• TJM's Avatar

    Has anyone had severe abdominal pains beginning one week after pelvis radiation for rectal cancer?

    Asked by TJM on Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Has anyone had severe abdominal pains beginning one week after pelvis radiation for rectal cancer?

    I had very severe pelvis side effects during radiation that did clear as expected 2 weeks after radiation stopped. but this is new and feels like bloating, indigestion and constant stomach pain. These were not side effects during radiation. I'm also trying to regulate Coumadin...is it possible that the Coumadin could be the issue or part of the issue? The feeling is worse following meals but not initiated by meals.

    4 Answers from the Community

    4 answers
    • CarolLHRN's Avatar
      CarolLHRN

      I had a lot of trouble after completing radiation. And it's so cruel because you know you made it through the treatments only to have more symptoms.

      I had a lot of trouble eating after radiation and my bowels never returned back to normal. I found eating a low fat, low residue diet with lots of fluids really helped.

      If the pain is really troublesome, it's worth discussing with your doctor. I did not have any relief until I had surgery (loop ileostomy). I am hoping when the ileostomy is reversed in June that I won't have the same issues.

      over 5 years ago
    • TJM's Avatar
      TJM

      Thank you for the info. What troubles me is that my current symptoms are out of the field of radiation. Most of the symptoms within the field have cleared. I checked with my Dr. and he is also without an explanation, but recommended giving Prilosec a try.
      I noticed you referrenced a "loop ileostomy" that will be reversed in June. What is the "loop" mean? I am scheduled for a low anterior resection with ileostomy in March. What significance is the "loop"? Are there different types of ileostomies?

      over 5 years ago
    • CarolLHRN's Avatar
      CarolLHRN

      A loop ileostomy means that the doctor takes a loop of your bowel outside of you. They only cut half way through the bowel to form the ostomy so you actually have 2 openings: one with drainage and one that does nothing. For me, I can't even see the second opening and wouldn't know it was a loop if the doctor didn't tell me. It's hard to explain but if you Google it, you can see pictures.
      The reason for the loop is when I have the reversal after all the chemo, they actually connect my bowel again at the stoma site outside of my body (sounds like a sci fi movie!). Then they just tuck the bowel back inside me and suture the incision where the stoma was closed.

      The reason I had a loop ileostomy is because it is temporary. The location of my tumor in my rectum was such that I still had muscle where they could remove the part of the rectum with the tumor, and then attach my colon to the part that was left. They formed what is called a J-pouch to make a place for stool to collect before being passed. People have mixed results with the J-pouch. The people I have spoken to are very happy with it but have to move their bowels about 5 times a day. Here is a web site with some info: http://www.j-pouch.org/Whatis.html It takes some getting used to but since I am so young, my surgeon thought I would be a good candidate. I have had my ileostomy about 2 months now and I haven't had any issues. I basically forget I even have it at times. It's easy to learn how to take care of it.

      There are several other ileostomies depending on your treatment plan. I would ask your nurse to clarify for you so you can learn about it prior to having surgery. Just know that ileostomies today are much, much better than even 10 years ago. Doctors pay a lot more attention to lifestyle when getting the ileostomy. I was marked by a nurse prior to my surgery for the stoma site so it would be in a place that I could wear my normal clothes and wasn't on a natural fold. I have had no skin irritation or leakage, or it popping off or anything. There are lots of great products out there. If you don't like the one the hospital gives you, look for others. Most manufactures will send you samples for you to try. I live a very normal life (on non-chemo weeks) swimming, golfing, ice skating and eating just about whatever I want.

      There is a great book you can get at the library called The Ostomy Book. It has lots of great information about the surgery and about life after with an ostomy. It's broken down into chapters on specific topics so you only have to read what pertains to you.

      If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

      over 5 years ago
    • TJM's Avatar
      TJM

      Thank you so much for all the information! Very helpful. I'm assuming by your replay that you also have rectal cancer but you had surgery 1st they chemo and I assume radiation will follow at some point. I had a TEM in 2008 and the cancer returned in 2011 with a massive blood clot in my neck. The cancer entered and swelled the rectal wall so that I was in danger of perforation and death by sepsis. The plan for me was 8 cycles of chemo followed by 28 days of radiation and then surgery which appears very similiar to yours. I was told there was only one plan and even Dana Farber agreed in principle. I'm curious why your plan was so different.

      over 5 years ago

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