Thank you!

cal79 Member Posts: 57
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
I just wanted to say thanks for all the support I received when I posted last week. It really helped me through a tough spot.

I will just ramble a little about my story, in the hope that it could help someone else in the same situation that I was in.

I am a 25 year old female, with no family history of CRC. I had some bleeding with BM's since xmas this year, so I went to one GP who told me I was having a panic attack, and a GI specialist who told me there was nothing wrong with me. So, being stubborn as usual, I demanded a second opinion at a different hospital. A colonoscopy and gastroscopy was ordered and they found a malignant 6cm tumour in the rectum.

Three weeks ago I went into hospital and had a low anterior resection with total mesorectal excision, a J-pouch and a temporary ileostomy. Surgery went well, recovery went pear shaped. After problems with hypotension, tachycardia, a failed epidural, allergies to everything (morphine, latex, catheter) and a blockage in the small intestine (ouch!) I finally got out of hospital after 2 weeks. At this stage I fell in a heap and got myself worked up into a big state about "the bag". And then got over it...

It is now 3 weeks post surgery and the pathology came back with great news, stage 1. A huge concern for me was fertility, so I dodged the big hurdles of radiation and chemo which would have caused real problems, but now they tell me they want to do genetic testing due to my age. If this came back positive they would recommend not having children anyway, so that's a bit of a bummer. But I'll just stew on that for a while!

On a positive note, I did lose 8kg whilst in hosptial (Atkins has got nothing on me!) which is the best diet I've ever tried. Of course this does make me wonder if they perhaps "borrowed" a few extra organs while they were in there in the name of medical science...

The ileostomy is something that is quite an adjustment. I've always been an extremely squeamish person, and I think this system provides more information than is strictly necessary on how my insides work. Especially when it comes to peristalsis and this thing decides to turn into a huge caterpillar and start wiggling around (eek!).

Furthermore, I've learned that if we are going to talk about things where the sun don't shine, and it is going to involve someone sticking something up your bum, or chopping bits out your bowel, this person will invariably be young, male and good looking (yes, the surgeon, and the surgical registrar, and the gastroenterologist...).

And finally, I have also learned that if you have to have an ileostomy, many of the clothes you used to wear will no longer fit. This requires a big shopping trip after surgery to buy lots of new clothes. And shoes. And jewellery.

So now I will stop rambling, and suffice to say I count my blessings. I had a great surgeon (and surgical team) who did a great job of my operation (the scar is so thin it is unbelievable), and I am very thankful that it was found at this stage.

My thoughts are with all of those who have endured this (and far worse than me).

Cal xxx


  • madu
    madu Member Posts: 53
    Hey Cal,

    Thanks for the background - I certainly applaud you for being vigilant in your quest for an answer - even if it wasn't the answer any of us wanted! I was diagnosed at 31 - similar symptoms and location to you but told it was a hemarrhoid - by the time I had the C-scope my cancer had progressed to stage IV with a met to the liver. I did do the radiation and chemo and my reproductive options were impacted - what I would say is I can't see any reason why you couldn't have children! I was just told that if I had children they should be tested 10 years before my diagnosis (21 for me and 15 for yours). I had no family history of colon cancer either and my onc said typically the young ones are likely missing a tumor blocker - apparently we all have cells that go awry but the tumor blockers kill them off. Anyhow I had to laugh about the docs all being young and cute - yep the same for me - sigh. To make it worse for radiation I had to have a mold made (face down, butt up) and photos made for positioning and for 28 days I had to lie on the mold butt naked (I mean that literally - the rest of me had a lovely hospital gown) with the cutest radiation technicians - sigh - if I'd only known I might have done a few butt crunches to prepare! I hope your treatment goes well - you've caught it early so all should be well! I'm approaching my 7 year anniversary (6 years and 9 months - yeah!) and doing well with no evidence of disease. Keep us posted.

  • nettie4
    nettie4 Member Posts: 145
    glad for you that things turned out so well. dont worry about the children you now know of your situation and can save them from any of this because you know. hope all continues to go well and you are right to count your blessings.

    peace to you
  • neeliec
    neeliec Member Posts: 106
    What a funny posting!!! your humor in the midst of this is commendable!! I am sorry you have to go through this at your age. I know about your diet-- I too lost a bunch of weight-- there had to be a benefit to all this!! LOL!! Take care!! blessings, neelieC
  • alihamilton
    alihamilton Member Posts: 347 Member
    A great post...especially as you are only three weeks post op....wonderful attitude and humour...both will get you far in your recovery.

    Great to hear from Heidi too...stories like yours inspire others, particularly as you were dx Stage 1V...well done in your survival.

  • MJay
    MJay Member Posts: 132
    Wonderful post!!! Great attitude Cal and great persistance!! Just think of what could have happened if you had listened to them and didn't pursue!!

    My colorectal surgeon was gorgeous, too. The first thing I thought when he walked into the room was "Great. This guy gets to see up my butt. That is soooo my luck."

  • markatger
    markatger Member Posts: 314
    Hi Cal,

    I am so glad that your're cancer was diagnosed early. I've read lots that it has very high percentage of cure when it is caught early. I have to admit I have pangs of sadness for myself and anger at doctors. I like you was brushed off by my GP when I had blood in my stool at age 27. At 33, I had more symptoms, that was finally dx'ed Stage IV with liver mets. I think there is a big need to advocate for automatic colonoscopy whenever anyone of ANY AGE has blood in their stool. It should be the norm for it to be caught early, not something that only happens because a patient is stubborn and goes to a second opinion.

    Arrgh...vent vent..sorry to be angry...

    Yay for you! Again very glad you pushed and caught yours early. Keep up the diligence, gotta watch some doctors and insurance people.

  • HowardJ
    HowardJ Member Posts: 474
    Wow...what a story. Glad it's stage 1. Thanks for sharing.
  • nanuk
    nanuk Member Posts: 1,358 Member
    Jewelery helps...also pants with elastic waistbands..trouble is, they make more of these for women than they do men..the only place I can find them is in the uniform shops-(scrubs) Nanuk