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Hi Everyone I am new

dorookie
Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

Hi my name is Beth, I am 38, and live and work in AZ. I work in Law Enforcement for the feds. About 6 weeks ago I found out I have colon cancer. My doctors were a bit shocked because of my age and no family history of this. Needlessly to say I was double shocked. I had the tumor removed june 6th, on the 9th found out it had spread to lymph nodes and they classified it as stage 3. I am scheduled to have a port put in next week and start chemo. I will have 3 months of IV chemo and 5 1/2 weeks of radiation at which time I will take an oral chemo, then follow that up with 3 more months of IV chemo. As I type this I still find it hard to believe I am talking about myself. I guess I am still in shock or maybe denial not sure which, but I do know I am scared to death. I am praying I wont have all the bad side effects I hear chemo brings, but mostly I am praying for strength to get through this. My family and friends have been wonderful, very supportive. I honestly just dont know what to expect. I read stories about the cancer coming back, until I had read that the thought of it coming back never entered my mind. I was in the military and now law enforcement, so I guess I was just looking at chemo like it was just something I had to do to correct this problem. I must sound crazy, my mind just spinning out of control at times. How does one make all this seem real? I am guessing the moment they start the chemo it will be all to real for me, and I might lose it.

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

Hi Beth,

Sorry to see you here but glad you found us. This is a very supportive group. You will find many long time survivors here. First thing, take it one day at a time. The port is no big deal. Are they putting you to sleep for it. I would recommend it if not. I did it both ways and will never do it awake again. HUGS and know that there are others here that are young. I was dx at 42 with Stage 3 colon. I'm suprised that you are getting rads. I thought that was only for rectal cancer. Was the tumor very low? What kind of chemo are you getting? We could probably help with what side effects you might have. I had folfox which is oxiplatin, levecorin and 5fu. I'm one year from my last chemo. About the cancer coming back, it is on everyones minds here but that is where the "take one day at a time" philosophy comes into play. HUGS and others will chime in here.

Lisa F.

dorookie
Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

Hi Lisa, I had better be asleep, I am 6 ft tall and I dont think they want to deal with me getting upset..lol..Yes the tumor was lower then first thought. My onc actually walked out of our appointment to call my doctor to make sure he wanted to do the surgery first and not start radiation. I will be getting the folfox as well. I just feel so numb to this, like its happening to someone else not really ME!! I have days I just cry and cry, days of not feeling anything, then days of feeling like I could lift a mountain. Bottom line I am just extremely scared, not knowing what to expect. Thank you for the advice and that is exactly what I am doing, one day at a time!! Again thanks

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

Welcome Beth,

Not exactly a welcome to the resort Club Med, but a club med of sorts...sorry you have to be here and not some swanky beach somewhere. You'll have to save that for later.

Anyway, I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you're having an out-of-body experience. When I was first diagnosed with stage III colon cancer a year ago it seemed like all the conversations with my doctors were about someone else. Who me? It's normal and completely understandable if you think about it. Your cancer diagnosis and treatment will settle in and you will soldier through it. Best thing is to feel what you're feeling, cry when you need to, scream, laugh, complain, and then face forward. You will get through it. You will get through it (said twice for impact)!!!

And it sounds like you have a great team of doctors - take comfort in that.

I'm glad you found us here. You will quickly learn to cherish the connections you will make here, and the support and advice you will get will help you enjoy your good times, and boost you through the tough times. When you have questions or need advice to help you through chemo, this is a great place for help, compassion and support. Know we are all here for you for anything you need.

