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Just diagnosed

rds711
Posts: 113
Joined: Dec 2011

Hi All,

I am new to this site and grateful it is here. I am just beginning this journey and need a place to release my feelings. Please forgive me if I ramble.

I had some rectal bleeding, not much but being 51 decided best to have a colonoscopy. That was in mid August. MD removed 5 polyps and they came back benign. About 6 weeks ago I found a tender lump around my anus while showering so went to my primary MD and she said I should see a surgeon. I am a nurse so I searched my area and found a colorectal surgeon at a university hospital and made an appt for 12/15. She did digital exam then anoscope. She told me that I have a mass consistent with anal cancer and now I am scheduled for a biopsy 12/23. She did say that anal cancer many times is successfully treated with chemo and radiation. I kind of knew that this was likely going to be the diagnosis so was not shocked. Now a couple days later I feel like I am in some kind of surreal whirlwind, my mind just races from scenario to scenario. This is a time when I wish I had no medical knowledge or that I could at least turn it off when it becomes "too loud".

I am gaurdian for my younger brother who had a traumatic brain injury in 1999 and also support my sister who is ill herself and unable to work. They both live with me and my partner. I am worried about them should the worse case scenario happen for me. I am trying to remain positive, my partner is very supportive.

I wish the biopsy could be done sooner I just need to know what I am dealing with and what options I will have. The nurse in me needs the plan. I will continue to read throught the forums here and will return when I know more. I just had to get some of this out. Thank you for listening.

Randy

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2819
Joined: Jan 2010

Welcome to this group, although I wish you did not have a reason to be here. How you are feeling is exactly how I felt the day I found out I had anal cancer. I went to a colorectal doctor for a consult for my first ever colonoscopy and to discuss treatment for a "bleeding hemorrhoid," as diagnosed by my internist. I left the surgeon's office that day being told that she was 99% sure I had anal cancer, after DRE and anoscope. The shock was overwhelming. That was 3 1/2 years ago and I am here to reassure you that when this cancer is diagnosed early, treatment is very effective and has high rates of success. The standard chemo/radiation is not a fun 6 weeks, but most of us on this site have been there, done that, and are living life on the other side. In my case, that life is pretty much just like it was pre-diagnosis. I had a few emotional meltdowns prior to treatment starting, as I just hated the waiting. It seemed easier to deal with my emotions once treatment began.

I'm sorry that you have so many other issues to deal with, but I hope you can get some assistance so that your main focus during treatment can be on you. You WILL get through this, I promise! Please keep us posted on the treatment plans and ask any questions you may have--we are here to help! Take care!

rds711
Posts: 113
Joined: Dec 2011

mp,

Thanks for the encouraging words and bless you for taking the time to share and help others like myself. I am hanging on tight and gonna give it my all!

Randy

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

Welcome, sorry you had to find us. I too had a lump at the anal verge and was told 95% sure it was anal cancer. Me being in denial thought, no, they don't know what their talking about. The surgeon told me right there that if I had to pick a cancer, anal was a good one, because of the high cure rate. Well, I completed tx on 6-30-09, and in November of 2011, I was released from seeing my colorectal professor ever again. I am fine and anal cancer is curable, and that's the word cure. I wish you well, and keep us posted. Lori

Phoebesnow
Posts: 447
Joined: Apr 2011

Welcome. Firstly since your tumour is so close to the outside skin u r even more curable. So your prognosis is very good.

I understand your worries about your family. My husband is a paraplegic since he was 23. His mother one of the best people I have ever met in the world 90 years old is in end stage colon cancer. She and I do a lot for my husband. I was terrified at my dx, worried about what would happen to him if something happened to me. I was beside myself and I went to a physiologist and she could not believe that all I was worried about was him. Funny isn't it, she couldn't figure it out and neither can I, why he would be more important to me than myself but that's the way it is when u r in this role. My husband I am sure would be fine without me, but it would not be easy for him to have to do everything and work too.

By the way 711 is my favorite number!

I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Lorikat's picture
Lorikat
Posts: 551
Joined: Jul 2011

Hi Randy......I am not as far down the road on my journey as others here, but will share what I know. I had been treated for diverticulitis for nearly 6 months because of cramping and problems with bowel movements before I was sent for a colonoscopy. (It had only been three years since I had one, and everything was fine.). The Dr. told my husband that there was a strange mass in my rectum that was vascular and was almost definitely malignant, and he had done a biopsy. On July 23, 2011, (my birthday) the biopsy came back squamash cell cancer. I had never heard of such! Skin cancer THERE?

Anyway, it took until August 23 to get an appt at M.D.Anderson in Houston, but was a whirlwind after that! My tx ended Oct.14. So...2 months out of treatment and I am doing well. I spent a couple of days in the mountains this past week walking the hilly roads and enjoying. Still tire easy but feel good and have great hope for the future.

The people on this site have reassured me numerous times when something different or strange to me happened. I truly hope you can come back on this site and say, FALSE ALARM! Wishing you the best!

rds711
Posts: 113
Joined: Dec 2011

Z, Phoebesnow & Lorikat,

Thank you so much for responding to my post. Reading the responses have given me a new sense that I am not alone in this and that I have found a place with support, hope and strength. It really has taken a bit of the edge off. You are all so awesomely giving of yourselves. I will get through whatever they throw at me and I will keep each of you in my mind and heart as I do it. Bless you!

ps: Phoebe, 711 is my birthday and has been lucky for me. When I get through this I am heading to Vegas! :)

Randy

alis7910
Posts: 80
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi, and welcome to this site. I am an RN, so I understand some of your challenges. I remember when the Dr. gave me the diagnosis I was alone on a Saturday morning and immediately went into disbelief and overwhelm, but the loving support of my friends helped me get through it all.
I am 2 years and 4 months out of treatment and doing well.Just know that you can write about your challenges on this site as much as you want, and you will not feel alone. We have all been through it, so we will understand. Make sure you have the support of friends and family, and you get your basic needs met.
Best wishes to you, and hope you will write us again soon.

rds711
Posts: 113
Joined: Dec 2011

Thanks so much for your supportive words. I am sure you can relate, as a nurse, when I say I wish I could just unplug the knowledge now and then.

