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What is next?

Posts: 207
Joined: Jan 2011

I am 51 and went into hospital for severe anemia; I was 5.5 when they checked me in and found microscopic blood in my rectal exam in ER. 7 days later on 1/14, I had a 2.5 cm x 3.5 cm invasive adenocarcinoma tumor removed along with about 1/4 of my colon. I guess the best news was that the 32 lymph nodes were negative for metastatic carcinoma. The cyst on my fallopian tube was benign and what they originally saw on my liver was benign. I came home on 1/17 and will be returning to work this Monday. I really don't feel up to it (physically or emotionally) but I'm a single Mom and fortunately have a compassionate boss who was willing to let me take the last 2 weeks as vac/sick time with 100% of my pay. I'm not sure what the future holds so I don't want to use days that I might need later. My problem right now is wondering what comes next. I have appt with Oncologist on 2/14 and am very anxious about it. I have a lot of support from family and friends but I'm going thru so many emotions right now. Sometimes I just feel like sitting here and doing nothing. I know I should get up and interact but I just don't feel like it. I think I'm actually still in shock. It's like my life stopped the 8th of January. When that doctor said the words "you have cancer"; it was like I was in a very bad dream. I cried all the way back to the room. I sat for awhile hoping somebody would come and tell me it had been a mistake. I called my 28 yr old daughter to let her know; I had no one with me that morning for the colonoscopy; I guess I thought it would just be routine or maybe a bleeding ulcer. Life will never be the same after this I know. I am very thankful they found it because I had no symptoms other than the anemia. It's funny because the surgeon that I met after having my colonoscopy said he was in the ER on the 7th after they checked me in and as soon as he heard how anemic I was he knew it was colon cancer. I've been thru some rough things, lost my Dad to Parkinson's in 2006, found out my daughter was a heroin addict in late 2005 (she is 3 yrs clean on 1/25/11), been thru 2 divorces, caring for my 87 year old mother (who is now in better health than me), and now this. I'm trying hard to find my fit in all of this but it's like riding a ride that keeps stopping and starting but I can never get off.

Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3366
Joined: Jan 2010

Welcome to the board. Sorry you had the need to find us, but glad that you have. Here you will find everyone willng to give you information, support and even a laugh or two.

As to what is next, I guess you will find out more when you see your doctor for follow-up (as far a medical things go).

As far as how you deal with having been diagnosed and with life from here on out, you will do as we all do, take it one day at a time and try to focus on your health, both mental and physical.

Those of us who have had this diagnosis know how hard it is to come to terms with and not let the 'what if's ' and the 'how longs' get to you.

Ask any questions which come to mind, vent your frustrations, ask for a shoulder to lean on. We will gladly help as we can.


Marie who loves kitties

Posts: 207
Joined: Jan 2011

Thanks Marie (your cat is beautiful btw); the response on the "what ifs" and "how long" was perfect. My mind is racing 100 miles an hour ahead of me. I will visit the board often. I think there is a difference between the ones that are 'living' this dreadful lot that's been given to each of us than the doctors and ones that haven't heard the words. It just helps to hear from people who are experiencing what I'm so new to.

Thanks for your kinds wors and support!


Lori-S's picture
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sep 2010

Welcome to the board. I am so sorry that you need to be here and sorry for your diagnosis. You are not alone. I think each and everyone of us know all those feelings you are having. They are normal. It sounds like you're a stage 2 but, you will want to find out for sure what your staging is from your oncologist. If a stage 2 they might offer you the option or strongly suggestion 12 rounds of chemo (6 months). Then you will deal with the chemo or not to chemo question. That becomes a personal choice.

When first dx'd (diagnosed) I was considered a stage 2 c. I was given the option of chemo with the strong suggestion that I do chemo because of the rate and growth pattern of my tumor (out of the colon along the abdominal wall and into the small intestine). I first didn't do chemo for both personal and financial reasons but, when the CEA test that I was having done continued to show an increase, I broke down and went in and agreed to chemo. There is so much to take into consideration with the chemo question and if you are given the option, please come post to the board so that all can give you their experiences and options. We have so many people here with so much experience and knowledge.

Best wishes to you and please let us know how things are going. It is such a short time that you are going back to work but, I totally understand how it is when someone is depending on you. Hang in there and make sure to take questions and take notes when you are with your oncologist. It is so easy to hear something unexpected and then sort of tune out for a minute while trying to process things. taking notes will really help. HUGS to you

Posts: 207
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi Lori,

Thx for responding. You're right; I need to slow down and just wait to hear what the doctor says in regard to chemo. And the financial aspect of all of this scares me. I have insurance but of course this year I chose the low premium, high deductible because "I'm never sick"....those were some famous last words!!

I will absolutely take notes because you're right. Not only does the medical terminology go over my head but I get focused on one negative word and can't absorb anything else the doctor is saying to me.

I really would love to be off work a little longer; I still have pain and some pressure around the incision and really not sure what type of clothes I can even wear but when you've got bills and the "unknown" bills that will be filtering in from the 2 hospital stays, I just will have to go slow.

I just want to be okay when this is all over....does that sound silly and selfish? I want all of us to be okay. I had no idea that there were so many people out there suffering. As I read the blogs, I feel so badly for survivors and equally as bad for the caregivers. I was a caregiver to my dad when he was suffering with Parkinsons and it was so hard. After it was all over, I felt so sad and useless but it was an honor to care for him; I wouldn't change a thing about that period of my life other than if I could have spent more time with him I would have.

