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How did you get a dx?

Karmar
Posts: 43
Joined: Nov 2008

My question is how did many of you discover you had cancer? Was it a routine exam,a certian test or the actually colonoscopy? To date I have had a cat scan that only showed Fibriods,an enlarged spleen-Next test were a complete sono of all my organs and a barrium xray at witch time I noticed part of my colon was very enlarged in one area. I have not gotten the report as of yet as my doctor has not recieved it yet. My next step is a colonoscopy and I was wondering if the doctor will explain what he found after. My GI doc is doing it? All your help has been greatly appreciated. I have learned so much and feel so much more ready for what lies ahead. Thank you everyone-Its nice not to be alone.
Karen

angelsbaby's picture
angelsbaby
Posts: 1171
Joined: May 2008

well my husband had some pains in his stomach and some vomiting went to our family doc they said he had the h pylori virus which was wrong but two weeks later he is in the er for severe stomach pains 5 days later they did a colonoscopy and found a mass did operate but the cancer had preferated the colon so he was full of poo poo in his stomach but they said they got it all but 5 of 15 nodes were positve . he is stage 4 now but i pray that he will get better.

michelle

Karmar
Posts: 43
Joined: Nov 2008

Sounds so much like me-I to went to the er and they did an endoscopy.Mild chronic inflamation-My colonoscopy is the 29th of this month-Only cause I pushed and when GI doc pushed I told him I was in excruiating pain. His main concern was the pain was in my liver.Still there to-But my organs are not in the normal spots-Something about when I was born my Appendix and colon never dropped. So my colon is up under my rib cage. So I am hoping the colonoscopy finally tells me the problem. I to vomited and am constantly sick to my stomach. They also have me on 10 pills a day. So the sooner the dx the better.
Karen

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

3 weeks later, on a Sunday night, blood in the toilet. Next morning, in my GP's office. After that, much is a blur....2 inch fungating tumor in the first rectal fold. GP felt it...it had gotten big enough that it dropped...I had just had a yearly exam in June. Who knows why it wasn't caught then....one doctor estimated that I had been 'growing' this for at least 3 years!!!

Hugs, Kathi

ldot123's picture
ldot123
Posts: 276
Joined: Apr 2008

My GP noticed a drop in my red blood cell count during a regular check up. Did an occult fecal blood test (not sure why they call it occult) Anyway there was blood in the stool. Next went to have a colonoscopy where surprise I had colon cancer. Stage 3 2 nodes involved. Had ascending colon removed and chemo almost 2 years ago.

VickiCO's picture
VickiCO
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

I was seeing the Gastroenterologist for esophageal problems when I mentioned I had blood in my stool and was anemic. He immediately ordered a colonoscopy & found a tumor in the rectum, 40mm x 10mm - ugly Morpheus looking thing. Within days I was in treatment and preparing for surgery in January. Yes, they explained right after the colonoscopy and gave me the reports on the spot.

Vicki

mom_2_3
Posts: 965
Joined: Nov 2008

during a c-section.

My story begins in Oct 2007. I went to a GI dr for some bleeding but I thought it might be from adhesions from my previous 2 c-sections. He gave me an exam and said to eat more fiber. Said I could get a colonscopy if the bleeding didn't stop. It did stop a few weeks later and I forgot about it. On 2/16 my husband got "lucky" (the only time that month -- thanks to 2 young kids in the house and a tired mom). We used protection and at 42 my husband is pretty well-versed in how to use it. Fast forward 6 weeks and I started to feel yucky. My husband asked "what does it feel like?" and I said, "like when I was pregnant with our son..." Uh-oh. I found out I was pregnant the next day. It was a complete shock as we had decided to stop at 2 and were definitely doing things to avoid pregnancy. From day 1 I called our baby the "immaculate conception."

