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stage III CC

mommyof2kds's picture
mommyof2kds
Posts: 522
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi everyone, I have posted a few times on here. I think I am going to spend more time on here because it makes me feel better talking to all of you and hearing advice and experiences. I meet with my surgeon this afternoon. I was Dx'ed in Feb 09 with stage III rectal cancer,(Now 36yrs old) some lymph node involvement. I went through 6 wks of chemo/radiation and have spent the last 4 wks trying t recover and feel somewhat normal. June 2nd is my surgery date. I don't know how I feel about all this. I worry about being asleep for the whole thing and not knowing what is happening, fear of something going wrong or not waking up. do everyone feel this way before surgery? am I normal for thinking this. I have 2 little kids and a wonderful husband. I need to regain my strength to get ready for this. Not sure how to prepare myself or even e=if I can.

kimby's picture
kimby
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

You say you don't know how you feel about all of this. I think I do know: SCARED out of your mind! Surgery can be scary. I've had 5 major surgeries in 22mos. I've started counting surgeries as chemo breaks. LOL

Try not to concentrate on the actual events of the surgery. Look at what you can do now to prepare for surgery and what you can do after to recover as quickly as possible.

Now: Do whatever you can to build your energy back up from radiation. That would include walking, swimming, yoga. Go slowly and build up with time. Build up your lung capacity. You want to have strong lungs for recovery. Swimming is great for this. If you are a smoker, now is as good a time as any to stop.

Post-op: Walk. Get out of bed asap and walk the halls. Getting up the first time is tough, but once your up it will help with pain management and lung capacity. Walking will get you home quicker. Take something fun to the hospital for when you are feeling better and want to go home. Last time (January) I wore Sponge Bob pj's and disco earrings. I started pole dancing with the IV pole and told everyone that everyday they kept me I would dress wilder and skimpier. I went home the next day. LOL (I do have pics on my expressions page)

Hope this helps some. Really, go do fun things and try to stay as distracted as possible.

Kimby

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

Hi Mom of 2 kids,
I'm a Dad of 2 kids and I have stage IV cc. I seem to have a lot in common with Kimby. I've had 5 operations but they were over about 4 years. I've been living with my cancer for 5 years with my breaks mainly coming pre-surgery. I also wore Sponge Bob lounge pants during one stay (no photos though). While the surgery is scary I really didn't get that scared. I just wanted to get it over with. Only for my first surgery did I have doubts about it because that was a doozy of one and I felt it would be OK overall. I was more concerned about them keeping my plumbing where it was and they did.

Do build up your strength, everything you can do now, do it to strengthen your body. I kayaked for 81 consecutive days before my surgery, even while I had my fanny pack chemo thing on. I stopped 2 days before my operation. It did help me with my recovery. The walking in the hospital is big too, just get up and walk yourself out that door. That's how you will get out, it gets easier the more you do it.

Kimby really summed it up nicely. You are very normal to be concerned about this, it's rough and even rougher with little kids I think. Try to think and be positive and you will be fine.
-phil

Shayenne's picture
Shayenne
Posts: 2370
Joined: Jan 2009

Hey there mom of 2! I'm a mom of 4, with Stage 4 Colon cancer, with a tumor to the liver, though my CT scan results just showed that the chemo has killed most of my cancer, not that it means...it's gone! but I at least know, it's working! :)

Kimby, I thought of my colostomy surgery as a chemo break as well..5 weeks with no chemo was heaven, but went back to it this week, it knocked me out, and feeling better today though! I had to laugh when you mentioned that!

Surgery is a pretty scary thing, but you know, it never bothers me that much that I'm being put to sleep, I like to know what they're doing beforehand, and the doctors and surgeons will go over it all with you, but you won't even be aware of what's going on, until you finally wake up, you'll be out of the loop abit from the anesthesia drugs for a day or so, but it's the pain I hated waking up too, when the good stuff wears off...

You'll be just fine, I wish you good luck with it, and don't be too scared, once you go to sleep, you're up and wondered where the time went. I was in surgery for 3 hours with a colostomy, and had no clue it was that long. It's ok to be scared, we all get like that.

