Michele45's Journey with Adenocarcinoma, Colorectal Cancer

Survivor: Colorectal (Colon) Cancer > Adenocarcinoma

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 8 years ago, Female, Age: 54, KRAS mutation positive: Don't Know, BRAF mutation positive: Don't Know, Stage IIIB

  1. 1
    • Michele45
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Colo...
    over 4 years ago
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    Lost loved one

    Loss

    I lost my only niece to Large Cell NeuroEndocrine Cancer in May of 2007. She was only 21 at the time she died. This loss left my very small and tight knit family reeling from the hurt and pain of losing her....it can only be described as a bad dream. Originally given only 3 months to live (talk about a kick in the teeth), she fought hard and lived for 14 months. My first piece of advice would be to always live your time as though you had no limit. Always remember that doctors even in their infinite wisdom can not make accurate predictions, just general. I placed this loss first in my journey because it was both painful and frightening for me. It drove my family apart in ways I never could have imagined. We ceased to have family dinners as a whole. Everyone could not wait for that first year of holidays to pass. She loved the holidays and always made a HUGE deal out of decorating as the fall season came to pass. Her birthday fell right around Halloween...she considered this her birthday "week" and noone escaped the celebration!! After her loss, my sister changed dramatically. She was an empty shell...unreachable even to me, her only sister and best friend. This was a very scary time for us all. I was left wondering if we would ever as a family, learn to cope with this loss.

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  2. 2
    • Michele45
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Colo...
    over 4 years ago
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    Failure to be Diagnosed While Symptoms Progressed

    Oh No

    Symptoms-occasional abdominal pain, appetite loss, tiredness, tremors, nausea (felt sick when I did not eat and then sick when I did!) It was a frustrating process. Since I had no typical colon cancer syptoms I was diagnosed, and almost had gall bladder surgery. Yikes~~For some reason my instincts told me that was not a correct diagnosis, so I insisted on more testing. I was very lucky that I had a wonderful surgeon that was willing to listen and continue my testing. After an abdominal CT came back normal, I almost canceled my Colonoscopy (who wouldn't right?) It was a good thing I did not. The diagnosis was finally made in January 2009. My journey of 7 months with illness was only just beginning.

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  3. 3
    • Michele45
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Colo...
    over 4 years ago
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    Surgery..No choice...no decision.

    Decision Point

    I think that waiting for a diagnosis was hard for me. I was already sad and given my nieces death from cancer, I had a lot of fears. I think the biggest one was that of a mother. I was more heartbroken over the idea that my children would no longer have my shoulder to cry on, my arms around them in good times and bad, or have me to share in all of the important moments of their lives. I was less afraid of my own unknown pain or death for myself than I wasfor my childrens potential loss. As a mother, nothing can cause me more grief than my childrens sadness. The wierdest grief I experienced was (get ready)......I grieved for my stomach. I spent a lot of time lifting my shirt and looking at my stomach in the mirror. I knew that after surgery my stomach would have a scar that would forever be a reminder to me. I know that sounds very shallow, but I believe it was just my way of processing my grief and accepting my battle to come. I was not exactly sure what my diagnosis post surgery would entail, I was however sure I would need all of the courage, strength and support I could get from friends and family. I also decided it was okay to be scared...facing the unknown is scarey, right?

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  4. 4
    • Michele45
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Colo...
    over 4 years ago
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    Colon surgery (colectomy or hemicolectomy)

    Procedure or Surgery

    I was looking at this and hoping everyone does not base their expectations on my chart. The truth is, I am a HUGE BABY when it comes to being ill. However, athough my surgery went as expected, the recovery seemed to take forever. I was tired and frustrated two weeks post surgery. I was told I was coming along well considering the extent of my surgery. Considering I had a large percentage of my large colon (almost half) removed as well as my appendix, what did I expect? If you know me you would say....to be up doing the fox trot in three days or less. Still coming....chemo.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  5. 5
    • Michele45
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Colo...
    over 4 years ago
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    Implant chemotherapy port

    Procedure or Surgery

    This was a very easy outpatient procedure. Since it is a sterile procedure I was draped so that I had just a small space for a staff member to peek in and ask "how are you doing in there?" I liked that because they had to get on their knees to do it, and it helped to have someone talk to me. I had a mesh port inserted subcutaneously to make chemotherapy easier. At least no needle pokes besides the ones from drawing blood to check levels. It was a lot easier to have my chemo enter directly into a port, especially since I had to do two days of at home chemo.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  6. 6
    • Michele45
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Colo...
    over 4 years ago
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    Nausea medicine

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I strongly encourage the use of anti-nausea meds. Some people have used marijuana to control nausea and help with eating. I have no problem with a person who uses marijuana to control pain, decrease nausea, or encourage appetite. My niece would smoke on occasion to control her pain and nausea. My sister once said to me, "I never thought I would hear myself telling my daughter to go smoke a joint in her room." (I laughed.) It is amazing how your perception on life can change given the right circumstances. Honestly, a friend dropped of a "package" at my garage door with a note that just said, "I hope this helps you, it is all I know to do for you." Even though I never smoked it....I felt a little "gangsta" just getting it. It was nice to know that someone cared enough to go to so much trouble just to make me feel better. To this day, if you asked me who exactly it was, I would deny knowing. : ) I took my anti-nausea meds and had a ton of hugs.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  7. 7
    • Michele45
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Colo...
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    At first I tolerated chemo well. It was not until later on in treatment that the nausea and exhaustion hit home hard. I did only what I could do, some days that was nothing more than a shower. Back to bed, maybe some tea or peanut butter on a graham cracker. Do what you can. Everyone seems to have a different journey.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  8. 8
    • Michele45
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Colo...
    over 4 years ago
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    As of August 2012 I have been cancer free 3 years.

    Celebration

    As a committee member for Relay for Life I celebrate the journeys of families like mine, mourn their losses, and work hand in hand with community members in hopes of one day living in a "World with More Birthdays."

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  9. 9
    • Michele45
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Colo...
    over 4 years ago
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    More Tests Needed November 2012.

    Other Care

    I have begun having new symptoms. Time for more testing.... MRI here I come. When I was diagnosed initially my cancer was in one lymph node out of 21 removed. Fingers crossed that it has not returned, if so, then I hope I am still treatable. I am not ready to give up the fight just yet. :) I wish you blessings on your own individual journeys.

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