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what ifs??

Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2007

Before cancer my family and I took a couple of vacations a year usually active vacations, either hiking, kyaking, canoeing, camping, stuff like that. Now I find myself wondering what if I get diarreah or cant find a bathroom, they are wanting to go on a 3 day canoeing, camping trip for spring break and I think I will have to say no. It makes me feel bad and maybe nothing would happen. How does one live their lives with what ifs?? Any thoughts on this?? I am almost one year out but still have a lot of bowel issues, dr. says it may be a long time before this is resolved. Stage 3 rectal, 1/2 rectum removed, chemo/rads. Finished with all. Oh, and I am super grateful to God to be alive!!


nudgie's picture
Posts: 1482
Joined: Sep 2006

What if's are hard.

Can you image if we all lived by the What If rule? No one would enjoy life and the splender of what it all offers.

There are many products on the market now a days that can help with certain situations and I am pretty much sure that Mother Nature will not care one bit about any issue you may have.

Think of it as re-living the western time :)

chynabear's picture
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

The fear of having an accident in our pants as an adult is huge. Yes, your bowels are going to take time to adjust, but you can't stop living your life.

Here is my suggestion: GO. Be sure to pack immodium, or whatever works for you, just in case you do get a bit of diarrhea. Take it at the first sign of a loose bm. If you are afraid of an accident, pack some attends or depends or whaterver. Also, Cabela's and many other camping and outdoor stores have some great solutions now for outdoor bathroom supplies. Go to their website or store and take a look at their portable toilet options. I am thinking of the Portable Environmental Toilet. Take a look at it. Then you can just take the toilet with you, just in case. What I am getting at is don't give up on living your life like you previously did, get creative on how to deal with these issues.

Your doctor is correct... I am almost 3.5 years out from my surgery and I am almost normal in my bowel habits now. Are you going to put off doing the things you love for that long while your body get's used to it's new plumbing? I wouldn't worry about it. Your family loves you and would love for you to be there.


KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Whew! Do I get this question often from my patient partners. Stage 3 rectal, 3 years ago...lost all of my rectum, sig colon, new rectum fashioned from my descending colon...

I say 'Go for it!!!'. Everyone knows you have had the challenges, right??? I always (to this day) adjust my schedule according to where I might be. If it is around less than desireable facilities, well, I switch to low-bulk, high liquid stuff. And stock up on Immodium. If it is comfortable, think about (PLEASE don't cringe) packing a few Depends...a real lifesaver if I have something scheduled, and I'm sitting on the pot more than not...

My feeling is, as you may remember, that cancer got 2 years of my life...it will get NO MORE!!! If I need to make minor adjustments, well, so be it...but I refuse to stay home and miss out on stuff. I did too much of that already!!!

Because of my primary breast cancer that followed the rectal, I have twice as much chance of a reocurrance...again, I'm not going to worry (well, maybe a little-lol) and let it run my life...

Hope this helps....BTW, I am very honest if I need a bathroom....will stop at a restaurant, or a hotel, and walk right into the bathroom like I belong there. Trust me, the 'potty police' will not come and arrest you...

Hugs, Kathi

renee2u's picture
Posts: 27
Joined: Feb 2008

Diarrhea is the bane of my existence! During my chemo/radiation I was taking almost 20 advanced Imodium a day... (per radiation oncologist okay)... I would have at least 20 bouts with diarrhea daily during treatments..

Now 3 months out... I am still taking a few every day. I never go any where without my green tea baby wipes... (very gentle on THAT area)... , my Aquaphor, Lidocaine, and my advanced Imodium. BUT... we are back to some ballroom dancing, concerts and we actually took one overnight trip to St Louis!

I would say "GO FOR IT".... I would take along depends (I lived in those during my treatments) and a large trash bag...

Oh... and BTW... I TOO am grateful to God for my life... I called upon His promise in Matt 18:19 daily... and He totally came thru for me!

Posts: 185
Joined: Feb 2004

Robin, I am a nine year plus survivor of stage 3 rectal cancer. I also have endured the pain of dealing with occasional and often more than occasional bowel problems. Things have gotten better with time, but nowhere near perfect, and I have to admit-it is the most enduring problem I have related to cancer. HOWEVER....it has gotten better...and I have gone on vacations where bathrooms might not be so plentiful, although that would have been hard after only one year! I just ate MUCH less and accpeted the fact that vacations no longer meant indulging in a lot of food! I have not run a marathon since cancer, partly because of bowel issues...but I have run a 15 kilometer race several times (9.4 miles) without incident. I just ate less the day before the race. I try to look at it in an optimistic way...I may never become overweight...not only because I run, but because I limit my high level eating to weekends at home when there is a bathroom in sight! Keep up the recovery....it will all work out!

Limey's picture
Posts: 447
Joined: Mar 2004

Robin, your kids love you not your limitations, just you. I can not imagine a child that would rather have thier parent stay home over a possible poopsidaisey. I say Go. The serenity n prayer really helps me in these situations. I have learned to accept it. the suggestions of adult underpants and bringing the junior wipes (i always have them in each bathroom and in my car now)is a small price to pay. I would say, do not give this disease the option of hoilding you down. overcome it and have a hell of a good time.
Happy Spring break

Posts: 17
Joined: Nov 2007

Robin, I am stage three rectal, post op since Oct. 25,2007, 8 weeks of 5fu,leucovorin, and oxiliplatin.now I have completed 20 of 28 radiation treatments in conjunction with 5fu. I had diarrea starting at about 11 or 12 radiation treatments that seemed unmanageable to me.I was extremely sore ect... Radialogist and Oncologist decided a drug SANDOSTATIN (octreotide acetate) might help. It is injected at 30 day intervals and if problems occur during 30 day period I have the drug at home and can give myself 1ml on a daily basis. It is probably to soon to tell but it seems to be working very good just one week into using it. I have not heard of this before so it might be fairly new but I am very happy with my results at this point. I plan to continue use of this if Drs. see fit so if you wish to e-mail me in the future to check on future results feel free to do so. Best wishes to you and do stay active and enjoy life!!! haar

Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2007

thanks to everyone who replied. I am going, went on a hike this week and did what you all said, packed my bag with stuff I might need and everything went great. I knew my buddies at CSN would give me some great advice and a gentle nudge. Love to all, Robin

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