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My Father and Best Friend Just Got Diagnosed with Colon Cancer and I'm Very Scared

daddys_boy
Posts: 6
Joined: May 2013

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday my father who is 55 got diagnosed with colon cancer.

He will be getting a scan on the 28th to see if it has metastasized to other organs.

He has been having symptoms (blood in stool on a few occasions, thin stools and light abdominal pains) over a period of more than 6 months now.

The doctor told us that the tumour is partially wrapped around the lower part of the colon near the rectum.

He told us that he would be preemtively removing lymph nodes and he will also be removing part of the intestine.

I am very scared that this might be an advanced form of this cancer although I am not a Dr and cannot say before having the scan results.

My father is my best friend, business partner and we spend most our time togerther. 

I just lost my grand father to whom I was very close to last december and can't bear the though of loosing my dad to.

We have been having a very though time financially recently and now I am feeling very depressed and overwhelmed.

Can some of you answer some of my questions and possibly give me some tips on how to deal with all of this?

Is the fact that the cancer is wrapped around the colon something to be concerned about?

What can we do to slow the cancer down and give him the best chances possible?

Will my father be able to travel with me during his treatments (this was his wish)?

Thanks you all and i'm greatfull that this community exist.

 

atlanticcanada
Posts: 74
Joined: Sep 2012

i am so sorry about your dad,our daughter 31 had colon cancer  and it spread to her liver. As soon as she was diagnosed she went to a good naturopath doctor,started vigorous exercise

changed her diet, sugar free , dairy free  and gluten free , the doctors noticed her immune system working.She had both surgeries and chemo

 and now looking at cancer free .

all these things boost your immune system. Your support will sure help .

LindaK.
Posts: 323
Joined: Apr 2013

Is the hardest part.  It's hard to keep your mind away from "worst case scenarios" but you MUST stay positive for your sake and your fathers.  People on this site are very supportive and knowledgeable - look around for other posts for situations like yours, it will help ease your mind. 

My husband was diagnosed in December with stage II, but we did not know the full path results until about 3 weeks after he first went into the hospital.  Many people on this board have more advanced staged cancer than my husband and many are doing well with treatments.

I wouldn't do too much searching on the internet, it will just feed your fears.  Find some positive energy, wherever you may find it.

May you find peace soon.

Beachlace's picture
Beachlace
Posts: 23
Joined: May 2013

I'm sorry you found this board but you can find a lot of info and support here. Colon cancer is very treatable today.  His treatment will depend on the stage.  The scan will tell you if it is stage IV or has spread to other organs.  If not, the surgery will tell you if it is stages 1, 2, or 3.  I have stage 3.  I had surgery and am now on chemotherapy.  If it is rectal cancer, they will add radiation as well.  

Keeping a note book has helped some of us.  Track dates, tests, thoughts.  

 

All the best,

Kelley

db8ne1's picture
db8ne1
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2013

But - Be encouraged.  My mother-in-law had colon cancer at 50.  She had surgery and radiation - and she is now 84!  Better yet, there have been SO MANY advances in cancer treatment since then (30 years ago...).

I have Stage 3 CRC myself (diagnosed in early Dec 2012). My tumor was T3 - meaning it invaded through the colon wall. I first underwent chemoradiation for 6 weeks to shrink the tumor (and continued to work full time. And although I had to go to the hospital every week day for the radiation, I wore a pump that infused the daily chemo).  Then I had surgery mid April.  I just started FOLFOX chemo treatments last week.  I will receive chemo every 2 weeks until October. While I am still on leave for surgery - I go back to work full time in 1 week.

The thing that may hinder him from travel is if he will need daily radiation - as it's not portable... :)  As for the side effects, I'm sure he will have some.  But they have so many drugs now to help mitigate (and sometimes eliminate) many of the side effects.  Of course, the side effects will depend on what type of treatment he receives. Fatigue will most likely be an issue. 

Take a deep breath and take one day at a time.  Waiting for tests and results may be the hardest part - as a treatment plan can only be determined once they have a clear picture of what they are dealing with. 

And - keep posting any questions that you have here.  There are so many caring, helpful people that can provide input and personal experiences.

I wish you and your father well!

J

 

 

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4673
Joined: May 2005

Sorry to hear about your Dad. The waiting is very tough, I found that once I knew what I was up against, I felt better because I was able to develop a plan of action. All we can do is speculate as to what we think it may be or not be. 

