NanaL's Journey with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Patient: Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Patient Info: Living with cancer as a chronic illness (undergoing adjuvant therapy), Diagnosed: almost 7 years ago, Female, Age: 55, KRAS mutation positive: Don't Know, BRAF mutation positive: Don't Know, Stage IV

  1. 1
    • NanaL
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    NanaL's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    I was diagnosed with Stage 3 rectal cancer on July 22,2010. The week before I had surgery and biopsy to remove two small solid skin tag type spots near my rectum. I was diagnosed with Chrohn's disease when I was 23 and I thought these skin tags were scar tissue from previous problems with my Crohn's disease. I was diagnosed with mucinous adenocarcinoma, a aggressive form of cancer. Needless to say this turned my world upside down and I think for the first few days I was numb. I just couldn't believe this was happening. I was in very good shape and biking every weekend and just enjoying life. My only child was in a high risk pregnancy and I just dreaded telling her my news.

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  2. 2
    • NanaL
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    NanaL's Avatar

    abdominal perineal resection

    Procedure or Surgery

    I met with the surgeon who explained I would first have 5 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. I had a pet scan, went thru surgery to have my port put in and then she explained what I could expect with the surgery. I underwent radiation/chemo in August and Sept of 2010. After recuperating from that i had major surgery on Nov. 2,2010. I had my sigmoid colon, anus and rectum removed. I was given a permanent descending colostomy. I spent 10 days in the hospital. I came home very weak and knew something wasn't right. Four days after coming home I was taken to the ER where they discovered I had a massive post op infection and they had to open me back up. I was in so much pain and was given morphine so things are a bit foggy. I spent another 4 to 5 days in the hospital. My home health care nurses saved my life as the infection wasn't under control and the night before Thanksgiving I was readmitted and had emergency surgery on Thanksgiving morning of 2010. I remember that it snowed and I was sad thinking I wouldn't be with family. My husband came to the hospital, Barnes Hospital in ST. Louis, MO. He has been such a wonderful spouse, caregiver, best friend and cheerleader thru this long cancer journey. I finally started to heal after being placed on a wound vac. Very uncomfortable and painful, but I bit the bullet beacuse I knew it would help heal me. My Granddaughter was born on Dec. 9th. Christmas was a blessing that year!!!

    Went as Expected: Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  3. 3
    • NanaL
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    NanaL's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Due to the fact that I had to wait for my surgical sight to heal, my chemo was postponed until Feb of 2011. I did 8 treatments of Oxsaliplatin, leucovoran, and 5FU. I came home with a chemo pump (5FU) for 46 hrs after every treatment. I finished my treatment in June of 2011 and was released from my treatments! I did end up with permanent neuropathy in my feet from the oxsaliplatin. I had a scan in June which showed a small spot in my left lung. They said they would watch it and it was so small that they couldn't tell if it was a met to my lung or not. The radiologist said it was suspicious for metastatic disease. I enjoyed approx five months of freedom and then in Dec the other shoe dropped. My ct scan showed I now had several spots in BOTH lungs. I was referred to a lung surgeon and on Dec. 28th 2011 I underwent a lung wedge resection on my left lung and it showed it was malignant. The surgeon then put my port back in on the left side as I had my right side port removed in Sept. I was devastated and hysterical because now my oncologist said you are a stage 4 and your cancer is not curable but it is treatable. I have been undergoing chemotherapy since Jan of 2012. I did 6 treatments of Ironetican and then switched to a maintenance chemo with Avastin, Leucovaran and 5FU. They took away the Ironetican in May of 2012. I have been getting ct scans every 8 to 10 weeks. My next scan in on Oct 2nd and if my scan is stable I'm going to take a month long break. There is only one nodule in my right lung that has been growing, but thankfully very slowly. It is now about 1 cm in size. I'm kind of scared to take the break but I really feel that I need both mentally and physically. I have been very inspired by reading all of your postings. We have to keep fighting and putting one foot in front of the other. God Bless you all!!!

    Easy to Do: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  4. 4
    • NanaL
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    NanaL's Avatar

    Constipation

    Side Effects

    Due to the chemo I'm always dealing with constipation and then diarhhea. I have recently been experiencing "chemo brain" where it has affected my short term memory. The ironetican gave me cramping and alot of fatigue. Chemo is just no fun, however you look at it. Overall I have tolerated it fairly well. I know it could always be worse.

    1 Comment
  5. 5
    • NanaL
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    NanaL's Avatar

    counseling

    Other Care

    I have recently started to take antidepressants and sought the help of a family counselor. It has really helped to talk to someone outside of my circle of family and friends. I was opposed to taking the antidepressant at first and thought I can handle this, I'm strong, I've already been thru so much, but then i had a few days where I just couldn't stop crying and just got in a big funk! I take one pill at bedtime and it helps me sleep and just keeps me feeling even keel. I was worried it would make me out of it and not able to feel the emotions I needed to feel. It is not like that, and yes I still have days that I cry.

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  6. 6
    • NanaL
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    NanaL's Avatar

    Continue with break from chemo or start up again

    Decision Point

    I have been on a chemo break since Oct. 3rd. I was rescanned on Nov. 12th and met with my oncologist on Nov. 14th. The scan showed some slight growth in several nodules in my right lung. There were some other small nodules that had also shown some growth. All in all my oncologist was happy with the scan and offered to let me continue my break thru Christmas. After some discussion with my husband and the Dr., I decided to resume chemo on Nov.28th. It made me too nervous to go another 6 weeks without treatment. I know the holidays would be more enjoyable without chemo, but i think I would have been constantly worried about what the cancer cells were doing. I was able to enjoy Thanksgiving and I hope the side effects won't knock me down too much for the rest of the holiday season. I gotta keep fighting!!

    0 Comments
  7. 7
    • NanaL
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    almost 4 years ago
    NanaL's Avatar

    Celebration

    Hi All, just wanted to share some good news! My ct scan from June 20th came back stable, showing no changes from previous scan! Also the 20th just happened to be my 15th Wedding Anniversary and our second granddaughter was born at 1 p.m. that day. She was three days early. What an amazing addition to our family and blessings abound! I hope you're all enjoying your summer and remember keep your head held high and keep fighting!!

    3 Comments
  8. 8
    • NanaL
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 2 years ago
    NanaL's Avatar

    Drug Therapy or Medication

    Hello Whatnext Family, I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!! I am truly thankful to be here to share another holiday with friends and family!! I know this year has held a lot of ups and downs for most of us. I wanted to let you all know how thankful I am to be a part of such a loving community. If I could wave a magic wand so that we could all be together to meet in person, I would surely do it!! That would be one great party!! I recently started back on oxsaliplatin, avastin and 5FU. I've had 2 rounds so far. The nausea has been pretty bad. I just keep taking the compazine every 4 hrs. The cold has affected my hands. I am also on neupogen injections to keep my platelet count up. I am truly enjoying my new puppy. His name is Dewey. He is a bichon/havanese mix. We have had some cold weather recently and it snowed last night. The weekend is supposed to warm up!! I have done all my Christmas shopping online. Avoiding the crowds and germs since my WBC is low. I hope this finds everyone feeling as well as possible. Blessings and love to all!!

    2 Comments
  9. 9
    • NanaL
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 2 years ago
    NanaL's Avatar

    Other

    Procedure or Surgery

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    Went as Expected: Not Specified
    Minimal Recovery: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
    3 Comments