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First oncologist visit

Coloncancerblows's picture
Coloncancerblows
Posts: 296
Joined: Feb 2013

What should I expect from my first oncologist visit?  I have stage 3 colon cancer. The tumor was removed a few weeks ago but three lymph nodes came back positive. Just a little nervous of what is about to happen. 

 

Cyn

Brenda Bricco's picture
Brenda Bricco
Posts: 549
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Cyn,

It all depends on what oncologists you have... unfortunately my husband's first onc was a cold hearted jerk. My husband is stage lv, you are stage 3 so there is a lot of difference, I am not sure what your journey will be but I just wanted to say welcome and we are here for what ever you need. I am sure some of experts will chime in soon.

GOD bless you.

Brenda

Chelsea71
Posts: 1167
Joined: Sep 2012

Like Brenda, my husband has stage 4. World of difference between stages 3 & 4. Make sure you like your oncologist. You want he or she to have a positive attitude. Must be very skilled. Actions taken now will set the stage for the remaining course of the disease. You want someone who knows what their doing. If you don't like the onc, request a new one. Chemo can be rough for some, and a breeze for others. A positive, motivated attitude helps. Judging by your picture, you look like you have both these qualities. Stay plugged into this forum. It will be a huge help as you move forward with treatment.

Good luck!

Chelsea

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 2878
Joined: Jan 2010

On the first visit,  it is important for you to assess your compatibility with not only your onc but also his staff.  You need to have the same goal...to keep you cancer free. 

Take a friend or relative with you to take notes, as you may not be able to take it all in.

You will want to know what the plan of action is...what chemo...schedule of treatments...schedule of blood work...schedule of scans to assess effectiveness.

You will want to know if you will get a power port for infusions.

You will want to know how to contact them for medical assistance after hours in case you have any late blooming allergic reaction or side effects.

I did not do chemo for my rectal tumor, but I have been "side kick" for my sister who has stage 4 uterine cancer.  Her onc's office has a two hour chemo indoctrination session to help the patient and care givers an insight into all these things and more.

If for any reason at all you and the onc are not a fit...don't hesitate to seek out another. 

Wishing your visit goes well.  Come on back and let us know.

Marie who loves kitties

Coloncancerblows's picture
Coloncancerblows
Posts: 296
Joined: Feb 2013

Thank you for your responses. My oncologist comes highly recommended by friends so hopefully I like him too. I've will have my list of questions ready. 

Glammom's picture
Glammom
Posts: 21
Joined: Feb 2013

Hi I am new to this club also, this is my first post.   I had surgery 1/3/13 to remove right colon thought there was 2 lymph nodes infected found there was 11 out of  25.  Starting chemo this Friday 2/8/13.  Having port inserted Thursday.  Scared out of my wits about what's coming next.  Surgery went well feeling good from that.  Oncologist was wonderful explained everything, was compassionate and patient.  Hope I don't have too many side effects.   Glad to hear there are others starting out on this journey Too.  Good luck!

Coloncancerblows's picture
Coloncancerblows
Posts: 296
Joined: Feb 2013

You had surgery the day before me. I was wondering if I would have to wait a full month before starting the chemo. I'm feeling good after the surgery. My fear is having the port. I am just not good with needles and hope I can take the pill.

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2396
Joined: Jun 2006

how very nice to meet you...always hard at the beginning.  Marie covered a lot of good points about the visit.  I live in an area of Canada where we are lucky to have one oncologist so making a choice about this doc is not an option.  I would say go to your visit with a positive attitude towards the oncologist....

once you have a port you will have way fewer needles to worry about. I have done xeloda (the pill) twice but also many many other chemo treatments without a port.....gosh dare I say you kinda get used to being poked?Smile

I am stage IV and starting my 8th year of survival ....there is hope....there is chemo....there is moving forward.

You do look like a strong, sunny gal.......welcome to this forum....hope you stick around....

