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Overdue Update + Ongoing Battle

chrisfromny's picture
Posts: 32
Joined: Oct 2012

Hello everyone! I apologize in advance for not providing updates since my mom's chemo + radiation, but I've been checking back regularly to see how I can possibly help others going through a similar ordeal.

You can read the original thread with lots of helpful advice from other forum members here: http://csn.cancer.org/node/248744 (I hope that link works...if not let me know and I will try to correct it).

We're now just over 6 months since my mom completed chemo + radiation for her anal cancer. While she is still suffering (I use that term lightly) from some of the side effects from radiation, she is doing so much better in terms of daily activity. She has been working for the past 4 months, going for her monthly follow-ups, and we were all hoping for the best news.

Unfortunately, it seems as though 6 months is the timeframe for her surgeon to make the decision as to whether or not the treatment was a success. She went for her follow-up last week and unfortunately a mass is still present. Her doctor said that the mass could be scar tissue, but (in a more frank discussion between him and I) he is assuming that the tumor was not completely eradicated given the previous treatment.

They are giving it one more month before doing a biopsy and discussing what the next step might be. In my discussion with the surgeon, it appears that the only option at this point is to do a permanent colostomy...which is a surgery that my mother positively refuses to go through (at this point).

I'm heading back to Delaware on 5/4 so I can go with her to the appointment on 5/6. From there, if a mass is still present, we'll be going for a biopsy (hopefully on 5/7). Based on my mom's feelings towards having a colostomy...I'm really hoping and praying that the mass (if still present) is scar tissue.

Because chemo + radiation seems to be so effective for this type of cancer (squamous cell anal cancer), I haven't seen a whole lot posted by patients or family members where that alone wasn't enough for a cure. What I hope to do in this thread is to keep everyone updated on what's happening...how she's doing (and I'm doing)...and hopefully how we will end up beating this thing once and for all.

As a side note, my uncle was recently diagnosed with stage 3b colon cancer. I know it's not the right forum, but prayers for him are needed at this time, too. He had the surgery to remove the tumor, but they did find cancer in 5 of his adjoining lymph nodes...and he'll be starting chemo-only treatment (every other week) for 6 months starting soon.

I can't wait for the day when we've completely eliminated cancer from our vocabulary, but can't stress enough how this community has been the ultimate resource for me during this terrible time.

Again, my apologies for not providing more updates...but I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot more of me in the coming weeks.

Lots of love,

mp327's picture
Posts: 4147
Joined: Jan 2010

Thank you for updating us on your mom.  I'm sorry that she did not get more encouraging news on her follow-up exam last week, but I am hoping that it will turn out to be scar tissue, which is very common after this treatment.  I'm sure both she and you are very anxious right now, which is understandable.  Waiting for the biopsy, then having to wait for the results will be an anxious time.  However, your friends here will be waiting with the two of you and hoping and praying for good news.

I'm sorry to hear that your uncle is now battling cancer as well.  I hope his chemo treatments will go well and be successful in ridding him of this disease.

I am glad to know that your mom has recovered enough from her treatment to return to work and most daily activities.  I pray that she will get good news on her biopsy and not have to experience any type of setback.  Please keep us posted and take care of yourself too.



lizdeli's picture
Posts: 567
Joined: Jul 2009


Thanks for the update. I am praying that it is just scar tissue as well.  Do you know what type of test she received that determined that there was a mass/scar tissue there?

So sorry to hear about your uncle battling cancer as well.  That's a heavy load for you and your family.  I will keep you in my prayers.


Posts: 1255
Joined: Oct 2011

Glad to hear your mom is back to some of her daily activities. I am now 2yrs post treatment and doing well, but looking back I was not so well at 6 months. Mostly tired, so tell her not to overdue too soon. Waiting for results is very difficult, but she (and you) will be in my thoughts for great results.

On another note, I did have a colostomy prior to treatment that was to be reversed but due to this, that, and the other things in life, looks as though it will be permanent. I won't go into details now, but wish people in general could know that it is often sooooo manageable and not even half as bad as the image that is in most of our minds! I am active, back in school, exercise, swim, yoga, etc. If she should ever face this decision I hope she will talk to, or have you, talk to me.

Prayers for all as we move forward in health!    (prayers also for your uncle and family)

Posts: 1122
Joined: Aug 2012

It is good to hear from you. What a wonderful son you are to your Mom. I am so sorry that thngs are still questionable for your Mom. There are some posters here who have had the colostomy.

You, your Mom, and your Uncle are in my prayers.

sandysp's picture
Posts: 862
Joined: May 2011

The scan I had showed scar tissue but I heard it was determined only after a great deal of observation by several trained specialists at MSK. This tells me that only a highly trained eye can discern between a tumor and the scar tissue left behind sometimes.

I am hoping that even the biopsy will not be necessary. This is definitely a time when a second opinion would probably be the right decision.

All the best,


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