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Scaring myself

chynabear's picture
chynabear
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

Ok... I'm probably going to give way too much info for some, but I'm starting to freak myself out and I can't get in to see my primary care until the end of july and her PA until next monday.

In Sept of 2006, I had my annual women wellness exam; everything came back normal.

Shortly afterward, when my period should be ending, I would have a very small amount of spotting for about 3-4 days making the total period around 10 days. I had my CT and bloodwork done in Jan and everything came back normal, but they spotted a large cyst no my ovary. My oncologist was not concerned and the cyst was of normal make-up.

I went to see my primary care. She said that the cyst was likely the cause of my irregular period and put me on a b-c to fix.

Just had my CT a few weeks ago and everything looks normal. Cyst is resolved.

Problem is, I seem to be spotting for longer and longer after the end of my normal period. Normal period and then very light spotting for another 7-10 days or more.

Now I'm starting to be concerned about other problems (mainly cancer). Would a CT pick it up if it were cancer? What in the world could be causing the weird spotting? Neither my oncologist nor the primary care have been too concerned. It's starting to make me crazy though and the worry is just stacking up.

Thanks for letting me vent, if nothing else.

Tricia

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Tricia,

Go to Google and search for "brown discharge". You will retrieve a lot of information and you will see that this is nothing for you to worry about.

If what you read does not comfort you or disagrees with what you experience, have your GYN do ultrasound. They can do it inside and outside.

This also could be perimenopause, early for you, but possible.

Hope it helps.

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

Hi information

I don't believe we've seen you on this site before. Tell us something about yourself and your experience with cancer. You seem to have a lot of websites for us.

shmurciakova's picture
shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

I am not sure what could be causing the spotting. However, try to relax about it. I am sure you know it could be any number of things and since you just had your CT a few weeks ago it would have shown if you had any tumors. I am sure they scanned your pelvis, right? Just try to get through the weekend. It is normal for those of us who have been through a cancer diagnosis to become a bit paranoid. I had some pains in my ovaries a while ago and I didn't know what was going on. Turned out to be just normal follicular cysts.
I hope that helped,
Good luck Monday. I am sure it will be fine.
-Susan

crazylady
Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi Tricia,
I agree with Susan. It could be many things non of which is cancer. You've just had a ct and nothing was picked up so it's unlikely that it's cancer. Try to relax,(I probably shouldn't be the one giving this advice), get through the week and then see your doctor. I think that anything abnormal for you should be checked out and you'll feel better knowing that you're being proactive.
Take care,
Jamie

chynabear's picture
chynabear
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

Thanks for the quick responses! It helps a lot just knowing that people here understand what it feels like to have something "abnormal" occur in their bodies after cancer.

I insisted on the PC doing the tests to see if I was perimenopause and I wasn't. She also insisted that I didn't have any of the other signs that would signal being perimenopausal.

Yes, they did a "thighs to eyes" CT on me. I am just not sure what would and would not be picked up in the scan.

The prolonged spotting is really starting to play on my emotions, though. Also, I don't want to rely on birth-control pills to "fix" the problem. I want to figure out what is causing it and fix it for good.

I have tried to google everything I could think of, except "brown discharge". I will try that tonight or tomorrow.

Tricia

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Yes, please try to search "brown discharge" on Google. Also, do ask your GYN for pelvic and TV ultrasound. It is different than CT Scan. Go to GYN and not to your physician.

usakat's picture
usakat
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Hello Tricia and Semi-Colon Women,

Weird...I've been experiencing changes with my menstrual cycle post chemo and I considered writing, but I was a little concerned it might be too girl's locker room to discuss here. Thanks for opening up the dialogue, Tricia. Guys, this is going to get very girlie - hit your back button NOW!

Prior to cancer I never had problematic periods - 3 days and I was done. No problems and they never interfered with life. However, when I was diagnosed last year, uterine and right ovarian cysts were found, as well as endometriosis. Two doctors suggested complete hysterectomy, including removal of my ovaries. Their reasons were that I was at substantially increased risk for reproductive cancers due to HNPCC, I was not planning on having children, and at 42 I was probably within ten years of menopause anyway. It would really be considered a prophylactic surgery because the cysts and endometriosis were not causing problems at the time.

Then I went on chemo and my periods stopped anyway - chemical menopause set in. I said no to the hysterectomy, but for the last 6 months I've had TV and pelvic ultrasounds (inside and out) every two months to make sure there are no changes to the cysts or endometriosis, and all was stable as of last March.

