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dixonduke's picture
dixonduke
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2013

Hello. My name is Doug and I am a 44 year old high school teacher recently diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer. I think in the past two weeks I have gone through the gamut of emotions finally residing my emotions in the "this ain't anything I can't beat" location. I am concerned about the different phases of treatment, mostly the surgery, though the unknown of the radiation/chemo treatment to start with and the higher dose chemo on the backside also has me concerned. Okay....all of it has me scared but I am determined not to let it consume me. I think I am lucky though.....I have great kids and great friends/colleagues who have been supportive. I go in and get "measured" for radiation treatment next Monday and then get my port installed on Wednesday.....what a way to spend spring break. Anyway I just dropped in today to say "hello".....I am sure I will be back often. Thanks...

Chelsea71
Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

Hello Doug. Welcome. Sorry about your diagnosis. Seems like you have a great attitude. Joining this board was a very smart move. We'll be with you every step of the way. Please keep us informed as to how it's all going. There is a wealth of knowledge within this group. Good luck.

Chelsea

hippiechicks
Posts: 509
Joined: Sep 2012

Hi Doug...welcome.  You have found a wonderfully informative site with lots of knowledge to help you navigate your journey. Best of luck to you as you begin. 

I have found surgery to be the easiest part.  It is straight forward and precise. The first few days are not so fun...but chances are you will be home within one week and doing well. I cannot speak for the radiation/chemo .... I only had the chemo. 

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

Welcome DixonDuke!   We are sending our thoughts and prayers for you to have an incredible outcome!  I started my journey a week before my 44th birthday. 

 

First, Cry it out!  Get that feeling out and behind you.  I stopped many a times on the road and cried for a few minutes. 

 

Second, make a plan and start it.  Get healthy with your mind, diet, and physically. All will help you, and all are necessary.

 

I lost 50lbs, can run faster (Heck I can run now. lol) and longer, look better, and feel stronger then I did when i started. My doc tels me, "If you did not have cancer, you would be incredibly healthy."

 

Third, if the Doc does not makes sense, there is a reason for that.

 

Last, Do not read medical reports before 2007, not good at all. Things have got a lot better!  Ok really the last, make sure your doc is not following old protocols.

 

Best Always, mike 

Semira's picture
Semira
Posts: 378
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi Doug,

welcome in our little family on a journey nobody wants to join. Here you will find a lot of wisdom and support from all over the world.

A big hug from Germany

Petra

 

 

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

Pleased to meet you, I'm Winter Marie, hanging around three years with stage IV colon cancer, had chemo, had surgeries, having chemo again, eventually radiation (for the lung mets), eventually, hopefully another resection surgery to come along as well.

life goes on with cancer and we all do the best we can and we all have great attitudes about it for the most part, and we all hate cancer.

welcome to our group, if you have any questions about what to expect on your treatments, surgeries and excetera's we should be able to help out.

keep up the attitude, it'll help you cope through a lot.

Winter Marie

janderson1964
Posts: 2215
Joined: Oct 2011

Sorry you have to be here but welcome to our community. You will find great support and information from here when you need it.

Maxiecat's picture
Maxiecat
Posts: 544
Joined: Jul 2012

Welcome to our group.  There is a wealth of information here...just ask.

 

Alex

tachilders's picture
tachilders
Posts: 313
Joined: Jun 2012

Diagnosed with pretty advanced stage 4 colorectal cancer in June 2012.  Started FOLFOX plus avastin in July 2012 and did 12 tx with minimal side effects (besides neuropathy from oxaliplatin).  Had to stop oxy after 12 tx, and am continuing on with just 5FU plus avastin.  The FOLFOX plus avastin shrank most of my tumors but didn't eliminate any.  Some people have complete tumor loss after 6-12 tx of FOLFOX, so my response was OK but not great.  Just had a CT scan after 4 tx of 5FU plus avastin and looks like there is some progression of tumor growth in a few tumors.  Planning to go to Germany in a month for alternative/experimental treatment at a private clinic, so will likely wait until I get back to start FOLFIRI plus avastin.  Might take one treatment prior to going, but we'll see....

