Stage 3 rectal Cancer
I am 31 and was just diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer. I just had my first appointment with radiologist and I meet my oncologist this week. I am a pretty nervous and scared(just like everyone gets) about this whole thing and starting treatment. I know I’ll do radiation 5 days a week and chemotherapy all together for about 5 to 6 weeks. I was just wondering if anyone would like to share their experience with me and maybe any tips on what could help or can tell me what to expect. I would really appreciate any advice or just discussion with anyone going through similar treatment.
Hey Dena, my name is Mike and I too had colon cancer (beginning stage 4) discovered in October 2008. I was 59 and my first thoughts were I AM NOT GOING OUT THIS WAY !!! I’m in the medical field and had/have always stressed the importance of a regular colonoscopy to my patients/family/ and friends. However, and like many medical professionals, I did not follow my own preaching and was about 9 years past the recommended screening at the time. My treatment was a cocktail of chemo meds every other Monday for 10 months. Part of my treatment required my wearing a chemo pump on my belt for 3 days which my wife removed the following Wednesday afternoon. I insisted on working my regular 40 hr week. Almost everyone questioned my working every day which my answer ( or question to them) was, " what am I suppose to do just stay at home and think about dying ??"….Anyway, to make this a shorter story, I have been 10 years cancer free now. During my treatment the chemo wasn’t that bad . I only got sick on the Friday after the pump was removed on Wednesday before, and like clock work it happened around 2:30pm Friday and was over late Friday night. Never had any throwing up etc.. just felt nauseated, but fortunately I didn’t work on Fridays . Now, radiation treatment was( well, awful to be truthful)but not until the last 7 days of a 28 day plan….Diarrhea that week was atrocious and I was not able to work ….Don’t be embarrassed ,or think bad of your recovery, but you might just “poop your pants” sometime during treatment. I did that about 4 times which I had no control, because when it happened, IT HAPPENED.SO, my warning is, always have extra clothing on board. In summary, and my best advice, ( BE , THINK, STAY positive…..) never ever let the negative BUG get in your head . Some people are going to say stuff like “poor you” and/or “you’ll be ok” da,de,da, Your thoughts should be HELL YES I’m going to be ok…..AND YOU WILL DENA !!!! I’m 10 years clean of cancer and will be 70 next month….Going strong like nothing ever happened…. Hopefully, this helps your thinking, etc…. If I can be of any help to answer questions etc… please don’t hesitate to hit me up on the site here…..of course, there is different treatment for different people and 10 years of advancements of new drugs…..So, STAY POSITIVE, at 31 years old dear you have a long, long future ahead !!!!
Hey Mike, thank you for reaching out. Your story really did help me and I really appreciate you sharing with me. That is so awesome to hear you are 10 years free of cancer. That definitely helps me change my mind set. I WILL BE OKAY!! I do have a long life ahead of me. Just s little twist and some bumps ahead of me but I will live a long fullfilling life! Again thank you to sharing your story with me.
Dena, I’m sure by now you are into treatment. I was diagnosed in July 2018 with rectal cancer. What a shock. Never thought or expected I would be going through any of this. I did tell myself that this was not going to take me. I am determined to fight this and get through all the lengthy treatment I need to. Initially, I was diagnosed with a T2 rectal lesion but my staging was changed after surgery. I started with 25 rounds of radiation in Aug 2018. It wiped me out. I was so very fatigued by it all. I was expecting that I could work the weekends but after a couple, I wasn’t able to due to the fatigue. As Mike mentioned, do make sure you always have a change of clothes with you. The radiation was tough but doable. It was at the very end when I had perineal irritation for the radiation but that cleared up after a couple of weeks. I had a cool down period then had a robotic low anterior resection with a temporary loop ileostomy at the beginning of November. As the pathology report came back I ended up having cancer in a lymph node. One out of 12 isn’t bad but that changed my staging and treatment to some extent. I was then staged at a stage 3a in which I would need 6 months of chemotherapy. I started FOLFOX chemotherapy treatment on 12/5/19 and expect my last treatment to be 5/8/19. I wear a pump from Wednesday to Friday. The chemo has been as expected. Very nauseous at times, but I have never vomited. It has caused me a lot of fatigue. I do have some neuropathy in my hands and feet. My oncologist has lowered the dose recently as he is trying to avoid permanent neuropathy. My biggest issue has been with the ileostomy. During the treatment, it keeps the output very liquid which has caused skin irritation around the stoma. In the last 3 weeks, I have gotten into a smaller appliance/wafer that has helped tremendously. I am expecting to have the ileostomy reversed some time after chemotherapy ends.
As you may have already heard, the treatment and side effects may be different for each person.
Please stay positive!!! I truly believe this thought process has helped me tremendously.
Just joined this group and saw your post. I was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal in 2009 at age 43. If you haven’t found it already, there is a wonderful facebook page for people dealing with the issues that can result from treatment of CRC and especially the after effects of bowel resection surgery. The page is called Living with Low Anterior Resection Syndrome (LARS) and consists of almost 1,000 members from around the globe who are experiencing the wide ranging post surgical issues that are common after this type of surgery. It is a closed group – so you request to join and the community is very open with discussions. I didn’t find it until 8 years after my diagnosis and was amazed at how many people have similar symptoms and issues and how they deal with it. They even produced a patient care manual that is available on the site. Best of luck to you— I’m living proof that you can beat CRC.
I have just been diagnosed with Rectal cancer,, a tumor that is near the rectum/anus wall.. I stay in lots of pain.. but will start my chem/Radiation soon… Thanks for the updates and the upbeat.. God is good and in control for me.. Hes gonna go with me every day to them..