Fast forward to 11/4. We went into the hospital for the c-section. We had a last minute switchout of attending surgeons and the woman that scrubbed in with my OB/GYN was head of the resident program at the hospital and quite experienced. After they took the baby out she apparently was feeling around the abdomen (I'm not quite sure why) and felt something on the colon. They called in a surgical oncologist (who happened to be between surgeries) and within 5 minutes he was there and took a biopsy.

We found out the biopsy was positive and a CT scan 2 days after the birth they found 4 mets on the liver. The dr said they were resectable. I found out about the diagnosis on my birthday. Our wedding anniversary and my husband's birthday were 2 and 4 days prior.

Right now I am doing chemo in hopes that we get to surgery (I am at MSKCC and need to get the go-ahead from their tumor board for surgery). Right now we plan on completing my 4 rounds of chemo (FOLFOX) and re-scanning on 1/13. If the tumors are shrinking we will continue another 4 rounds and scan again. If they are not shrinking we will go into colon surgery for the primary (sigmoid) and insert an HAI pump directly to the liver.

That is the story of my dx. I like to think that God sent my daughter as an angel and that my life will be saved. The synchronicity of the events leading to the cancer discovery lead me to believe that a higher power is at work. If we hadn't had our daughter the dr told me I would have been asymptomatic for another 8-9 months at which point our treatment plan would have been different. In the months before my diagnosis I had acquired 3 cross-stitch patterns for making Christmas stockings for our children. When I went to get them 2 weeks ago to start on them I found that the one I bought for our newest daughter was in fact of an angel. My sister tells me that years from now when the youngest wants to date and I put up a fuss she will say something like, "well Mom, I did save your life..." I hope and pray that happens....

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

Your story leaves me speechless!

(And that is alot considering I ALWAYS have something to say about everything...)

Hugs, Kathi

trainer's picture
trainer
Posts: 242
Joined: Sep 2008

I had no physical pain symptoms to indicate something was wrong. My primary, during a routine physical tested for blood in the stool and had noted minor anemia in my blood tests. I already had scheduled my first colonosopy for 9/9/08 about a week following and he told me not to miss it. The screening found two polyps, which were removed and tested, one was benign, the other malignant. From there it was a colon resection 10/20/08. No cancer was found and the ONC said I was lucky (no kidding) as it appeared we got it early in the polyp and it wasn't even a stage 1. So, I'm thrilled, of course. But finding this discussion board was the best medicine ever. What great people. Better than family! Good luck to you, there's a lot of prayers going on with your name in them right about now. Mike

impactzone's picture
impactzone
Posts: 538
Joined: Aug 2006

Mine was a colonoscopy after some bleding. I was getting near 50. They found it and a CT scan showed liver mets.
Chip

claud1951's picture
claud1951
Posts: 429
Joined: Jun 2007

I started crunching (eating)ice! I never used ice in my water but all of a sudden I need ice. There was a few months of this (craving ice) and I told my Husband..something is wrong. I never liked to eat ice. So, he looked that up on line and it said crunching ice could be a sign of Anemia.

Off to the doctor I went and told him my story and asked for a test to see if I was anemic. Sure enough. Doctor decided to do a colonoscopy to see if I was loosing blood (I never saw any in stool nor did I feel bad). I was not bleeding but Doctor found a tumor. Tumors can cause anemia. Thus, my journey. I found CSN and am so glad I did. The people, here, help so much and no, Karen, you are not alone!

I have been NED for a year now!

My best to you and keep up posted.

Claudia

Karmar
Posts: 43
Joined: Nov 2008

Claudia,
I can relate-Tho mine was hard peppermint candies. My Husband would tell me that is probably causing your fatigue. But I had to have 4-5 every hour. Only thing that made me feel better.But never mentioned it to the Doc has he ordered blood work the very first visit. That was in sept. ANd here I am 8 days away from my colonoscopy. Only reason I eat the peppermints now is was told it helps with Nausea and I have that every day,But only do 1 now and suck on it instead of chew. Iron pills keep my anemia at bay.
Merry Christmas
Karen

pamness
Posts: 515
Joined: Nov 2007

I was just over 50 (I had one at 45, for another reason) no history, no symptoms.

