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So Scared

Barb5454
Posts: 125
Joined: Feb 2013

Hi

I'm 21 months post treatment and I'm getting side effects from the radiation now. I had bleeding and narrowing so I was told to go on Miralax and a bulk laxative. I don't get diarrhea I'm the opposite. Anyway, I was ok for awhile but now my stools are narrow again and my stomach is distended. I'm 55 years old and I look 9 months pregnant. No matter what I eat I'm in pain, even if it's liquid. I'm terrified.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 4183
Joined: Jan 2010

I am concerned that you may have an intestinal obsruction like I have had.  Your symptoms of pain and stomach distention are troubling.  I have such severe pain with a blockage and my belly will swell up.  A blockage can be preceeded by constipation, as the stool is backing up at the point of the blockage.  If you are experiencing a blockage, taking any type of laxative is the wrong thing to do!  Laxatives will increase the motility of your bowels, which means your intestines will go into overdrive trying to pass the food through your bowels.  I would not tell you to go against your doctors advice, but I do recommend that you call his/her office ASAP and tell them that you are still having syptoms and are wondering if you could possibly have a blockage.  I almost always vomit, unless the blockage clears on its own in a short period of time, which rarely happens.  Usually, vomiting is necessary in order to relieve the pain and pressure.  Please, please call your doctor's office immediately! 

Barb5454
Posts: 125
Joined: Feb 2013

I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow. I'm not to take anything and go on a low fiber diet until I see him. My fear is I have a blockage, which I really think I do. I haven't thrown up yet, but I feel like it. The only foods I can eat are soups or smoothies.

Barb5454
Posts: 125
Joined: Feb 2013

Would you feel tired? I'm exhausted all the time!!

judyv3
Posts: 134
Joined: Dec 2013

I have been going through a similar situation recently as well.  I am 9 months post treatment and recently had scans that were NED.  I was very afraid that I had a blockage, but the only thing that was missing was the severe pain.  I was not constipated but felt like I was fully emptying.  I felt nauseous and dizzy after eating.  And I haven't made any great strides in the variety of my diet.  Of course, whenever I would mention this to my husband or children, they would just say call the doctor.  I just don't want to call the doctor for every little thing.  After three days I called the colo-rectal doc (I have so many docs - not sure which one to call). My doc was away (of course), so another doc from the office told me to take Milk of Magnesia.  I did and within 10 minutes I was going like crazy.  What I think I had, which has not been confirmed by a doctor, was a bowel obstruction - not a complete blockage.  But I still have been having the bloating issues after eating.  The doc gave me an anti-spasmodic, which I think might help a little bit.  He also did a DRE and said everything looked great, lol.  Today I am at work and wearing normal (non elastic waist) pants.  So progress, I guess.  I'm eating a low residue diet, and small portions.

It has been suggested to me that I try and get a consult with a dietician.  I think I will try to do that.  I'm taking a trip to NJ on 11/12 (I live in FL).  I just hope I can keep everything going.  I'm thinking positively.  Oh, I take Miralax every night.  No bulk laxative - that could be part of your problem - all that fiber is causing bloating - I don't know.  

Cancer - the gift that keeps on giving.

I'll keep posting here if I find some miraculous cure for this.

Keep the faith!  And yes, bottom line - it sucks.

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mp327
Posts: 4183
Joined: Jan 2010

Judy, I'm sorry that you have been experiencing these symptoms too.  I think perhaps you are right--that your obstruction was partial like mine always are, which is why they clear on their own.  The one that sent me to the hospital back in January 2013 cleared on its own too, but I was in such excruciating pain that I went to the ER and they admitted me for observation.  I spent a day and a half in the hospital on IV fluids, nothing to eat, and monitoring of my bowel and urine output.  They gave me an anti-spasmotic in the ER through an IV, along with pain meds.  I find that I do much better if I severely limit the amount of fruits and veggies that I eat, especially raw.  I cook almost all of them now, even the fruits, which I nuke in the microwave.  

Barb, in my previous post I forgot to mention that whenever I have an obstruction I will have increased bowel sounds.  My bowels will rumble and rumble.  This, to me, indicates that they are in spasm mode, trying to push through the contents of my stomach and intestines, but the stuff is getting blocked.

If you feel an episode coming on, I was advised by my radiologist friend that lying on your right side can be helpful.  By doing this, you slow down the rate at which the contents of your stomach leave the stomach and move into the small intestine.  This can buy you some relief and some time to see if the obstruction will clear on its own.  I almost always sleep on my right side now for this reason.  My episodes don't happen immediately after a meal and often occur right about bedtime, so sleeping on the right side is just a little extra insurance that I can avoid any problems, as I see it.  Also, not to be gross, but if I feel an episode coming on, I always try to vomit up whatever is left in my stomach so that there isn't more that is going to be pushed into the small bowel.  

