Apr 17, 2013 - 12:33 pm
Hello everyone! I apologize in advance for not providing updates since my mom's chemo + radiation, but I've been checking back regularly to see how I can possibly help others going through a similar ordeal.
You can read the original thread with lots of helpful advice from other forum members here: http://csn.cancer.org/node/248744 (I hope that link works...if not let me know and I will try to correct it).
We're now just over 6 months since my mom completed chemo + radiation for her anal cancer. While she is still suffering (I use that term lightly) from some of the side effects from radiation, she is doing so much better in terms of daily activity. She has been working for the past 4 months, going for her monthly follow-ups, and we were all hoping for the best news.
Unfortunately, it seems as though 6 months is the timeframe for her surgeon to make the decision as to whether or not the treatment was a success. She went for her follow-up last week and unfortunately a mass is still present. Her doctor said that the mass could be scar tissue, but (in a more frank discussion between him and I) he is assuming that the tumor was not completely eradicated given the previous treatment.
They are giving it one more month before doing a biopsy and discussing what the next step might be. In my discussion with the surgeon, it appears that the only option at this point is to do a permanent colostomy...which is a surgery that my mother positively refuses to go through (at this point).
I'm heading back to Delaware on 5/4 so I can go with her to the appointment on 5/6. From there, if a mass is still present, we'll be going for a biopsy (hopefully on 5/7). Based on my mom's feelings towards having a colostomy...I'm really hoping and praying that the mass (if still present) is scar tissue.
Because chemo + radiation seems to be so effective for this type of cancer (squamous cell anal cancer), I haven't seen a whole lot posted by patients or family members where that alone wasn't enough for a cure. What I hope to do in this thread is to keep everyone updated on what's happening...how she's doing (and I'm doing)...and hopefully how we will end up beating this thing once and for all.
As a side note, my uncle was recently diagnosed with stage 3b colon cancer. I know it's not the right forum, but prayers for him are needed at this time, too. He had the surgery to remove the tumor, but they did find cancer in 5 of his adjoining lymph nodes...and he'll be starting chemo-only treatment (every other week) for 6 months starting soon.
I can't wait for the day when we've completely eliminated cancer from our vocabulary, but can't stress enough how this community has been the ultimate resource for me during this terrible time.
Again, my apologies for not providing more updates...but I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot more of me in the coming weeks.
Lots of love,