CSN Login
Members Online: 4

You are here

anyone had this happen

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

I am almost 3 years out of stage III rectal T3N1MO. Last week I had my CT scan done and it read lungs, kidneys, abdomen no sign of residual disease. 6mm on liver suspicious suggest redo CT scan with contrast. I have not been having the injected contrast because of "borderline" kidney function I'm 62 and have had 8+ CT scans since diagnosis and they are very careful not to compromise my kidneys.

It was subsequently decided that they do an ultra-sound yesterday.

Needless to say I'm scared silly 6mm suspicious in liver doesn't sound good and I am convinced that this is a Met.

Has anyone had this happen to them so late in the game and it turned out to be nothing? I can't stop crying I'm so scared!!

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

I know you are scared, but first I would suggest not jumping to the worst conclusion. Radiologists automatically assume mets when they are dealing with a patient with a history of cancer, but it could be anything. IF, in fact, it turns out to be the dreaded word, the good news is that it is very small, it is solitary and if surgically removed, you are definitely CURABLE. I know that it is easier said than done, but please keep a positive attitude that whatever it is, you will be able to deal with it and you will be fine. Monica

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

Thanks Monics: I feel like a real wimp but I just can't stop crying. I really believed that I had beat this and I was broadsided again. 3 years ago almost to the day was when I had the first symptoms of rectal cancer. This new development just seems too coincidental. I was getting to the point where I didn't think of cancer everyday and I am leading a normal life. I'm in the process of getting ready to go South for the winter and then BANG the baseball bat hits me in the side of the head. I am praying so hard that this isn't Met but the word "suspicious" in the report tells me the radiologist thinks that it is cancer.

What are the inplications of liver surgery, do I have to do Chemo again? I have neuropathy from the Oxi, what other drugs can they use? I feel so defeated I just don't know if I have any fight left in me.

I'm almost tempted to just throw in the towel...go to Florida for the winter and let the chips fall. My kids/grandkids are of course against this non action plan.

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

Ok Joyce, throwing in the towel is NOT an option! From the sounds of it, you have too much to live for. Joyce made a very good point, this could also just be a fatty deposit on your liver. I just had lung surgery to remove 15 nodules from my lungs, of which only 9 were cancerous. The rest were just 'stuff' that sometimes accumulates in the lungs. Yes, 'stuff' is my medical term when I don't know what they were really called, sorry.

I understand how you are feeling. Every time I got some bad news, it really took the wind out of my sails and threw me into a terrible depression for a few days. At least until I got used to the idea, made a new action plan, and moved on. It is absolutely normal. But remember this, you are giving power to this disease, power that it does not need. Do not let it take away anything more from you than it already has taken.

At this point, don't worry so much about an action plan until you know that you need one. But know that you have tons of options, and all of them good and positive. Monica

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Hey Joyce... first, take a few deeeeeep breaths and give yourself some breathing room. As long as you are in a state of panic, no matter what you think it is going to be the absolute worst, the horror, the terror and what we all fear, the words "We can't do anything more." That's the worst part about this disease... when you are first told you have it, it doesn't matter what stage you have, it is absolutely terrifying. And that terror never seems to be too far away... no matter how long you have been doing just fine. It only takes a few words from the doctors/specialists -- "suspicious", "met", "tumour", "possible spread" and we are in just as much fear as we were when we got our first diagnosis. I know... been there, done that, numerous times over... and no matter what advice I give to others, I just know that if they find anything else that is "suspicious", I will go into a total panic. So believe me, we all understand where you are at and as much as I would like to say this is not normal... I think it's a pretty normal reaction. The tears, the fear, the terror.

Ok... now having said that, and you knowing that we DO understand, let's look at the reality of what's going on. Doctors are human. They have seen so many scans/xrays/ultrasound scans, that to them it's like us walking into a well-stocked bookstore and saying "Gee, that book looks good" or "I'm not sure I like the look of this one" or "That one looks awfully suspicious that it's the same as something I've read before". If you were in the bookstore with someone who doesn't often go into a bookstore and really has no interest in reading, you can bet your bottom dollar that they are thinking 1) Joyce knows a LOT about books 2) She can take one look at a book and know if it's good or not. 3) Wow... she can just look at that book and already be suspicious of it.

