Not sure where to go from here

UncleNicksPizza Member Posts: 1 Member
edited August 12 in Colorectal Cancer #1

I'm a 35 year old male, married, with two daughters (9 and 3). Last month I started having heavy rectal bleeding, including black tar like stools. I went to the ER and they recommended I go for a colonoscopy. After fighting to find somewhere that could get to me before November, I was able to get in this Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023. After the procedure the doctor said he found a mass in my colon, approximately 7 or 8 cm, and has no doubts it's cancerous. I am told the biopsy will take 2 to 3 weeks, and in the meantime I have been referred for additional testing (blood workup, and CT) as well as a surgical and oncological consult.

The not knowing is the worst. I am a first responder and am used to facing danger head on. Being powerless and not knowing what I am facing has me so sick I can't eat, I can't sleep, my mind instantly goes to the worst place. I don't know what to expect, but once I know what I'm fighting, I'm going to fight like hell to be spend every last minute I can with my family. I know it'll never be enough time in the end, but I will cherish every minute I am continued to be blessed with.


  • SandiaBuddy
    SandiaBuddy Member Posts: 1,379 Member

    Sorry you are in this tough position. Not eating and sleeping could cause real problems. Sure, the future is unknown, but even in a worst-case scenario, you likely have years ahead--and quite possibly a completely healthy and normal life span. One of the fundamentals of meditation is to empty your mind of thoughts and to focus on your breathing. It sounds like that could be really helpful to you now. A book I found useful is "You are Here," you might give it a look in your sleepless moments.

    Up front, there is no telling what the results of your tests and possible surgery may show. I know that is not comforting, but it is the reality. It could be good or it could be bad, but at least you are here now.

    This board is slow now, but hopefully others will chime in with their thoughts as well.

    I hope you can find some peace in the present moment.

    You are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment - Thich Nhat Hanh - Google Books

  • Capox Dude
    Capox Dude Member Posts: 120 Member

    first off, I’m sorry to hear that you have joined the club. Everyone reacts to the news differently. Not a soul on this board would disagree that the feelings you have are normal. But please excuse me in advance for stating this one thing: a diagnosis of colon cancer does not equate automatically to a death sentence. And believe it or not, the good news, (granted a cancer diagnosis is not good news), is that you were diagnosed in the latter half of 2023. Which is far better than being diagnosed in 2020, or 2015, or 2000, or 1990. Every year treatment options improve. Every year survival stats improve. For reasons I cannot explain, and certainly not for me having a single character trait better than anyone else who is diagnosed, from the moment I was diagnosed till now I have not had one minute where I thought that I would die from my rather large colon cancer tumor. I was diagnosed as stage four, later revised to stage three after some diagnostics at MD Anderson. Through luck or fate, I did not suffer the physical effects of constant worry about the future. I do not take that lightly, as the emotional stress and drain of problems can absolutely render an immune system less efficient, as can an extended period of worry and no sleep.

    I wish you the very best of luck as you go through your journey, and I have no doubt that you will fight as hard as anyone here. No person is an island, and I doubt that you can hide your worry and stress from the rest of your family. To that end, I highly encourage you to see a counselor or therapist to help in your dealing with the upcoming likely surgery and chemo. You owe it to yourself and your family to be in the best physical and emotional shape possible as you prepare to do battle.

    And I guarantee you that there are people on this site who are decades’ long cancer survivors, some of whom had a diagnosis that was worse than yours will be. And yet they are still here, and you will be around to dance at your daughters wedding. I’m probably just too stupid to have processed everything correctly, and that led to my positive outlook. But for whatever reason, my oncology nurses told me to that being positive was good for my cancer fight. To the extent that is possible, try to be positive. And again, there is literally no shame in seeking help for your stress. There are medications and wonderful caring therapists to help you through this. And you will get through this.

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,768 Member
    edited August 8 #4

    Oh yeah, been there, done that and SURVIVED. Yes, Stage IV and TEN years out.

    I always say that each of us, as individuals, have to find our own way through the trials that are a part of this diagnosis; but I am happy to tell you how I did it, or part of it - the overwhelming fear part of it.

