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When will I start to feel like I'm not on chemo anymore

Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2003

Hello again everyone. As I said recently I just finished my last chemo treatment. Only problem is I still have some problems with diahrea and this troubling gurgling in my abdomen. To top it all off, my appetite isn't too good. Maybe it is because of the accumulation of all the chemo medication that it will take a while to feel normal?? I go for a cat skan on Dec. 1. I have to drink some dye at home before the test. How bad is that going to be?. It looks like more than a quart. Then on Dec. 10, I have an appointment with my oncologist and a blood test. After that, I don't know. Again, all you semi-colons, thanks in advance for your advice. Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving. Regards, Arlene

aspaysia's picture
Posts: 253
Joined: Nov 2003

Your chemo ended only a week ago so it may take a couple of more weeks for you to get back on track. Get some Lomotil from the doc if your diarrhea does not subside. Your appetite will reurn when your guts settle down.
Not to sugarcoat things: The CT scan takes twenty minutes but first you have to choke down the contrast on an empty stomach and it tastes vile. They try to flavour it with banana or somesuch but it still has a chalky aftertaste. Right before the scan you get an IV for some dye to be administered halfway thro the test. It gives you an unpleasant flush that goes away quickly. I have one of these every three months and you get used to the routine. The worst part is waiting for results but it feels great when they can't find anything. Here's hoping you are in the clear.

Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2003

Thanks for your advice. Is Lomotil better than immodium? Regards, Arlene

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Arlene -

Congrats on finishing up your chemo! I hope you had a big sushi dinner! I went crazy not being able to have any while I was in chemo (the raw fish is bad joo-joo).

Anyway... just out of curiosity, did they resect your ascending (right)/transverse colon or did they resct the descending (left) colon? In my case they took out the ascending and the transverse. Here's the gouge on that procedure: The right colon is the one that removes water from the waste as it passes through. When that right colon is removed, the left colon has to take over the fluid removal chores. Being that the left colon (a) wasn't trained in fluid removal and (b) has other things to do, it never really quite gets the hang of the whole fluid removal process quite the way the right colon did. As a result, the fluid doesn't get taken out of the waste stream quite as well - we call that (among many more colorful coloquialisms) diarhea (or however you spell it - had it for years now and still can't remember where that "h" goes).

That's sort of a long technical way of saying, you'll probably never be constipated again. The good news is that the next time you visit Mexico, you won't have to fear getting Montezuma's revenge - you'll already have it! You will learn to manage it. In a couple of years, assuming it becomes an Olympic event, you and I can be the first members of the sphincter strength training team!

As for the gurgles - or stomach songs as I refer to them... They probably won't go away either. At least mine haven't more than 2 years past my surgery. The reasons, at least in my case, are:

(a) I am eating the same quantity (your appetite will return - your stomach has probably shrunk some) but I have 66.6% less storage capacity

(b) At the point where they sewed my two "clean margines" back together, there was something of a size difference in the pipe. As a result, the waste stream instantly goes from a 1" pipe to a 2" pipe and that causes some problems and adds to the "songs".

You'll get used to both of these inconveniences. aspaysia has good advice to keep with the Lomotil - and KEEP DRINKING LOTS OF WATER! I know it sounds counter-intuitive when you're constantly running, but your body is losing valuable fluid that it really needs to retain.

Finally... the "contrast". aspaysia described a banana shake; I have always gotten the Kool-Aid fruit punch version. The first two cups are OK, but then it gets rough. I asked about adding some spiced rum so it would taste like Planter's Punch, but the radiologist didn't think that was funny (some people have no sense of humor). Just remember that it's better than the colonoscopy prep!!

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving - eat hearty, but make sure you're... uh... close to home!

- SpongeBob

2bhealed's picture
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

Psssst......wapatuhi party at Sponge's BYOC (bring your own contrast dye)

Meet by the CT machine for a zappin' good time!!

Be there or be square....or you have to wear the square pants!

Happy thanksgiving! anyone having Tofurkey this year? haha

peace, em

Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi SpongeBob, I don't know anything about my resection except that I think it was the "tail end" of the colon. They removed about 20". The gurglings and the heavy diahrea only started last week. Before that, the emergency trips to the bathroom weren't too frequent and I didn't have any gurglings. I guess after Monday I'll know first hand about the CT Scan cocktail. Again, thanks for the advice. Regards, Arlene

Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi SpongeBob, I don't know anything about my resection except that it was the "Tail End" of the colon. They removed 20". The reason I asked the question is because the heavy diahrea only started this week and so did the gurglings. Before that emergency trips to the restroom were only occasional. I guess after Monday I will know first hand about the CK scan cocktail. Thanks for the advice, Arlene

StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Arlene!

Regarding drinking the contrast liquid for the CT scan...I've had worse to drink in bars that I actually paid for, so this isn't THAT bad! Make sure it's cold, that helps. Also, drink it through a straw, that also helps. They'll have you drink 3 bottles at home, and then the last half right before the test. I tried lying and saying I didn't have it with me, thinking I could get out of drinking it, and they offered me a warm one there until I fessed up!

You'll do just fine! The more you think it's going to taste awful, the more it will...mind over matter!

Take care of yourself, you're doing great! Keep it up!!!!!


Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi Stacy, Again you semi-colons have the right advice. I have to get that positive frame of mind again or the CT scan dye will be awful. Someone else mentioned using a straw. I have one handy. Thanks, Arlene

Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi Stacy, Again you semi-colons have the right advice. I have to get that positive frame of mind again or the CT scan dye will be awful. Someone else mentioned using a straw. I have one handy. Thanks, Arlene

Posts: 86
Joined: Dec 2002

Hello Fandaj,
Scan no problem.
Dye, no problem.
Re. after-effects of the chemo, it took me months to get over it but then, I'm so old that I was half - crocked anyway. Young people get over it very quickly usually so don't worry. Blessings,

Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2003

Vincent, Thanks for your blessings. Regards, Arlene

Posts: 19
Joined: May 2002

I've been off the acs network for a while and read your post. I finished with chemo Nov. 2002, so it's been a year. To this day, I have some "poopy" problems depending on what I eat, and how much. You're body is adjusting to a lot of trauma. Chemo is nasty stuff, and it'll take a while to settle down.

Give it time.

As for the stuff you have to drink for the Cat scan, that's barium contrast. It's not bad and it comes in several flavors (banana, berry. . .maybe something else) It feels like chalk in your stomach, and it kind of binds you up, but it's not a big deal. If you're getting dye for the CAT scan, they'll give it to you through an IV. I go in for a Cat scan next week, and a colonoscopy in early Jan. If I'm clean, I have a two year reprieve.

Be well,


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