The BEST things in my opinion of what you could do is to:

  • go to the best facility you can
  • get a second opinion from a different group of doctors
  • look into other options if that's how your Dad wants to proceed (there is more than chemo)
  • write down questions you may have
  • bring a recording device so you catch all of what the doctors tell you. It's easy to be overwhelmed by information
  • don't over-research on the Internet. While there's a lot of good information out there, there's a lot of bad or outdated information out there too.

I was diagnosed (stage IV colon cancer) over 9 years ago at age 46. I've done very well with standard surgery then chemo. I've been under the care of an oncologist at Sloan Kettering in NYC. There are NO guarantees at all. Everyone responds differently to treatments. I was able to work through most of the journey. Surgery certainly requires time off and chemo required a few days to regroup but I certainly didn't put my life on hold.

BTW: try not to be thrown if you hear the "you've got X months to live" speech. Almost everyone on here has heard that one. Usually that's a good sign that you need to change oncologists... Keep us posted please.

-phil

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 4304
Joined: Feb 2009

Welcome to the board.  It's best to see what the CT shows as far as the tumor and other areas.  Odds have improved so much just in the last 10 years and like, Phil, he has been here for 9 years.  Please don't go on the internet and search for things - it's outdated and not accurate.  Help your dad as much as he can and let him decide if he's able to travel with you in between appointments and treatments.  Treatments can become cummulative so he might start out with a lot more vigor and he ends up with, but everyone is different.  Ask all the questions you want on this board - you have found a great bunch of people who are here to help you and your father get through this.  Keep us posted.

Kim

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1519
Joined: Jan 2013

I will add mine. 

RIght now, take one day at a time.  You're allowed to worry, but don't get ahead of yourself.  Get the scan over with and wait for the results.  

Then if its surgery, face that. Then if its chemo, face that.  It can get VERY overwhelming if you think of all of whats ahead every day.

Your dad needs you to be positive and happy. If he sees you stressing he will stress too and that won't do him anygood. 

Also, take a notebook or tape recorder (you have to get permission from whoever - GP, Surgeon, Oncologist - for taping), but take notes and ask questions. Lots of them. No matter how small or insignificant, just ask, ask, ask.

You're dad doesn't need to stress either, so bring him comfort in the form of humour and happy times. 

God bless! Be sure to keep us informed. You'll get lots of love and support here on the forum.

 

daddys_boy
Posts: 6
Joined: May 2013

Thanks so much for the support you are bunch of strong and positive people.

I showed your replies to my father and he was truly touched, he will most likely subscribe and join in the discussion. 

Does anyone of you have experience with cancer wrapping around the inside of the colon?

The doctor suggested that he does not eat to much fiber, does that sound right? I though it was the opposite.

He also told him to stay away from fruit with peel and nuts, is that also right?

I am a bit confused on the difference between what he should eat before during and after surgery / chemo.

Thanks again.

 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1519
Joined: Jan 2013

Depending on your dads diagnosis and where the cancer is situated then fiber can be good or bad. 

Fiber can irritate the colon when the cancer is getting large. Seeds and nuts can get behind the cancer and cause problems. 

We are good here, but be sure and ask your Oncologist these questions. 

I'm changing over to a Medeteranian diet, its so healthy, and once you get the OK from your Onc, I'd highly recommend it. 

I'm looking forward to hearing from your father on this forum. I'm almost 55, with stage 3A colorectal cancer patient.  So many people here to help him.

Blessings!

 

Chelsea71
Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

From now until 6-8 weeks after surgery he should be on a low residue diet. This means avoiding nuts, seeds, fruit, cereal with more than one gram of fiber per serving, popcorn, brown rice, whole grain bread. You want him to eat foods that are white, not brown. Avoid fiber. After 6 to 8 weeks, he should gradually reintroduce fruits and fiber. Once he has healed is is on chemo, a Mediterranean diet would be a good idea. Eating is important. He will need to keep up his strength while on chemo. He should also try and stay as active as possible while on chemo. If he starts to feel tired and run down, a brisk walk is likely to give him energy. (Shouldn't over-do it though. Important to listen to the body). Water is very important while on chemo. Especially the two days following the pump disconnection. He will want to protect his kidney from damage by flushing out the chemo from his body. He should stay positive and carry on with his normal, regular life, as much as possible.

Good luck

Chelsea

geotina's picture
geotina
Posts: 2064
Joined: Oct 2009

Chelsea is right although it seems like it should be the opposite.  My hubby had the same advise both from hospital, oncologist and dietician.  No whole grains, no fruit with peels, no nuts seeds and the like.  No foods "rich in fiber".  Low residue diet.  No fresh vegetables unless they are very well cooked, if using frozen vegetables, again, well cooked.  No wheat bread, rye, and stuff like that. 

