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Scared 'pooless'

AaronP
Posts: 10
Joined: Dec 2016

I had a major diverticulitis attack 3 years ago and was hospitalized for 5 days. Since then ,  I had to require treatment for flare ups every four-6 months. Most of the time I was able allow my body to fend it off. Now, much to my lack of fortitude  I've been avoiding colonoscopies, which isn't obviously cool. 

So then ,  3 months ago I pigged out on broccoli and have been experiencing recurrent flare ups every two weeks--- with no meds needed-- and have even noticed my stool has diminished to NOT pencil-sized  (when they say 'pencil-sized', is this literally?), but thinner than normal. I presume that my flares have inhibited the colon from manufacturing 'normal' stools. But here's the kicker: my norm may have been a constipated variety to begin ,  and now that I don't pig out like I've been doing most of my life  (I've been this way forever,) is it possible my extreme caution has actually reduced my stools to a size that's typically normal? I get the concept of 'relative norm', but if my norm was on the 'bulkier side from commonplace constipation' to begin with ,  how alarming is it to experience stools the size of a would-be round cigarette lighter, or slight larger in diameter?

I haven't detected blood in feces  (I've gone as far to even dissecting stools to detect blood, and allowing stool to soak in toilet to dissolve,) and Im even aware of inconspicuous blood not salient to the naked eye. No family history  (I get only 20% of colon cancer cases are hereditary,) and I still have energy to walk 3-5 miles per day despite some extra sleepiness from anxiety, eating much less out of fear, etc. And my cramps are transient, typically following drinking tons of water on an empty tummy . 

 

I totally get nobody here can diagnose me, and that my scheduled colonoscopy in a month will reveal lots. But until then ,  when they say "not feeling like you've completely evacuated your bowels", do they mean after every movement? Once per week I feel this sensation, but typically it's due to actually having more stool in there that needed to exit. Im just wondering about symptoms and the degree and frequency. Im scared to death that Im dying of cancer. Also ,  it may b relevant to mention that I take painkillers that back me up. I take Mirilax to counter the side effects ,  but I just need to see if this story sounds like a familiar story of chagrin and the like. 

Joan M's picture
Joan M
Posts: 380
Joined: Oct 2016

Colonoscopies are not fun, but it will put your mind to rest.  At least you will know one way or the other if you have cancer.  If you have polyps, they can be removed during the procedure before they develop into cancer.

I was afraid to get a colonoscopy.  I delayed it even though my doctor advised it.  I didn't have the symptoms you describe but had some blood in stools summer of 2015, I thought it was from Meloxicam.  Didnt't notice the blood specks anymore after I stopped taking Meloxicam that fall.  The doctors told me the type of blood I decribed was from hemoroids.  I delayed getting a clonoscopy because I didnt have any constipation or diarhea, or any other "typical" symptom.   I never thought for a second I had cancer of any type.  September 2015 I was getting shortness of breath while vacumming. In January it was hard for me to bend over to pick things up when cleaning my house.  The end of February I found out I have stage 4 colon cancer. 

I am lucky to be alive.  It was discovered before I had any other health problems  like bowel obstruction or liver failure. 

I thank God every day for the miracles of modern medicine.  If not for that and the prayers of many people, I would not be alive today. 

I hope things go well for you and wish you the best of luck!  Let us know how it turns out.

Joan

AaronP
Posts: 10
Joined: Dec 2016

Thank you so much, Joan. I admire your straightforwardness and revere your resilience. I have been too scared, because if I really am experiencing symptoms then it may be too late. But that is 'giving up' type of logic; it was brought to my attention that colon cancer research has blossomed more than people realize. I pray your continued recovery remains strong and positive. God bless you ,  Joan!

AaronP
Posts: 10
Joined: Dec 2016

I must state that I should be conscientious that this is a SURVIVOR SITE, and not one to occupy time by fishing for "you probably don't have cancer," etc. just to assuage my morbid fear. I notice there are other sites for 'symptom sharing.'  With that said ,  I'll take the advice of you very courageous and strong people, and render my support ,  notwithstanding whether my results turn up as diverticulitis-- which I already know I have-- and/or cancer. Thank you all so, so, so much!!

John23's picture
John23
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

"SURVIVOR SITE"  ????

Huh? Sorry.... Give me a minute to recompose....

Aside from all other problems here, I guess we have to address semantics too?

"No Virginia, there are no survivors". Unless of course we die of something other than cancer.

This is a web site dedicated for anyone with cancer, or their caregivers. Oh.... and for all those concerned with a possible diagnosis of cancer.

