Thx for port info, we now have a plan for Chemo

mollybea Member Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
and of course I have more questions. Husband w/ Stage III rectal cancer but after MRI they feel no metastasis nor lymph node involvement, but due to size 5-6 cm they are doing chemo and radiation at the same time for 6 weeks, 4-6 weeks off and hopefully then surgery (with colostomy). He will have 5FU and be able to wear a pack at home. We wonder how tired/nauseous/sick he will be having both at once. Thank you all for sharing and we will pray for all you. You're such an inspiration to us...


  • taraHK
    taraHK Member Posts: 1,952 Member
    Hi Molly. I was diagnosed with stage III rectal cancer several years ago. I went through the same tx that your husband will be: 5.5 weeks of chemoradiation (5FU), then 5-6 week break, then surgery -- with colostomy.

    There is a lot of individual variation in terms of how people react, but I coped pretty well with the routine. I had a harder time with the radiation than with the chemo (altho it can be hard to separate the two!). The radiation made me a little tired. That didn't kick in until about 2-3 weeks after the radiation started, but then lasted several weeks after the radiation finished (and I understand this is quite typical). I have sensitive skin and ended up with some skin 'burn' from the radiation, which was painful. Also the radiation caused pretty bad diarrhea. In terms of the chemo, I had mild nausea (controlled fairly well with medication) and that was it. I encourage him (and you) to talk with the nurses/doctors about any symptoms he experiences, to ask them for suggestions. I got a lot of useful tips this way.

    Best of luck to you both.
  • BillDrake
    BillDrake Member Posts: 17
    For what it is worth----I had 16 5FU treatments. Basically I was a little tired the day of and day following treatment. Then back to (sort of) normal. About 1/2 of the 5FU sessions were done while I was taking daily radiation treatments following lung surgery. I notice no serious or terribly unpleasant side effects from radiation.
  • well
    well Member Posts: 26
    Hi Molly,

    I almost want to just say "what Tara said" as it is very close to what happened wth me too.

    Typically radiation isn't bad at the beginning, but sneaks up on you after a while, and exhaustion can be common, so don't let that cause surprises. Build in to life the chance to be "lazy" for a while, as that may be needed. Being rectal cancer, there's a good chance that, again, after weeks, it will cause radiation diarrhea. And yes, that skin will likely get a nasty "sunburn" over the entry point. Don't put your usual things on it, your radiation oncologist will have special cremes if needed, because the "normal" things often have metals in them that you may not know about and that just makes things worse while undergoing radiation.

    That said, radiation diarhrea may be "late" in the game, but chemo diarrhea doesn't wait, it will likely be the cause of any "early" that comes. And yes, nausea and all the things you hear about too, but this is where it's important to talk to your medical oncology team about things. There are a number of good meds they can give to counter those, and if one doesn't work well, another should. The key is to communicate well.

    All that being said, while certain side effects are common, no two people react identically to the same chemo. I didn't have some side effects that "everyone" gets, for example, and I had others that "no one" gets.

    Don't hesitate to come back here all through treatment and beyond. I hope we can help as things come up.
  • Moesimo
    Moesimo Member Posts: 1,072 Member
    The others have done a great job. Diarrhea, (way too much), but meds helped and also the fatigue. I was able to work full time during this time. Many others also on this site worked also. Make sure you mention all side effects to his docs. There are meds out there tio help.

    Remember, he and you will ge tthrough this. It isn't always easy, but you will get through this.

    I was diagnosed with stage 3 almost 3 years ago.

    Good luck.