All these things your friend might be thinking in her head could be accurate... you might be right on all three points. Then again, you are just one human being who happens to enjoy books and can pick one up, look at the description or author and make an opinion. Yep, that's it... an opinion... and opinions can be wrong.

Our doctors are TRAINED to look for things. They are TRAINED to read published reports and statistics (again, someone else's opinions) and follow those reports until something new comes out to prove different. They are VERY skilled in their jobs, but the missing link here is everyone is different so we don't all fall in that nice, neat little statistical package.

The scan picked up a 6mm "something" on your liver. We all know that it is common for colon cancer to spread to the liver and lungs... although, guess what, it can spread to areas doctors are taught it won't spread to (in my case, to the adrenal gland). So, let's take the worst case scenerio... the one where you are so cared it's a 6mm Met. First, that is considered extremely small. 6mm is .263 of an inch. Try and figure that out on a ruler... .263 of an inch. That is soooo small, that it is hard to determine what it is, and is almost too small for them to even have found. But, ok, let's stick with the scenerio that it is a Met and it is cancerous. What are the options? If there's only the one, then they might suggest waiting for it to grow a bit bigger to make sure it is cancer, before taking it out (at the same time, this will let them know if there are any others that are just waiting to pop up). OR, they might say, let's go back on chemo to kill this one off and kill off any that might think they are going to grow. Or, they might suggest surgery to go in and cut this teeny tiny dot out. You might also ask your oncologist about ablation... that's my newest term that I've just learned . This is where, with the guidance of a CAT scan, the radiologist goes in with a fine needle, pokes the met and then zaps it with heat, burning it so it is no longer there. If ablation is possible, then you won't necessarily need chemo and saves you from surgery.

If you do need chemo, I had the same problems with oxipilatin. I hate that stuff even though I know it is good for the reasons we are taking it. But my oncologist said if we go on chemo again, she won't put me through the oxi again since that did cause so much discomfort. I then asked, "Well, isn't that putting me in danger by not using it?" And she said no... these tiny nodules (I have 6 of them in my lungs that are under 6mm) are in a different area and you are not just coming out of surgery. Totally different situation, so we would change the chemotherapy for you.

So there... that would be the absolute worst case scenerio. The best case scenerio... they have found a fatty deposit on your liver. I know, I know, we'd all like to say we don't have "fatty livers" , but these deposits are almost impossible to escape. Our western diet tends to be rich in the finer foods in life... and hence we end up getting fatty deposits in our livers. Or it can be a benign growth. Or it could be scarring. So it could be pretty much anything... but of course the doctors are automatically going to assume cancer since you've had cancer in the past... and now they go about testing to eliminate all the possibilities.

So please, try to calm down and give yourself a break. Whether it is nothing and you continue to pack those bags for the winter, or whether it's the news you don't want to hear... then celebrate that they have caught it soooo early and with it being soooo small!! They can deal with this and so can you :)

Huggggggs,

Cheryl

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

Thanks Cheryl: Honestly I'm usually the most upbeat person. I have been the one giving all the encouragement to my Chemo/cancer buddies.I was the one who went into the Chemo room with a big smile and jokes and kept everyone entertained. Now look at me, when it gets down to the crunch I completely fold. What is really bothering me is the fact that we are getting ready to go south (Naples Florida) and I'm afraid that I might not be able to go. This sounds selfish and stupid but I was really looking forward to going and I don't want to disappoint my Hubby. Going to Florida each year has signalled that "I made it --- I survived".

I just wish I could get the darned results....it is the waiting that is driving me bonkers!!!

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Ain't that the truth??? I swear that the waiting is worse than any treatment or treatment plan. Once you know what you are dealing with, then your mind can get into battle mode and start planning for the treatments and then taking them one at a time. It's the darn waiting that makes us go insane.

