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Worried about accidents but don't want fear to control me

tommycat's picture
Posts: 790
Joined: Aug 2011

Sometimes it is only people who have had cancer can understand how your level of anxiety can skyrocket by what-should-be a fun thing.
We are going camping this weekend with two other families and their children. I was looking at my list of things I had to pack, not just for my family, but for me, just in case. the list went something like this: Depends, wipes, ziploc bags, extra pants....
Sort of takes the air of my balloon.
I have learned that since my take down surgery last Oct.---and all the chemo/rad---there are for me some things that trigger explosive diarrhea, among them red wine and tomatoes. BUT I also know that sometimes it just happens on its own with no triggers.
To crap your pants in private can be demoralizing To do it in public is humiliating.
I'm starting to think maybe my family should go w/o me......yet...............don't want to give into cancer and let it rule my life.
Ambivalence. And the decision is not made any easier by the fact that I don't feel well right now. (Just a cold/flu thing, but I despise being sick. Spent two yrs. not feeling right and that is plenty.)

lisa42's picture
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Tommycat,

I completely get what you're saying- that's the reality of my world too. I worry even about going out to dinner, leaving the house to pick my kids up from school when my stomach starts churning. I had to pull my car out of the line of cars in front of the school the other day because I suddenly felt "the urge" (with no prior warning or rumblings at all- it just hit me and I knew I had just a couple of minutes at most). I knew I wouldn't make it if I waited and picked them up first. I drove to the nearest fast food and barely made it into the bathroom in time. Then I was late picking them up- I later explained to my daughter (she had a friend with her in the car). My 11 yr old daughter's so sweet- she even packed me a backpack full of my supplies to keep in the car from now on. What a thing for a little girl to have to do for her mother, huh?

Only you can decide if you're up for the camping trip or not. I hope you're able to go. Definitely wear a pad or depends. I can't bring myself to buy depends- I haven't yet- I just wear a pad.

Best wishes to you-

westie66's picture
Posts: 642
Joined: Jun 2010

Thanks for bringing this up. The folfoxfiri treatment (or whatever oxaliplatin-irenotecan-5FU is called) does this to me - I thought I was the only one!

Buzzard's picture
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

Something to think about....we have a lady in here that had the reversal done and was self employed...She could not keep her work running so she opted to have the ostomy back. She has never looked back....I have one and it is no issue at all for me...I would much rather chit my bag than my pants.....just something to think about...it does give you your freedom back..............buzz

Posts: 96
Joined: Jun 2011

Hi Tommycat,
I know how you feel. Today was my first day back at work in an enclosed office environment. I thought I did everything right this morning to prepare for an accident...took immodium, ate very little, but right in the middle of a major meeting with top executives, my stomach starting churning and I had to run out of the room and didn't make it! How humiliating! Now i have to go back on monday and face all of these people...


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6722
Joined: Feb 2009

It's hard to tell what to do. I've been out to a restaurant and told my hubby, it's time to go. Most times when we go out for dinner, he will eat and I'll take mine home and eat it later. I'm afraid I'll have an accident, but then there are times when I've been able to eat and not have any problem. I'm still not sure what causes my loose bowels and explosive like you mentioned - big time - but just have to take it one day at a time. Immodium does help for situations that I'm sure I'm not wanting a bowel movement, but then it binds me for days. Then I'm in a catch 22 situation. Used to take a tea to help me go, but learned that I'm not having problems going without it. If it was me going on the camping trip, as long as you have a bathroom close to you, I'd go and explain to your friends that you have these episodes and if you happen to let loose with a big fart it's because of the disease and that's part of it. Make it your success story and that is what you are left with and you are happy with it. A fart always makes someone better and a BM always makes room for more good camping food :) Have fun


plh4gail's picture
Posts: 1238
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi Tommycat, I had all the treatments you did and now I have all those symptoms too so I like the others know how you feel. I wear pads, but not all the time. I have an emergency pack in my purse. It's a little bag I keep pads, immodium, and panties in. And if I go too far from home I take extra change of clothes for the just in case times. But I wanted to let you know I got up the courage with my kids love and support to do some things this summer that I had the exact same thoughts and fears you do. We went on a 7 day cruise to celebrate my finishing treatment and I was fine on the ship since there are bathrooms all around. It was off the ship in Mexico that toilets became a challenge. But I decided to get off the boat and do things with them anyway, I took immodium before each off ship excursion and it worked. Parasailing, jet ski, beach, zip line, and a shopping trip in the city. ....I made it through vacation thank goodness! But at work the other night I had to call a co-worker from the bathroom using my cell phone to bring me my purse because I didn't trust myself to leave and go down the hall to get it. I needed pads and immodium. I work in the Emergency Room so there are people and patients everywhere most of the time.

Well I hope you got to go camping and please let us know...:)


westie66's picture
Posts: 642
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi all: I'm so so thankful this discussion thread is here, still, and that others have the issues. As I just did in a public park with my dog. The embarrassment. I'm going out for dinner tonight with friends - I'll ask to sit near the washrooms! I really want to visit with them. And so will go.
I guess I'd go camping with your family and just be prepared as suggested and tell them. Much better in the outdoors than an indoor work environment.
Let us know.

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2011

Hey Tommycat, I too am a colon cancer survivor(almost 5 years), and even after all this time it still is not easy......I am a widow(almost 3 years), and trying to maintain everyday activities, getting out and about is debilitating.....I have accidents so many times it's a shame, when I explain all of this to my oncologist, surgeon and gastroenterologist, they simply shrug it off as a way of life.....but to me it's quite serious, and bothersome at times....Life as it was post colon cancer is not the same, I don't travel(too scared)(maybe I'm just vain)!... I stay close to home, don't have many friends, if you haven't been there you just wouldn't understand....but still I thank God for my life, it's been rough, but I'm still here....I'm 57 years young, trying to find romance, but it's hard when you are constantly in the restroom!....But hang in there, I know how you feel!...STAY WELL!...Hopefully medical science will soon have an answer for us!....I'm COMMITTED TO LIFE!

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