posts: 1845
Joined: Oct 2009

that way you can also track your progress. I always question my onc or nurses about my cell counts and I compare current with prior results.... Your immune system definitely is compromised due to the chemo (among other side effects).....Steve

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