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Hope

ShellWell47
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2010

I was diagnosed with Stage II, no lymph nodes, anal cancer in December 2009. It was hard news to deliver in a variety of ways with kids ages 21 to 4. I had the "garden variety" of treatment, chemo at the start sandwiched with chemo at the end and radiation inbetween. I remember my oncolgist asking me if I'd had frequent anal sex and how awkward that was. "Um, no." Started treatment first week of January 2010, 33 days of radiation (took a break once due to fatigue/skin breakdown). I missed 7 days of work total, intermittently. Towards the end it was the most difficult as your body is worn down and you have to weather the evil chemo for another week. I didn't lose my hair. Everyone kept saying "you look great" even though I felt like crap. I guess it was losing the 15 pounds. I had one extreme bout with constipation probably from the pain meds - a constant pain in my gut that I let go for 4 days because I wasn't thinking straight (chemo) and was afraid it was another tumor (my mind played a lot of dark tricks during that time). I finished treatment at the end of February and slowly gained energy back. I had a CT Scan a week ago that looked good, and am awaiting biopsy results. I notice a change for the worse in my eyesight, and my 'chemo brain' continues as I have difficulty remembering things still. I am a legal assistant and my work was awesome and I do notice I can rise to the occasion at work moreso than at home as far as memory is concerned. I had a lot of friends praying for me and am Christian so do believe that makes a ton of difference. But I do note I tend to be down more often which is weird because as far as the cancer goes, I'm very encouraged and my doctors told me early on it was okay to tell my kids their professional opinion was they could cure me (with all the disclaimers and yadda). I had friends that bought me Lush bath products (I would take up to 3 baths a day to soothe the burning) so if you have access to those, I swear by them. At first sex was painful with bleeding but I persevere because my husband and I had a great sex life and I don't want to give that up. I have a very deep appreciation for life and breath that is hard to explain to anyone who hasn't looked over the precipe of darkness and death, so be encouraged that these things can bring a new clarity to life. Overall, I am deeply thankful for so much, albeit admittedly nervous about the results. Its a weird time post treatment. Hope this encourages someone out there - I know its scary.

Majulie
Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2010

Thank you! It's nice to know there are other people out there, feeling what I'm feeling. The sex life has been rough, the marriage has been tested, and the "chemo brain" keeps life interesting. But i agree about the appreciation for life. I feel "lucky to be alive" and I feel at my core, very happy and content..and often tell people that I am just happy to be alive, that it "feels good, to feel good". Life is sweet and we have been given the gift of knowing exactly what that means. I now know what the "small stuff" is and I do not sweat it. When I take a deep breath, my first thought is, "Thank you God for giving me breath" All the best to you, and prayers for a permanent recovery. You must be an amazing person to endure the treatment and only miss 7 days of work.

sandra malone
Posts: 34
Joined: Apr 2010

I read your story. First, I am Sandra Malone. I have 2 girls ages9&12, I am 49. I was dx with rectal cancer in August 2009. I also had the full "standard" rounds of tx, 6weeks rad (one break due to surgical lancing). For some odd reasons I would get abcessess on my butt while my cancer was active. So I am always alert for any odd pain or swelling there. To tell you the truth, I probably wouldnt have known I had cancer for not those weird growths.I also had chemo, which they implanted a port in my chest for. That was FUN (Ha-Ha),so I do know where youre at. The radiolist was the first one to tell me that the tumor was gone. I couldnt believe her. Not that she had ever lied to me, but, having gone through 8 weeks of tx and MANY sleepless nights....it was hard to wrap mt mind around. My Onc. then ordered furter testing another cat scan and a needle biopsy. All was clear. I had a chest xray and a mammosram, both clear, Still 5 months later it is often the first thing I think about during any given situation. Remmission? What does that really mean? NO concrete answers though. Just 2 days ago a man I met on the train said I looked great, not like Id ben sick at all..hmm. I also lost 10lbs in one week during tx..As for now I draw my strenght from The Lord and try to rely on Him in all my actions.I am a child of The Living God and I KNOW this.My ? is what next? I try to use my time sharing with others. Experience, strength and HOPE. OK, enough, I could go on&on but youre probably tired by now. I am registered so you should be able to find me easily through the network. Till then GOD SPEED my new friend.

ShellWell47
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2010

thank you for taking the time to respond to my story, and telling a piece of your own. God is good, all the time. There is a point to what we have gone thru and a point to who we are through it. Life is not static, and change is inevitable although admittedly not embraced all the time...all to say, keep writing keep encouraging keep talking about how God is working in your life through this. Look up and be brave NO MATTER WHAT. Its the least we can be for Jesus fame!

gypsy509
Posts: 11
Joined: Jun 2010

Thank you for sharing...and giving me hope too. I have just started my journey with Stage 1 anal and had my 6th rad today and my second iv of Chemo in a little while. I too have been praying a lot more and have realized that with Jesus in my life I can whether this storm too.