Hugssss!
~Donna

VickiCO's picture
VickiCO
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

I, too, was Stage 3, had 6 weeks of chemo/rads and waited 5 weeks for surgery. I was fine until the night before surgery. I started thinking of everything I hadn't finished (mostly, my life!) My wonderful surgeon (I recommend him to everyone! If you are near Denver and need the best colorectal surgeon ever, call Dr Mozia!) came to see me early the next morning and just talked to me, about family, the surgery, my quilts, whatever came up. I relaxed and off we went to surgery. I was in lala land before all the team was even assembled, because he knew I was anxious. I woke up 5 1/2 hours later answering the question he asked before I went under! I don't remember a thing, I was relaxed and had a quick recovery. Oh, and they found my tumor had had a complete response to the chemo/rads and was GONE. It enabled him to hook me back up and skip the ostomy. He says he would now stage me at 2, but my records still say stage 3.

What I am trying to say with all this is R E L A X. Think POSITIVE thoughts only and you will be fine. And after the surgery, walk! They will get you up probably the next day. Don't fight it. It will hurt at first, but oh how good it will feel as you keep it up. I was told I had a 7 day hospital stay in front of me. I went home in 4 days. I walked as much as I could...met some interesting other patients that way as well!

We are here for you....Vicki

tiny one
Posts: 467
Joined: Jan 2009

I had my resection on Feb 19,07. It was just supposed to be the resection, no chemo, no radiation. When I woke up from surgery all that had changed. My cancer was lower than thought, I woke up with an ileostomy and the surgeon said I needed chemo and radiation. I never got a second opinion which now I wish I had of. I regret taking the radiation. I'm still dealing with the painful issues from my reversal even now. I had stage 3 colon cancer, 1 lymph node testing positive. Mine was a polyp that was cancerous.

mommyof2kds's picture
mommyof2kds
Posts: 522
Joined: Mar 2009

Thanks for all your info and support. I spoke with my surgeon and anesthesiologist yesterday. I feel a little better. I am also going to get a epidural for pain control which will provide complete pain releif for the first 4 days, they just block the pain in the pelvic area. I have heard wondeful pain releif with it. I feel better now that we have discussed everything. My surgeon really thinks that I will get a temp ileostomy because the rectal tumor is only 7 cm in, so just to make sure we get it all, he may just take that route. I will get a take-down in a few months. did any of you guys have a NG after surgery. I know I have to go through this and i guess the decision is made for me, but it just sucks.. But oh well, thats life I guess. I have been more active lately, gardening and walking, trying to get more energy. I am overweight, but healthy and no other health issues, so hopefully it will all go fine.

VickiCO's picture
VickiCO
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

I was told I would have a permanent colostomy because my tumor was less than 4 cm from the anus. I was completely prepared...but I woke up to a big surprise...no osotomy! My chemo/rads had completely knocked out the tumor, so there was just enough clear tissue to hook me back up. I have the greatest surgeon ever...

Never give up hope!

Vicki

kmygil
Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Oh yeah. The NG tube. Well, yes. I had it in for 6 days. The first 3 were tolerable, but the last 3 were very uncomfortable. Yeah, to the point where I was asking random people in the halls to please yank it out (LOL.) But it did prevent the bile/acid/gunk from moving down and causing nausea. Trust me, the last thing you want to do after abdominal surgery is retch and heave! This is why it is good to have the morphine pump--not for pain, because that becomes tolerable fairly quickly, but for the blasted NG tube:)

Hugs,
Kirsten

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

I had an epidural and it was done so well that I got up and walked 3 miles (21 laps around the 14th(?) floor at Sloan K) the day after my lung surgery. The nurses were amazed as was I. When it did wear off and I was on other pain meds the running around the floor slowed down a bit was for the first few days it was remarkable.

Ah yes, the old NG tube. I referred to it as the NFG tube. I can say that it was less than thrilling. I had mine for about 7-8 days one time and 3-4 another time and maybe another time too. I've had trouble with my bowels slowing down but I was the exception, most people do not have the issues I had with the narcotics. The narcotics can slow down you bowels so just keep that in mind. Also, see if you can get a pediatric NG tube. A nurse told me that sometimes will do that for you. It's easier going in which makes sense to me. I did not have the smaller one.

