Survivor Questions

Hi! I am a 57 year old female. I was diagnosed in April 2011 with stage 3 colon cancer. I had surgery removing 1/2 of my colon and 12 rounds of chemo the last being November 12th. After my surgery I did very well with my bowel movements. Very loose stools and I was going many more times a day. As time went on becoming more like my post surgery self regular and more formed. As time has gone on, I am struggling with constipation and stools that are very hard. Has this been anyone else's experience? I am also so tired! If I am home I am napping every afternoon . I have neuropathy. It has gone away in my fingers, but my toes up to the balls of my feet are still numb and tingly. And I suffer with joint pain that I never had before chemo. It hits in all different joints at different times.i will go days with no pain and then I will have it in one or multiple joints. If anyone has any answers with how they deal with their constipation I'd appreciate any ideas. I bought some stool softeners but it says not to take them for more than a week. I wish each of you wellness and healing. God bless!
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Comments

  • pete43lost_at_sea
    pete43lost_at_sea Member Posts: 3,900
    welcome psalm37
    it might sound to simple, but lots of water and no dehydrating liquids like tea, coffee, alcohol.

    plenty of fibre will help.

    i favour natural remedies where possible. good luck, try the water.

    now water aint water, so consider reverse osmosis alkaline if you are into anti cancer wellness sorts of things.

    i hope your bowel habits improve, mine have been good recently.

    hugs,
    Pete
  • LivinginNH
    LivinginNH Member Posts: 1,456

    welcome psalm37
    it might sound to simple, but lots of water and no dehydrating liquids like tea, coffee, alcohol.

    plenty of fibre will help.

    i favour natural remedies where possible. good luck, try the water.

    now water aint water, so consider reverse osmosis alkaline if you are into anti cancer wellness sorts of things.

    i hope your bowel habits improve, mine have been good recently.

    hugs,
    Pete

    Fiber

    Umm, you need to be very careful when it comes to eating fiber - having lots of fiber in your isn't all it's cracked up to be.... Rick is now on a very LOW fiber diet after he ended up with two colon blockages. We thought fiber would be good to prevent the blockages, but it was just the opposite, it blocked him up terribly. Each patient is quite different, always ask your doctor before starting anything new, or you could be quite sorry that you did.

    Cynthia
  • LivinginNH
    LivinginNH Member Posts: 1,456

    welcome psalm37
    it might sound to simple, but lots of water and no dehydrating liquids like tea, coffee, alcohol.

    plenty of fibre will help.

    i favour natural remedies where possible. good luck, try the water.

    now water aint water, so consider reverse osmosis alkaline if you are into anti cancer wellness sorts of things.

    i hope your bowel habits improve, mine have been good recently.

    hugs,
    Pete

    duplicate

    duplicate
  • dmj101
    dmj101 Member Posts: 527
    Totally agree with Cynthia..
    Totally agree with Cynthia.. carefull on the fiber...
    your story timeline sounds familiar.. did you have a resection with a colostomy by chance .. if so fiber is not too good an idea..
    I still have the neuopathy.. doc says can last 1 - 1 1/2 years after final treatment or forever.. I have come to believe mine may be forever.. not truely painfull as much as disturbingly wierd in both hands and feet.
    Once chemo ended I did seem to be more constipated thou I found on Folfox i was constipated and dr said it should have been the opposite ... funny thing for me was chinese food made me go easier and my proctologist suggested Milk of Magnesia over stool softeners... I am back on chemo now for mets. folfiri and just the opposite is occurring nothing I try tightens up my bowels.
    If I get constipated at all now.. I find cantelope or pineapple will make me go too.. you might want to try them.. are you eating diary.. diary may help.. not cheese. but milk, icecream, yogurt..
    Good Luck and Good Health.
    Donna
  • herdizziness
    herdizziness Member Posts: 3,624
    Pain Pills
    Are you taking any pain pills? This is a good source for hardened stools and constipation. I will drink coffee with milk when that happens, and within hours seems to let things "loose". (just a cup or two does the trick for me).
    Winter Marie
  • Annabelle41415
    Annabelle41415 Member Posts: 6,715 Member
    Struggle
    It can be a struggle to get your system to cooperate. Trying prune juice or eating prunes, also metamucile can help get things moving. Drinking water or tea can help things move too. Good luck, I've been there and can understand your situation.