And Joyce, I hear you on the fact your personality and outlook is normally upbeat and positive. I can so relate with you on this!! People tell me I inspire them, seeing me go through what I've been going through... and yet, I'm still upbeat and happy. Even the doctors have commented on it... went so far as my own GP who I've had for 35 years has said, "Cheryl, you are not human... you have been through soooo much and you haven't broken once. I'm actually starting to get a little concerned... this is just not normal to always be so chipper. At some point you have got to have a down time and just remember when that happens (and it will happen), I will be here for you." I thought HE was nuts... I was doing just fine thank you very much. But then it hit... when I was told that the cancer had spread. When I was told that they found some more. All of a sudden things started piling up and I was a nervous wreck. I did go to my GP and you could almost feel the relief coming from him. "Finally!! Now I know that you are not going to self-combust... you need to have this emotional outlet... it is normal".

Ha! Except it hits me when I least expect it!! This weekend, I'm feeling kind of blue. Why???? I have absolutely no reason to feel blue! We have a couple of options we can follow to get rid of my small nodules in my lungs and there isn't a rush since they are growing so agonizingly slow. Tomorrow night my friends are having a big Celebration of Life and Friendship party for me at the theatre... along with a tribute show to their friend, Cheryl . There are going to be 200 of my friends and family there... and we are going to have a ball! Not only that, my boss (from my job when I was working) has volunteered to have me shave his head, so we are going to have a Shave Dave event at the party... and a couple of friends will work the room collecting donations, of which we are going to turn over to the BC Cancer Agency for Colon Cancer Research.

Does it get any better than this?? I KNOW I'm going to have a ball and the energy in that theatre is going to get my flying through the next leg of my journey, whichever options we need to do... yet, I was hit with the blues yesterday and today.

So, just remember... it doesn't matter where in your journey you are... the emotional roller coaster can pop up when you least expect it.

As for your results... how long were you planning on going down to Florida? There's a good possibility the doctors are going to want to wait a bit anyways to see if this nodule in your liver even grows. So don't panic yet... they may tell you to go ahead with your plans and then make a plan for the various tests/scans they will want to do when you get back.

Do keep us posted when you hear the results! Now you have me on pins and needles wondering what the results are going to be and how they may or may not affect your trip plans :)

Hugggggs,

Cheryl

msccolon's picture
msccolon
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

First off, what beautiful babies! Next, I know you have to get through this panic before you can come back to that calm place; at least that's how it is for me. Once you get more info you will be able to relax and gear up for what's next. Third, DON'T even THINK you won't be heading to Naples and will enjoy the HECK out of it! This is a great time of year for Florida and there is no reason you shouldn't be able to go if for no other reason to regenerate your batteries. Tell your doctor your plans, I am sure he/she will work with you. I know I put off treatments to experience life, after all that's why we go through all that crap. If it was just the chemo/radiation/surgery ferris wheel, I think we would ALL make a jump for it! Take care and let us know how it goes for you. I have added you to my prayer list. Besides, it's probably nothing to worry about :)
Mary

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Joyce,

I can certainly understand your feelings at the moment. Completely understandable. But, I agree with what others have said: we pay those doctors to be 'paranoid'! That is their job! My understanding is that it is VERY common to have "thingies" in the liver (or lung). I had a cyst detected on ultrasound of liver one time....So PROBABLY it is something like that. I know the waiting is excrutiating. If worse comes to worse -- which I hope/pray it does not -- you WILL be able to climb back on that horse and do what needs to be done. I have had a couple of recurrences. It is very hard to psychologically ready yourself again - but I did it, and so could you. Meanwhile, "feed the faith, starve the fear" -- let's assume it is "nothing" while you wait....And don't cancel Florida plans!

Love,
Tara

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

Tara: Thanks for the encouragement. We go to Florida for 6 months. We also plan to go to Cancun Mexico for 2 weeks in April. We have booked a penthouse with another couple to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We are spoiled "old" brats!!!

My oncologist is very accommodating, she was the one who originally told me "get out of Dodge" when I finished my Chemo. I used to fly home to Canada every 3 months for my CT scans and check-up. My Oncologist treats the "whole person" and wants me to "have a life outside cancer". She always jokes with me about her "long distance patient".

hugs

Joyce

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

...from day one. Every scan, the radiologist reports it. One time, early one, they did ultrasound and saw that they were just polyps....

I'm sending my good vibes to you....you are about at the same time frame as I am....and I just got the 'all clear'!!!