Majulie
Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2010

Gypsy509, you will be on my mind the next several weeks, and I will be praying for you. We are all here for you. I think we all know what it's like and we are all eager to be of support to those going through treatment. I am exactly one year from my dx. I ended treatment August 18, 2009 and so far everything is going well for me. I was T3/N2. Love and blessings to you, Julie

gypsy509
Posts: 11
Joined: Jun 2010

Julie,
Thanks for your thoughts and prayers and congratulations on your one year!! I will keep posting as time goes by.
Diane

pjjenkins's picture
pjjenkins
Posts: 173
Joined: Mar 2009

It is a strange time- I remember trying to fill it with visits to grandchildren and my 87 year old mom. I started a "Green" committee in my town and got ever more involved with my church. I try to "be the change you want to see" because I have been given this gift of life. Each follow up test brings that sense of apprehension because you know they do it because not all of us continue NED. And there are the post treatment problems which can crop up for a long time to come.

My prayers and thoughts to all who are here - newly diagnosed, in treatment, post treatment, NED, and with mets. And to the families, friends and churches, etc. who travel this journey with us.

As Joanne, in the midst of new trials, always says,
Blessings!
Priscilla

SueRelays
Posts: 489
Joined: Dec 2009

Ok I HAVE to comment on the oncologost asking if you have had a lot of anal sex!!! That would send me running to a new onc. Since when does having anal sex CAUSE cancer??? I think if it did the gay community would be in alot of trouble! That irks me because sometimes I feel like in saying I have anal sex, I somehow caused it by being promiscous....which I wasn't!! I had a friend that said she read it was caused by the HPV virus.....well it can be, but like my onc said, if it was from that, you more than likely would have had an abnormal pap smear, which I never had. And, as we know, even if it was from the virus, that could be from ONE partner at any time in your life, since it can lie dormant for years!!!
I think it's actually from eating french fries :) :) !!!!

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2823
Joined: Jan 2010

No more french fries for me! LOL!

SueRelays
Posts: 489
Joined: Dec 2009

CRAP......I meant to say anal CANCER....not anal sex!!! That by saying one has ANAL CANCER.... See the whole thing got me all flustered......not a fan!!!
Why won't it let me delete?? :)

z's picture
z
Posts: 1250
Joined: May 2009

Sue, That gave me such a good laugh, Thank you, Lori

Sue, you can edit the post see edit in the lower right hand corner.

SueRelays
Posts: 489
Joined: Dec 2009

HAHAHa....glad to hear it Lori!!! That's what I thought.....but I couldn't find it. I'll go back and look. HATE the way that reads! ALWAYS ALWAYS re read your posts LOL!!

HeartofSoul's picture
HeartofSoul
Posts: 732
Joined: Dec 2009

http://www.aphroditewomenshealth.com/news/20040612005751_health_news.shtml

http://www.medicinenet.com/anal_cancer/article.htm

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/anal/Patient

Being infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) can affect the risk of developing anal cancer.

Risk factors include the following:

•Being over 50 years old.
•Being infected with human papillomavirus (HPV).
•Having many sexual partners.
•Having receptive anal intercourse (anal sex).
•Frequent anal redness, swelling, and soreness.
•Having anal fistulas (abnormal openings).
•Smoking cigarettes.

SueRelays
Posts: 489
Joined: Dec 2009

Hey....I haven't seen your face in a long time:). Used to chat with you in the "live" chat forum. How are YOU doing?
Thanks for the info.
So I have never smoked and still ended up with lung cancer and now they're saying it's a big contributor to anal cancer too. SOOOO should have smoked in high school and hung out with the cool kids.

HeartofSoul's picture
HeartofSoul
Posts: 732
Joined: Dec 2009

Im doing well Sue. Remission since Dec 31 2008. I spend a lot of time on CSN Expression and Topic boards as well as chat. Its a great community with so many inspirational survivors and caregivers. Yes I remember you too from talking to you in chat back in Jan and Feb of this year. I have been staying updated on your progress too.

SueRelays
Posts: 489
Joined: Dec 2009

Thanks!!! It's nice to see your face. GLAD to hear your 2 1/2 years in remission!!!!
Yes, these sights have been saviours for me!! Met so many great people!!! Even have a weekend planned with a fellow stage IV that i met. It's on our "living" bucket list to meet and share a glass of wine!
Glad you popped on!

CharlotteW
Posts: 7
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi, I had all my treatments for anal cancer in 2007 and now only have to have a once a year PET scan. I agree with everyone that life is a blessing and enjoy every day! I'm still having bowel problems and I'm being to think I always will. I still find foods that really mess with me. (Pun intended). But take one day at a time and your energy will return. God Bless

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