You have been a great help to me in just this one visit. It's put some of my anxiety to rest.

I'll be visiting again soon!

Take care!

herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

Truly I'm amazed at how many of us where alone when we found out we had cancer. We go in never thinking in a million years that we're going to hear those words "I'm sorry, you have cancer". Such a life changing moment, I think I'm glad I was alone though, gave me time to process it before I headed home, I think I kind of needed that a loneness before I informed my family.
I think you ought to go to work and save those couple of weeks. You'll be pretty busy.
Life isn't easy especially with cancer on top of it, but it is still Life and pretty darn wonderful to wake up to each day and feel the sun kiss your face, it still gives me joy to awaken all snug in my bed each morning. Greater appreciation for life I'm guessing.
Winter Marie

Posts: 207
Joined: Jan 2011

It was kind of a strange thing that I was alone when I was told. Then the couple of hours after that; I guess like you said, gave me the time to digest it before I told my family. I needed to be by myself when he spoke those words to me though; looking back on it, it was probably best that I faced it head on alone. I'm like you said; NEVER in a million years was cancer a possibility. It wasn't suggested to me nor was it in my mind at all.

Life isn't easy at all but looking back on the last 3 weeks, I'd give anything to go back and have been able to catch this before it got to the point it did. But.....it is what it is. My doctor said this thing didn't just form over the last few months that it had probably been growing there for 2-3 years. How was I to know? Again...it is what it is. Just thankful for the opportunity to spend every minute I can with my girls and live my life as fully and honestly as I possibly can. Life is definitely too short to sweat the small stuff.


karguy's picture
Posts: 1024
Joined: Apr 2009

It's to bad you have to be here,but you can get advice,and support,and just vent when you need to.Talk to your doctor,and see where you go from here.I did chemo,and radiation at the same time.Do what ever is good for you to get rid of the cancer.I am still taking iron pills,and orange juice to help with energy,but I still have days when I just sleep,and It's been 2 1/2 years since surgery.I am now diabetic,and when I check my blood every morning,and it's ok,then I figure I have another good day.You just go one day at a time.We are here if you have any questions,or need anything.Good luck.

Posts: 207
Joined: Jan 2011

Thx karguy! Trust me...I hate I have to be here too. I spent the first 2 weeks saying I don't know how many "why me", "why now", "what did I do", "is this all I have to pass on to my kids....colon cancer"......... I'm sure it won't be the last pity party I have. One thing I am very thankful for is that before I had my surgery, a breast cancer survivor I work with told me about this site. It is already helping me immensely to be able to write down some of what I feel and get feedback. It does scare me when I hear people say that after the chemo or radiation they end up with other health issues. I guess as long as it's not more cancer, I'd be thankful for even that.

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5065
Joined: Feb 2008

I'm sorry about the diagnosis. It's always an unpleasant surprise! I, too, was very anemmic when I was diagnosed. I was given 2 units of blood before I could have my surgery. It did leave me very weak and tired for awhile, so I hope you will listen to your body and rest as much as possible.


Posts: 207
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi Gail. They gave me 5 units and I still wasn't over a 10. It's amazing how you can push your body and convince yourself that it is something other that a possible serious situation; I will know going forward not to put it off if I have that gut feeling again.

Take care,


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6694
Joined: Feb 2009

Welcome to the board. So sorry that you had to join us but glad you are here with people that will help you get through this awful situation. Your story is so similar to a lot of us here. Hemrhoids was my thought, but nope, it was a tumor in the rectum. To others, missed diagnosis, no symptoms or symptoms for years and just didn't want to go to the doctor we have a lot of stories. You should bring someone with you to your appointments so they can hear the things you missed. You have been through much with your family as well, so I'm hoping that you can feel comfortable calling us "your new family."


Posts: 207
Joined: Jan 2011

Thanks Kim...I do feel as if I have a new family; ones that absolutely can understand the feelings I'm having. I will bring someone with me; that's a great idea. It's amazing how much you can try to focus and get everything that's being said and not be able to remember half of it! I'm even considering a recorder. Part of it is the older I get the less I retain! :)


thxmiker's picture
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

Our prayers are with you to find the guidance for the proper treatment.

My first time with cancer we kept it to ourselves. I cried a lot too.

My second round of cancer we told our friends and a couple of my good clients. The outpouring of support was overwhelming! I not telling you to shout on the top of the mountains, but let your friends know. We have had several friends refer us to other friends whom had gone through this before. Two of my clients had similar cancer to mine and offered advice and support.

The more people around you with support the less likely to feel down. I have several friends and clients tat call me once a week to check up on me. This has been a great relief!

Best Always! mike

Posts: 207
Joined: Jan 2011

Thanks Mike. I do have some great friends and very dear clients also that make it a point to check up on me it only to tell me to hang in there. It really does matter to have people hold you up at a time like this. I go back to work tomorrow and in a way am dreading it; I guess emotionally; I'm afraid I will break down and I really want to keep a positive attitude but sometimes it just hits me and I go off the deep end with the what if's. I know I'll make it thru this; I just have to get in my groove and learn how to have that positive game face on when I need it.

Thanks for your support and I'll be thinking of you in your fight as well!

My best,


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