I do have a great support network of family and friends and am trying to remember that even nurses have to let people in. I had my biopsy this morning and will get call from the surgeon on Wednesday with pathology report. I want to just get the plan in place and start treatment.

The biopsy proved to be a bit more painful than what I had expected so I plan to spend the rest of the day taking percocet and trying to rest.

I am so glad that you had the support you needed and have come through the other side and are doing so well! God bless you and your family and I hope you have a wonderful Holiday!

Thanks again,

Randy

pjs62
Posts: 95
Joined: Sep 2011

Good morning Randy!

Like the others have said...this is a great place for input, advice, prayers. I'm kind of new here but not to anal cancer. My original diagnose was July 14, 2010. I went thru the traditional treatment of chemo (2-96 hr rounds) & radiation (28 rounds). Then Oct 22, 2010 I was 'in remission'. But this past Sept I was told the cancer is recurrent (guess mine is being very stubborn!). I did get a 2nd opinion & now have a new medical team who's great! I will also be having APR surgery soon so then it'll be ALL gone!!
I understand how overwhelming life can be....you've got alot 'going on' caring for family members. But you've got your partner to lean on which is a blessing. And like the others have said, & I've been told as well, anal cancer tho rare is highly curable. Just be sure to ask alot of questions & if anything doesn't 'seem quite right' get a 2nd opinion. Since you're a nurse I'm sure you've thought thru all this anyway!
I seen you had you're biopsy the 23rd. Prayers all goes well for you. Please keep us posted. Its been a blessing for me having this support team here.

rds711
Posts: 113
Joined: Dec 2011

Merry Christmas! Thank you for the kind words. I am taking this one day at a time and holding on tight. I am so glad I found this board. I have read so many posts and I realize some very special, strong people are here. It makes it not quite so scary when I know I can reach out and someone will be there knowing exactly what and why I am feeling what I am feeling.

Pjs I will keep you in my prayers. I am so glad you have a medical team you feel so good about! I really do believe that is key. I read someones post who shared her personal mantra and I have adopted it .. "weeks for years". Pjs, heres to it all being GONE!

May God bless and give you strength and comfort. He will see you through! A very close friend of mine told me that when she was going through some very tough times a friend told her "God has already walked with you through this and he wants you to know its ok down the road". That really gives me strength and I hope it does for you.

Please keep us posted and thank you again!

Randy

gratefulmom
Posts: 15
Joined: Feb 2011

In your reply you say that your cancer is now recurrent, and I'm wondering what stage you were when diagnosed ? I'm stage 3B and would like to here any comments from anyone that is the same. I worry all the time if it's going to show up somewhere else if I will catch it soon enough to be treated. I probably think too much, but I lost my husband to lung cancer 3 years ago and I'm only 49 and don't want to leave my kids and grandbabies any time soon. I'm just afraid I won't recognize it until it's too late !! I didn't know I had anal cancer either. That was found by accident when I had truble with my periods. They put me on hormones and a month later I had a lymphnode in my groin the size of a golf ball. I had hemeroids for 26 years and didn't have anything different than I usually did. The doctors all said I should have been having pain all the time, but I wasn't. That's why I'm so afraid I won't know when it's raising it's ugly head again. I would actually like to hear from anyone that is a 3B. Thanks so much, and good luck to you now.Wish you all the best !!!

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2819
Joined: Jan 2010

What type of follow-up schedule are you on? You should be having follow-up DRE's and anoscopes every 3 months and that should continue for 5 years past your treatment completion date. Also, make sure your doctor is palpating your lymph nodes during those appts. If your insurance will allow you to have a yearly scan, I would insist on a CT yearly at minimum.

gratefulmom
Posts: 15
Joined: Feb 2011

I am recieving my regular follow-ups every 3 months and just had an anal biopsy a month ago, which turned out just fine. I'm also due for a colonoscopy in a month then a pet scan. So I beieve my doctors are doing everything they should. I just have a really hard time shutting down my bad thoughts. I get gut feelings sometimes and 99% of the time they are right. That scares me. I do know that if cancer comes back or shows up somewhere else it will probably be caught early just becase I have so many tests on a regular basis. I smoked for 28 years so now I'm expecting that to come back and haunt me. I was really just curious if any one with stage 3b has had recurances and if so where they were ? Thanks everyone for all the imput, that's what I like about this sight !!

rds711
Posts: 113
Joined: Dec 2011

I had the biopsy done Friday 12/23. I didnt see the surgeon but she spoke briefly with my partner after the procedure. (Side note was more painful than I had imagined it would be) She told him she would call me today 12/28 with results. I found that strange as her office had told me when scheduling the biopsy she was going to be out of the office the week of Christmas, but she assured my parter she would call. I had since scheduled an appointment with my primary care MD to get her up to date, figuring I would have the diagnosis by then and she could help with filling out some paperwork I need for my job. Now its 7pm and no call. I understand things can come up but I have been telling myself just hang in there until Wednesday and we will know what were dealing with and start a plan. I am feeling very frustrated and a bit angry and scared. I just needed to vent , didnt want to worry my family with my thoughts.

Thanks for listening,

Randy

Phoebesnow
Posts: 447
Joined: Apr 2011

Call her first thing in the a.m.. Leave a message explain your stress level. I hope u have good results.

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