As far as advice, just get through all the emotions that will hit within the first few weeks, and then realize that there is NOTHING you can do now to change that fact that you have this cancer, so put the what-ifs behind you and start your journey to fight and beat this disease.  At stage 3, you have a very good chance to live quite a long life and a decent chance to beat this thing.  I have a much lower chance of either, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try with everything I have....  Sounds like your plan is chemo and radiation first, with a possible follow-up surgery, or did they already do surgery?  Best of luck in this fight.

Tedd 

tommycat's picture
tommycat
Posts: 790
Joined: Aug 2011

I was dx in 2009 with Stage 3 rectal cancer and did the surgeries, radiation and chemo. It wasn't easy but you can do it too, one step at a time. YOu are beginning your journey but you are not alone.

We are all here for you!

PS: I am now NED (No Evidence of Disease).

Your Friend in California,

Tommycat

(mother of identical twin girls, soon to be age 8)

YoVita's picture
YoVita
Posts: 590
Joined: Mar 2010

We're here to cheer you on and answer any practical questions you might have.  I too was diagnosed as stage III rectal.  I went through surgery first, then chemo, then radiation and a final set of chemo.  Tough stuff - I got through it - you can do.  Good luck.  It does get easier.  Sometimes the unknown is the hardest part.  Never thought I would get tattoos - but I got them for the radiation :)  Still here 3 years after initial diagnosis.  

Best, Vita

dixonduke's picture
dixonduke
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2013

I really appreciate all of your comments and support. It's nice to have such a warm welcome in this difficult time.

Like my title says....."wow!"

joemetz's picture
joemetz
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2011

Welcome to the CSN family. Sorry you're here... but get ready, this fight is going to be the fight of your life... and this crap will change you.

but it's up to you on how you let it change you.

You sound positive... stay positive!

set some goals for how you want to handle this, how you want to live the story of a fighter who loves everyone around them.

you're a teacher, and I know you already affect others in a positive way... now how can you teach others how to fight and succeed.

when i started my battle, I started a blog site to share my journey (and its a great way to keep the rumors and gossip to a minimum)

http://www.caringbridge.org/

its a great way to vent and share.

stay positive, become your own advocate, ask lots of questions, and always ask if there's a better way. 

hugs

Joe

 

tootsie1's picture
tootsie1
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

Hey, Doug.

Sorry about the ugly turn your spring break has taken. Praying for great results in all of this.

*hugs*

Gail

 

Coloncancerblows's picture
Coloncancerblows
Posts: 296
Joined: Feb 2013

Welcome Doug.  I just found out I have stage 3 colon cancer a few months ago.  This is a great website and the people are so supportive.  One thing I've heard over and over though is attitude is everything.  You just have to appreciate every day you have and not worry about what's to come tomorrow.  Good luck on your journey.  We'll all be here with you.

 

 

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

Although I'm sorry you have to join us.  I found that the first month or so after diagnosis was by far the worst stretch of this journey.  It's just so dang scary facing cancer.  But once you get started on treatment, I think most of us start to feel better (at least emotionally), as we do something active to kick this SOB out of our lives.  In the last 3 1/2 years, I've had two different chemos and five surgeries, and have been NED (no evidence of disease-you'll hear that one a lot around here) for 15 months.  This may be one of the most challenging things you'll ever face, but you can do it...and we'll be here to help you along when you need it.   Sending hugs and strength your way~Ann Alexandria

danker's picture
danker
Posts: 1182
Joined: Apr 2012

I was 78 when I was dxed with colon cancer.  2010 brought a port,radiation,chemo,resection,ileostomy,reversal,and a fistula which healed itself. 2011

colonoscopy showed NED(no evidence of disease). Soon to be 81, living normal life. It can be a bumpy road but it's doable. GOOD LUCK

devotion10's picture
devotion10
Posts: 631
Joined: Jan 2010

I am the caregiver for my husband who was first diagnosed with rectal cancer Stage 1 in 2008 and then had a Stage 4 recurrence one year later. Even though that seems like a terrible fate ... we have had wonderful moments and are grateful for the treatments that have been challenging but have also allowed him to live and allowed our family to have time together.

