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catherine58's picture
catherine58
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2007

Hello. I am a 48yr old recently divorced mother of two children (aged 12 and 8) living in the UK. I have been having diarrhoea and stomach aches since September, but my GP thought it was almost certainly IBS. On Saturday I finally had a colonoscopy and the doctor told me I had a "suspicious" narrowing of the right colon (in fact it was so narrowed he couldn't get the instrument to the end). On the screen the "suspicious" area looked yellow (the rest of the colon was pink). He did not use the word cancer but, when asked, said it was a "possibility". He took a biopsy and I am having a CT scan on Tuesday, and should have all the results a week today. I am scared out of my wits and can't think of anything else. I have recently moved to a town where I have no family (both my parents recently died of oesophageal cancer - I miss them terribly - and I feel I have had my fill of hospitals). I have made a few good friends here but am relatively unsupported and do not know how I would cope with a prolonged stay in hospital/period of convalesence. I am feeling very nauseous, have completely lost my appetite (my weight has fallen by c. 15 pounds in the last few months) and, lying in bed at night, imagine I can feel a tumour in my right colon (or am I imagining this?). I have been obsessively searching the internet and terrifying myself (see that cancer of the right colon is described as a "silent killer" as it doesn't present symptoms until it is pretty advanced). I'm not sure how anyone can help me, but it helps to get it off my chest.

nanuk's picture
nanuk
Posts: 1363
Joined: Dec 2003

obviously there is little that you can do until tuesday. Meanwhile, you are letting your very active imagination kill you. Worst case will probably be surgery and a few months recovery, and
in a lesser scenario, no cancer and treatment for IBS or something similar.
Question is, what to do between now and tuesday?
first, consider the fact that you might have to be hospitalized, and your physical condition will
determine the length of recovery. Do what you can
to get some cardiovascular exercise daily.
give some thought to arranging a caregiver for you and your children while you are in hospital. Even if you are not hospitalized, it will give you something to do..
Think positive. This is so important, maybe the most important factor in your healing.
Concentrate on eating colon friendly food. Avoid anything hard to digest-it could cause blockage.
keep posting here-it's a great source of support.

bud

catherine58's picture
catherine58
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2007

How kind of you to write, and so quickly too. I have never been part of any "community" like this before and didn't know what to expect. What would you describe as "colon friendly" food? I used to eat masses of fruit and veg but am having problems digesting them at present. Yoghurt seems to go down easily. Best wishes, Catherine

JADot's picture
JADot
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2006

Catherine,

Now that you've found us, you'll never be alone again!

Whew, I have to say that everything you've said reminded me a lot of my situation. The dramatic weight loss is very worrying. I was able to feel my tumor on the right side because it was so big.

You have done the ultimate right thing by getting a colonoscopy. Don't assume cancer until you've seen the path report. And if it turns out to be cancer, you get really scared, cry your eyes out for a few days, and then you set about showing the ******* cells that they've chosen the wrong host by hammering them with everything you've got. Many of us on this board have had it, beat it, and are thriving after cancer.

Just the other day Bud on this board pointed it out to us that the current US Poet Laureate was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in 1992. In 2006 he became the US Poet Laureate!

So Catherine, welcome to our family although I really want to see a resignation note from you next week when you get your path report back :)

Best of luck to you Catherine!
Ying

catherine58's picture
catherine58
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2007

Dear Ying, Thank you so much for writing with such an encouraging story (about the Poet Laureate). I hope so much I will not be a permanent member of this virtual "family", but it is good to know you are there. How long did it take you to get from diagnosis to surgery? Everything seems to work so slowly in England. Best wishes, Catherine

JADot's picture
JADot
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2006

Diagnosis to surgery - about 22 hours. I had the best of doctors whom I will be forever grateful to. Best of luck to you Catherine!

moniquebar
Posts: 57
Joined: Jun 2006

Hello Catherine,

I am sorry that you are feeling so frightened and I know that at times like this it is very difficult to avoid jumping to dire conclusions about one’s health. No doubt this is a scary time. The good thing is that you received a colonoscopy and that professionals are observing you. If you do, in fact, have cancer it is better to have it dealt with now rather than later, advanced or not. Many people survive advanced cancer and go on to lead productive lives.

The past year I have also had times where I have been utterly terrified, however I have found that educating myself about my health and dealing head-on with issues has lessoned the fear. As far as support groups go, the Internet is a very good resource for some people. Although I contribute little to the online forums I find reading the posts beneficial. It is heartening to know that others are experiencing similar health issues to mine and are thriving.

Just to let you know, when I was first diagnosed with cancer, I too obsessively searched the Internet and spent many a sleepless night prior to my resection obsessing about my tumour growth. I have a feeling that this is a natural reaction. However, if this so-called natural reaction turns into a full fledged fixation then you might wish to visit your doctor to see if he/she will prescribe you an anti-anxiety drug such as Ativan (which might also help you sleep). Hang in there Catherine.