My best thoughts and prayers are with you...
Katie

dorookie
Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

Hi Katie, and thank you and everyone for the warm welcome. Yes I have a great team of doctors, all are very kind and up on their game. I am very happy I found this site. I seem to have all kinds of questions in my head but cant seem to put them on paper. A lot of them are the obvious ones, what is chemo like, how will it affect me, will I be able to work, how will it affect my family....I guess only time will be able to answer these questions. I have gone through the "Why me" phase and I knew right from the start that I am not any different nor better then anyone else. Even as scary as this is for me I wouldnt want anyone else to have it or see a loved one have it. I will beat this and march on...again thanks for the welcome!!

robinvan's picture
robinvan
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

Hi Beth, and Welcome!
I'm sorry to see you having to join this group... but glad you have found it. It's a great community. I'm a stage 4 survivor from Vancouver, BC. I had surgery and follow-up chemo in 2004. I found the chemo side-effects to be less than I had expected. But it can still be a grind. Day-by-day is definitely the way.
You'll find lots of support on this board. There are a number of other young women here who are just starting the journey so you are not alone.
If you check out the website section you'll find out a bit about most of those who are regular here. You'll also find many inspiring stories of hope and healing.
Bye for now... Rob; in Vancouver

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Welcome, Beth (sigh, wish I could stop saying that...the beast would be vanquished...)to the semi-colons!

I was an old lady when diagnosed with stage III rectal cancer (49). I remember saying to the tech wheeling me to my CT scan... "I CANT be sick, I have too much to do..."

There are many lessons to be learned, and one of your first will be patience and tollerance. Know that things have changed (and DO change everyday) since cancer was not spoken about, and nothing much was known as far as treatment.

Expect nothing. And go with the flow. EVERY one reacts differently to treatment, but, yeah, it's no walk in the park. But you sound like a tough lady, and with the 'family' here that you have just joined, well, it's going to be a better ride!

I had a second cancer 6 months after my first...so I KNOW it's possible to get cancer more than once. And now, because they were both primary sites, I have double the chance of a reoccurance! But just like all have said....I REFUSE to ruin my life worrying about it!!!!!!

Yes, do look at this as something to get thru...I did...and plan something fun to do after it's over...I went to a spa in Palm Springs for a long weekend...planning that got me thru some tough spots during treatment. I also just returned from Alaska. Another thing I thought about during my fight!!! I am NED on BOTH cancer's for over a year now...

Ask us anything, we feel comfortable about saying those terrible words..."Rectum" and "Colon"...

Hugs, Kathi

ron50's picture
ron50
Posts: 1729
Joined: Nov 2001

Hi Beth,
Unlike old Kathi,I was a young man of 47 when dx with stage 111c colon ca . It was aggressive and had invaded 6 lymph glands .I had surgery and chemo every tuesday for 48 weeks.
I am sorry to see you here though I extend a hearty welcome to you from the Aussie members(yep we are international).
I did not receive the up to date treatment that you will receive in the states but take heart ,even with my ancient treatment ,next jan 22nd will be my 10th anniversary cancer free. Forget the stats , forget the what ifs , there is only one thing to consider with cancer and that is BEATING it.
Good Luck . Ron.

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Beth,
So sorry you have to be here, but a warm welcome. As you are already discovering, this site is filled with emotional support and also practical information.
It is normal to feel all the emotions you are describing right after diagnosis. I compare it to a weird roller-coaster ride.
Let us know a little more about your chemo and we may be able to help you with possible side-effects.
You may find that the chemo is not as bad as you fear. I was able to continuing working (although I have a very flexible schedule) and maintain a 'social life' - on the good days. I didn't loose my hair (had a bit of thinning). Never threw up (although I was pretty nauseous -- explored a lot of those anti-nausea drugs!
You mentioned you have kids -- how old are they? Mine were 10 and 12 when I was diagnosed. My husband and I decided our policy would be to be very open with them -- and to answer any questions they had as honestly as possible. They did GREAT.
I was 44 when I was diagnosed. I had Stage 3 rectal cancer (1 node affected). I had presurgical radiation, then surgery, then chemo.
Wishing you all the best -- and feel free to visit here anytime, and to ask any question.
Tara

dorookie
Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

Hi Tara, I have a daughter who is almost 16. I too decided to be open and up front with her so that she knows what is going on and that it is completely okay to have your own feelings, she is doing well so far.

