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Bill158
Posts: 19
Joined: Apr 2013

 

Hello to all of you on the site-I just found the site 2 days ago, and have been reading all weekend, and I am so grateful for this site being here.

 

 I am a 55 year old physician, and I just found out 2 days ago I will be starting radiation and chemotherapy for stage III anal cancer on April 29th.  I went to see my doctor December 2011 for something near my anus that I was worried about and knew wasn’t right.  He said it was a hemorrhoid, and gave me some suppositories for it and since I hadn’t had my screening colonoscopy yet (I know better), he referred me to get that done.  The doc doing my colonoscopy said I had a hemorrhoid too, and he didn’t do hemorrhoids.  I figured I was just over reacting to the thing on my butt, and since I couldn’t get as close as they could, I was ok with what they told me.  Over the next year the thing just got bigger, itched, bled, and was driving me nuts, and nothing was making it better, so I went back to my primary doc, and he decided to take it off in his office in January this year.   The 2nd morning after he removed it I woke up to what looked like a crime scene in my bed, and the area had bled during the night.  A week later I went in for follow up and he told me then that it was squamous cell cancer, but it was well differentiated, and no cancer at the base, so it looked like he got all of it.  He also said there were a couple small bumps in the area, and he wanted me to see a surgeon.  The surgeon took a quick look, and I thought he was going to say he could buzz those other ones off and call it good—he said he wanted to talk to the Oncologists, and see if maybe radiation would be the best way to go.  I was confused then—I thought that would be over kill.  I admit I didn’t know what I was dealing with.  He said he would call me after he talked to the oncologists.  Next thing I know someone else calls to tell me that I have a PET/CT scan scheduled for last Thursday (today is Sunday), and that I was going to see the radiation oncologist, and the hem/onc after that on Friday.  I was wondering what all the fuss was about. 

 

The rad-onc met with me and said I had stage III cancer, as the PET scan showed nodes lighting up in my pelvis, but they weren’t enlarged, and that I would need to start radiation 5 days a week for 5-6 weeks, and maybe chemotherapy depending on what the heme/onc recommended.  I got tattooed while a slurry of appointments were being made for me, and I was handed a few packets of info.  I have to get a PIC line put in, have ANOTHER colonoscopy, have a radiation planning appointment, and start chemo and rad April 29th.  I am working Monday night, and have the colonoscopy scheduled Tuesday afternoon, so I am trying to figure out when to drink the two bottles of colon blast and not be soiling my scrubs at work, or having to pull off the highway on the trip home and have a BM.

 

Friday afternoon I headed down the road 200 miles to work feeling very surreal, and kind of in a fog. Before I went to the hospital I searched on the internet anything I could find about anal cancer, and then I started to realize what all the fuss was about.  I haven’t had a chance to talk to my family, kids and I don’t want to talk to co-workers about this yet.  My girlfriend is the only one who knows so far.   I am a little freaked out---wondering if I am going to be able to work through all this, if my girlfriend is up for this, if my insurance is up for this…I never thought this would happen.  I never thought I would be posting to a support website.  It kind of feels like a bad dream at times

 

I appreciate this website, and any advice.  bill

 

Lorikat's picture
Lorikat
Posts: 566
Joined: Jul 2011

I finished my txs but ended up in hospital with 2nd and 3rd degree burns, pnuemonia, neutropenic and in isolation for 9 dayS.  Two blood transfusions and pooping razor blades.  BUTT(!). I am 19 months NED ad except for some side effects doing well!  Just hang in there...

sephie's picture
sephie
Posts: 544
Joined: Apr 2009

ok bill,  here it is::: after i pulled that picc line and then got placed in ER at MDA,   they gave me all sorts of stuff thru IV but i did get neupigen shots to raise the WBC....and octriotide shots in stomach  for diarrhea.... i had a  "something" resisitant enterrococcal bacterial infection that they treated me far and burns so bad that my skin was almost black where my legs attach to trunk ...skin peeling off of my butt... MDA did not stop and still rolled me into radiation for my final 3 treatments..... i made it but barely.... was so sick that i do not remember everything....but here i am....... hope you feel better quickly  ..... sephie