Monique

catherine58's picture
catherine58
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2007

Dear Monique, Thanks so much for your message. I am glad I am not the only one to be obsessively trawling the internet and am glad you have found it therapeutic to read the posts. I have only just found this forum and have not yet looked through many -will do so this evening, if I can stay awake. Best wishes, Catherine

chynabear's picture
chynabear
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

Dear Catherine,

I'm sorry to hear about your current health issues. I am very glad to hear that you have already had a colonoscopy and are well on your way to figuring what's wrong.

There are already so many good posts here. While I find it is a good idea to educate yourself (only came to this after I finished chemo) please keep a few things in mind. First, you don't know exactly what is wrong with you so tread lightly. Second, in all of the information focusing on cancer and advanced stages of cancer, keep in mind that medicine has come a long way and it is no longer the death sentence it once was. I avoid statistics entirely. The numbers group people in all stages of the disease and even those diagnosed too late. It also groups the numbers before treatments are where they are today. There are a few sayings that some have come up with on this board, "Expiration dates are for dairy products and Odds are for Vegas." Meaning that no doctor or condition can give you an "expiration date" or give complete "statistics". You are your own person and there is no reason you can't beat this. Also, know that with current medicine many are put into remission, cured, or live very fulfilled lives while keeping the beast in check.

Some great suggestions here.. get some excercise. This will help you one so many levels. If you have to face surgery, you will face it stronger and heal quicker. It will also help your emotions and give you something to focus on for a while until you get your test results.

The good news in your situation is that you are on your way to health once again.

I pray for good results. Keep us posted.

Tricia

Monicaemilia's picture
Monicaemilia
Posts: 455
Joined: Nov 2006

Hi Catherine: I was exactly where you are one-year ago, so I know exactly how you feel. I did come to the realization, though, that no matter how much I obsessed about it, it was not going to change the outcome of the meeting with my doctor, so I tried to take it easy and stayed occupied with my then 6 week old son. You will know soon enough what course of action you need to take. As it has been pointed out, it could be anything but cancer, and if it is cancer, you will have an amazing amount of support on this board. As for finding support at home, you would be amazed how people come through when you are in need, but that is a worry for another day. Meanwhile, spend time with the kids and enjoy every day till your appointment. I will be praying for you. Monica

DK2006
Posts: 126
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Catherine,
Welcome to this site. You have gotten some great advice. The unknown is the hardest part of this journey. When I had my sigmoidoscope, I was told that I had colitis, so imagine my shock when I learned that I had cancer. Maybe, you will find that you have colitis or IBS. Try not to worry.
Best wishes,
Donna

katefm's picture
katefm
Posts: 112
Joined: Oct 2006

Catherine-

My husband and I moved to Wisconsin exactly one year before he was diagnosed. To the day, in fact. We had some friends when he was diagnosed, but I am eternally grateful to our little town for banding together and supporting us. If you need to call for help, I believe that people will surprise you. I think people are just waiting to do something good. It's hard to ask for help, but I imagine you'll find help from other parents at your kids' school, neighbors, friends, and even friends of friends.

Don't search the Internet - it'll just upset you. Statistics are always wrong, and you have to take so many other factors into consideration. Also, a positive mental attitude goes SO far.

Best of luck and please let us know how you're doing. We're all rooting for you!

Cheers,
Kate

crazylady
Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi Catherine,
I'm so sorry that you're feeling scared and alone. You've come to the right place for friendship and support. I've found that keeping busy while waiting for test results really helps me. Get together with friends or take your children somewhere fun for the day. Anything that will take your mind off the waiting.
Take care and keep us posted.
Jamie

pink05
Posts: 553
Joined: Mar 2006

Catherine,

I understand the fear you are feeling, but try to think positively. It may not be cancer. When my dad had his 1st colonoscopy after having symptoms, the doctor knew right away that it was a cancerous tumor. In your case, sounds like your doc. can't confirm that for sure. Please keep us posted. You are in my prayers.

-Lee-

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2599
Joined: Apr 2003

Hey, Catherine -

Greetings from Washington, DC. My cancer was on the right side as well. I have a genetic form of colon cancer called HNPCC and it is "normal" in HNPCC for the cancer to present on the right side. I completely understand how you are feeling, I was in the middle of a nasty divorce when I started down the cancer road. I relocated to Washington for treatments (although I was working here, I had a horse farm about 4 hours south of here where I lived). Ihad no friends, no family and really no support. CSN was a life saver.

Hopefully you don't have cancer, but know that there are lots of people here who are warm and caring and very supportive.

Wishing you good news on your CT and pathology reports.
- SpongeBob

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