Take care  - Tina

LivinginNH's picture
LivinginNH
Posts: 1313
Joined: Apr 2010

Yes, this was the case for Rick as well since fiber actually CAUSED a blockage.  Everyone is different, so I would just listen to his doctor's advice on this one.

Cyn

Chelsea71
Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

Exact same thing happened with Steve. Fiber (twelve grain bread each day for lunch) caused his blockage. Caused him to go to the hospital and was diagnosed. He went on a health kick and was eating a lot of fiber. Had it not been for the blockage he likely would not have been diagnosed until it spread throughout his body. They pumped his stomach contents up through his and started the low residue diet until they were able to operate. Exactly two years ago this weekend. Brings back horrible memories.

Chelsea

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1519
Joined: Jan 2013

Here is a book that is aimed at diabetics, but works perfecltly for us Cancer patients. I Have found so many, basically easy recipeis. 'The Mediterrranean Diabetes Cookbook' by Amy Riolo. And even more great recipies from 'Cooking for Cancer with foods that Fight Cancer' by Richard Beliveau and Denis Gingras, Ph.d.  

Keep a journal (I have a dated jouranl for this) and write down what your father eats, then if he has some kind of reaction, you can look back and see if its related to his food, or to side effects from the chemo. And always tell his Oncologist EVERYTHING no matter how insinificant you  (or your father) feels it is.

I think you are a wonderful son.  

 

tellspring
Posts: 16
Joined: May 2013

My wife is new cancer patient and I was scared and emotional at first just like you. You are doing the right thing and asking the right question. All the wonderful people on this board and around us are helping. Let's stay positive and focus on what we can do for the best outcome.

My best wishes to your father and your family.

Scubadan (not verified)

I think the 1st few weeks is the hardest for most of us.  So many questions, so many answers to sift, so many tears, so many hopes and fears.  Believe me it will get better as the options and answers start to come together. I've had stage IVb colon CA met to the liver for 4 1/2 years and I'm still doing very well. I'm not a survivor, I'm surviving. As a patient care provider as a paramedic for 23 yrs, I believe information is important. Knowledge about your condition and drugs gives you confidence in what to expect. However, most of the possibilities of drug side effects and what can happen with your condition are overwhelming and most of them just won't happen. If you research the internet use reliable sources only such as American Cancer Society, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, John Hopkins, and Mayo Clinic. Don't be one of those who just sits back and let whatever happens happen just because my doctors and nurses must know all about me. We are all different.  Your most valuable asset is attitude. Don't expect to feel bad all the time. Tell your doc if you don't fell right. When I was a critical care paramedic for 15 years I would tell my most critical patients that "I was taking care of them now. Your problem is my problem now. I know what to do; relax and trust me that I will take care of you".  The stress relief alone from those few words turned many of my patients from near death to survivors.  There are no promises, but stress is a killer. Relax, enjoy love, life, nature, and reflect on the good things of life.  

AnnLouise's picture
AnnLouise
Posts: 276
Joined: Mar 2013

So hard to get this news without any definite results. You have received alot of good information on this post. You have found a wealth of information and experiences from a caring, supportive group. You need to be strong for your Dad, and we are here to help you....he is very lucky to have such a caring son. Many of your questions will be answered after the scan results come back....and more questions may come up. Hoping for good scan results.....~ Ann

daddys_boy
Posts: 6
Joined: May 2013

Wow thank you all so much for this great information this helped me clear some of the confusion on what he should eat at this moment.

In the last 3 days we have been eating a diet which was quite high in fibre so I will be switching tomorrow to a low fibre diet and hopefully avoid blockage.

It was mentionned that he should avoid fruits, what about vegetables?

What about anitoxidant, I've read that somewhere that they can interfear with chemo and other pleaces that it doesnt, what is the consensus on that?

Can he eat food rich in antioxidants and take multivitamins before chemo?

Thanks again for the great support you are giving us and the kind words this is making a big difference.

 

By the way Trubrits I have purchased Richard Beliveau's book thanks for the suggestion.

Richard Beliveau is from Quebec where we live and my dad likes to watch a tv show where Dr Beliveau was featured.

I'm sure he'll love the book.

daddys_boy
Posts: 6
Joined: May 2013

After looking online to see what is high in fibre and what isn't I found this document that is very nice.

Since it might be helpfull to some of you here is a link to it:

http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/NR/rdonlyres/01B68B82-61CD-45A4-B71D-37A5A1318453/55937/LowFibreFoodChoicesPartialBowelObstruction.pdf

smokeyjoe
Posts: 1428
Joined: Feb 2011

Ahhh, fellow Canadian !!!!    I'm in Ontario.  

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