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A wife of A Colorectal cancer patient

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2011

This is my first time on this site. I joined by searching the internet. My husband is 49 yrs old and was diagnosed of colorectal cancer last year June 2010 after colonoscopy. He had his 1st surgery last JUly 2010 to get the stool that blocked on his stomach .He undergo chemo and radiation theraphy till October 2010.After that he had colonoscopy again to see if they shink the tumor but they need to cut a part of his colon then they put a colostomy. They closed his rectum. By Dec a liquid like fluid is coming out of his rectum so they found out that he had a infection. we stay in the hospital 4 days we spend the thanksgiving there. They give him antibiotic (i dont have the list)... they put somthing on his butt to get the abcess its like a host with a drainage. Everyday we measure the abcess and write it in a paper and report it to the doctor.after there is none coming out they take the drainage out. SInce january 2011 he is taking a pain medicine percoxet. I was wondering why he still taking a pain medicine when the doctor already take the tumor out his body. last thursday June 30 he had his petscan/cat scan. This morning July 11 we have an appointment to his doctor. Sad news came the result of his pet/scan is he has chest nodule in the right lobe measures 0.9x0.7cm, then mass in the posterolateral right lung 3.8 x 2.6 cm, 3nodules in the left upper lobe measuring 6mm, 4mm and 3mm

in his abdomen and pelvis small amount of ascites in the right upper quadrant.

we have a schedule for his second chemo theraphy and meeting with his doctor.

My question is what are the questions that i need to ask the doctor? The doctor says that I should i write it down. there are questions on my mind and I dont want my husband to worry.. any suggestions?

John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

A cancer diagnosis is always a shock, and always brings confusion
worry and fear.

It's a great idea to write every question down, and try to write the
answers down as well! I try to remember to ask the physician to
please give me a copy of his report of that visit, so I can have
something to re-read when my head is straight, otherwise I will
have to bother his office staff with questions
. That last part is
usually the tie-breaker.

You should also seek another opinion or three. Good physicians
welcome "second opinions", since they often provide the physician
with information regarding new techniques and procedures that the
physician might have been too busy to have been made aware of.

It sure sounded like a quick rush to do a colon and rectal resection!
It may have been well warranted and in the best of interests, but any
further operations and procedures would be well worth questioning.
(via a second opinion)

Spots on the lungs aren't any great event, unless they have been
"biopsied", or the surgeon is well educated in lung cancer. The questions
would be:
Have the spots been reported in past scans?
Have the spots changed size from the last scans, and by how much?

If the first question is a "no", then a subsequent scan would be in
order to determine if the "spots" are growing or not. If they aren't,
and there has been no previous report/scan of those spots, then
an operation isn't usually made, since the spots could be normal.

I would strongly recommend getting another opinion from a surgeon
that is -not- of the same group or organization. If it means going out of
town to get one, go out of town.

As far as the pain meds? If he's had rectal surgery and they've cut the
sphincter muscles, there is going to be long-lasting pain. If he's OK with
taking the pain meds, leave it be. Most can be addictive, but if you
could possibly imagine the pain associated with rectal surgery,
you would not question the need for pain meds.

To stop using the pain meds, he will have to taper off them a little
at a time, over a long period of time, otherwise he will suffer from
withdrawal symptoms greatly.

Most of the pain meds will produce side effects that will appear as
"sleep apnea". If any physician determines he is suffering from SA,
please be aware of the meds that result in that symptom. Taking
more meds to offset side effects of other meds can snowball into
dozens of pills a day. Do him a favor, and don't allow that to happen.

My very best wishes to both of you. Please try to stay healthy!


KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Can't add much...except welcome!

I think my biggest piece of advice is the same as John's....write down everything the doctors say, and ask for a copy of all lab reports. It will get a bit bulky, but then you have a complete record...I would also request all chart info from stuff already done in hospital, etc...

Hugs, Kathi

herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

has been given. But when you state you don't want to have your husband worry, then it makes me think that you want to bear the "pain in the arse" that cancer is, solely on your shoulders. If your husband is like most of us, he'll want to look at his cancer prognosis and know what beast he must fight, he will want to "slay" this beast along side you, not behind you. I guess what I am saying is, worry together and come up with solutions with your oncologist and fight together.
So, sit back and while you think of questions to ask the onc, ask your husband what he might be curious about, what he's most scared of, what he most wants to know about his cancer and about the plan for chemo and what you both can expect from it.
As a cancer patient, I want full knowledge so I know what I have to fight for.
My heart is with you both.
Winter Marie

Posts: 295
Joined: Apr 2010

I am glad you are inquiring and being an advocate for your husband. Sometimes when we go to the office my husband doesn't feel well & he doesn't want to talk. He has his own way of deeling with it and its important that someone is there paying attention and asking questions. Now if your husband is more outgoing the doctor may take it better if he is asking the questions. I was documented as a superhead wife who asked many lengthy questions and made the medical decisions in the family. Oh well hopefully your oncologist is more open to questions from you. By the way...I still ask the questions. It's my husband's life.

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5065
Joined: Feb 2008

I'm sorry you didn't get better news about your husband. Praying the doctor will have some great answers for making things better.


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