    Kim
  • thxmiker
    thxmiker Member Posts: 1,278

    Fiber

    Umm, you need to be very careful when it comes to eating fiber - having lots of fiber in your isn't all it's cracked up to be.... Rick is now on a very LOW fiber diet after he ended up with two colon blockages. We thought fiber would be good to prevent the blockages, but it was just the opposite, it blocked him up terribly. Each patient is quite different, always ask your doctor before starting anything new, or you could be quite sorry that you did.

    Cynthia

    One can have fiber, more
    One can have fiber, more important is Low Residue Diet in the beginning.

    Best Always, mike
  • Psalm37bl
    Psalm37bl Member Posts: 25

    welcome psalm37
    it might sound to simple, but lots of water and no dehydrating liquids like tea, coffee, alcohol.

    plenty of fibre will help.

    i favour natural remedies where possible. good luck, try the water.

    now water aint water, so consider reverse osmosis alkaline if you are into anti cancer wellness sorts of things.

    i hope your bowel habits improve, mine have been good recently.

    hugs,
    Pete

    I definitely need to drink
    I definitely need to drink more water. I need to start keeping track and making myself do it! I am just not a thirsty girl so I don't drink much that might be part of the problem. Thanks Pete!
  • Psalm37bl
    Psalm37bl Member Posts: 25

    welcome psalm37
    it might sound to simple, but lots of water and no dehydrating liquids like tea, coffee, alcohol.

    plenty of fibre will help.

    i favour natural remedies where possible. good luck, try the water.

    now water aint water, so consider reverse osmosis alkaline if you are into anti cancer wellness sorts of things.

    i hope your bowel habits improve, mine have been good recently.

    hugs,
    Pete

    I definitely need to drink
    I definitely need to drink more water. I need to start keeping track and making myself do it! I am just not a thirsty girl so I don't drink much that might be part of the problem. Thanks Pete!
  • Psalm37bl
    Psalm37bl Member Posts: 25
    dmj101 said:

    Totally agree with Cynthia..
    Totally agree with Cynthia.. carefull on the fiber...
    your story timeline sounds familiar.. did you have a resection with a colostomy by chance .. if so fiber is not too good an idea..
    I still have the neuopathy.. doc says can last 1 - 1 1/2 years after final treatment or forever.. I have come to believe mine may be forever.. not truely painfull as much as disturbingly wierd in both hands and feet.
    Once chemo ended I did seem to be more constipated thou I found on Folfox i was constipated and dr said it should have been the opposite ... funny thing for me was chinese food made me go easier and my proctologist suggested Milk of Magnesia over stool softeners... I am back on chemo now for mets. folfiri and just the opposite is occurring nothing I try tightens up my bowels.
    If I get constipated at all now.. I find cantelope or pineapple will make me go too.. you might want to try them.. are you eating diary.. diary may help.. not cheese. but milk, icecream, yogurt..
    Good Luck and Good Health.
    Donna

    Donna, I did have a
    Donna, I did have a resection, but no colostomy. I am eating a lot of yogurt, and cottage cheese, and a cheese stick for a snack. I like melon and pineapple. I haven't noticed it helping however. It's funny how everyone is different. OHHHH I love Chinese! Thank you for your suggestions!
    Wishing you health and wellness!
    Beth
  • Psalm37bl
    Psalm37bl Member Posts: 25

    Pain Pills
    Are you taking any pain pills? This is a good source for hardened stools and constipation. I will drink coffee with milk when that happens, and within hours seems to let things "loose". (just a cup or two does the trick for me).
    Winter Marie

