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debralla
Posts: 205
Joined: Feb 2006

Hello, I was told that i have stage 4 colon cancer . My husband is in the navy and was deployed to Afghanstan so i was very stressed at the time and so when i began having problems i just chalked it up to stress . He had been there for 7 months and was due to come home in a month . i was so tired all of the time but just thought was due to the stress and lack of sleep i was getting i then began having what i thought was gall bladder problems , i went to the dr and he ordered blood work and a ultrasound this was a few days before Thanksgiving , blood work showed i was slightly anemic then i had ultrasound and the the doctor came out and said that my gallbladder looked fine but that i had multiple large lesions on my liver Both lobes. i was floored and still am !! had tumor marker checked and it was 300 My husband was then red crossed home .But it took a week for him to get here . during that time i was scoped upper and lower and found out that i had several polops and 6 masses in my colon i am on Folfox-6 oxy and avastan . i am being treated at Tripler army medical and have had a recent cat scan that showed that my tumors are responding to the chemo the three large ones have shrunk in half . I am having a hard time dealing with all of this and am trying to stay positive , but it is a struggle.a good day is when i have only cried once . We have orders and will be moving to San Antonio Tx April 1st . and i will be seen at brooks army medical center . i have not had any surgery as the dr said he wants to do chemo first he is a good dr but still reminds me that i can not be cured .Anybody out know weather Brooks is a good hospital ? Thanks ,Debra

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Debra - welcome to our group, although I am sorry you have to be here. I don't know anything about military medical facilities, so I can't help you there. But I wanted to wish you all the best.

There are many hopeful Stage IV stories on this site. I myself was diagnosed Stage IV with one met to the liver last May and am currently NED (no evidence of disease) after colon surgery and 6 cycles of chemo.

You may want to question your docs further about having colon surgery. I assume they are not worried about a blockage - they were in my case and wanted surgery done within 3 weeks of diagnosis.

I'm sorry you have to move in the middle of treatment. And it sounds like you need to use a military hospital. But remember, you can always get a second opinion (even if only to make you feel more comfortable with your Brooks treatment). MD Anderson in Houston is not that far away and is a great cancer center. A consult with them, even if you are still being primarily treated at Brooks, might do much to ease your anxiety and give you more perspective on your treatment.

Please try and be positive. I know it is hard, but it is also very important. Stage IV colorectal cancer may not be "curable" (whatever that means), but it is also entirely possible that it can be managed as a chronic disease with periodic chemo and possible liver resection or radio frequency ablation. So, please don't give up hope. It sounds like the chemo is starting to have an effect and that is great news.

I wish you well.

Betsy

well's picture
well
Posts: 26
Joined: Apr 2005

Hi Debra,

Welcome, though I'm sorry you have a need to be here, if that makes sense. I have stage 4 colorectal cancer too, but I know nothing of military hospitals, sorry.

kangatoo's picture
kangatoo
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Debra and welcome to the family. Don't go believing all they say about no cure. Hell, there are guys n gals here that are proof of being long term survivors. All the doc's will tell you that there is no cure, we all know those words.
As for crying Debra.....you ever seen a grown , bronzed ozzie cry? I gotta tell you that I cried so much I had my cat crying too!
Yep....even she could sense the pain and fear.
Now that is why we are all here to help you and support you. Our very best for you during treatment and keep us up to date.
Your new friends in oz, Ross and Jen
Oh.....you get tha traditional hugg too!

lfondots63's picture
lfondots63
Posts: 822
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Debra,

Sorry to hear that you have joined our family. It is like a family though so if you have any questions, feel free to ask any of us by e-mail. I have stage 3 colon cancer and will be starting chemo 3/1. Like the others said we can never stop watching for a return of cancer but there are lots of people on this site that have lasted many years and are still going. I don't know about the military hospitals but I would agree with Kanga and see if you can get a second opinion. Another great therapy is going on the chats. There are lots of great people on the chats with all different kinds of cancers. It helps to talk to others that totally understand how you are feeling and you can talk freely to. To e-mail any of us, you can click on the "personal web pages" and put in the person's website name. You then click on the "send e-mail" icon on the person's site. Take care and I will be sending good vibes to you and your husband.

Lisa

jerseysue's picture
jerseysue
Posts: 626
Joined: Oct 2005

I too have Stage IV colon cancer I found out April of last year. I am now NED (no evidence of disease) and I'm hoping that I always will be. I will tell you that I still cry mostly when I'm alone as I don't want my kids to see me crying. But I keep a very positive outlook and I tell my doctor that I'm going to prove him wrong about me being "incurable". I was stationed in Hawaii for 8 years. My oldest son was born at Tripler but that was 18 years ago so I'm not sure how the facility is running now. My sister's family is stationed in San Antonio I can ask her about Brooks and I'll let you know she'll get the scoop for you. Stay on this site for information and keep asking questions. My prayers and thoughts are with you.

wendy_21
Posts: 30
Joined: Nov 2005

Hi Debra. Welcome and I'm sorry too that you have to be here but this is a great place to ask questions and get help. It's also nice to know other people have done what you are going to do -- and things have worked out for them.

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Debra -

Active duty survivor here...

