Michelle's Journey with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Patient: Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 5 years ago, Female, Age: 44, KRAS mutation positive: Don't Know, BRAF mutation positive: Don't Know, Stage IIB

  1. 1
    • Michelle
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Ca...
    about 5 years ago
    Michelle's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    Over the last two + months that I have been having some intestinal trouble. I decided on a colonoscopy exam since other tests had turned up no reason for my discomfort. Well, the colonoscopy turned up a malignant cancerous mass in the sigmoid colon and a polyp, definitively. I'm going through all kinds of things in my mind, and having trouble making reality out of the diagnosis. My Dr. got me in right away to a CT scan, to see if it has spread anywhere in my abdomen. The results will be explained to me this coming Monday afternoon. He said it may have been growing for over two years.

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  2. 2
    • Michelle
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Ca...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I take 3 Xeloda pills twice/day, and 15 minutes on radiation machine in Santa Monica M-F afternoons.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  3. 3
    • Michelle
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Ca...
    almost 5 years ago
    Michelle's Avatar

    Internal radiation

    Radiation

    I take 3 chemo pills twice/day, and 15 minutes on radiation machine in Santa Monica M-F afternoons. Between the two, I feel lethargic and sometimes queezy. It's turned our lives upside down, at least for now. Trying to maintain a routine is difficult - driving to the city every day (2-hr minimum round trip), timing supplements with meals and chemo pills, updating facebook, keeping records - it's my new job!

    Painless Experience: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  4. 4
    • Michelle
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Ca...
    almost 5 years ago
    Michelle's Avatar

    Fatigue (tiredness)

    Side Effects

    Right away, I felt like a boneless chicken on the Boneless Chicken Ranch! At first I felt a little spacey or disconnected, too. After a couple of days of treatment, I feel ok, I take it easy, but am able to exercise and maintain a normal schedule, and feel generally in good humor.

    0 Comments
  5. 5
    • Michelle
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Ca...
    almost 5 years ago
    Michelle's Avatar

    Bleeding

    Side Effects

    Little bit of blood with stool.

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  6. 6
    • Michelle
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Ca...
    almost 5 years ago
    Michelle's Avatar

    Bowel obstruction

    Side Effects

    Toward later stage of radiation, inflammation of internal tissues caused difficulty passing stools. Stools contained "kitty litter-like" texture, extraordinarily painful to pass through sensitive and injured tissues. This lasted 1-1/2 to 2 weeks.

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  7. 7
    • Michelle
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Ca...
    almost 5 years ago
    Michelle's Avatar

    Constipation

    Side Effects

    Frequency of bowel movements at times produced no stools, just strong urge to go.

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  8. 8
    • Michelle
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Ca...
    almost 5 years ago
    Michelle's Avatar

    Infertility (unable to have children)

    Side Effects

    Ovaries and uterus are so close to cancer site that radiation caused destruction of eggs, uterine tissue. No way to save eggs or uterus for later implanting. I will not be able to have my own children.

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  9. 9
    • Michelle
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Ca...
    over 4 years ago
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    Removal of rectal tumor

    Procedure or Surgery

    The removal of the tumor went smoothly. Post surgery was surprisingly comfortable and lucid. I had expected more pain and drug delusions, but no!

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  10. 10
    • Michelle
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Ca...
    over 4 years ago
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    Declared cancer free!

    Celebration

    The cancer had not traveled through the wall of the rectum, had not metastasized into the lymph nodes, and could not be found anywhere. This is good news.

    1 Comment
  11. 11
    • Michelle
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Ca...
    over 4 years ago
    Michelle's Avatar

    Decision Point

    Matt & I had to decide whether I should undergo a 2nd surgery to fix the stoma that wasn't working. We decided I could not live with the circumstance that I had to manually drain my stoma every few hours. Huge inconvenience and discomfort.

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  12. 12
    • Michelle
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Ca...
    over 4 years ago
    Michelle's Avatar

    Ileostomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Had some complications with this. I had the ileostomy done at the same time as the tumor removal and a j-pouch. The first day after the operation went well, I was feeling very optimistic about going home early. But nausea and vomiting started, and persisted for days. Nothing was coming out of the new stoma, so all intestinal fluids were just trapped, building up, then coming back up as vomit. Eventually, the surgeon took me back into the OR to fix the problem. A day and a half later, I could eat soft foods and was passing matter through my stoma fine.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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