And yeah, sure, we all would feel wonderful with the hopes that we have truly "survived" the battle, but in reality? Some of us have gone way past our prognosis, but most have lost the battle not all that beyond the initial prognosis. It's tough. And it makes absolutely no difference what modality we use to fight, Chemo, radiation, herbs, etc., cancer can return to kill us. Sometimes quickly, sometimes over a long wait, but it has a habit of returning.

After reading your short biography (it'd be a good idea to add it to your "profile" page here so you don't have to keep typing it),  I think you might want to explore the United Ostomy website. The people there have (and are) dealing with intestinal problems of all types. Most have an ostomy, but the problems and reasons they have one are what is of concern to you. You should be able to garner some insight reading about their symptoms and what they've tried, to provide relief for those symptoms.

You didn't mention having a gastroenterologist...? You do have one, right? If not, get one. If you do, seek another one for a "second opinion" (one that IS NOT of the same group or organization). It's important to have a good, qualified gastroenterologist.

Go to the United Ostomy website. The people there are just like here, you'll fit in easy!!

Be well,

John

DISCLAIMER:
A moment of sanity....

I fully understand how upset many get at some of my posts like this one. No one desires to hear that there's no cure for cancer; we all would like to believe that we can beat this horrible thing. Hope eternal......

You do not win wars by not facing reality. You can not win any battle with complacency. Too many cancer patients simply assume that the industry has our best interests in mind and accept whatever remedy they have to offer. With all the useless chemicals and treatments, including all the "alternative" home remedies, often costing more than "conventional" treatments, cancer persists. For the very few that have managed to last years and years beyond their initial prognosis, they suffer the seemingly never-ending after effects of treatment.

Is that a battle that's been won?

We all found this website in our quest for answers, and this website has proven to be near invaluable for providing answers. I learned about RFA technology thanks to member "PhillieG". After research, my wife made use of that technology (lung cancer) to her great advantage. She would have otherwise accepted her lung specialist's referral for open surgery. The RFA was accomplished as an "outpatient", taking less than an hour and leaving no scar (and no pain).

Was the cancer removed in its entirety? First scans look good, we'll know better in a few months with a PET. If any remains, another RFA will be ordered.

There has been no changes in the chemicals used in "chemo". No changes in radiation treatments. But there has been dramatic changes in surgical technology as noted with RFA procedures. No, it is not a "cure" for cancer, but it certainly may be able to allow us to live with cancer without the side effects of harsh chemicals and radiation, and grossly invasive surgical procedures.

Yes, there's hope. And it's not a difficult reach.

Best hopes for all,

John

 

 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 4851
Joined: Jan 2013

I put myself in the 'surviving' catagory.

I think we can call it whatever we want. What makes US personally, feel good. I have friends who say "I've beat Cancer!"  it makes THEM feel good, so go with it, baby.  We all must do and say what works for us. 

So, Back to you Aaron. I'm with John; this forum is NOT here for survivors. It is here for Cancer patients, caregivers, people who think they might have Cancer. Patients who have just been diagnosed, patients who are going throguh treatment and the rest of us who are in the test after test after test stage.  Its here so those of us who are Cancer patients and caregivers of one day to 20 years can share advice, fears, information, have a laugh now and again, cry, vent. 

I don't think you will find any of us saying 'I don't think you have Cancer'  just 'Get yourself checked' and then, if you come back and tell us 'Its NOT Cancer' then we rejoice, dance, throw nekid chickens and post Happy Dancing Men.

Good luck as you go forward, and may YOU be the one we rejoice with.

TRU 

 

AaronP
Posts: 10
Joined: Dec 2016

I will do, folks. Sorry for insouciantly throwing out assumptions about this site and the good people who have been fighting hard. 

John23's picture
John23
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Arron.....

Please DO NOT feel you've caused any problem! Your comments are welcomed here and you are free to say/type anything you desire. Never worry about insulting anyone, we're all here for the same reason and have pretty tough hides!

There's no need to delete anything you've typed. My comments were only an attempt to explain some of what you'll find here.... The forum is for anyone with concerns regarding cancer and not limited to any specific group or condition.

Welcome! YOU are welcomed here along with any comments or views you may have.

Stay well, and try not to remain "pooless".