I was treated at Bethesda in DC. They are in a joint practice with the National Cancer Institute. Absolutely top-notch care there. They "specialize" in colon cancer - check out their web site. Any possibility of getting a HUMS to DC versus San Antonio? If not, any possibility of getting the docs at Brooks to let you have your treatment at Bethesda (it IS possible despite what anyone may tell you. I am a former ship XO and I've seen that sort of thing done as well as I spoke with a number of folks at Bethesda who flew in from as far away as Seattle for their treatments).

Please let me know if there is anything at all that I can do to help you and your husband out. you can e-mail me thru the site here if you wish and we can chat off-line.

Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers - just remember this thing CAN be beat!

- SpongeBob

Teenya
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2006

Hello 'Spongebob,'
My name is Angela and I created an account for my mother, Tina. She has been looking to find someone with the same story as her-- for support. She just recently had a recurrenc eof colon cancer and has gotten it completely removed. As of right now, she has been seeking chemotherapy treatments twice a month for three days. She has a lot of questions. She wonders if this treatment is going to help her and if she will be somewhat back to 'normal' after all this is over with. If you have any response I'd sincerely appreciate any feedback. Thank you and congratualtions as a cancer survivor=]

Angela

kangatoo's picture
kangatoo
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Angela, 'tis kanga here. Just in case Sponger has gorn awol and misses your post. Sorry to hear about your mum. It might be worthwhile if you post a "new topic" giving more details about your mum's cancer and her treatment. By writing a new post it will atract more viewers and help people here to give you as much info as you need. If your mum does well with chemo there is every possibility things will return to normal Angela. Many here, including myself have been given the NED(no evidenve of disease) thumbs up. It is also worth "searching" the profiles of our friends here....lots of encouragement and info to be had.Click on "personal web pages".
Great to know that you are willing to come here and get the best advice for your mum.
Now go post a new topic....the same as you have here .....just in a bit more detail.
Give our best to Tina, Ross and Jen

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Angela -

First let me say how fortunate for your mother that she has such a wonderful, caring daughter to come here looking for information that will help her. You're a special person, Angela.

As for your questions: Well, chemo effects everyone differently. Some people experience a significant reduction in their cancer and others, unfortunately don't. I'm not trying to be a downer here, just being completely honest. The im[portant thing to remember is that there a tons of different chemo treatments and if one doesn't seem to get the results, odds are there is one that will.

Likewise, chemo treats everyone's body differently. Some people are on chemo and never stop work and carry on much of their normal routine. Others get wiped-out by it. On;y your mom will know exactly how chemo treats her. There are, however, a number of things she can do to help combat the side-effects of chemo:

1. Eat well - even if she doesn't want to. There's a good book to get called "Eating Well Through Cancer" publicjed by LaRoche Pharmaceuticals. There are also the "Beating Cancer Through Nutrition" books that Emily and Scouty espouse (personally I have seen amazing results with these books - my mom and Scouty)

2. Drink LOTS of water - chemo typically gives people serious diahrea and sometimes vomiting - that spells serious dehydration. 3-4 liters of water a day will help. Actually eating high fiber foods and/or taking a fiber supplement helps regulate things as well.

3. Get plenty of rest - her body is fighting a dragon; it needs to rest and refresh. Sometimes that's hard to do for some reason. Her doc may find it beneficial to perscribe a sleep aid.

4. Exercise actually helps reduce the fatigue associated with chemo. A lot of folks believe that's because it increases the number of red blood cells produced by the body.

5. EDUCATE YOURSELF - you're taking the right first steps by coming here. Bear in mind that our doctors are our CONSULTANTS not our bosses. Listen to what they have to say, but also educate yourself on new treatments, symptoms, clinical trials, indicaters, etc. This board is an excellent place to do that

Lastly, attitude is 85% of the battle. It is the most potent weapon you have in your arsenal when battling the dragon. I recommend reading "Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul" It's filled with informative, uplifting anecdotes of fellow survivors.

Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

Keeping you and your mom in my thoughts and prayers

- SpongeBob

jerseysue's picture
jerseysue
Posts: 626
Joined: Oct 2005

Here is what my sister says about Brooks:

For me, I think the hospital has been wonderful. They seem VERY
thorough.
I don't know specifically for colon cancer but my neighbor's mother
went
there for some type of cancer treatment and I know she has also sung
their
praises. The two doctors I have seen have really treated me well. I
will
say this, it is the premiere Army hospital and when I was doing
research on
my tumor I saw quite a few studies that seemed to use data/trials done
by
the US Army. When Fr. Gary had prostate cancer he went to Walter Reed
Army
hospital (in DC) and that was world reknown for prostate cancer and I
remember his doctor saying that the Army hospitals are well known
throughout
the world for their cancer programs. Brooks is a new hospital, they
were
building it when we were here last time, in 1994. Sorry I don't know
much
more, but like I said, I feel very comfortable there, the doctors seem
very
knowledgable, very good to work with.

kerry's picture
kerry
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003

Debralla,

Hi! I'm so sorry to hear of your diagnosis, but you have found the best site for help and comfort and information.

I lived in San Antonio for several years. I am not familiar with Brooks but if you can go to the Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC) in San Antonio, it is a very good facility. Dr. Coulter is becoming pretty known in the cancer circles and I think he is one of the best - If you can go to the CTRC and have any trouble getting into Dr. Coulter contact me here at this site and I'll see what I can do to help.

My best to you.

Kerry

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

Hi Debra,

I am so glad that you have found our site. I am so sorry for your diagnosis, but you will find a great support here as well as a wealth of information. Please keep us abreast of your progress.

Hugs,

Kay

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