I had one polyp, and one polyp only, it was malignant - two lymph nodes positive, despite negative MRI and CT scans.

I am currently 16 month NED after surgery, chemo and radiation.

Pam

Karmar
Posts: 43
Joined: Nov 2008

Pam,

I to showed negative on cat scan-No MRI done tho. Many xrays. Great GI doc tho-my colonoscopy is th 29th. Thank you for your info tho-Makes me feel better knowing just because some test come out negative does not meen you are in the clear.
Merry Christmas
KAren

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

I noticed blood in my stool. Went to my doc who said it's probably hemorroids but since you've never had that before let's be conservative (he probably saved my life). So I went to a specialist -- had a brief exam -- he suspected/knew right away (my rectal tumour was very very low). Had a colonoscopy the next day which confirmed. I was 44 and in disgustingly good health otherwise. My docs reckoned the tumour could have been growing for 5-10 years.

Tara

ADKer's picture
ADKer
Posts: 150
Joined: Aug 2008

I was 50 and due for my first colonoscopy. I was overwhelmed working full-time and as mother to 2 early teen daughters. I had stomach cramps which got worse when I was busiest at work. My primary care physician thought I had stress related irritable bowel syndrome and ordered a colonoscopy - which was scheduled almost 4 months later. Fortunately, I was busy at work with resulting discomfort and called to see if my appointment could be moved up. I am forever indebted to the nurse who listened to me and got me in within a couple weeks. The tumor was so large that the doctor could not get the scope through. My diagnosis in 2/08 was stage IV with mets to the liver. I have had colon resection, chemo, liver resection and now Xeloda. My first CT scan post liver resection showed a clear liver but several very small mets to my lungs. My current CEA is about 2, down from just under 7,000 before I began chemo last March. I was disappointed with the spots on my lungs but am certainly much improved from the time of diagnosis.

Karmar
Posts: 43
Joined: Nov 2008

Thank you for your comments. My colonoscopy is set for the 29th of this month. Unfortunatly I am unable to work-they have me on so many pills for pain and the occasional depresion-Something I never thought I would need. Always considered myself a very strong woman. Raised 3 children on my own-went through a knee replacement and Kidney caner with my husband(He had knee replacement and Kidney cancer)Then My oldest having Chrons andI went through the lose of my Grandaughter Fiona Rose after 3 days of life.As well as 3 c-sections,Appendcitis,Gallbladder removal and a hernia operation.But this dam!!!thing has knocked me right down-Im lucky if I am able to clean one room in my home before I have to sit ad do nothing because the pain is so bad.Id take all the Surgeys over again then the pain I have today.But God has me on another road.
I hope you and your family have a wonderfull holiday
Karen

Karmar
Posts: 43
Joined: Nov 2008

Tara,

I did not see blood-but have had Hemmroids during pregnancy 19 years ago. I was in perfect health untill sept of this year. It started with Nuerophaty in my left side. Predizone was perscribed that was a night mare-Lost all my potassium and had severe chest pain at 4am in the morning. So they took me of that fast-then I started antibiotics-Felt great for 3 days then when cullture came back doc took me of them. So when October-November rolled around and the pain and Bowels got worse Doc felt that Antibiotics caused it from stopping to soon. So a much stronger one was perscribed-Finished 10 day round- And here it is december with still the extreme pain and funny bowels. Told GI at times it feels like I am nine months pregneat with the movement in my bowels. So he ordered all the test qith the colonoscopy on the 29th. Less than a month turn around. 4 months total.
Merry christmas and thank you. All the advice I get from this site has helped ease my mind. I am nolonger afraid of what might be.
Karen

tootsie1's picture
tootsie1
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

I was at my daughter's house taking care of my grandsons. All of a sudden I felt like I was going to have diarrhea (very unusual for me!). Surprise! When I went to the bathroom, all I produced was a toilet full of blood. That got my attention! My doctor told me to get right to the office. After an exam and some discussion of what might be going on, he sent me immediately to the hospital. I was admitted and had a ct scan and a colonoscopy the next day. I was diagnosed after the colonoscopy. I was severely anemic, so I was given 2 units of blood, and I had my colon resection 3 days after my surprise event. It was all very fast and shocking.