I will be doing the folfox starting next week.

Did you find any of the anit-nausea drugs that worked???

I am 39 stage 3 with 6 out of 15 nodes effected, have to complete 5 1/2 weeks of radiation and 6 months of chemo. However I am going to talk to my doctor about the length of chemo needed exactly.

I am very happy I found this site, everyone is so wonderful and welcoming. I thank all of you for that. I pray one day I will be able to give advise and support....

StacyGleaso's picture
StacyGleaso
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mar 2003

Wow, Beth....cancer sure did age you! You went from 38 yrs old (1st post) to 39 yrs old (today's post) literally overnight! lol

Chemo brain, perhaps! Happens to the best of us!

Best wishes,
Stacy

dorookie
Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

Stacy, Oh My Gosh, LMAO...ur right, how funny...I will be 39 next months so it kind of counts..LOL

Moesimo's picture
Moesimo
Posts: 1080
Joined: Aug 2003

Welcome to our group. I was 46 when diagnosed 4 years ago. You will get through this. I worked full time through chemo/rad. and took time off for my 3 surgeries. I think about the cancer coming back, but so far I have been lucky.

You will get though this. It is normal for all the fears you have. We have all been there.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Maureen

claud1951's picture
claud1951
Posts: 429
Joined: Jun 2007

Hi Beth
Reading your information sounds very similar to me.
I also am new to this and like you..had Stage 3. Only 2 lymph nodes (out of 28) were found. They removed 12 inches of colon but that went just fine. Bowels are back to normal.

I am on Chemo now (had my 4th treatment last week) for 6 months. Don't have to have radiation.

You will get through Chemo. You learn to deal with side effects which is scary at first but then it's just something you have to do and CAN DO!

It was hard to say I had cancer because I didn't feel anything wrong with me then all of a sudden I'm in surgery. Is that how you feel?

Try to be positive through this whole thing and have postive people support you.

One thing to learn is how to rest (during Chemo). That is so important because you will be tired. Just listen to your body and stop what you are doing and relax or nap. That's healing (or so I found out).

STill try to exercise when you can. Drink plenty of water.

It's good you are getting a port. It will be so much easier on you. As yes..I agree with the other to have them put you out for that. It will be sore for a little (maybe a week or two) but after that...not a problem.

You can do it! We are all here for you

Claudia

dorookie
Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

Yes that is exactly how I feel, to this day 4 weeks after removing the tumor, I feel fine. How can I have cancer?? I feel like an emotional train wreck about to happen. I read all the post and stories and I think to myself I am afraid I wont be strong enough. I can bust down doors and arrest people, but this is kicking my butt. And I look around and see this healthy body and I am just so confused...heart broken...scared...mad as hell...I am asking myself when will it end, but then the tears start when I realize it has only just begun.....

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

Getting the port placed isn't too bad it was sore for a few days nothing a pain pill won't cure. As for the chemo you'll be tired for a few days after. You most likely will have to carry a pack with you for 2 days which isn't the best of fun. You may feel sick but most likely won't be vomiting and your hair will thin but mostly likely fall out. This is what I went thru just giving you the heads up. Who knows you may not feel sick or tired everyone is different. I was dx with stage IV in April 05 and it came back in Oct 06 and I'm now in remission and still taking a chemo called avastin. Lots of luck with your journey.

hoagiemom's picture
hoagiemom
Posts: 87
Joined: Feb 2007

Welcome Beth, As the others have said this place is a great place to vent and get info. I was dx in Feb with stage 3 colon 2 nodes. I had surgery and now doing 12 treatment of chemo. I worked during my treatment. I'm a teachers aide and was worried about being around the kids but I really need to keep working. I did take time off when the chemo got to me. It will make you tired just do what is important to you. I would call in sick to work so I could go to my childrens soccer game because my children are first on my list. Like all the others said rest and take 1 day at a time. I'm on my 9th treatment and I have many days that I sit and cry and wonder why me. After that I pick myself up and live again. Take and use this website it really helped me deal with this beast. Take care..

