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Problems with constipation

Tina Brown's picture
Tina Brown
Posts: 1054
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi, sorry I've been AWOL but I have just come out of hospital. It appears that my cancer has continued to grow and I have an increased thickening throughout my peritoneum. Everything inside of my abdominal cavity appears to be squashed and this is causing me extreme discomfort and pain.

I have chronic constipation that I now need to manage with regular laxatives. The consipation has also caused food to be backed up which as inflammed my small bowel (intestines) which in turn makes me vomit.

They only offered me laxatives and anti-sickness meds in hospital which has not solved the ongoing problem.

I have reluctantly come to realise that the progression of my cancer is not looking good and the chemo I have been on clearly hasn't been working. My stomach is huge as I look 9 months pregnant. It is not ascites but the cancer.I dont know what to eat because when I do I get pains and am sometimes sick.

Has anyone else had anything like this happen to them? I am so worried that it will never be any better and I will spend the rest of my relatively short life in this discomfort.

Tina

wanttogetwellsoon
Posts: 147
Joined: Apr 2011

Hi Tina...
I have had lots of problems with my bowel. When I was first diagnosed, I had already been in hospital four times for bowel blockages and had had a small bowel resection though the resection was down to another illness. It's not a good feeling and I know where you're coming from. The pain from a blockage is a frightening one and the backing up can make you both uncomfortable to say the least and can affect how you see the illness and lower your self-esteem. Well, it did with me anyway. Just when you think things are bad enough, they get worse. However, I have learnt to manage the condition because I see it as something chronic. I tried using husk based drinks but they didn't really help because they weren't gentle enough. Laxatives didn't really help me either because I found it hard to manage the outcome of taking them. The gentle action of Movicol helped me to deal with the fact that my bowel is not functioning well because of the illness. The lowest dose is one packet per day but I've found that I've been able to get it down to half a packet which is enough to help me to manage everything. It's been trial and error but I've got to a point where I feel this issue isn't as much of a problem as what it was. My abdomen is swollen too as a result of the illness and, at the moment, it's not because of the ascites. As for eating, I can't really deal with large meals and bulky food like bread isn't good either. Fatty foods tend to make me feel ill and I think it's because my system can't really deal with that kind of food. For me, smaller meals which are easier to digest have helped me to feel I can enjoy what I eat. Being put on a drip in hospital until the bowel settles down isn't a good place to be in but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I've been very down in the past emotionally and a lot of it has been because of bowel management issues. Usually, my lowest points have been after I've been discharged from hospital and worrying about how I'll be able to cope. I've been so much better since changing to Movicol which helps to draw water into the bowel making passage so much easier and, for me, less painful. At the moment, now I've come to terms with these problems, I'm happy in myself. It might be something you could talk through with your GP. I've found that some doctors prescribe laxatives and husk drinks which can exacerbate difficulties. It's hard for some doctors to see the way bowel blockages can affect a person and I feel they are have been unable to make it a central issue in my care even when they know about the hospital stays I've had. I've taken it upon myself to make it a very important issue. Before signing off, I heard something today that made me think. It went something like, 'Living is what we do whilst we wait for something else to happen'. That to me is what you've always done and can carrying on doing. You've been an inspiration to me and although these words seem pretty lame and used, they have been a means of making the quality of my life so much better and it's all down to you and others here too. I won't go on as I could go on all day but I just want you to know that I'm thinking of you. :)

SOPHIE333
Posts: 92
Joined: May 2011

Hi Tina,
This is exactly what has happened to my mum as well. In meeting with onc yesterday, he instructed to take nutrition by needle/dripp/not eating by herself during nighttime? (do not know the english word for it)and that would make her movements in her bowel less and then decreasing the pain. She will try this for 4 weeks (not eating by herself)to see if she can get of morphine pain killers and then feeling stronger to be able to take the next round of chemo (carbo/taxol not working after 8 rounds). At the moment she is too weak as she is in pain, not eating very much and vomit a lot. Her onc is though very skeptical to her improvement as her cancer progression is not notable on scans or CA 125 but in her bowel pain and discomfort. :( and we worry a lot. Hope things will get better for you! Please kep us posted. My thoughts to you,
Sophie

Best Friend
Posts: 222
Joined: May 2011

This is terrible news! If u eat too much ruffage than if ur bowels are constricted you are just going to end up in more trouble with stomach pains and not being able to go. I can remember my mom was miserable in the beginning. Not going for a week at a time. I don't think laxatives are good in the long run because than u can never regulate ur system. What about trying stool softeners so it is easier to relieve urself. Also, some prunes. For some reason when i would make my mom the ENSURE milkshake for her nutritional purposes and i would add ice, it would give her a bowel movement by the next day.
I am probably not much help but i hope it works.

Best Friend
Posts: 222
Joined: May 2011

This is terrible news! If u eat too much ruffage than if ur bowels are constricted you are just going to end up in more trouble with stomach pains and not being able to go. I can remember my mom was miserable in the beginning. Not going for a week at a time. I don't think laxatives are good in the long run because than u can never regulate ur system. What about trying stool softeners so it is easier to relieve urself. Also, some prunes. For some reason when i would make my mom the ENSURE milkshake for her nutritional purposes and i would add ice, it would give her a bowel movement by the next day.
I am probably not much help but i hope it works.

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