May 25, 2013 - 3:39 am
I introduced myself at the tail-end of the 'newbies posting on old posts' thread and it was suggested i introduce myself this way instead.
You all seem very sincere and i appreciate your camraderie. I live in a remote desert area near Palm Springs, there is one support group at the hospital but transortation is an issue. Most people i know are non-patients and only know older relatives with cancer, if any at all. At 49 years old, working at a gym, exercising and eating realy well, no drugs/alcohol, etc., everybody was pretty blown away. Everybody said 'stay positive' and 'we'll pray for you', but they did not really know what to say.
My 1 to 2 years of rectal bleding turned out to be a rectal cancer (and not hemorhoids) and was stage 3c with a giant inguinial lymph node at the time. I have been on this, odyssey, radiaion/xeloda, transrectal exams, some surgery and soon chemo (folfox).
But my situation now is very different. My 6-7 cm tumor was half as big in january when radiation ended. It was expected to shrink more, perhaps down to 25 percent of original size. But 2 months later, as i prepared for a colostomy, the surgeon did a transrectal exam and found the tumor gone completely. Beforehand a PET scan done by UCLA showed indications of radiation, but no masses, no lymph node involvement either. The surgeon removed a sample of scar tissue from where the tumor hade been which was biopsied and contained some 'irregular cells', but no tumor. So 2 weeks later he (we) opted to removed that scarred area of the rectum, about the size of a 50 cent piece, above the sphincter, with a border, for 're-biopsy'. This time no malignancies at all. Today my colorectal surgeon was pleased, i am healing well (although very very sore!) and am expected to have regular bowel function again in weeks (right now it hurts a lot to poop!) and should have no other side effects.
UCLA, on the other hand, wanted to go with the complete colostomy after the first post radiation biopsy. Thank god for second opinions (they were actually the 2nd opinion, I have been with Eisenhower Med Center mostly.)
So i am one of the lucky ones, having had a 'complete pathologic response' to radiation. maybe 10 to 12 percent of patients have this happen, i am told. My oncologist still wants to treat me with 8 sessions of chemo, to be on the safe side.
Yes i feel lucky, but i also feel my efforts contributed. An even better, meat free and high alkaline diet was one thing. Soul searching, travelling, re-evaluation spiritual beliefs another. Avoiding any negative triggers at all, personally transforming, deciding i wanted to live, and wanted to love myself and others. Even a healing stone made for me that i never removed.
I do not want to give anyone false hope, or dietary or spiritual advice. Just know that you are loved. And get second opinions!
I look forward to feedback, meeting new friends, and helping any way i can. I still don't understand it, but by the time the last biopsy and scan were done, I was expecting them to be 'good ones'.
ok, synopsis: my stage 3b rectal tumor, 6cm, went away completely due to external beam radiation and chemo.