 

have a hug........maggie

Coloncancerblows's picture
Coloncancerblows
Posts: 296
Joined: Feb 2013

Thank you Maggie.  I'm so happy I found this forum since I am totally clueless. 

wawaju04976's picture
wawaju04976
Posts: 316
Joined: Dec 2012

You will be so glad you have the port. I was in the hospital for 13 days when I was first diagnosed (temporary colostamy, liver mets). During that time my body was stuck with needles in more places than not. It got so they could not get a vein. They did both hands, both arms, finally the neck. On my 11th day, they put a port in my. It has been a lifesafer. When they draw blood, it goes thru the port. Chemo goes thru the port. It is not painful; they put a topical solution on before sticking. It's much easier than other parts of your body.

Judy

Coloncancerblows's picture
Coloncancerblows
Posts: 296
Joined: Feb 2013

Judy, 

Can you take a shower with the port in?  How about when you sleep?  Does it just stay in tact?

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 2878
Joined: Jan 2010

Port is usually done as out patient surgery.  Inserted under the skin near the collar bone.  It is about the size of a quarter with a small tube attached which is insterted in a vein.

After the stitches come out you can shower as there is no external part.

A topical ointment is given to you to put on the port site about 45 mins before infusion or blood draw.  After applying the ointment you cover it with either plastic wrap with adhesive or some non-absorbing bandage.   Timing is important.

They can "poke" the port for both infusion as well as blood work.  With the ointment it is definately less difficult than them going for a vein each time.

My sister has one and has not mentioned any issues with sleeping.  She does have a small pillow that she uses when seat belt crosses that side (when she is a passenger as hers is on the right side).

If you get a port I think you will be glad you did.

Marie who loves kitties

Glammom's picture
Glammom
Posts: 21
Joined: Feb 2013

I am nervous about the port too but from what I understand and have read its fir the best.  I'm glad I found this site it helps to y'all to others who understand.   I hope we can stay in touch as we continue on this journey. Good luck at your appointment!

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1528
Joined: Mar 2010

Your port is placed completely under your skin, and you can do anything (shower, swim, etc.) once the incision heals.  If they use surgical glue, you might be able to shower that night.  At most it appears as a lump under your skin.

It is truly a godsend - avoiding searching for veins and needless pokes with needles.  It ensures that your chemo goes into your vein, and doesn't leak elsewhere (especially important with oxaliplatin.) 

Also, as mentioned, request the Emla cream, which you gob over the port area about an hour before chemo and cover with plastic wrap or a tegaderm.  (It should be a thick layer.)  Then you don't feel the needles.  I had a belly port as well as a chest port, and Emla meant that I didn't feel the needles going into my belly at all.  (I had intraperitoneal chemo as well as systemic chemo, as mine was appendix cancer.)

A port sounds lots scarier than it is.  The surgery to place it is minor.  I had mine both placed and removed with just local anesthetic.  Some drs like to use light sedation as well, so you don't have to "be present."

Trust those of us in the know, you'll be glad you have a port.  If given the option, go for it.  Cancer treatment is much easier with it.

Alice

wawaju04976's picture
wawaju04976
Posts: 316
Joined: Dec 2012

Absolutely. All I have is a little bump where they do the needle. I wouldn't even look at it for the first two weeks. I kept the dressing on it that they put on in the hospital. I thought I would have a hole. So, when I went for my first treatment and the nurse was taking blood, she took the dressing off (it's like saran wrap covering the dressing so the dressing never got wet). I wouldn't look; she told me to go look in the mirror. All there is is the little bump and a couple of red spots left over from where they put the needle in. It doesn't even bleed, usually. There is a little line above the bump (scar from when they put it in).

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1284
Joined: Jan 2013

I also don't like needles, but so far, I have never felt but the slightest prick when they access my port. 

I pop a dollop of Lidocain on about 45 minutes before my appointment and it does the trick.

You also don't feel it coming out. 

Ports are really the way to go if you are able to have one. 

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2171
Joined: Oct 2011

lots of good advice here, so I don't think I need to add anything much.  The first month or so after diagnosis is pretty dang scary, but once you get treatment under way you will feel much better (especially in an emotional sense...it feels better to be actiively fighting against this beast).  Keep us posted on how things go~Ann Alexandria

Coloncancerblows's picture
Coloncancerblows
Posts: 296
Joined: Feb 2013

Thank you Ann. I am so thankful for this forum. 

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