Liyhann's Journey with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Patient: Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Patient Info: Currently in active treatment (initial surgery, receiving chemo rounds/radiation), Diagnosed: almost 6 years ago, Female, Age: 59

  1. 1
    • Liyhann
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 5 years ago
    Liyhann's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    I was diagnosed in June 2011 with colon cancer after pestering my primary care physician for two and half months that something was radically wrong. She kept doing blood tests because in her mind, my stomach pains and upsets were due to my being on the Atkins diet. We wasted precious time soothing her shortsighted stupid ego. When she would examine me by gently pushing on my sides, it didn't hurt, but I knew the pain was deeper. So finally I just pretend "gagged" when she pushed and she was then motivated to order a CT. She set up to go over the CT in a week.

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  2. 2
    • Liyhann
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 5 years ago
    Liyhann's Avatar

    Health insurance issue

    Oh No

    arghhhh. Figuring out how insurance works in the beginning of a serious illness is no fun; especially when you have to make your way thru the insurance company's "front line defense." ;-P

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  3. 3
    • Liyhann
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 5 years ago
    Liyhann's Avatar

    Ct & Pet scans, liver biopsy

    Procedure or Surgery

    After I fake gagged at my PC doctor's, she sent me for a upper abdominal CT with a follow up scheduled for a week later. I was able to set up the CT scan the very next day and the doctor there called my PC and told her, "You better not wait a week to get back to this woman" so she called and asked me to come in the same day. It was quite obvious that she had never had to tell a patient they had cancer and in the end, I had to tell her, "It's all right, I know it's cancer." I asked about surgery, (no) radiation (no) chemo (perhaps) and she pretty much told me to do what I always wanted -- take trips, have fun. Essentially the idiot thought my days were numbered. geesh... Can just ANYONE be a doctor? I later had a baseline PETscan - that was a breeze. I also had a liver biopsy - a little trying - hospital staff tried to reschedule my appointment three times until my sister got all up in their faces and told them she would go to the board of medical examiners if they did it again. Once there, THREE TIMES they tried to get me to agree to let them do an experimental procedure that did NOT include THEM paying for anything that went wrong afterward! As if! (harumph!)

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  4. 4
    • Liyhann
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 5 years ago
    Liyhann's Avatar

    Depression medicine

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    When I first received benefit from taking my depression medication, I was stunned to see that what I had been living was SUCH a different life up to then. I thought, "wow! Is this how everyone else feels everyday?" There was no uncontrollable anger, no prolonged sadness. Wow. what a difference a pill makes.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  5. 5
    • Liyhann
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 5 years ago
    Liyhann's Avatar

    Anxiety medicine

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    hahaha! This really surprised me - I not only suffered from depression, but also anxiety (silly me) I called this my "happy pill" although what it really does is calm you down - but feeling calmer always made me "happy." :D

    Easy to Do: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  6. 6
    • Liyhann
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 5 years ago
    Liyhann's Avatar

    Nausea medicine

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I have several different nausea meds before I decided on the right one. Then I took it morning and evening...ondansetron. Worked great. Occasionally at the really tough times, supplemented that with promethazine. woo.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  7. 7
    • Liyhann
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 5 years ago
    Liyhann's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    eh. chemo is a bummer no matter what - BUT The bright side is: After the initial, "oooh will I have six months of dastardly diarrhea? creepy constipation? nasty nausea? I was surprised to be able to really listen to my body and monitor my symptoms/mealtimes/meds to see what did what and I had minimal if any side effects! It wasn't until four months after starting chemo that I even started to show any signs (and it was of the hand-foot syndrome variety) I have really been aggressively lotionizing (heheh my word) my hands and feet and have been able to keep the feet good and supple and the hands, well passable. Oops. forgot to mention oh yeah.. lost my hair right off the bat (I started with irinotecan instead of oxiplatin since I teach piano and there is a greater risk of hand probs with the Oxi) Oh but I LOVE my wigs!

    Easy to Do: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  8. 8
    • Liyhann
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 5 years ago
    Liyhann's Avatar

    Constipation

    Side Effects

    This was in the beginning - I found out I needed to eat more Fiber (duh)

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  9. 9
    • Liyhann
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 5 years ago
    Liyhann's Avatar

    Diarrhea

    Side Effects

    oops! Toooo much fiber!

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  10. 10
    • Liyhann
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 5 years ago
    Liyhann's Avatar

    Fatigue (tiredness)

    Side Effects

    whew... going to the bathroom a lot makes you tired. meh. so does all the worry about the "YOU HAVE CANCER!!!" edict. Then you learn it's not necessarily such a big deal. BE POSITIVE Also, walks are good for fatigue.

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  11. 11
    • Liyhann
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 5 years ago
    Liyhann's Avatar

    PETscans & blood work

    Procedure or Surgery

    Ok so I had PETscans initially in June, then in Sept, then in Dec. They are easy except the part before the scan where you have to stay still (including eyes) while the radioactive gunk is circulating is BORing... I also want to mention here about blood work. My oncologist says that the thing that she looks at is the CEA which is a protein enzyme emitted by the cancer. So in the beginning before I had any chemo it was at 322 (june 2011) then Sept it was 140 after just three chemo treatments (woo!) then in October it was at 133, and the most recent was the December where it was 68.8 (Fall on your sword and admit defeat cancer!!)

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  12. 12
    • Liyhann
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 5 years ago
    Liyhann's Avatar

    Decision Point

    oooh kay. So now my oncologist suggests that we target the liver more aggressively. To review: I have colon cancer that has metastasized to the liver where the tumors are...well, "diffuse" ANYway, we are wondering since the CEA is sooo good, what can we do to "sterilize" the liver and then maybe just do surgery to take out the tumor (probably mostly scar tissue now) in the colon. So she sends me to talk to a local intervention radiologist. OMG. I live in Fairfax, VA - suburb of Washington, DC. If WE have our share of bad doctors, certainly every where else does, too. and I recommend you ALWAYS go for second, even third opinions. Also I've found healthgrades.com to be extremely accurate for the doctors in our area. Anyway, he gave me a 25% chance of success. What a nimrod. So we went to Johns Hopkins for a consult. What a GREAT place. I'm very optimistic after meeting with this doctor who essentially said, wow - your cea looks great - why not just continue what you are doing? So I'm going to run that past my oncologist...hmmm is this too long for the details section of these profile things...

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