I'm sure it will go fine for you.
:-)
Best of luck, keep us posted
-phil

Oh, and YANNI Rocks! So does Zamfir, king of the pan flute
Right Em?

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi Mommy,

I was Stage III with lymph involvement (sigmoid colon), dx'ed at 39, and I have 5 kids and wonderful hubby. My baby was 20 months old when I was dx'ed and I was still nursing her. I feel for you!

I found out I had cancer on a Monday and was operated on that Friday (they wanted to operate on Wednesday but I needed to find childcare etc) so I didn't have time to think about it really. I know what you mean about the fear of not waking up, but that's the best time to get on my knees, if you know what I mean.

What I found to be helpful at the hospital was to take my CD player and my favorite CD's to soothe me, pump me up, and allow me to "escape" my surroundings. And since you're wearing headphones you won't disturb your neighbor. Another thing I did was have something to wear that didn't scream hospital patient. I have a hat collection and my hubby had given me a new funky one for my cancer surgery stay. I wore it 24/7 to feel 'normal'.

So one day post surgery I was dancing in my curtained cubicle to my U2 Joshua Tree cd when, unbeknown to me, in walked my surgical team. I was jivin' and groovin' and really letting it go when I whipped around and there they all stood. HA! the head intern asked if I was listening to Yanni. When they picked me up off the floor from laughing so hard--YANNI??? I am so sure!-- they proceeded to try to remain serious while poking and prodding.

Point is--start LIVING the moment you wake up without your tumor. It's a NEW day and hit the floor running to embrace your LIFE! This will help when dealing with doctors who will catch your spirit, with friends who may be silently planning your funeral behind your back, with family who will be in shock, and with your kids who may be worried about mama being sick.

Hope this helps.

And remember to Dance like no one is watching (except they may just be! HA!)

peace, emily

kmygil
Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

You are normal! Everyone wonders what is going to happen when we count backward. The thing is, even if you were awake & pain free, you still wouldn't be in control of the surgery. Worrying about the actual surgery is counter-productive. Right now, build yourself up for it. Eat right, hydrate, exercise. The better condition you are in before surgery, the quicker recovery you will make. You really don't want to spend more time than absolutely necessary in the hospital. When you wake up (and you will!), focus on getting out & giving your bed to really sick people (LOL). OK, that mindset worked for me...... I will keep you in my prayers and send positive energy your way!

Hugs,
Kirsten

ADKer's picture
ADKer
Posts: 150
Joined: Aug 2008

I just wanted to add one specific recommendation to help with recovery after surgery. I had good advice from a sister who is an OB/GYN and does a lot of abdominal surgeries. She told me to walk at least an hour a day, beginning the day after surgery. Of course, that is a long time. I broke it into 15 minute increments but I did do the walking and believe that it did help me recover better and more quickly. Best wishes to you.

mommyof2kds's picture
mommyof2kds
Posts: 522
Joined: Mar 2009

You guys are all so amazing. You are all so supportive. This is a great site. Thanks for all the positive words and energy.

Shannonlw7's picture
Shannonlw7
Posts: 27
Joined: May 2009

hello, mommy of two.. i am a mommy of three who is also awaiting surgery. i had the chemo and radiation for an anal tumor with one spreading to the pelvic area in the lymph node. i finished my treatments in june and was finally feeling good..when..bam! my anal cancer is back, the other tumor is shrinking and still doing good though..but now they say i need the surgery for a bag..i am also VERY scared, then i found this sight a few days ago and everyone here has been wonderful and i actually believe im starting to calm down now somewhat. i know i want to be here for my kids and thats all that matters..but it is still soo very scary stepping out into the unknown and putting your life in someone elses hands and you cant control anything..i do know the feeling. my surgery date is going to be right after june 10th.. they wanted to do it sooner, but i begged my doctor to please hold off because last year i was soo sick from radiation that i didnt get to spend any time with my kids really , so this year i wanted to at least spend their b-days with them before i went in. i had 1 birthday last week, one this week and then one on the 10th..and off ill go..so ill be praying for you and i know we'll both be just fine..
shannon

mommyof2kds's picture
mommyof2kds
Posts: 522
Joined: Mar 2009

HI Shannon, I think this is a great site for information and support. Glad you are getting in some quality family time, family is all that matters..

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