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    advice4me shared an experience

    Celebration (Finished treatment): The results of the biopsy came back: The cancer is only Stage 1. Out of the 26 lymph nodes they biopsied, none had cancer. So no chemotherapy and no radiation. What a relief this is. Unlike my Stage 3 breast cancer that ultimately took 2 years to treat and recover from (and more adding in the permanent damage to my nerves causing peripheral neuropathy), I can get on with my life and bucket list with only a 3-month interruption.

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    Procedure or Surgery (Colon surgery (colectomy or hemicolectomy)): The surgery was a robotic-assisted laparoscopic right colectomy. I spoke to my surgeon and she told me about the advantages and disadvantages of both.

    Disadvantages
    * The robotic operation takes 1 to 2 hours longer than a 2-hour laparoscopic surgery, so there is an increased risk of other medical problems occurring.
    * Also. the longer the surgery the bigger the risk of infection and complications.
    * My surgeon has only done 12 of these.

    Advantages
    * The operation requires only 2 incisions (instead of 4) and they are both in less painful areas.
    * Because there is less pain, I will not need as much help when I come home.
    * I will heal faster so I'm out of the hospital a 1/2 to 1 day sooner.

    So...I opted for robotic because of my age and the recovery time. The surgeon told me the extra time under anesthesia is not a significant risk. It was extremely fortunate the I chose this method of surgery. It turns out that the surgeon discovered 10" of extra colon tucked behind my liver. If the surgery had been laparoscopic only, she would have had to make a long incision to remove it because the equipment couldn't reach that far whereas the robotic tools can be changed out to suit the situation. I was out of the hospital in two days despite the complication.

    The biggest issue I had in recovering was the total lack of energy due to the anemia. It took two weeks to be able to do a simple task like pay the bills.

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    advice4me posted an update

    Laparoscopic surgery is scheduled for July 8th. I put off the original appointment (scheduled for 6/17 because I have had a terrible cold & laryngitis for 3 weeks that left me with absolutely no energy. Monday I made breakfast: fried eggs, english muffin, and coffee. I was so exhausted, I went back to bed with my chest pounding. (The tests I have had say my heart is OK.) Today is the first day I felt close to normal. So I have 3 weeks to exercise and build up my strength before surgery. That is something to be grateful for.

    1 Comment
    • MizzVisual's Avatar
      MizzVisual

      Wonderful, may the Lord continue to give you strength mentally as well physically.

      6 months ago
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    advice4me asked a questionColorectal (Colon) Cancer

    Coping after colon surgery

    6 answers
    • advice4me's Avatar
      advice4me

      @alivenwell, JaneA, and Kbaarch. Thank you for your insight regarding after surgery care. Fortunately, the surgery will be laparoscopic so it's good to know about the waist binder. I do know about the medi-port pump. I actually still have it implanted from my breast cancer, but it stopped working a couple of years ago even though I had it flushed regularly. If I have to go through chemo again, I will definitely have another implanted because the first chemo blew out my main vein and the other arm can't be used because of the risk of lymphedema. I'm praying I will not have to go through chemotherapy again because the last chemo left me with permanent peripheral neuropathy and my medical oncologist says that the only cocktail that works for colon cancer also has a high risk of causing the same side effect.

      As far as food that is tolerable after surgery, I have been hunting for a website that has colon cancer recipes that I can make ahead. I finally found this site on Stanford'sNutrition Services for Cancer Patients. If it will help anyone else, the URL is https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-clinics/cancer-nutrition-services.html#recipes.

      6 months ago
    • Skyemberr's Avatar
      Skyemberr

      It sounds like you are on the right track. The main thing is that if you end up with an Ostomy you will have a different recovery and care needs than if your insides ask stay connected.

      I spent over 20 day's in the hospital with a sternum to pelvis incision, an ileostomy, transplant to rebuild the vaginal wall and drains and a lot of complications.

      Every surgery is different though. A nurse coming once a day after I went home was not enough. I needed constant care from my family. So talk to your doctor and see if that could be the case for you. Skilled nursing facilities are no fun but are an option if you need that extra care for a little while so you can get strong enough to be home alone.

      Also, if you end up with an Ostomy you will need to practice changing that bandage. Wound care nurses are wonderful and can help a lot with that.

      Good luck! I know it's a big deal to have this surgery. I'm about to head up to take care of my mom who has the same cancer that I do and is going to have her surgery finally. On the bright side, at least I can be a good advocate for her.

      I hope you have some folks there at your side. If not, you can always ask questions here if you think they are doing something wrong.

      6 months ago
    • Jayne's Avatar
      Jayne

      I agree with the others who recommend you have some help via a rehab facility following surgery. You may be ok, but it doesn't make sense to take the chance. Also, a trick I learned from my multiple surgeries if you don't have a bed that moves to help you out. Tie something (I used my bathrobe belt) to the end of the bed and use it to help you lift yourself up. Works like a charm if you are coping alone. Getting out of bed sounds easy until you've had abdominal surgery! Best of luck to you and sending healing thoughts your way.

      6 months ago
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    advice4me shared an experience

    Oh No (Just Diagnosed): This is my 2nd primary cancer. I just celebrated 5 yrs in remission for Stage 3 breast cancer and thought I could start doing activities on my "bucket list". Instead, I was diagnosed with a cecal mass that is cancerous. DNA tests showed I have 2 proteins missing that protect against cancer: mlh1, pms2. That may be why I have another primary cancer in addition to my breast cancer.

    I am to blame for this. My doctors tried to get me to do a colonoscopy, but I refused because the prep was unpleasant. Now, look at what I'm facing: the dreaded colonoscopy, CT scan (both done), major surgery, possibly more chemo, and a life filled with medical app'ts. An experience that is far more than "unpleasant". My bad.

    I'm crossing my fingers the surgery will designate it as only Stage 1 or 2 which means no chemo, but I doubt I will escape with no side effects.

    2 Comments
    • Jayne's Avatar
      Jayne

      I'm so sorry to hear this but don't blame yourself. Hindsight is 20/20 and we all do things (or don't do) that we regret once we have all the facts. It's easy to look back and recognize our mistakes. But it is what it is - so the best thing you can do is pass along your lesson to others that might feel the same way. At least you can make something productive come from your experience. Keep us posted on the surgery - and hoping for the best outcome possible.

      6 months ago
    • medale's Avatar
      medale

      Very sorry to hear that you are going through this again. I had stage IIIC colon cancer, partial colectomy and then adjuvant chemo with FOLFOX.

      Don't blame yourself for your cancer. No sense in trying to worry about the past. They probably did CT scans five years ago and nothing was showing at that time. So maybe a colonoscopy would not have found anything either. But either way, that's passed and nothing can be done about that.

      But as @Jayne says, share that lesson. Whenever I give a technical presentation these days, I include a slide with my "chemo" picture and urge people to get their colonoscopies as recommended and share the Dave Barry "A journey into my colon - and yours" article (https://www.miamiherald.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/dave-barry/article1928847.html) to raise awareness.

      Focus on the good news that the CT didn't show any metastasis and there has been a lot of progress in treating colon cancer in the last five years according to my oncologist. Hopefully, the cancer was caught early, your surgery will go well and there will be good news from pathology. Best of luck and lots of positive energy your way!

      6 months ago