Michelle

kmygil
Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Beth,

I'm sorry to welcome you to the community, but you will find a lot of honesty, encouragement, inspiration and hope here. This forum helps me tremendously.
I was dx'd Aug. 2006, had surgery and 9 rounds of Folfox. Unfortunately, I have the mutant gene and another cancer has been found in my uterus. Will have surgery on the 18th. If not for this site I would have had a hissy fit after the second dx:)
Hang in there. Our prayers are with you!
Kirsten

joyceann619's picture
joyceann619
Posts: 33
Joined: Jul 2004

Hi Beth,
Unfortuantly we are meeting at a forum that nobody wants to be a part of. But we are a special group and I am glad you found us.
I was just 8 days short of my 38th birthday when I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in June of 2004. I still think I am way too young for this!
Getting a port is one of the best things you can do for your chemo. It makes getting the chemo so much easier!
I know its hard to beleive that you will be starting a chemo regimen soon. Are you able to visit the "chemo room" where you will have your treatments? Seeing that ahead of time may help ease your fears.
Also there are many good meds out there for chemo side effects. Just let your doctor know how you are feeling and they will help you out. Just don't suffer in silence. For me, and eveyone's is different, my chemo wasn't as bad as what I thought it was going to be. I'm young and reasonably healthy otherwise.
When you are not feeling well, accept any help that is offered. It seems like you have a supportive group around you.
Feel free to post often and vent whenver you need to.
You are added to my prayer list,
Joyce

sladich's picture
sladich
Posts: 430
Joined: May 2007

Hi there,

Ditto to Joyce's reply above, except for I was 48 when diagnosed with Stage 4. Best of luck.

Debbie

jsabol's picture
jsabol
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Beth, Welcome to the semi-colons; glad your surgery went well, but, yes, it is quite a shock to hear this diagnosis applied to oneself. I was an old lady of 53 when I was diagnosed, but had been working hard previous to that to be in the best shape ever. I felt so healthy that I couldn't belive my colonscopy found cancer (stage III). I was open but upbeat with my high school aged kids.
I found this site right before chemo began, and what a godsend. Despite being a nurse, I was terrified. July 9 will be the 3rd anniversary of my completing chemo, and I have been No Evidence of Disease since sugery. When I first logged on, I was told that failure is NOT an option and that I would get through this one day, one treatment at a time, and I did. I continue at this site, mostly reading, but I do try to respond to you newbies. This diagnosis stinks, but we get through. (I found that small doses of Ativan helped, too!) Keep your doc and nurses informed about how you are REALLY doing, so they can help. I found Zofran to be a wonder drug for nausea, but seek more info here on any questions that come up. Many of us prepared for the worst, and it never got that bad. Best of luck to you; keep us posted, Judy

hopefulone
Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

Hi and welcome, but as always, sorry you have to be here. As others have said this is a great support site. You'll find a lot of encouragement here and a lot of information. My husband was dx 6 mos ago, and it still seems surreal at times. Focus on what you have to do and the fact that you can get through it. A "positive" mental attitude helps a lot and taking it one day, and one treatment, one milestone at a time is the way to do it. God Bless

Diane

fmsamos's picture
fmsamos
Posts: 35
Joined: Jun 2007

Hi, As said before, you have come to a great place, even though the circumstances are not what you woild have wanted. And it is ok to be scared, mad, confused, the mix of emotions.
Chemo for me was better than expected but also had bad months too. Then the Whammo for me Re-occurance, no, CRAP! not this stuff all over, but ya do what ya gotta do!Not to say that will happen, You will be strong, it just comes from within (when you least expect it) One thing I do remember is that when people ask if they can help, they really mean it. If they ask, Have them cook or give you a ride, Watch the kids for an hour or whatever, because they really just don't know what to do, so that is hard to accept sometimes but do it. Even something like having someone come over to watch a movie can be better. Good Luck sweetie! Live Strong! Sincerely Amos

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