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Trouble with chronic 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

poopergirl14052's picture
poopergirl14052
Posts: 1161
Joined: Nov 2010

sorry to hear you have had a rough time. I know constipation is a big problem for most of us. I have a few hernias that cause me pain and sluggush bowels..plus scar tissue and adhesions. I try to have oatmeal often. Also try prunes etc. Also make sure you drink a lot of fluids. Hope this helps..val

karen1951's picture
karen1951
Posts: 103
Joined: Oct 2011

hi tina....i am so sorry that you are going thru this.....i've been concerned because you haven't been posting, and now i see why. you and i seem to be on the same collision course since the beginning. i spent the entire night last week vomiting with severe diahhrea ... i have a fun colostomy bag so the diahhrea doesn't bother me. i went to the hospital the next day...they took xrays and bloodwork and said i had a 24 hr stomach virus. well, the same thing happened again a few days later. my stomach feels and looks like i ate a bowling ball,i feel like i'm going to explode after only eating a few bites of food and i can feel the fluid accumulating in my left lung again. i'm now in a clinical trial...won't know if it's doing anything for another 3 weeks. this sucks! i am so fed up with feeling like this... i try so hard to be positive. my daughter just got engaged last week and has set next may for the wedding. i will never make it till then unless a real miracle happens. i don't want to bring it up because she is so excited. i'm sorry to ramble on....i'm just totally feeling sorry for the both of us....i will pray as hard as i can for you ... please keep me posted...you can email me directly if you are feeling up to it....cengbarth@aol.com ..... god bless you.....xoxoxo karen

Sara2011's picture
Sara2011
Posts: 77
Joined: Oct 2011

Being a stage 1C ovarian cancer overcomer makes me feel so humbled after reading posts like yours, Tina and Karen. I realize that yours is truly a fight for life. I am so sorry you are experiencing such discomfort right now and I pray that you will find some relief soon. Just want you to know that you are in my prayers tonight!

kikz's picture
kikz
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jun 2010

for what you ladies are going through. I have been having problems on and off and now for the last couple of months I don't remember what it is like to have normal bowel movements. I have tried oatmeal, prunes, of course a lot of fruits and veggies, water. I take one or two stool softeners each night and put fiber in my coffee. I took a laxative on Sunday night and now have had diarrhea the last two days. I am still in remission as far as I know. As previously posted my CA 125 went from 8 to 23 and I will be having another test on June 10th.

I wish you both the best and pray there is something else out there that can help you.

Karen

lovesanimals's picture
lovesanimals
Posts: 1262
Joined: Sep 2011

I'm praying with all of my heart for a miracle for you both. I have chronic constipation (although nothing like what you're enduring) and take Miralax mixed in water every evening. To help you get needed nutrients and calories, you might want to consider drinking Ensure, and hopefully it won't make your nausea worse. I'm hoping you get some relief soon.

Kelly

garden gal
Posts: 212
Joined: Nov 2010

just wanted to say I hate to hear this and am hoping things turn around for you real fast. also just this feb. I was operated on for a fistula that broke through an old incision and then my small bowel protruded out of me, to make a long story short they operated and after surgery the surgeon told me that my intestines and bowels were all mashed together, which he took out resectioned and put back in me with a mesh to hold all the repair work that he did, also 2 large hernias. I didn't have pain like you or constipation he did say i was lucky that that did'nt happen. I have to be very careful not to bend over and watch my bowels for constipation, a fistula could form again. He also explained that not so much the cancer but my hysterectomy caused this to happen. My cancer has spread to my stomach too, but they still operated.Have had 7 different types of chemo now, don't know yet if this last one is working yet will find out in 3 weeks. If I didn't have the fistula happen they would of operated at some time to straighten out bowels and interstines, which I might add were making it hard to breath, which I didn't notice, got used to breathing harder. Pain is a big enemy and if they can control that thats half the battle I think. Hang in there (easy for me say) just maybe things will get a little better. Kathy

lulu1010's picture
lulu1010
Posts: 367
Joined: Feb 2011

First let me say I will keep both you and Karen in my prayers. I believe we are all about the same age with much to live for. I went to a support group last nite and there were many long time survivors of this disease. Talking 10, 15, and even 19 years. Several said they were seriously ill over the years but have come thru. Dont give up hope!
Severe constipation and abdominal pain were my very first symptoms. I struggled with it for 14 months before they diagnosed me with PPC. I was started on Carboplatin before surgery and about a week later the bowels opened up and the pain was gone. When I had my reoccurance in March this year it started with the constipation once again. The week before my third Doxil treatment I started to have regular bowel movements again without the aide of laxatives.I know we started Doxil at the same time so I am thinking they would try another chemo but perhaps they want to give the Doxil a little longer. I think the normal response time is 3-4 months. I pray it kicks in soon as I know how miserable you must be feeling. Did they give you any indication what they plan to do? Stay strong!