If yours clears on its own and you are certain it was a bowel obstruction, I would highly recommend following a low-residue diet for a couple of weeks.  This will prevent another episode so soon and also give your bowels time to rest.  There are lots of sites on the internet that have good information about obstructions.  The one below gives a brief overview.

http://www.aboutcancer.com/radiation_enteritis_utd_807.htm

Barb, please keep us posted, and as I said in my first post, please ask your doctors about the possibility of a blockage and what tests need to be done to rule it in or out.  Mine was diagnosed through a CT scan in the ER.  I wish you all the best.

Martha

Barb5454
Posts: 125
Joined: Feb 2013

Judy thank you. I'm hoping this thing clears up

Martha...right now I'm eating light and low fiber. My stomach is still distended but the pain has lessened some.

Barb5454
Posts: 125
Joined: Feb 2013

Right now I'm wearing sweat pants because my jeans are too uncomfortable...

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mp327
Posts: 4183
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm glad you have an appt. to see your doctor tomorrow.  I really think you need to be evaluated for a blockage.  As for feeling tired, my fatigue comes and goes, but most of the time I would say I'm not overly tired.  I would stick with the low residue foods that you have mentioned and stay away from anything with fiber in it for the time being until this all gets sorted out.  I hope your doctor can give you some answers or order the necessary tests to determine the cause of your pain and other symptoms.  Please keep us posted and for goodness sake, if you have excruciating pain between now and the time of your appt. get yourself to the ER.

Martha

judyv3
Posts: 134
Joined: Dec 2013

In re-reading my post, I see that I said that I thought I had a bowel obstruction.  What I meant to say was impaction.  I was still going but it just didn't seem right.  But I was NOT in pain, so I knew from reading some of Martha's posts - I figured I did not have an obstruction.  

It's been 10 days since this all started and I feel better today than I have since it started.  I was very tired throughout as well.  But that also hard to judge because I don't think I've reached full energy yet since treatment ended.

I will be thinking of you and checking here so that I know you're ok.

Judy

Barb5454
Posts: 125
Joined: Feb 2013

you guys are awesome! Thank you and Ill let you know what happens

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mp327
Posts: 4183
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm so glad to hear you are starting to feel better!  I hope the rough patch is over for you!

Martha

Barb5454
Posts: 125
Joined: Feb 2013

Well, my dr said he wants me to take a colon cleanse to see if my body resets itself. If it doesn't then he will do another colonoscopy.

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mp327
Posts: 4183
Joined: Jan 2010

So does this mean he does not think your pain and other issues might be caused by a blockage?  Keep in mind that a colonoscopy will only look at the large intestine, not the small one, which is where my blockage was.  Good luck with the colon cleanse--is this the same prep used for a colonoscopy--all taken by mouth? 

Martha

Barb5454
Posts: 125
Joined: Feb 2013

yes the colon cleanse is the same taken by mouth. Dr said if he does a colonoscopy he might see narrowing and adhesions. But for now he wants me to do the cleanse and see if things correct themselves. Honestly I not like this. I feel like I'm reliving when I knew I had anal cancer and no one believed me. 

 

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mp327
Posts: 4183
Joined: Jan 2010

I hope your colon cleanse will relieve you of this pain.  It still sounds like possible adhesions to me, but I'm not a doctor--I'm only speaking from my own experience.  If your colonoscopy would be clean but you still are experiencing this pain, then you definitely need to be evaluated for blockage, IMO.  I wish you all the best.

Martha

Ouch_Ouch_Ouch
Posts: 442
Joined: Aug 2014

I had a colonoscopy 2 days ago. The worst part (aside from the huge needle they shoved into my arm) was that "Suprep" stuff I took. Nausea, wretching, and an excoriated bumper. No sleep that night with the trips to the bathroom and anal pain.

If you have any intense abdominal pain while taking the prep, especially if little to nothing passes, please get thyself to an ER, by ambulance if need be. (You may normally have some cramping and milder discomfort, though.)

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mp327
Posts: 4183
Joined: Jan 2010

I agree!  Barb, you'll be taking in a lot of fluid.  If what goes in does not come out, it could mean serious trouble.  In that case, as Ouch has advised, go to the ER immediately.

Martha

Barb5454
Posts: 125
Joined: Feb 2013

Hi Everyone!

The pain has subsided but am going to be scheduling a CT Scan sometime next week to make sure everything is ok

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mp327
Posts: 4183
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm glad to hear you are feeling better and I hope nothing shows up on the CT scan.  Please let us know after you get your results.

0626june's picture
0626june
Posts: 69
Joined: Jun 2014

I ended up in the ER twice during treatment for partial blockge. Both times they did castile soap enemas.  The 2nd time I was there, it actually required 2 enemas to get everything out. They didn't admit me to the hospital though. Wonder if something like this could help you?  I ask becuse it was relatively easy. June

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