Oct 30, 2011 - 2:22 pm
I looked for a site like this back when I was diagnosed in 11/2005. I've kind of went it alone since our cancer is so rare there wasn't much info available at that time. When I was diagnosed I was pregnant and assumed the pain was hemorhoids. My baby didn't survive, but the weight of him growing inside me made my tumor start hurting me. He was a little angel sent to save my life! It has been a long hard journey for me. I was stage IIIB and very agressive. After six weeks of radiation and two rounds of chemo I was told all would be well in 3-6 months. One week after being home from treatment I was hospitalized for a severe infection. The radiation got rid of the tumor, but left a big hole in me. My cancer was also in the surrounding tissues & lymph nodes. After about 3 months of in & out of the hospital my surgeon found a rectal vaginal fistula. For some reason my body did not respond well to the radiation and just would not heal properly. I had over 25 surgeries to repair fistulas and even went to the Mayo Clinic seeking help. Once the surgeons even tried taking healthy muscle tissue from my thigh and grafting it into my vaginal area in hopes that it would have a better blood supply and allow me to heal. This was a complete failure, what I thought would be a 2inch incision on my thigh wound up being the entire length of my thigh. About 4 weeks after the surgery this huge scar split open and I had to have a wound vac on for 8 months to repair my thigh. My treatment also destroyed my thyroid and left me with early onset arthritis in every joint in my body. I now have my second colostomy which is permanent because the only solution was to remove half of my large colon and rectum. They also rebuilt my vaginal wall. Even after everything I've been through I am very grateful for my second chance at life! I survived! It is hard to talk to other people about anal cancer because of the sensitivity of all the issues that go along with it. I thank all of you and really do enjoy reading your posts! To anyone new to anal cancer don't worry, not everyone has all the trouble I've experienced. I was blessed in numerous ways and have an absolutely wonderful fiancee that has stuck by my side throughout all of it. My kids were teenagers at the time and boy did they grow up fast, bless their hearts they helped me so much. After my last surgery I was so weak that to do dishes I had to sit in a chair, now I keep a clean house and am attending college. I want to become a social worker and help people the way I was helped. I want to pay it forward! Thanks for reading this and being there!