Gail

Karmar
Posts: 43
Joined: Nov 2008

God so many stories sound so much like me. My first blood test showed I was severley enimic-HAd the same test a few years prior that showed mild anemia. But my GP thinks it is from my cycle. Then the cramping of diareah began a few weeks later-Me to very unusual. I told my GP that I go every 5 days always had since I was a child. Now going everyday was very unusual for me. ANd the pain as My gi says it is in the liver area. Strang tho since i did the BArrium now I am unable to go. Took laxatives sunday-Barrium was friday finally went monday and now it is 5 days since I have gone. A little wooried and dont know if I should call the doc or just wait for a colonoscopy. All the information has been so great on this site. I feel blessed to have found this site.
Mery Christmas
Karen

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

If you aren't feeling yourself, go to the doctor and let him/her know!! So many of us wish we could go back in time and been more insistent when we just "thought" something wasn't right but it wasn't bad enough to complain about. All the "what if's" in the world don't help the present... "What if I had had a colonoscopy 10 years before?" "What IF I had told my doctor that the tests not showing anything serious were wrong because I'm in pain and I have a high tolerance to pain, so something is wrong".

Naaaa... don't become a "What if..." person. If things aren't normal, report them :)

Hugggggs,

Cheryl

Karmar
Posts: 43
Joined: Nov 2008

Cheryl,
Havent felt like myself since sept. But already been to the docs office. I am on a monthly visit with him(GP) and waiting on test. My worrie is that the BArium,they told,could cause sever constipation and to drink lots of water. I go through 6 bottles a day,with no luck. today is day 7 of no Poopoo. Before all this began that was very normal for me. And it causes me no discomfert-Except the pain in my side-But that has been there since this all started when I changed habits of going 2-3 times a day.Plus Pain Meds can cause constipation. Unfortunatly-lax. do not work well on me at times.My only fear now is the clean out before the Colonoscopy-What happens if I do all that I am suppose to and it dont work and nothing happens in the back end? Will probably call tommorrow and ask the nurse. But thank you for your concern.All on this site has helped me better understand all of it. And I will let you all know what the test says after the 29th.
Happpy Holidays-Merry Christmas-Happy New Year
Karen

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

I had been unable to donate blood for a year due to anemia, but they always assumed it was menstrual related (pretty typical). October of 2003 I started having severe cramping in my abdominal area that lasted 2 or 3 days. I increased my fiber intake and it solved the problem for a few months. I mentioned it to my doc and she figured I had IBS (again, pretty typical). 4 months later it came back and I mentioned that I MIGHT have seen some blood in my stool a little while back. FOB came back positive for blood. First, her nurse said, we know you have hemorrhoids, but... my response was no, I DON'T have hemorrhoid issues, so she scheduled me for a colonoscopy. Initially it was scheduled in October, then they moved it up (I'm guessing they were more concerned than they wanted to let on!). Colonoscopy done 08/12/04, colonoscope couldn't pass the tumor, told i had cancer when i came out of the meds. Surgery 08/25/04, home the night before my 44th birthday. Stage IIIB. Unfortunately, with this beast, rarely do you have any symptoms until it is advanced. Obviously the tumor had been growing quite a while, but with no symptoms, and I was an extremely healthy young woman (at least appeared to be :) ), there would have been NO reason to suspect any problems. Ah, but to get my hands on a time machine to travel back to 1994 and figure out some way to force a colonoscopy!
mary

