piesandcakes' Journey with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Patient: Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Patient Info: Living with cancer as a chronic illness (undergoing adjuvant therapy), Diagnosed: over 9 years ago, Female, Age: 71, KRAS mutation positive: Don't Know, BRAF mutation positive: Don't Know, Stage Recurrent

  1. 1
    over 4 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    Diagnosed with stage IIA colon cancer in 2007 after anemia was discovered in blood test and a colonoscopy was done.

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  2. 2
    over 4 years ago
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    Laparascopic colon surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    Surgery was done shortly after diagnosis

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  3. 3
    over 4 years ago
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    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    After my surgery I was told that the cancer had not spread to any lymph nodes or to any other organs. I was also told that chemotherapy was not necessary. I was told that my blood should be checked every 3 months. With a new perspective on how easily you can lose your health and possibly your life, my husband and I decided to retire early at 62 during the summer of 2008. It was an exciting and happy time.

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  4. 4
    over 4 years ago
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    Cancer has spread/Metastasized

    Oh No

    After retiring and moving to a neighboring state, my new primary care doctor did a blood test and it was found that my tumor markers were elevated. It was found that my cancer had spread to my liver and that I had three large tumors. My new oncologist very soberly told me that I had advanced cancer and that if treatment was successful in getting rid of these tumors in my liver, the cancer would always return. There is no cure. This was less than a year after my colon surgery and after I was told that the cancer had not spread. I still wonder how this happened and why it wasn't caught earlier. After receiving copies of my medical records I could see that my last blood test with my original oncologist showed an elevation in the tumor markers. He never notified me at that time, perhaps because I had told him I was moving. My husband and I were upset. However, I soon realized that I needed to concentrate on treatments that needed to be done now and not on things that happened in the past.

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  5. 5
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I began chemotherapy early in 2009. I was very frightened to start chemotherapy not knowing quite what to expect. The therapy nurses, I have found, are your guardian angels. My nurse explained what was going to happen and what I might expect with each drug. The nurses were constantly going from patient to patient to check on them. I felt better immediately. These nurses have become friends who call me by name and know my situation. They are ready to lend a shoulder to cry on or to laugh with you. My fellow patients are more likely to be joking around in the treatment room than they are to be crying I've found. A sense of humor is part of the therapy.

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  6. 6
    over 4 years ago
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    Fever

    Side Effects

    After having chemo for a few weeks, I developed a high fever one day and I was admitted to the hospital and given a blood transfusion and antibiotics. I was discharged after about 4 days. I had never had a fever that high and it was a little scary. Also, I had some neuropathy in my feet and hands because of the drug that I was on. That was annoying and uncomfortable but not a major problem. I was given a drug to control the neuropathy and after some time, it did help. Today, I still have some neuropathy in my toes. Also, ofcourse, I lost about 20 pounds during those first few months. I did look awful and was very weak. I had to sit down and rest frequently. I even had a chair in the kitchen to sit on when cooking. Also I had all the usual problems with loss of appetite and of taste. People were telling me that at least I could eat whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted; but it didn't work out that way. The goodies that I could have looked forward to eating just didn't taste right.

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  7. 7
    over 4 years ago
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    Cancer is shrinking

    Celebration

    After a ct scan I was told that the chemo was working and that the tumors in my liver were shrinking.

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  8. 8
    over 4 years ago
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    Surgery and/or more chemo

    Decision Point

    I decided to seek a second opinion. At that time we had been notified by our insurance carrier that coverage was extended to a group of cancer treatment centers in the U.S. I decided to contact the City of Hope in southern California as we were from there originally and our children still lived there. After providing them with some info., I was quickly given an appointment. I was told at that time that, unfortunately, the tumors on my liver were still too large and that one of them was too close to one of the major blood vessels in my liver to be able to do surgery. It was agreed that I should continue with the chemo and come back again for another review in a few months.

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  9. 9
    over 4 years ago
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    Decision Point

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

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  10. 10
    over 4 years ago
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    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    After having chemotherapy for about a year and one half I had another review with the City of Hope. I had had a couple of visits to them in between as well. It was found that one of the tumors in my liver could no longer be detected and the other two had shrunk considerably. Each of the two remaining tumors was on a differrent side of my liver. Even though the liver will regenerate itself, the surgeon could not remove both tumors at once as that would have meant nearly taking my whole liver. Shortly before Christmas 2010 I had surgery to remove 40% of my liver. I did well with the surgery and had no complications. But the surgery was very serious and recovery was a little difficult. The plan was that I would have another surgery in a few weeks to remove the other tumor but I decided against it. A pet scan had shown that there was no activity there and I couldn't see putting myself through another serious surgery.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  11. 11
    over 4 years ago
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    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    I was then free of any treatments for about a year.

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  12. 12
    over 4 years ago
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    Cancer is back/Recurred

    Oh No

    At the end of 2011 it was discovered after a pet/ct scan that the cancer had recurred in my left lung. It was the end of my "vacation" from the disease and it was time to go back to work. It does seem like a job at times.

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  13. 13
    over 4 years ago
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    Cancer is shrinking

    Celebration

    I began chemo once again at the beginning of 2012 for the tumors in my left lung. After several weeks I was encouraged when it was found that the tumors were shrinking. And finally in July the pet/ct scan could no longer locate the tumors. I am currently free of treatment once again. I am trying to enjoy every day now and am generally feeling well. My daughter was married last week and we had a wonderful trip to the wedding site. What a blessing! Knowing that my disease is "chronic" I do think about it returning but I try not to worry about it. I know now that I am a good fighter and will continue to fight this disease wherever it pops up next.

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  14. 14
    over 4 years ago
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    Implant chemotherapy port

    Procedure or Surgery

    Shortly after starting chemotherapy for the first time I had a port put in. My oncologist had suggested that I do so since I was going to be having therapy indefinitely. My port is still functioning well today and it was one of the best decisions I made. I see patients and nurses struggling every week with poking the needle in the arm. The longer you have chemo the more difficult it becomes. I cannot understand why anyone facing long term chemotherapy would not have this procedure done.

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