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Stomach ache - Back pain - Shoulder pain

ArchTB's picture
Posts: 157
Joined: Dec 2010

Hi everyone,

I think last time i stopped by it was January. Things have been fine with us since then. Tom has joint a gym in March to strengthen his back. He has lost 4 pounds again and now back to 153 (his pre-diagnosis normal is 170-175). He thinks it is due to the physical exercise, and I choose to believe him.
Other than the weight loss, things have been pretty good. Tom is teaching, we have been enjoying the spring, our walks to the park, planning summer vacation.

However few days ago there has been an unexpected turn. Tom thinks he got a food poisoning after eating some sandwich in the school cafeteria. He had a very bad stomach ache from Wednesday evening until Thursday afternoon. But, I always thought food poisoning involves diarrhea and vomiting - none of which he had, just a very strong pain. He was crunched up for two days, and on Thursday and Friday complained about bad back pain that the episode had caused him. Today (Saturday), we had to cut our morning walk to the park short and walk home, because his left shoulder was killing him. The pain was so bad, that he took oxicodine for the first time since November. I am freaked out and insisting on calling a doctor. He thinks that it is just a left-over pain from the food poisoning and the stress his body had. I have not seen him so measurable for months. His current state is equal to probably 2nd-3rd week post-op.

Has anyone experienced anything similar?


wife of Tom, 38 y.o.
T3 N1 M0 diagnosed, December 2010
MIE at MSKCC on May 17, 2011

paul61's picture
Posts: 1250
Joined: Apr 2010


I have had a couple occasions where I have eaten something that did not agree with me and had stomach pain and back pain, but it has also been accompanied by a loose stool. Not necessarily diarrhea but certainly not normal bowel habits.

Has Tom had a bowel movement in the last three days? Sorry to be specific, but if that has not happened I would be concerned about that. It is always difficult to find the right balance between reacting to every new pain or ignoring something that should be investigated, but I would say if things aren't much better by Monday, I would call the doctor.

My general rule of thumb is; "if it isn't better in a week, it is time to consider calling the doctor". It usually takes some time to get in to see the doctor anyway and if things improve significantly on Tuesday you can always cancel the appointment.

Best Regards,

Paul Adams
McCormick, South Carolina

DX 10/22/2009 T2N1M0 Stage IIB
12/03/2009 Ivor Lewis
2/8 through 6/14/2010 Adjuvant Chemo Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
Two year survivor

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

ArchTB's picture
Posts: 157
Joined: Dec 2010

Paul, I think this is exactly what we will do - wait until Monday, and if he is not much better by then, call the doctor. Tom did have bowel daily, which was almost normal. But he was taking pepto bismo, which might have helped.
As of Saturday evening, his shoulder does not feel better (one more oxicodone taken).

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BobHaze's picture
Posts: 162
Joined: Sep 2011


I’ve had severe stomach pains a few times after eating, with no vomiting or bowel problems, but also not the back pain. In my case I finally figured out it happened when I drank something while I was eating, rather than waiting for 30 minutes or so like I know I should do. The first time I was in LAX airport on a business trip, and I was in so much pain I couldn’t walk to my terminal and I had to sit down for an hour until it passed. It was quite intense. It happened right after I’d finished dinner in the airport, and I had a beer while I was eating. BIG mistake. Like I say, it happened a few more times and each time I realized I’d had something to drink with my dinner. It didn’t matter if it was wine, tea or water, the result was the same intense stomach ache.

So that may be Tom’s problem and may not, but I think that as a cancer survivor especially, any unexplained pain that lasts more than a couple of days should be looked at by his doctor. Can’t hurt, you know?

Dx 8/3/11
MIE 9/23/11

NikiMo's picture
Posts: 347
Joined: Jul 2011

Hi Olya,

After the two hospitalization Jeff has been through I suggest erring on the side of caution. Have you taken his temperature? If he is over 100.5 with serious pain I would say head to the E.R. Jeff has been septic and he has had pneumonia. Both times catching it early was key to recovery. I know the last place both of you want to go is a hospital, but the earlier you find an infection the less serious the complications.

All the best,


ArchTB's picture
Posts: 157
Joined: Dec 2010

The temperature is normal, but Tom has also taken oxicodone with tylenol. He keeps on telling me that I should not worry, and that he is feeling better and should probably be fine tomorrow. But as of Saturday evening, he has taken two 5 mg of oxicodone already. He feels fine now, but it could be just the painkiller effect.
I'll post update tomorrow on how he is.

Thanks all for advice and encouragement.

JReed's picture
Posts: 463
Joined: Nov 2011

Hi Olya:

As a spouse to a cancer survivor, I can certainly relate to what you are feeling now. It is natural to worry - we women are good at that because our mothers have trained us well in that department.

We are only about a month out from the surgery and all is going pretty well, but I know the first time something goes awry - I will totally freak out. Your Tom sounds like a typical man and you sound like a typical worried wife.

I truly hopes this goes away by tomorrow for you two - and if not, you'll know the right thing to do at the right time. We will be looking for your post on how things are going.

Hugs to you and FEC,

JReed's picture
Posts: 463
Joined: Nov 2011

double post - sorry

ArchTB's picture
Posts: 157
Joined: Dec 2010

Just an update on how Tom is doing today. He claims he is feeling better, but he still took a pain killer today. He asked me to massage his shoulder, which makes him feel better. I did not see any inflammation or any thickening around lymph nodes areas. But his shoulder was cracking when I massaged it, which makes me feel that maybe i am freaking out for nothing and it is in fact just some joints problem.
His stomach is pretty much fine now, he eats ok, and has normal bowel movement. But he says that he still has some general soreness in his body plus the shoulder pain.
We'll see how things are tomorrow. Regardless of how he would feel, I insisted that he calls a doctor and inform him about this week's incident.

Thank you all for listening and letting me vent out. Judy, you are absolutely right - I am a typical paranoid wife :) It just crashes everything inside me to see Tom measurable and being unable to help. He is on a couch now, playing video games with our dog Bob Barker sleeping next to him. This is such a peaceful picture. Oh how I wish it would stay this way!


TerryV's picture
Posts: 916
Joined: Jul 2011

Nick has had a bothersome "twinge" in his hip for the past week or two. It came on after a hike, so I didn't think anything of it initially. But two weeks later and him still bothered by twinges, my mind (and worries) start slipping toward cancer related fears.

Will it ever happen again that our loved ones can get ill or injured without our first fear being reoccurence? Just the slightest ache, pain, deep cough, etc. sets me off down a path I don't wish to travel.

Standing with you, Olya. Glad Tom's have a better day and hope the shoulder pain fades to nothing.

Love & {hugs}


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