Karmar
Posts: 43
Joined: Nov 2008

Mary,
Trying to make sure I thank everyone. My biggest fear is that I do have the symptoms-much like my father did when he was diagnosed at 56. He to was told it had been growing for years.We lost him when my son was7. My son was born 1 month before his diagnosis. ANd My father and My son Sid were inseprable. Coming from a large family-there is 7 of us with 18 grandchildren-Needless to say some hurt feelings among my brothers and sisters over my fathers favriotism. When my dad passed away it was a very hard time for sid. He lost his best friend.
My Doc.GI I saw December 2nd and he set up all the test right away. His biggest concern was that my pain was in the liver area. I thing that is what scares me the most.I have not gotten any results and figure he is waiting on the COlonoscopy witch is the 29th. Must say I am so looking forward to it. Just to know one way or the other.

I hope you have a wonderfull holiday
Karen

Madre's picture
Madre
Posts: 124
Joined: Apr 2008

I had a complete hysterectomy in 2004 and was very anemic afterwords. I even had blood in my stool but they thought only 38, not a risk factor, probably irritation from the hysterectomy and laser surgery. Anemic on and off for the next 2 years. Dumb doctors kept asking "Are you flowing heavy?"... No had those organs removed! Got new doctor. In august of 2006 had gas and bloating and constipation. Did upper GI test (negative) occult test (negative) must be diet related. Increased fiber, increased water, decreased caffeine and it got better. Went for a routine physical in Feb. 2008 for my insurance. Doc noticed hematacrits low (bleeding someplace) Upper GI (negative), test for siliac (negative), occult test (negative) couldn't find the bleeding. Scheduled for a colonoscopy "Don't think we'll find anything but worth a shot" did a CT scan and they found a 1 1/2 inch tumor in my ascending colon. Colonoscopy the next day, couldn't get through it, surgery the next week - stage 3B, 3 out of 42 lymph nodes positive, just ended 12 rounds of chemo - NED. Doc thinks probably was there about a year or so. 42, not hereditary, just a fluke. Just glad they found, even more glad they got rid of it.

Karmar
Posts: 43
Joined: Nov 2008

I have not had the Hyster yet-It was planned for January-I too tested negative for blood in stool and urine as I have kidney pain as well as sharp pain in right side. No Gallbladder-It was removed 2 years ago-It was extremely diaseased. So much so the Surgen took a picture of it for the medical Journal. Said he had never seen one so bad-With no gallstones.So when the pain started my best description was that it felt like I still ahd my GAllbladder and it was acting up.But it never goes away. Pain meds dull it so I am able to move.I to had a ct scan but all it showed was water in small intestines and a enlarged spleen. At this point I just want answeres-and with a hugh family history-I dont care what it is-I just need to know so I can begin to fight.To be brutally honest when I first got Ill I started to plan my death. In my heart I knew if they did not find out and help soon. I may not be here next year.And when they did the Barium Xray-I know what I saw-Looked up online to compare and mine (ascending) was 3 times larger than the rest of the colon.So I am thankful for this site-I get reassured ewvryday from people like you. Especially today as I got to see my grandson for his 3rd birthday-even tho I could tolerate only an hour before I had to come home cause of feeling bad. My 2 grandsons make me want to fight even harder. To top it all off this year has been the most emotional year of my life. Besides my 2 grandsons My daughter gave birth to an angle-My Fiona rose who was with us just 3 days. I have so much more I want to do and see-So I am very thankfull for my Medical team who are listening to me and helping find the cause so I can return to a normal life. And thanks to all on this site-
Merry CHristmas
Karen