Bill158
Posts: 19
Joined: Apr 2013

Thanks to everyone for your comments, and get well wishes.  The hospital stay kicked my ass--was in for two days, and couldn't wait to get out of there--can't imagine 9 days in the hospital.  My white count came up quickly, but i gained 15 pounds from fluids in the hospital, and slept off and on for the next 2 days at home.  I resumed rad treatments last thursday, and have one more to go tomorrow--woo hoo!  Only had one shift last weekend, and missed that one since I was in the hospital, and tonight is my 3rd shift this weekend--good thing it hasn't been too busy, cuz I am still kinda draggin', but feeling better each day, and today was back at the weight i was before i went in the hospital.   My burns are healing up nicely, and I can actually walk almost normal now, and even bend over to pick things up!  I'm so glad treatment is nearly over, and I appreciate everyone's kindness here.

bill

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3120
Joined: Jan 2010

Your post is a good way to start a Monday morning--much better news to hear than your last.  I'm glad you are recovering and once you get through today and that last rad tx, you will be on your way to complete recovery!  It will happen fairly quickly, at least that was my experience and I hope for you too.  It sounds like you are past the worst now, so just keep moving forward.  We are all behind you, pushing you across that finish line!  Please keep us posted on your recovery. 

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

That is great news! You will feel so great having cancer in your past! Hang in there!

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3120
Joined: Jan 2010

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Bill158
Posts: 19
Joined: Apr 2013

Gary Allan has a song called "I just got back from hell", and that's how i feel.   I feel like I was dragged through hell, with my ass on fire.  Today I felt so good it seems like I had a bad dream.  My burns are all closed up, and the last of the scabs came off today, and I have new pink skin down yonder, that still is a little tender, but everything seems to be working ok.  I am back to working regular shifts during the week and weekends, and tonight is the 3rd of four shifts, and its been pretty busy, but I don't feel tired or fatigued like I did after getting out of the hospital.  It's amazing how fast evrything heals up and you start feeling like a real person.  Still feels like I'm pooping glass or razor blades, so I was wondering how long that lasts.  My rad onc is going to see me end of July for a DRE, and maybe another PET scan at some time.  My regular onc is going to get me set up for a sigmoidoscopy also but I forgot if she said 4 weeks or months.  I just feel so good now I'm not thinking about that too much.  After tomorrow night I am off for 10 days, and headed to Puerto Rico next Tuesday and I can't wait. 

I was thinking today how nice it would be to ride my mountain bike, and then I thought about celebrating and buying a new 29 incher, with hydraulic brakes and.....

 

I guess I would say to everyone that is just starting out, you can do this, and there is a light at the end, and its doable

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3120
Joined: Jan 2010

I am so glad to read your post and all the positive news!  As in my case, your recovery sounds like it's taking place pretty quickly, and I'm so happy you are feeling much better.  I was quite badly burned and I never would have believed that I would heal that fast.  Instead, I thought recovery was going to be a very long process.  Well, part of it was for me, primarily bowel issues, but otherwise, I bounced back quickly.  You sound like a very fit guy since you mountain bike and I think this is serving you well in your recovery process.  I am a runner and weight train and I think it was the fact that I was in really good shape prior to treatment that got me back to normal so soon.  As for the pooping razor blades, that will definitely improve--not fast enough, I realize, but it will.

I hope you'll buy that new bike!  I used to do a lot of biking and do still occasionally go out on the paved trail near my house.  During treatment, I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to ride again.  Actually, for a time, I was wondering if I'd ever be able to sit again!  A severely burned butt makes you think about things like that!    

Well, you have crossed over from being one of the people here who isn't sure they'll get through this treatment to one of us who has been there, done that, survived it, and is now giving encouragement and hope to others who are just beginning.  Yep, it's doable.  My colorectal doc's words to me were "It won't be fun, but you'll get through it."  I would have to agree.  Enjoy your vacation--you've definitely earned it--and update us now and then as to how you're doing.  Take care! 

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Praise God! You weathered the storm very well. It is great that you are heading off to Puerto Rico! Have a wonderful time. Just a warning,I was so eager to getmback to normal that I overdid it and ended pretty sick for awhile. Stay well!

sandysp's picture
sandysp
Posts: 852
Joined: May 2011

I just read this whole post. I am sorry I was not with you through this process. All I can say is you must love your work. It revealed a lot to me that you kept going through it. I have a part time job that I was able to keep and it truly is because of love. My other job made me tired just thinking about it.