    No pain pills, just Tylenol
    No pain pills, just Tylenol and Ibuprofin for the joint pain. I love coffee. About two cups a day, but not helping either. Thanks for the suggestion though!
    Wishing you well!
    Beth
  • steved
    steved Member Posts: 834
    Trial and error
    As you see above we are all very different after these ops. Stragngely I became quite lactose intolerant so lots of dairy affects me badly (just reminded me as you described all you yoghurt and cheese) and fo me fibre is necessary but in moderation. High fat foods eg anything deep fried, also upset me. Try introducing/ eliminating single foods to see the effects but it takes a long time to really find what suits you. Overall, once you find it sticking to a fairly regular routine helps then using meds to help you tolerate when you want something you know will affect you badly means you can still treat yourself- if I want to have several beers and a curry I know I will need some loperamide after/ if I go to Italy and live on pasta and pizza for a week I need a bit of laxative.

    Find your own way but be patient. It took me 5 years postop to get completely off refular loperamide and I still carry one or two with me 'just i case',

    steve
  • PatchAdams
    PatchAdams Member Posts: 271
    Chemo induced arthritis
    Very common to have chemo induced arthritis and painful joints come with menopause (which is caused by chemo).

    Lisa42 (no longer with us) had horrific arthritis pain after chemo and she was in her early 40's. Ron52 has awful arthritis. I have the roaming joint pain and still have neuropathy from chemo over 3 years ago.

    I've been constipated since my resection almost 4 years ago. Raisinets work for me. A couple of handfuls at night while watching t.v. then coffee in the morning are my trick. Triskets (just a couple) are my rescue tool. My Gastro said to use a capful of Miralax daily but I'm not one for meds. My onc said stool softeners. No thanks.
  • luvinlife2
    luvinlife2 Member Posts: 172
    Hi Psalm37 :)
    Welcome!! I've had the same issues with constipation since my surgery in 2008 and have tried so many different things, some that worked for a while but nothing that seemed to get my system back to normal. I am still doing chemo by the way, so it's been an ongoing isssue for me. It's really a hit and miss deal until you find something that your body reacts well to.


    A few things to try would be:

    Senna Tea (1 cup every evening)

    Slippery Elm (lol...things do slip but be warned...does not smell nice at all!! I couldn't stand it and had to cover my nose.)

    Green Envy (green juice supplement..has almost every green imaginable in it) Buy it at Costco.

    I also had food allergy testing and found out that I was allergic to foods without the usual outward symptoms. When I eliminated those foods from my diet, for the first time in many years my system worked normal. I still use the Green Envy every day as well.

    Don't do all of these things at the same time!! LOL

    Good luck!! :)
  • Psalm37bl
    Psalm37bl Member Posts: 25
    steved said:

    Trial and error
    As you see above we are all very different after these ops. Stragngely I became quite lactose intolerant so lots of dairy affects me badly (just reminded me as you described all you yoghurt and cheese) and fo me fibre is necessary but in moderation. High fat foods eg anything deep fried, also upset me. Try introducing/ eliminating single foods to see the effects but it takes a long time to really find what suits you. Overall, once you find it sticking to a fairly regular routine helps then using meds to help you tolerate when you want something you know will affect you badly means you can still treat yourself- if I want to have several beers and a curry I know I will need some loperamide after/ if I go to Italy and live on pasta and pizza for a week I need a bit of laxative.

    Find your own way but be patient. It took me 5 years postop to get completely off refular loperamide and I still carry one or two with me 'just i case',

    steve

    What is loperamide?