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

I was diagnosed in August 2007 at age 41. I have no family history of any kind of cancer, so cancer was not in my mind when I experienced some symptoms. I thought maybe I had colitis, IBS, or something along those lines (actually I still think I may have something along those lines). I was someone who often got diarhea when I was nervous or stressed at work- so I really wasn't alarmed that much for a while when I was having issues of this every morning and evening. It got to the point where I realized there was a big problem because I was late for work so many mornings (couldn't get out of the bathroom). Then one day at work, I felt like I had to run to the bathroom but when I got there, it wasn't diarhea- it was just a huge amount of blood that went into the toilet. That really freaked me out. I went a few weeks later to the Dr. and the nurse practitioner (my primary care Dr. didn't have any avail. appts. for 3 more weeks & I didn't make it sound like an emergency at all). Anyhow, the nurse practitioner gave me a rectal exam and told me I had a "very large hemorroid" and that they can burst sometimes, so that's what probably caused my major bleeding incident. I told her it still was probably a good idea to have a colonoscopy done. She said okay & she'd put the referral in & in the meantime, she told me how to take care of my hemerroids. Well, I started feeling better for a while and since the nurse prac. didn't act like there was a problem, I put the colonoscopy appt off for 3 more months. When I finally had the colonoscopy, the gastro. Dr. told me right away afterwards that I'd be needing surgery for something too large to remove that day and that I had "about a 60% chance of it being malignant". Well, two days later, I got the "malignant" news. Two days later, I went down to UCSD for another sigmoidoscopy with ultrasound, which showed the tumor had grown through the bowel wall. No lymph nodes showed up, however, so I was staged as an early stage 2. Two more days after that, I was given a "routine CT scan", which showed that it had spread to my liver and both lungs- an instant jump to stage 4. All doctors were surprised since nothing had shown up in lymph nodes. I was told that sometimes rectal cancer can spread directly through the bloodstream and bypass the lymphatic system.
That's my diagnosis story.
Lisa

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

Thanks, Lisa... your diagnosis story is very interesting! Although my story is different, I see a lot of similarities in our stories. My tumour had perforated through the intestinal wall too. In my case, they took out 17 lymph nodes and only 1 tested positive... but that gave me a Stage 3 dx. At the time, they were only focusing on the colon/intestine, so we have no idea if the adrenal gland was already positive, likewise the lung spots. They did see a growth on my right adrenal gland but they went back into the archives to a CAT scan I had had done during a stay at the same hospital for a hysterectomy and they saw that the growth on my adrenal gland was there back in 2001. It wasn't until they decided to do a PET scan that the adrenal growth lit up the PET scan. So was this a new spread, or had I had it since 2001?? No one knows. But it is gone now because the right adrenal gland was surgically removed this past June.

Now, as far as I'm concerned, there are two spots that light up the PET scan in my lungs and I am having them blasted/killed off with the RFA procedure (radio frequency ablation). Once they are gone, then there are 5 tiny spots... too small to really determine what they are, but 2 are suspected to be scar tissue and 3 could be mets (all 5 could be mets). But we will deal with them if they start growing. So as long as no more start growing, I will at least have the beast under control.

But it certainly is a long journey from the day you are first officially dx'd, isn't it??

Huggggggs,

Cheryl

Karmar
Posts: 43
Joined: Nov 2008

Lisa,

Thank you for your story. I am not putting of the colonoscopy-Actually I switched Dr.s in september. I saw the first 3 times and kept telling her something is wrong. The third time when she said I am sorry you are not feeling well-Well I serched for a new GP.That was sept.29th first appointment.He ordered Blood work first thing. Then found I was anemic-7.9 very low. So began the iron regiment. October the pain began.Then the diarea-he put my refrell to his nurses. Needless to say they never got around to it. November 11th trip to ER. Where I met the GI doc. who actually took care of my Middle son about 5 years ago. Got my first appointment 2 weeks ago and he set me up with all the test this month. Did the BArrium,and complete sono-Nothing from them yet-and colonoscopy is the 29th.I know no one wants cancer but in my soul I am hoping for a dx. My life has come to a crawl since I got sick. I want to feel like my normal self.I do not fear the c word-Our family is so rittled with the beast-My father and 1 of his sisters both died from it-My dad was 62 my aunt was 26.My older sister and Oldest son has Chrons and My middle son fears he too has devoleped the diese. And now my coudsin on my fathers side at age 42 has been dx stage 4 withit in her liver and lungs. I also have 2 brothers and a sister who has had Pre cancerous Polyps removed. When I told the Gi doc's nurse I was 4 years behind on my first colonoscopy she made the comment that they begin at 50-Till U told her of the family and we were told by my fathers Onoc. to start at 40. I will be 45 in february.So i am a little behind. But my GI is pushing fast for all the test. So I am gratefull.
Karen