Cafewoman53's picture
Cafewoman53
Posts: 735
Joined: Jul 2010

I do not know what I am talking about but wondering if a peg tube where you get liquid nutrition would avoid the discomfort you are having? It is not permanent , just a thought. I hope you are feeling better today.
Colleen

Cafewoman53's picture
Cafewoman53
Posts: 735
Joined: Jul 2010

Double post

LoveButterflies's picture
LoveButterflies
Posts: 73
Joined: Feb 2012

Tina and Karen, please know that you are both in my prayers. I pray that He gives you relief and comfort. Karen, I pray that you are able to make it to your daughters wedding. My son graduates high school next week and I'm so grateful to God for giving me the chance to see this. My daughter starts high school next August and my goal is to make it to her graduation. Think positive and enjoy the process of planning the wedding.

((((Hugs))) and prayers for both of you.

Carmen

Mwee's picture
Mwee
Posts: 1316
Joined: Nov 2009

I'm so very sorry to hear that you're going through all this pain. You are such a fighter and have been through so much. Please know that we are here for you and sending along good wishes for this pain to lessened......... (((HUGS))) Maria

clamryn's picture
clamryn
Posts: 508
Joined: Jun 2010

Tina, I just saw your post. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I too am dealing with bowel troubles. The constipation and then the diahrea. I just don't know when it will end. I am afraid to eat also because I know it will stir it up again. I am praying for no pain for you. Just dealing with our thoughts on cancer, dealing with chemo, being afraid of our tests results and then throwing pain into the mix is just not right. You have always given me strength and I pray for strength for you now.

Many prayers and hugs across the miles.
Linda

ndmp's picture
ndmp
Posts: 38
Joined: Jan 2009

Tina & Linda,

Hello, I usually post on the esophegeal board but not often. When my dad was going through treatment he struggled so very much with constipation. He tried every thing that was sugested. We did find one thing that helped & I hope this can help you and all who are dealing with this issue
Laci Le Bough Senna Tea
I know it can be purchased at GNC and I have even seen it through Puritian's Pride catalog.
I hope this can help, my best to all of you amazing laldies who are fighting this beast we know as cancer.
Hugs & Prayers
Nicole

mopar
Posts: 1950
Joined: May 2003

Hoping that by now you have had some relief and are feeling better.

(((HUGS)))
Monika

Radioactive34's picture
Radioactive34
Posts: 387
Joined: May 2011

I am not in treatment but still deal with the chronic constipation. Constipation is my new nightmare since it was the BIG symptom prior to diagnosis. It was ignored by my doctors over and over.

The doctor's here advised me to take the regular stuff. I mentioned that I had brought the US pharmacy's section on constipation medication with me and nothing was working. Somedays I just can't go....other days I am in real trouble when I can't even pass gas. Those days scare me because the pain is just horrible. I walk miles and miles to get things moving.

Regardless they gave a sample of a drug called Actilax. It is natriumpicosulfat. I have not seen it in the US. It is sold over the counter here. It takes a while to work but it works. It is not the most pleasant. The cramping can be awful but you get relief after. The pain stays for a few days but it is not near the levels where I was prior to actually going.

I use it as a last resort.

http://www.drugs.com/international/sodium-picosulfate.html

http://www.pharmawiki.ch/wiki/index.php?wiki=Natriumpicosulfat

Radioactive34's picture
Radioactive34
Posts: 387
Joined: May 2011

I am not in treatment but still deal with the chronic constipation. Constipation is my new nightmare since it was the BIG symptom prior to diagnosis. It was ignored by my doctors over and over.

The doctor's here advised me to take the regular stuff. I mentioned that I had brought the US pharmacy's section on constipation medication with me and nothing was working. Somedays I just can't go....other days I am in real trouble when I can't even pass gas. Those days scare me because the pain is just horrible. I walk miles and miles to get things moving.