    I too went through the awful sleepless nights. Oh my goodness! I didn't sleep for days, and it was really unbearable. I had to find a way to control my thoughts, and this is what I did. I allowed myself 10 minutes of the awful, horrible, horrendous thoughts, the ones that kept me awake. I cried, I pled with a God I am not sure is there. I hurt inside when I thought of my two boys, being motherless; then at 10 minutes, I stopped and I choose to think of good thoughts. Positive thoughts. I also used a guided meditation CD, which for me was absolutely miraculous.

    So, that is how I dealt with those awful, consuming thoughts. Now it is time for you to find your way.

    You are young. You are intelligent. You will do well, you just have to make it through this initial time of not knowing.

    And remember, I am Stage IV and TEN years out from treatment. Cancer is no longer an automatic death sentence.

    We're all here for you, so don't be a stranger.


  • reneelynn1214
    reneelynn1214 Member Posts: 17 Member

    The limbo period is mind boggling to say the least. I think the alcohol anonymous creed says to have strength to tackle the things you can’t change. At this point the only thing in our control is how you respond. Don’t let it consume you. You really do need to remain calm and level headed. I love the idea to use a guided meditation as was mentioned. Find what makes you calm and centered. Maybe it is a nature walk or just a grateful/mindful journal. And sleep is god- take some herbal sleepy tea or other herbals if you need;)

  • GregR
    GregR Member Posts: 7 Member

    I'm in a similar boat... just a little older (so your age is a key benefit to navigating this). Here is what I've learned and how I navigated my Stage III - T-C rectal cancer so far. I'm not finished treatment, but I'm showing great turnaround progress.

    Cancer thrives in environments of stress, poor diet, and lack of exercise. Here are the mental and physical adjustments I adopted immediately upon diagnosis:

    First... I chose to NOT identify myself as a "cancer patient". This was a big deal mentally for me. Labeling yourself as a cancer patient promotes a "victim mentality". I chose to notify immediate family and my 2 closest friends ONLY. I didn't want everyone around me and on social media feeling sorry for me and thus turning me into a "victim". I wanted to have the mentality of a great conqueror, so I made sure the people I spoke with knew this philosophy. Additionally, I approached my mental attack with peaceful, positive thoughts to eliminate cancer-causing stress. This includes things like... reduce your workload, increase your rest and sleep, meditate every day, and sit or walk outside to enjoy nature. These things may sound frivolous and may be difficult to work into your daily routine, but hey... I guess it depends on how serious you take the threat.

    Second... I immediately snapped into "health-mode", eliminating cancer-causing foods such as: sugar, alcohol, processed foods, and red meats to name a few big ones.

    Third... I immediately started building muscle, so I could be as strong as possible while going through Radiation and Chemo. I was actually surprised at how long I was able to keep up a solid workout routine. I lifted heavy weights to build muscle all the way through my Radiation treatments, and into my 3rd Chemo treatment. Sure... there were days when I couldn't, but there's a huge difference between "I don't feel like it" (do it anyway) and "I don't think I should push my body any further" (let your body rest)... you just have to trust yourself to know the difference.

    After my 4th chemo treatment out of the planned 6 cycles, my doctor stopped the infusions due to "my MRI showing a huge, positive response". I still had to take oral pills for my last 2 treatments, but the last 2 infusions were eliminated because they "might do more harm than good".

    I believe the above 3 items, combined with the radiation and chemo, was the reason for such a great response. I don't know yet whether I am cancer free, but so far, so good. Also, fyi... I have not had any surgery at this point, which is the next step I need to consider.

    Good luck to you and all who are in great position to stop cancer in its tracks!

  • Lynejo
    Lynejo Member Posts: 21 Member

    I have similar experience

    however it just repulsed me to identify as a ‘ cancer patient’

    i could say I was I’ll or in treatment

    and I agree tell as few of people as possible

    spare yourself the negativity and their stories

    the Limbo is the worst time

    i believe in whatever calms you

    medication, herbs, tea , sex(?) just do it now once you have settled in treatment plan

    at least for me

    a huge weight lifted and I had a focus and mission to accomplish

    i looked at it as my new job

    to do things, take care of myself seriously

    sleep and try to remember REST is Productive

  • GregR
    GregR Member Posts: 7 Member

    “i looked at it as my new job

    to do things, take care of myself seriously

    sleep and try to remember REST is Productive”