John

 

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
Posts: 996
Joined: Aug 2013

Personally I never use the term survivor or surviving, I tell inquiring minds that I'm clear or NED, or if I'm feeling cocky about it, I respond with "I may have to find something else to die from", but that's for family and the few that actually worry about me..........................Dave

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Hi Aaron,

Like everyone has said, get the colonoscopy, find out what it is, it isn't necessarily cancer. And even if it is all hope is not lost. I had IBS for years that disguised my colon cancer so it was found later then I would have liked. That being said, I was diagnosed a stage three and have hope for a long future.

Jan

AaronP
Posts: 10
Joined: Dec 2016

I truly appreciate all of the responses. Regardless of whether it's the worst case scenario, I'm my own steward of my most prized possession; and need to act accordingly. My stool regained its caliber after I told myself "what the heck, don't be afraid to ingest fiber." That's encouraging from one of the criteria I was tremulously fearing, but I still have bowel disease, nonetheless. And the obvious reason to be responsible resides right here with me. I can already tell you are all great people. Thanks so, so, much ,  all of you ,  for being here for each other. 

John23's picture
John23
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Welcome!

We're all here to support one another; sometimes we do OK, sometimes not so "OK", but we're all here for the same reason.

And I think I can say it for all of us, that it's so unfortunate that you have a need to be here; I'm very certain that we all would much prefer you to be healthy, without any sort of health problem that would cause a need to be here, of all places. (not that this is a bad place) (ha)

And I should warn you, this forum can be addictive. Some of us have vacated for periods of time, and eventually returned. Reading of one death after another just takes its toll for many of us. We all root for one another, and you become part of the "family" quickly.

You are not alone out here; what you are experiencing (or will experience) on your journey through hell, has been experienced by others at one time or another. When you realize that, you'll understand better how and why this "family" came to be.

I'm one of the rare few that had chosen not to go the customary chemo/rad route. From 2006 to 2015, things looked great. Yet I suffer a major setback anyway. And the damage from surgeries associated with the removal of the initial tumor seriously took it's toll on my overall health.

It does not matter what modality you use, cancer can be persistent. I wrote a basic explanation of what a cancer cell is and why it is. You might want to search and read it, for what it's worth?

You'll do fine, just refuse to allow fear to direct you into doing things that your survival instincts tell you not to do. Your survival instincts; your intuition, was your gift at birth, listen to it, it's there for a reason.

"Trust thyself".

My best wishes for you,

John

 

AaronP
Posts: 10
Joined: Dec 2016

You and I are a lot alike,  John; our propensity for loquacity  (big words,  but much fun to bandy about) is oftentimes expressed through the way we transfer our thoughts into text. And I like that a whole lot. Tellingly, this may be a viable method of healing  (therapeutic), and for as long as it works then so be it.

I appreciate the approach you incorporate while helping others through the trepidation for whatever that ails them. I am a philosophical geek; I enjoy conflating a plethora of philosophies with concrete science-- same applies with the noetic premises of axioms and paradigms-- to enhance my understanding of the relationship between myself and the world as I perceive it.

It is stated that we don't see the world for what it sincerely is; we see it for how we are; our prisms, perception ,  and predilections. (the 3 "p's", as I personally dub it.) Germane to our situation  (and for all intelligent life, too,) you mentioned 'semantics' in an earlier post. And even though we both fully understand this inherent concept, it hit me in a humbling way that I would've never otherwise felt it had I not came here: life.

The context of 'life' is notwithstanding our perceived existence; that is, and consistent with the oft-employed laissez of ascribing 'beating something' that precludes 'death'-- aka, "surviving"-- must ace the redundancy test; it's a given. My interpretation, therfore, resides here: we never die. When it happens we are unaware. To survive is an oxy-moron, I verily believe. 

 

We perceive, feel, and are spirits of a realm impossible to rationalize. Sometimes, John, I truly contemplate if we truly exist. Thanks again for your sage advice regarding utilizing the innate gift to adhere to our instincts by cheating fear. 

John23's picture
John23
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

The fine line between loquacity and garrulous

Let's side-step that one (as we slip into the 140 character mode ?)

Re:
"...you and I are a lot alike,  John; our propensity for loquacity ...... oftentimes expressed through the way we transfer our thoughts into text... "

I think that as you spend more time on these forums, you'll see just how similar we all are with our typing and thought processing. Perhaps it's an acquired behavioral syndrome brought on by the very similar weight we all feel carrying the extra baggage of the thought of death looming over our shoulders? Let's face it, it's a lot of weight!

I've found some seriously profound statements typed out using 10 words or less.... And at times, a simple four letter variation can say all one needs to convey.

(ha)

Stay well. Get that colonoscopy.

John

 

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