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new here...have a question

onetuffcookie's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2013

Hi,  I am new here to this forum but not new to cancer.  I was diagnosed almost 3 years ago (July 2010) with stage 3 rectal cancer.  I had 6 weeks 5fu chemo and radiation which shrunk the tumor quite a bit.  The tumor was up high in the rectum and the doctor removed my entire rectum and part of my colon.  He had enough that he could reconnect me and then I  had an illiostomy bag for 3 months to give my colon time to heal. Having the ostomy was really not that big of a deal.  I was just getting the hang of it and then it was time to get it reversed. I also had several months of follow-up folfox. 

Overall things have been back to normal for me except lately I have been getting pains in my tummy that comes and goes.  Its like an achy crampy kind of pain in the general area where my ostomy scar is.  I have heard of adhesions but I'm not sure what the symptoms or warnings signs are.  Has anyone out there had any experiance with adhesions or scar tissue and could please let me what to look for?  If it is an adhesion.. would something like that even show up on an xray?

I may be just worrying about nothing. I will be having a routine colonscopy but that wont be until November.  I'm not sure if I should maybe call the doc and move it up.  Any advice would be appreciated. 







Dyanclark's picture
Posts: 296
Joined: Apr 2012

My husband is the one with cancer.  I have scar tissue from surgery and yes it  gives me some pain.  Cut 4 times same place C section, female surgery.   Having said that, I would say get the pain checked without delay.  I would have the colonoscopy ASAP

John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007


Adhesions are the body's natural process of healing. Internally, it can be a problem when the adhesions cause one organ to stick to another (the intestines are an organ, too). Adhesions can be around the intestine, and tighten like a rubber band, getting increasingly tighter as time goes on.


While an adhesion is forming, there can be sporadic pain as it sticks to one thing or another and pulls under the weight of passing food. If and when the intestinal adhesion gets too well developed, there is a possibility of having an obstruction……. You will know it when it happens!


It usually takes 2 to 3 years for an adhesion to become a problem, if it indeed becomes a problem at all, and that certainly seems to fit the time frame you’ve mentioned (?), The real bummer, is that any surgery to remove an adhesion (or hernia) usually results in more adhesions.


At this juncture, you would be wise to be a bit careful about what you eat, and how well you chew each item before swallowing it. Things that don’t dissolve, like grains, nuts, and fiber should be avoided, or at least minimized, until the issue your presently having is properly identified.


A CT, and/or sonogram is how they localized my adhesions and blockages. I would think that making an appointment with your gastrointestinal physician would be warranted. Even your GP (or surgeon) can help with getting further tests to identify the problem. Hopefully all you have is gas from some rancid fast-food, ehh?

(want fries with that?)


There really isn’t too much sense to worry about it. If you have an adhesion that’s getting to the point of causing a problem, there really isn’t too much that can be done about it; not at this stage, anyway. But you can begin to start watching how and what you eat.


Ask a few different colorectal surgeons (of different groups or organizations) about using laparoscopic surgery to remove an adhesion. Using that technology can reduce causing more adhesions. The less invasive, the better.


Best of luck with this…..




swordranch's picture
Posts: 35
Joined: Feb 2013

I agree with John, but would certainly get it checked out.  I do not think adhesions show up in any xrays or scans but not positive.  My adhesions are painful to touch from the outside if I push on them, very tender.  I have developed a large hernia caused by a poor stoma placement and am not looking forward to more abdominal surgery because I am concerned about causing more adhesions.


Varmint5's picture
Posts: 384
Joined: Feb 2012

Yes, adhesions can cause exactly the pain you are describing. However, I think you should get it checked out considering your history. My husband had renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) and had his kidney removed from the front a few years ago. Recently he had a "kinked" small intestine that caused a blockage. The kind was caused by adhesions (scarring) from where the organ was disturbed during the surgery. It worked its way out but sometimes they can be a problem. My friend had adhesions "lysed" (freed up) in a laparoscopic procedure and felt much better after. She had the sort of crampy pain you are describing and a history of lower abdominal surgery. But you should get checked out ASAP.


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