On the other hand, while I agree that planning bicycle rides is a wonderful thing, it's also a wonderful thing to plan naps. Rest isn't near valued enough by people as highly motivated as you seem to be. So if you do go on a bike trip, bring a yoga mat or something you can spread out on the grass on and just enjoy sleeping in the sun/shade whatever.

Remember, Lance Armstrong was a fake, faker!

All the best,

Sandy

Bill158
Posts: 19
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi everyone an thanks again for the kind words, and comments.  Sandy, I do love my work, and I work in a rural area so getting docs to work there is tough. The was a couple weekends that just wasn't sure I could do it but there just wasn't anyone else to cover my shifts so I had to just package up my burns the best I could and go to work.  So i guess I love my work also because I feel my work is needed, necessary.

 i am feeling better every day, and before we left for Puerto Rico, my girlfriend was moving into her new house, so my oldest son and I moved most of fher furrniture to her new place beffore some moving helpers came and moved the really big stuff.  Wore me out but it was a good test of what i could do right now and was the most physical activity I have had for about six weeks.  So it was pretty hectic getting all that done and then leaving for Puerto Rico Tuesday morning, but we made it.  Our hotel is in San Juan right on the ocean, so I am listening to the waves as I write this.  We have been to old San Juan for shopping and dining and it is so cool!  Going to the old fort there tomorrow.  It has been raining off and on every day but its kinda nice.  The food here is amazing, and there is a cafe in old San Juan that has the best coffe drinks i have ever tasted.  Can't wait to have some more later today.  

Bill

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3120
Joined: Jan 2010

Good to hear from you and know that you are enjoying your trip!  PR is a beautiful country.  We had a stop there on a cruise and enjoyed Old San Juan and the fort.  I would love to go back sometime and spend more time there. 

It sounds like the moving chores were a real test of your strength and endurance and that you passed with flying colors!  I'm quite impressed.  I'd say your recovery is going pretty well, judging from that.  When you get home, buy that new bike!  You'll be on it before you know it!

Enjoy the remainder of your vacation and come back here for an update whenever you can.

Bill158
Posts: 19
Joined: Apr 2013

Hey guys- just a quick update.  I think I am six weeks post treatment now?  

I bought that new bicycle and its so nice to be riding again.  I am back to my regular work out schedule, and have been to the mountains hiking with my kids and went on a fishing trip last week-  didnt catch any fish but had a blast.  Got an Omega VRT juicer and doing a lot of juicing now too.  

scheduled for a PET/CT August 19th and then see the rad/onc for results the 21st.  

Bll

jcruz
Posts: 280
Joined: Jan 2013

I am in awe of how you seem to have bounced back from treatment.  It's so great to know that it is possible to really get back to former activities.  At six weeks I was happy to be able to take a walk along the cliffs near my house and watch the waves and got a little stronger as the months went on.  But you - you're like superman!

Hoping for the best in your upcoming scan and appt.

Janet

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3120
Joined: Jan 2010

I just knew you would make a quick recovery!  This is a testament to the power of fitness and exercise, IMO!  I recovered quite quickly too and am, as my husband puts it, a "fitness freak."  I am SO glad you bought the bike and are riding already--that's awesome!  I'm sure the vacation helped in your recovery and return to work so soon.  That's amazing and you are a true inspiration!  Stay well, keep moving forward, and stay in the saddle!

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Great news. You really have done so well! I am so glad you made it to Puerto Rico! Life is good! Have a great time! After what you have been through I am sure the rain must feel quite comforting and soothing!

sephie's picture
sephie
Posts: 544
Joined: Apr 2009

that is all i can say right now... you are amazing.... i  could not do what you have done..... just do not tear the tissue down there with all of that but you are a doc.....have a great time and relax relax relax........ a bike still kills me ...too much pressure on my bottom and i tear easily....love the waves.....congrats.....sephie

sandysp's picture
sandysp
Posts: 852
Joined: May 2011

I think you have done more in a short period of time than anyone with stage 3 anal cancer I have ever heard of on this board. You are truly a wonder. So glad you got some R& R. How are you now?

Watch for swelling of your feet.

All the best,

Sandy

qv62
Posts: 341
Joined: Nov 2012

sorry for all you are going through, hope you are feeling better

 

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