Hugs, Kathi

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

Kathi: Thanks for the encouragement. I also have 3 "fatty" cysts in my liver since day one. My surgeon checked them out when he did my LAR. This darned "thing" is new and hasn't shown up on any of my other scans. I had my last scan in May and got the all clear.....now this!!!

I'm waiting for my ultrasound results. I had the ultrasound on Friday so I will be bugging my Oncologist on Monday.

PGLGreg's picture
PGLGreg
Posts: 741
Joined: Jul 2006

I have had a suspicious spot on my liver show up on CT scans twice, with follow-up ultrasounds taken each time which showed the spot to be a harmless cyst. I am also, by the way, 3 years out from treatment for rectal cancer. So I think yours could well be a cyst. However, I think you're right to be worried. Good luck.

vinny3's picture
vinny3
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

Hi Joyce,

I know the anxiety in getting such a report. It happened to me twice that the report indicated that there were some spots in my liver and I should have an MRI. But it wasn't clear in the reports that they had compared the CT to my previous ones. When I called about it and made sure the comparisons were made they indicatd there was no change so I haven't worried. They always make some comment about thickening in one area or the other on my scans I think the radiologists are covering their rears in some respect and want to mention everything possible. Find out why they think the spot is suspicious- shape, size, new, etc- and have they compared this scan with your past ones- it should be a routine part of the reading but doesn't always happen. We hope that this is just one of those things that has been there. If not, we know you will handle it and get rid of it.

Dick

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

Thanks Dick: All of my previous scans have been done without "injected" contrast and this does make it more difficult to see "little" stuff. What is so worrysome is 3 years clear and now this! The is most certainly a "new" spot.

The notation on my CT scan only noted "suspicious" 6mm. Everything else was clear.

I feel as though I have been kicked in the gut.....I thought that after 3 years all the worry about recurrence was behind me.

eweb
Posts: 14
Joined: Jul 2004

Hi Joyce,

I have also gone through this, and at year 3. The radiology report mentioned both metastasis and hemangioma (common freckle-like thing)as possibilities. My surgeon was convinced it was the latter and sure enough after two years it hasn't changed size much and my CEA remains normal. One radiologist told me that it is common for the liver to become more hetrogenous after chemo, so spots do show up. The radiology reports now read "probable hemangioma". At the beginning the frustrating thing for me was that the scans were not conclusive either way. Hang in there!

Ellen

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

So far (knock on wood) my PET scans have shown nothing in my liver. I have not heard this information about "hemangioma", but then since there hasn't been anything on my liver it doesn't surprise me I hadn't heard about this.

Should a scan ever pick up something like this, then I know I would be every bit as upset as Joyce is. But if that time should come, I'm going to remember this post of yours! That makes so much sense... expecially about the fact that the liver becomes more hetrogenous after chemo. Once we are finished chemo and don't have anymore side affects, we just naturally assume we have bounced back to our pre-chemo days... when we really don't know exactly what all the chemo has done to change our bodies and systems around. So thank you for your explanation!!

Hugggggs,

Cheryl

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

Ellen: Thank you so much. You are the first one to give me a positive spin on this. All I am getting is "it is small" it is probable mets etc etc. Now I'm going to google "hemangioma". Now I have hope!!

Hugs

Joyce

Kanort's picture
Kanort
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Joyce,

You have gotten great answers and support. I am so grateful you are now feeling more hopeful that this spot will prove to be something easily explained and not worrisome. Please keep us posted. The waiting for definitive answers is the worst!

Hugs,

Kay

pamness
Posts: 529
Joined: Nov 2007

It seems that every time I go for a CT or CEA or whatever, something pops up. So far everything has gone away on another scan or test, Ct's were showing shadows, blood was whatever.

I have 4 hemangiomas in my liver that showed up 16 years ago from an ultrasound to see if I had gall stones, scared me half to death. Hemangiomas in the liver occur in over 25 percent of population and are really just a collection of blood vessels, sort of like a birth mark. Most the time they would never be found, as they are bengin and not a threat to much of anything. But with all these new scans,etc. These things appear.

Keep a positive attitude that what showed up on the scan is "nothing" as is so often the case.