But now my periods have returned and wow, I'm making up for lost time I suppose. I now have back aches, mild cramping, head aches, and a 4-5 day heavy flow, with a few days spotting after, which are completely out of the norm for me prior to cancer.

Having recently relocated across country I'm currently over due for all my scans and tests (my six month post-chemo checks and TV ultrasound). Also I am now in the military health care system, needing a new medical team, so truthfully I guess I have kind of been avoiding the whole thing...stupid, I know...

Here is my question for the women here. Is it common to experience various changes to menstrual cycles post-chemo? Like Tricia, I'm trying not to worry. And I don't want to discuss hysterectomy with the next set of doctors. It seems like so many women are encouraged to go this route and I don't fully understand why? Doesn't it seem a bit barbaric? My California oncologist, a Romanian woman schooled in Germany thinks so. I mean really - if a man has a testicular cyst is he encouraged to get it lopped off? I think not! One man's testicle is another woman's ovary...right?

I would appreciate hearing from as many women who are comfortable to post...hopefully this may help more than just Tricia and I.

Thanks!

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Your Californian Romanian doctor is right. It is barbaric. Hysterectomy never should be done unsless it is really necessary. Especially ovaries. Ovaries should be kept if at all possible, even if uterus has to be removed. The reason for this is that ovaries produce very important hormons. The lack of them will create multiple other problems. Hormonal supplements, on the other hand, do create risk of uterine, ovarian, breast cancer. So, keep the natural makers of hormons (ovaries) if possible and not life threatening.

As for brown spotting, as I advised Tricia, go to Google and search "brown discharge". You will find out reasons.

usakat's picture
usakat
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Googled as you suggested, but doesn't really apply to what I'm experiencing. I'm concerned about the differences from what I had prior to chemo and if it's "normal." Light vs. heavy, longer duration, etc...

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Did you see these:

http://www.pamf.org/teen/health/femalehealth/discharge.html

http://www.health-science-report.com/vaginal-discharge/white-vaginal-discharge/vaginal-brown-discharge.html

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070524084735AA60SY5 (note 3rd paragraph after "best answer chosen by voters"

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/ate/womenshealth/206997.html

usakat's picture
usakat
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Thanks for the info, Information, but doesn't apply to my situation.

I found a better term, Menorrhagia and a good link:

http://www.gynob.com/menses.htm#2ndabn

I'm going to the Naval hospital/clinic today to get checked out...

crazylady
Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

I feel that I must give my 2 cents on this discussion. I have never had a regular menstrual cycle. During my original surgery my uterus was enlarged, no reason found, and was in the surgeons way. He thought about removing it and decided not to. I went 13 months without a period and was told I was probably in menopause due to radiation and chemo. I was 46. It came back with a vengence, very heavy and lasting months at a time, causing me to be anemic. I finally saw a specialist and was diagnosed with polycistic ovary disease, putting me at high risk for uterine cancer. Surgery is not an option because radiation damage, scar tissue, has caused my uterus to be stuck in there. No one can figure out why I haven't gone into menopause with all the treatment I've had. I now have uterine biopsies and ultrasounds every 3 months, medication 14 days out of the month to reduce the thick lining and a shot every 3 months to put me into drug induced menopause. I am still getting light periods.
I now believe, after this experience, that anything that I don't need may as well be removed if I'm having surgery. I strongly regret that I didn't ask to have a hysterectomy when I had my surgery!!
Jamie

KFalvey
Posts: 118
Joined: Mar 2005

Hey Katie,

Not wanting to scare you, but my recurrance was in the left ovary and my DRs. said it is more common than first thought for it to go there. They are now recommending removal if you have no plans for having children. As for the heavier periods for more days, that happens as you get older, at least it did for me. I was 54 and still going strong when I got the colon cancer and only the chemo stopped it. Can't say I miss that part of life, but getting used to having hot flashes isn't fun, but it is getting better. The first 6 months is the worst while your body adjust to the loss of hormones. Hope this helps you understand why they recommended a hysterectomy. I only had my ovaries removed. The surgeon said the uterus (that still has fibroids on it) would shrink up as soon as the ovaries were removed. Good luck with your test.
Kandy

usakat's picture
usakat
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Thanks for the feedback everyone....I appreciate your comments.

kmygil
Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Tricia,

I am going to contradict many replies, and here is why.

In August 2006 I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I had been perimenopausal prior to this. During chemo I experienced some spotting which both my gyno & onc said might be an artifact of chemo. Just to be sure, I had a pap/pelvic done which came back normal. Just to be really sure, my gyno ordered a vaginal ultrasound a month later. All systems go. But just to keep the record straight an FSH was ordered and mine came back 27.6 - full menopause. The spotting had stopped, so we all decided that yes, it had been an artifact of chemo.