The emotions that you will feel right now will be so overwhelming ... there may not be much you can do to stop that.  As you put some time between the initial shock of your diagnosis and begin to actively have treatment, you may feel you have more control. This can make you feel better emotionally.  

I do not have experience with the typical abdominal surgery as my husband initially had a transanal excision, but there are many wonderful and supportive individuals on this board who can address your questions about your upcoming surgery.

I can tell you that my husband reports that the chemo treatments, while difficult, were not at bad as he imagined -- and he began his treatments in his late 60's.  There may be differing treatments as you go along.  You will likely have some chemo breaks (which are wonderful).  The best of all possibilities is that the treatments will be effective for you and that cancer will be eradicated.  Always know that there are individuals that do have that experience.

You speak of having a solid support system with your children, friends, and colleagues -- this will help you tremendously.  Remember that those who ask you if they can help you ... always tell them as honestly as you can what you really need ... as a caregiver this is important and very helpful. 

The port installation is typically a very simple procedure, will heal quickly, and make your chemo and blood draws easy to administer.  Use the numbing cream provided to you in the beginning as it may be sensitive.  After awhile, my husband did not even use it and said he felt nothing when the port was accessed.

Sounds like you might be associated with an educational organizational (spring break reference).  This is our background as well. You will find that the board has knowledegable people with suggestions for both conventional and alternative treatments.  Please report back in and ask any and all questions that come to mind. 

Best,

Cynthia

 

 

dixonduke's picture
dixonduke
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2013

Yes, I am a HS History and Government teacher. Unfortunately I am also more than half way done with my Master's degree....that will have to be on hold for a bit though.

Also my surgeon has mentioned the transanal procedure, but I will wait until the appropriate time to think about that.

This all seems so overwhelming that I am trying to concentrate only on "What's Next?" and trying to remain positive.

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

Only way to do this thing.  Looking too far down the road usually isn't very helpful, so you already have a good approach to things.  Keep us posted as you go along!  AA

AnnLouise's picture
AnnLouise
Posts: 276
Joined: Mar 2013

I know things must seem so overwhelming right now.....one step at a time! You have my admiration for being a High School teacher, two of my sons teach High School and I know how special you are. I am getting measured for radiation on Monday, also.....we will have to compare notes. Sending positive thoughts...~ Ann

Deena11
Posts: 196
Joined: Nov 2012

Welcome to the forum.  This is a good place to start.  There really is a lot of good insight on this board.

barbebarb's picture
barbebarb
Posts: 464
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi Doug -
I am an advanced rectal cancer diagnosis and have had several surgeries, two different chemos, radiation, and keep picking myself up and moving forward.
This support of this group and all the shared knowledge will help you making decisions. We all have and still go thru the emotions that help us with acceptance of this disease and keep us strong.
Take it day by day. Someone will always have an answer and support.
Barb

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 4830
Joined: Jan 2013

Welcome to this forum. We wish you did not have to face this journey, but you do, and we are here for every step of he way. 

Like I suggest to everyone (Yes, I do sound like a broken record) but get yourself a notebook, maybe two. One for all of the questoins and answers you have for the Doctors and Oncologist.  Write down everyting that bothers you, that frightens you, no matter how silly or insignificant.  

The other notebook is for personal use. I take my vitals (Blood pressure, temp, heart rate and weight) every moring on rising. The during the day I write down anything that I think is sugnificant to my conditoin. 

Of course these are just suggestons (good ones Wink).

Visit often, ever day if you want. We are here with support, love and tons of advice. 

Don't fret too much about your surgeries. The port was a breeze, thuogh it took me a few weeks to get used to it, and its a real blessing to have a port. I had a colon resection, and once the first few days are over, get walking and you shuold start to feel stronger.

- SUE -

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