Madre's picture
Madre
Posts: 124
Joined: Apr 2008

I am surprised with your family history they didn't push for a colonoscopy earlier. I was 42 when I was dx and my surgeon just told me that my kids need to be checked when they are 20. Good luck to you Karen, I know what you mean about wanting an answer. I've been reading alot about so many people beating this thing, I pray what ever they find on the 29th that you get treatment and recover quickly. Happy New Year.

KierstenRx's picture
KierstenRx
Posts: 249
Joined: Nov 2006

I first went to the doctor when I was 28 in 2002. I had noticed some rectal bleeding and went to the doctor to get it checked out. He quickly dismissed it as hemmorhoids and sent me on my way with a prescription. My bleeding was off and on for the next 4 years. I assumed everything was ok. I started a diet about 2 years before diagnosis and I lost weight so easily. I thought I hit the jackpot. I was eating lots of fruits, veggies, and fiber but I still always felt constipated. About a year before diagnosis I started having severe leg cramps at night and was always tired. I finally went to my doctor for the cramps (new one since the 2002 checkup). He ordered a blood test and it came back that I was severely anemic. He ordered a colonoscopy and both he and my gastro docotor said it couldn't be cancer. They were both wrong. I was diagnosed with stage III rectal cancer in September 2006 at age 32. Looking back I had just about every sign of cancer, but didn't pay much attention because I was told everything was fine. I ended up with 18 inches of colon/rectum removed and a permanent colostomy, but I am very blessed to be here. The doctors estimated that from the time it was a polyp to diagnosis was anywhere from 5-10 years.

Luckily my brother's colonoscopy came back fine last week. He is 29 and I had been on his butt for the past 2 years.

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Kiersten,
Wow- my few months of run around seem like nothing compared to your four years of being told you had hemorroids! Why, oh why, won't doctors take these symptoms more seriously???!
Even the more recent recommendations of emphasizing getting screened, colonoscopies, etc. still emphasize to start getting your colonoscopy at age 50. I've heard of SO many people who have been diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer at quite a bit younger than that & definitely not all had it in their family history.
I wish there was something that could be done other than us urging our loved ones to take it seriously, that would get the word out about these symptoms and to take them very seriously and be insistent with doctors who put their patients off.

Well, I'm glad we have this message board to share and vent our feelings and frustrations with each other!

Blessings to you all- Merry Christmas, everyone!
Lisa

Craig S's picture
Craig S
Posts: 13
Joined: Dec 2008

As an active 47 year old, running 40-50 miles per week, in the late fall of 06 I began to notice some blood in my stool. It wasn't alot, or even every time. It was so sporadic, I wasn't even sure it was blood. No pain, no fatigue, no other symptoms. Figured it was probably 'rhoids, but scheduled a physical. Doctor found some trace blood, but no evidence of hemmorhoids, so recommended a colonoscopy. Had that in Feb 2007, doctor found 3.something inch lesion. I was kind of awake and watching the monitor during the process. I saw it the same time he did and I could hear the tone of his voice change. All I could think of was "Aww ****, this ain't good"

Tests showed some penetration thru the colon wall. Had a low anterior resection on 1 Mar to remove 17 cm. Clear margins but 1 node of 25 effected. Did 5 and a half weeks of Xeloda plus radiation and then 5 months of folfox(8 times).