Then towards the end of May I started what appeared to be a normal period. Since I was supposed to be in full menopause I immediately scheduled an appointment with my gyno. Two weeks later she saw me and did an endometrial biopsy on the spot. It came back cancer, thankfully early stage.

I would not ignore symptoms that aren't supposed to be there. Insist on a biopsy, especially if you have HNPCC. The gyno/onc I just consulted with said that if you are carrying the gene and you are through bearing children or over age 50, a prophylactic hysterectomy is being recommended now. So get a biopsy done ASAP. It probably is nothing, but be sure.

I don't mean to get all dire on you; I just want you to be sure. Insist on the biopsy.

Take care and God bless!

Kirsten

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

I agree. If something does not make sense, have it checked out immediately.

I don't agree with prophylactic hysterectomy. It should be done only if necessary and not just in case. If this was the case, then everything would need to be removed - cancer can get anywhere. Every organ in the body has a function, and should only be removed if this organ is diseased.

chynabear's picture
chynabear
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

Hey Katie and everyone else,

Thanks for all of the support and information. I spent most of lastnight wide awake with worry and fear. I phoned the only GYN in our area first thing this morning. She is booked until the end of September but agreed to see me first thing tomorrow morning. Thank God for small favor's.

Most of me believes that it is not cancer... but then I think if not cancer then what and we start all over again. I am at the end of my emotions and just need it to be diagnosed and fixed NOW.

Katie,

Please let us know ASAP if you figure out what is going on with you. I'm praying for you.

Darn Aunt Flo, Hate her when she visits but sure miss her when she starts visiting at the wrong time or not at all.

Tricia

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

I am glad you are going to see GYN. You are doing the right thing. If they only would do pelvic exam, insist on tests.

Good Luck and God Bless. Let us know what happens.

chynabear's picture
chynabear
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

Thanks information,

What testing should I ask for? I plan to ask for an ultrasound. I had the test to see if I was perimenopausal. I had the tumor marker test for breast cancer. I had some hormonal testing.

Should I ask for a biopsy as well?

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Tricia,

Yes, first ask for transvaginal and pelvic ultrasound. Ask for the blood test CA-125 which is used to diagnose ovarian cancer.

Ask if there any other blood tests for gynecological types of cancer.

Then if that is not satisfactory, ask for hysteroscopy and endometrial biopsy. This is done under anestesia.

See for more information:

http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/women/reproductive/menstrual/470.html

http://womenshealth.about.com/cs/surgery/a/hysteroscopyqa.htm

http://www.health.harvard.edu/diagnostic-tests/hysteroscopy.htm

http://www.cancerbackup.org.uk/Cancertype/Ovary/Causesdiagnosis/Diagnosis

http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/880000044.html

Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions and do let me know what happens.

God Bless.

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

To Information:

Who are you? You seem pretty knowledgable and have lots of websites. Tell us something about yourself?

I notice you have no website.

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Kerry,

I am human being. I know a lot of web sites because I am very good with information. That is why I am "information".

I have no web site. You are correct. I am not obligated to have any.

That is all I wish to tell you.

usakat's picture
usakat
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Hey Information,

Like Kerry and Jamie, I was wondering about you too. Many of us here are quite open about ourselves and who we are - we write Personal Pages and post pictures (I just updated mine). I'm not sure if it's a survival/survivor's thing (cancer can leave a person feeling raw and exposed), or if it is simply that we embrace the connections and friendships found here. We want to know each other - we find hope and inspiration in each others life stories.

Although, I have a gut feeling of who you might be...if I'm correct, welcome back. You took some heat in the fall and seemed to get frustrated and signed off.

If I am wrong, perhaps you could at least tell us what brought you to CSN's Colorectal group?

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

What brought me to this site: my family got affected by this disease. I am here not to sell anything or do any harm to anybody. I am very knowledgeable in the medical field and in how to get the information. I am here to help people.

If you don't want my help and/or don't want me to respond to you posts, just let me know. I will be happy to oblige.

This is all I will tell you.

usakat's picture
usakat
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Information,

I'm truly sorry that your family has been affected by colorectal cancer. It's a tough situation for both a patient and their family - I know because I've been on both sides.

Read again and think about it...I don't think anyone has suggested in this discussion that you were here to sell anything or harm anyone. In fact, most people here appreciate support from anyone who posts a sincere message, whether from someone anonymous or otherwise.