    What is loperamide?
  • Psalm37bl
    Psalm37bl Member Posts: 25
    steved said:

    Trial and error
    As you see above we are all very different after these ops. Stragngely I became quite lactose intolerant so lots of dairy affects me badly (just reminded me as you described all you yoghurt and cheese) and fo me fibre is necessary but in moderation. High fat foods eg anything deep fried, also upset me. Try introducing/ eliminating single foods to see the effects but it takes a long time to really find what suits you. Overall, once you find it sticking to a fairly regular routine helps then using meds to help you tolerate when you want something you know will affect you badly means you can still treat yourself- if I want to have several beers and a curry I know I will need some loperamide after/ if I go to Italy and live on pasta and pizza for a week I need a bit of laxative.

    Find your own way but be patient. It took me 5 years postop to get completely off refular loperamide and I still carry one or two with me 'just i case',

    steve

    What is loperamide?

    What is loperamide?
  • Psalm37bl
    Psalm37bl Member Posts: 25
    steved said:

    Trial and error
    As you see above we are all very different after these ops. Stragngely I became quite lactose intolerant so lots of dairy affects me badly (just reminded me as you described all you yoghurt and cheese) and fo me fibre is necessary but in moderation. High fat foods eg anything deep fried, also upset me. Try introducing/ eliminating single foods to see the effects but it takes a long time to really find what suits you. Overall, once you find it sticking to a fairly regular routine helps then using meds to help you tolerate when you want something you know will affect you badly means you can still treat yourself- if I want to have several beers and a curry I know I will need some loperamide after/ if I go to Italy and live on pasta and pizza for a week I need a bit of laxative.

    Find your own way but be patient. It took me 5 years postop to get completely off refular loperamide and I still carry one or two with me 'just i case',

    steve

    What is loperamide?

    What is loperamide?
  • steved
    steved Member Posts: 834
    Psalm37bl said:

    What is loperamide?

    What is loperamide?

    Loperamide
    It is a drug that slows down the bowels and is available over the counter in various formsit is the generic name as I am inthe UK and the trade names differ her from the US (here it is mainly called imodium).

    It is the one to slow things down, laxatives to speed it all up- its a balancing act.

    steve
  • ron50
    ron50 Member Posts: 1,723
    Hi Beth
    I too was dxed stage 3 c. I am well past the ca ,over 14 years. As far as my plumbing is concerned my GI made the point ,you had irritable bowel before ca ,why would it be any different after ca. Why indeed. So I find that I am either constipated or running off to the loo every five minutes. It has been particularly bad since I doubled my dose of metformin for type two diabetes. I aked my gi how to deal with constipation. She advised me to dissolve half a teaspoon of epsom salts in some hot water and take that. Next question was how do I stop the vomiting. As usual I solved my own problem. I got some gel caps from the chemist. I just fill the gel cap with epsom and no worries. No taste nothing. It is a good safe non habit forming laxative. I have had really bad arthritis since chemo,both psoriatic and spondylitis. It is not fun but the arthritic drugs are as bad as chemo. I have had high dose prednisone , Salasoprosyn (excuse spelling) methotrexate,arava and endep,lyrica and neurontin for neuropathy. The arthritis drugs are not for pain but to stop disease progression and the neuropathy drugs did not work for me. They want me to take humira now but I am not going there. I have serious problems with my kindeys too ,my nephrologist wants me to try humira as well and if not that cyclosporin ,cyclophosphomide or imuran. Not going there either. I have had three kidney biopsies and all that has told them is yes there is a problem with my kidneys but it does not relate to any of the common kidney problems. Three strikes and you are out. I am not a fan of the lets try medicine. I do know that I was given methotrexate for my arthritis and it helped my kidneys till it stopped working. I really miss self injecting methotrexate....not! Life after ca is anyting but boring. Hope your path thru survival is a lot easier,best wishes,Ron.
  • Psalm37bl
    Psalm37bl Member Posts: 25
    steved said:

    Loperamide
    It is a drug that slows down the bowels and is available over the counter in various formsit is the generic name as I am inthe UK and the trade names differ her from the US (here it is mainly called imodium).

    It is the one to slow things down, laxatives to speed it all up- its a balancing act.

    steve

    Ahhhh Imodium I know....
    Ahhhh Imodium I know.... Thanks