Regardless they gave a sample of a drug called Actilax. It is natriumpicosulfat. I have not seen it in the US. It is sold over the counter here. It takes a while to work but it works. It is not the most pleasant. The cramping can be awful but you get relief after. The pain stays for a few days but it is not near the levels where I was prior to actually going.

I use it as a last resort.

http://www.drugs.com/international/sodium-picosulfate.html

http://www.pharmawiki.ch/wiki/index.php?wiki=Natriumpicosulfat

kayandok
Posts: 1223
Joined: Jun 2008

you coninue to amaze me! "Dealing with constipation" on one level or the other feels like my full time job sometimes! THe chemo, meds I take for side effets from chemo, adhesions, tumors, you name it they all cause it at some point. I have embraced it and live accordingly. There are weeks were I only eat soup, toast, tomatoes and applesuce type stuff. Then, there are weeks were I almost eat "normally".

I feel for you! Find some good protein type drinks, and get your calories, even if it is in ice cream. Did they give you some advice at th hospital?

I'm sorry to be off an on here so much, what happened to the fluid retention in your ab you were having? Is that resolved?

Warm hugs to you and hang in there,
kathlen

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

Thank you for your reply. Your journey has always interested me as you sometimes seem to have bad times that are followed by good news as you continue to fight this disease.

My GP has given me some steriods which seem to have given me some relief - albeit a false positive. I feel much better with an increased appetite but then I eat too much and I suffer. I have had my first infustion of Carbo which really seems to be working.

I think I must continue to eat a soft diet and follow your regime. Unfortunately the hospital promised me a dietician but I never got to see one - so no they were not helpful at all.

The fluid in my abdomen was very small and has gone with the chemo.

Love Tina xx

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

Thank you for your reply. Your journey has always interested me as you sometimes seem to have bad times that are followed by good news as you continue to fight this disease.

My GP has given me some steriods which seem to have given me some relief - albeit a false positive. I feel much better with an increased appetite but then I eat too much and I suffer. I have had my first infustion of Carbo which really seems to be working.

I think I must continue to eat a soft diet and follow your regime. Unfortunately the hospital promised me a dietician but I never got to see one - so no they were not helpful at all.

The fluid in my abdomen was very small and has gone with the chemo.

Love Tina xx

kayandok
Posts: 1223
Joined: Jun 2008

carbo constipates, (most chemo does for me) so be careful to eat foods that are you best friends for loosening things up (soup, yogurt, dried prunes, any kind of mashed potatoes - especially sweet potatoes and yams, carrot juice, pure grape juice, coffee, melllos - probs most fruits. The eat small meals 6 times a day. I use magnisium sulfate (bowel softers) 4 times a day, and take to up to 4 at night with my lax to get things going.

The surgeon had to go in and pull poop out of my body after my 1st surgery 5 years ago. That was very uncomfortble. i DON'T want to do that again.

Hang in there! Are you till running? I assume that is a great thing,along with other non-killer excrsice.

YOU ARE A TEAL ROCKSTAR!!!

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

I never knew Carbo causes constipation. I have a regular supply of Sodium Docusate which I am supposed to take 2 in the morning and 2 at night. Last week I was getting bad cramps so I dropped off the morning ones. Now I am bloated again so I will have to go back to the original regime.

Thanks for the food advice. I am able to eat a little better now but it is hard to eat small meals because I am hungry.

I cannot imagine how uncomfortable you were where you needed sugery to pull the poop out of you - I bet the relief was instant when you came round.

Funny you should mention running! I hadn't been able to walk much let alone run for about 2 months. But only this week I was feeling really good so I went up to my running club and was able to do some walking and gentle jogging. It was exhilarating and I was very careful not to overdo it.

Thanks once again for everyone who has given me such good advice here

Tina xxx

mopar
Posts: 1950
Joined: May 2003

I'm happy to hear that you are having some relief, and some good success with the chemo! Small steps is all we can hope for, Tina. Hang in there as best as you can. All the suggestions about smaller meals is good advice. Protein shakes are also a good option. Just be sure to choose wisely - milk or egg proteins are good. Don't do a soy protein, and not a 'cheap' version like the Kellogs, or Ensure.

I continue to be inspired by all of you here, you, Kathleen, everyone who fights this disease day in and day out. Many hugs and blessings to you all!

Monika

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