All the best,

Pam

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

Thanks Pam: It has only been 5 months since my last CT scan and nothing showed on it. The fact that lung thing is only 6mm and "new" is what is freaking me out.My very first set of scans post Chemo 3 years ago had lots of notations of possible nodes in lungs, enlarged nodes in peritoneal area etc. Every subsequent scan since has been noted as no evidence of residual disease. This "thing" on my lungs has really blown be away...I'm a nervous wreck.

Radiologist made the notation "suspicious" this really freaked me out.

I'm really stressed right now, wish I could find a big hole to hide in!!

msccolon's picture
msccolon
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

I would love to climb in at times as well! Perhaps could busy myself by making it larger to allow for more company! LOL!
Mary

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

Mary I sure could use the company.
This waiting is driving me nuts. I sent hubby off to work because I can't stand to see the "pain in his eyes". My son called me and I had to hang-up because I started to cry.

Please, I need you to do something for me:

o'k go ahead and do it...... slap, slap to the side of my head.... yell at me to get a grip!! lol

msccolon's picture
msccolon
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

((((((SLAP!!!!))))))
You really are doing more than fine! You had me laughing with this one! I was visiting a friend today, newly diagnosed and beginning chemo for ovarian cancer. Thinking I was just fine, I started crying remembering everything that has happened and all (yes, wasn't I just being very supportive!), so give yourself a break!
Mary

hannacat's picture
hannacat
Posts: 101
Joined: Jun 2008

Hi Joyce,I had stage 3b colon cancer and eventually they found a hemangioma on my liver that has remained the same each scan. I am also comming up on the three year date. Please take a deep breath and wait until the facts are in. We strong people are entitled to cry and get it out. We're also smart and survivors. I'll keep you in my prayers. Love Hanna

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

Oncology nurse just called. Good news, I have another "fat cyst". I am classified as a NERD (no evidence of residual disease)!!

I thank everyone for helping me through this. I honestly couldn't have done this without your help. Only another cancer survivor can understand the terror in hearing the word "suspicious spot and liver" in the same sentence.

I'm not up to celebrating just yet, got to catch up on the lack of sleep.....then you bet yah Hubby and I are going out to celebrate.

Thanks again...there I go again getting teary eyed.

Hugs to all,

Joyce

hannacat's picture
hannacat
Posts: 101
Joined: Jun 2008

WONDERFUL. We'll all sleep better tonite

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Joyce.... not to tell you "I told you so" (but isn't it wonderful when we can and it proves we were right )... but way back at the beginning I said that we get these fatty deposits because of our Western diet which is high in fats (even if we are obsessive to keep fat to a minimum). Our western livers are prone to the good life :D

I'm sooooo thrilled that you have a fatty cyst . I think we should have a contest and come up with a name for it!!! :D Frieda??? Names... we need names!!!

Congratulations, my friend!!

Hugggggs,

Cheryl

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

Cheryl this is cyst #4. I didn't get a chance to see the Ultra-sound so I don't know if they are boys or girls!

My Suggestion:
1) Miss Vickie (chips)
2) Laura Secord (Canadian Made Chocolate)
3) Tim Horton (Do-nut shop in Canada
4) Robin (Baskin robin Ice-cream)

Thanks,
hugging you right back ( )

Joyce

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Yea Yea Yea YEA!!!!

Thanks for the update, so glad it is something explainable...

Sleep well, dearheart!

Hugs, Kathi

msccolon's picture
msccolon
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

So glad you can rest easy now! Celebrate like there's no tomorrow this weekend!
Mary

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

Great news sweetie, I am lettin it rip right now for ya so I can't hardly see.......its great to hear good news for a change......Now......GET PACKED AND GET YOUR BUTT OUT OF TOWN.......LOL....Congratulations Hun for you and yours, enjoy your earned vacation.......God Bless ya......He already has..........

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

Thank you so much. We are getting the RV ready. Heading out 27 November arrive in Naples Florida 1st December. We stay in Naples until mid April, then a slow drive back up to Canada with stop over in Myrtle Beach South Carolina to meet up with some friends.

We are "snow-birds". I miss having the Grandkid at Christmas, but I sure don't miss the Canadian winters.

I give thanks to god every day for blessing me and my family.

Subscribe to Comments for "anyone had this happen"