We reach out to each other not only to give and receive support, but sometimes also for friendship and fellowship in the face of such a frightening disease. Cancer is a journey wrought with uncertainty and sometimes it can be scary beyond words. I'm sure you can understand that this fellowship makes some of us feel less like a lone ranger, which is what brought many of us here in the first place.

Sorry to intrude. Please keep posting, but please, try not to be so defensive if someone reaches out to you. We're all friends here...

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Thank you very much for kind words. You are one of few reasonable and nice people here.

I have discovered the truth here, and unfortunately it is not exactly as you are describing. So, I have to be defensive because I know.........

I hope you like your new place in South Carolina :)

usakat's picture
usakat
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Thanks Information...Check your e-mail...

usakat's picture
usakat
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

By the way....we're in NORTH Carolina...

crazylady
Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi Kerry,
Thanks for asking about information. I was wondering myself.
Jamie

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Why did you not ask me yourself?

crazylady
Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

You're right information. I should have asked you myself. You seem to know quite a bit about me, yet I don't post often. I find it kind of creepy. Maybe you have a really good memory. Also, when Kerry did ask you, you didn't give out any personal information, which is your right, but why all the mystery?
Jamie

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Do not worry, I am not going to bother you any more. I know a lot about you because I followed your story and I do have a good memory. I thought you would be grateful for my help. But since you feel creepy, I will not bother you any more. I wish you well for the upcoming surgery. May it be successful and the recovery speedy.

crazylady
Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

HI Information,
I'm sorry if I offended you. That wasn't my intention and I didn't feel that you were bothering me. Creepy probably wasn't the best word to use. Anyway , I personally welcome any information that would be helpful so please feel free to respond to my posts.
Take care,
Jamie

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Thank you, Jamie.
I really feel for what you have been and are going through. My prayers are with you. Hugs.

Hanac
Posts: 55
Joined: May 2007

Hi Tricia,

Could be fibroids...which have nothing to do with the beast. I was bleeding so heavily due to fibroids and the onset of menopause they had to put me on Birth Control Pills and extra estrogen so that I wouldn't become even more anemic than the anemia caused by chemo.

Has your OBGYN done an internal ultra sound and/or a biopsy?

Take Care,

Hana

P.S. Ain't it grand to be a gal!
P.P.S. You might be spotting because they don't have the BC dosage right for you.

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

Tricia,
With all the stuff you have been through it's good to vent. I appreciate all the posts you have put up for me over the last 9 months. I know the spotting is making you nervous, but it is probably nothing. It's good you are getting it checked out if nothing else for peace of mind. I'll keep you in my prayers as usual.

Kiersten

chynabear's picture
chynabear
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

I am so amazed and appreciative of the number of responses and support and advice I have gotten on this issue. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have hesitated to write about it for so long now because it's not directly related to just colon cancer.

I met with the GYN today. She was very supportive and assured me that we were going to get this taken care of.

She said that anything like fibroids would have shown on the CT scan. After the exam, she said that everything looked and felt as it should.

She gave me the top 3 causes she believes it is. She also took a biopsy because she knew it would give me peace of mind. OUCH!!! that hurt. After she took her sample, she said I know this isn't going to be cancer because (1) the uterus is a normal size (with cancer it is usually enlarged); (2) everything was smooth; and (3) she didn't get much "tissue" out (said that with cancer there is usually a lot of "tissue" that comes out). Makes me feel slightly better.

Her top suspicion is that the chemo caused my ovaries to act sluggish and my hormones could be just slightly off. She strongly believes that I can take a stronger BC pill and get my hormones and ovaries a "reset" and I'll be good as new. She thinks it might take a little bit of patience to find the right pill, that what I am on is an extremely low dose.

Her second thought is that it might be a polyp on the inside of my uterus, but doesn't really think so because everything was so smooth. We can always do the DNC (don't now if that's how you put it). She also mentioned doing the hysteroscopy but said that our little town doesn't yet have the equipment, but will soon. She doesn't feel this is necessary, yet.

She also said that the CT would have picked up anything that the ultrasounds would show.

Anyway, I'm breathing a little easier. My results will hopefully be in on monday and I'll go see her again.

Tricia

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

This is great news so far! Let's pray for good biopsy results! I would also ask for CA-125 blood test just to feel better for the ovaries.

kmygil
Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

It sounds really good! I'm so glad you went to get checked out!
Kirsten

chynabear's picture
chynabear
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

Thanks Information,

I actually had the CA-125 test done (among the other blood tests) in February when I went to see the GP about my cyst because she knew with my history it would give me peace of mind. It came back "normal".

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