So far, so good. Last check was good (May 08). Have another CT scan and bloodwork in Jan...always a little nervous about that. Otherwise feeling pretty good, back to 40 plus miles per week.

kmygil
Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Karen,

Diagnosis for me came as a complete shock, since our whole family somehow didn't notice all the red flags on my mother's side of the family tree. Her father, her aunt, her sisters, her grandfather, her nephew, her niece and finally herself--all with colon, bladder/kidney, uterine and/or stomach cancers. Fatal for all except my cousin.

My younger sister got a colonoscopy immediately after my mother's death and everything was fine, so I felt no sense of urgency. In hindsight, I realize that my bowel habits had gradually changed, but I thought it was due to diet, lack of exercise and water. So I waited 2 years after my mother's death to have it done. At the time I was 49. My GI doc came in while I was still groggy with a long look on his face, and I knew. He said "we found something." Naturally, being doped up and uninhibited at the time I said, "Oh great! Everyone else with cancer loses weight, but I just got fatter." He looked at me oddly and proceeded to speak with my husband.

So, after everything was said and done, my oncologist recommended a genetic test, and sure enough, there is a mutant gene lurking in my family. My two sisters have tested positive for this gene. My older sister already had the uterine cancer. I was diagnosed with uterine cancer 4 months after finishing chemo for the colon cancer. So I've told my family to stop breeding. We have HNPCC (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer.) We don't need polyps to get colon cancer; aren't we lucky?

Bottom line, though, is that I had no symptoms that I noticed, except for change in bowel habit which was not sudden; very gradual and insidious. I was Stage II-b and had no nodal involvement, so I was blessed.

I see so many young people on this board that I think colonoscopies should be started at age 25 instead of 50, even for people not carrying mutant genes or red flags in their families. It is one of the most "curable" cancers if detected early enough.

I'm done with my blathering. Just wanted to let you know that a colonoscopy is THE thing to do. Most definitive. I'll shut up now.

Hugs,
Kirsten

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

"...Everyone else with cancer loses weight, but I just got fatter." I'm with you there, girlfriend! Actually, my weight gain came after (during?) the chemo for my last recurrence, but it has decided to stay! I know your family feels the same as mine does, though; better fat and alive than thin and ... well you get the picture! Although, I wouldn't mind thinNER and alive! :)
mary

Karmar
Posts: 43
Joined: Nov 2008

I agree better fat and healthy-I to have lost no weight. Been trying for 2 years to-Thyroid condition makes it hard. But have not lost a single pound since all this started.And then when I bloat-Wow have to wear sweat pants.My only concern now is that I am having a diffucult time since the barium-being unable to go-Took LAx last night and did a little what happens if the pep before the colonoscopy dont work-Heres my delima-Had the Barium on the 12th-Took lax's on the 14th cause no movment-Finally able to go Loose on the 15th-Took laxs last night cause today was number 9 since last I went-Went finally-Before the barium was going 2-3 times a day. So if It does not work then what?
Karen

tiny one
Posts: 467
Joined: Jan 2009

I was diagnosed in Feb of 2007 with stage 3 colon cancer, with one lymph node testing positive. I had been having alot of fatique and 2 periods a month for awhile. I had been having blood in my stool for at least 8 years. I thought I had hemmoroids. I finally gave in to having a colonoscopy, they found one flat polyp which couldn't be removed during the procedure. A biopsy showed cancer. I had my resection which to my surgeon's surprise the polyp was lower than he thought. I ended up with a temporary ileostomy and had to undergo chemo and radiation. Then 6 months of just chemo. My last chemo treatment was Halloween of 2007. The treatment put me into menopause, I haven't had a period for over a year and a half. My resection was done Dec of 2007. I am still having issues from the reversal. I'm cancer free now. I deal with depression issues sometimes and regret that I didn't get a second opinion. I also regret having radiation. The first course of chemo was 5FU, I tolerated this very well I wasn't sick very much from this. 2nd course was oxiplatin. Again I tolerated this very well with little side effects.

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