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    BruceB asked a questionColorectal (Colon) Cancer

    How long does "cleanup chemo" usually last?

    4 answers
    • Jayne's Avatar
      Jayne

      I was offered, and declined, adjuvent chemo after my lower anterior resection. The cancer returned 2 years later in my lungs. It's a gamble whether to do it or not and really depends on your situation. For me, the oncologist could not say for sure whether the additional chemo would help or not so I took a chance. I did end up back on it at that point and agree, it's a psychological struggle on top of a physical struggle but I think it's best to trust the doctor's advice.

      4 months ago
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      BruceB

      JaneA - thanks. I'm on IV 5FU. Only one positive lymph node, but my oncologist is a real warrior princess :)

      Jayne - My 3-month CT scan from a couple days ago shows "a couple small spots" on my lungs, too small to know what they are and too small to worry about --- yet --- so I'm going to go ahead with it even though I hate it. Your story helps me feel it's the right decision (and makes me feel better about being hounded into it by my spouse :-p)

      4 months ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      it depends upon what you are cleaning up, which cheo agent or regimen is used and several other factors. On the far end of the spectrum, I was in constant treatment for two lymphoid malignancies and one myeloid malignancy for seven years. Now in treatment for the remainder of my life for transplant rejection issues. Ah, but one must be alive to have complaints...

      4 months ago
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    BruceB shared an experience

    Procedure or Surgery (Colostomy ): 5/26/2019:

    Hi all, back after several weeks' hiatus, during which time I had the APR surgery (with laparoscopic ablation of liver mets) that I was expecting.

    Surgery went as expected: check. Surgeon felt pretty confident he'd be able to "get everything" in this one procedure; afterward he expressed confidence that he had. Several days later after he'd seen the pathology report (analysis of the tissues they removed), he said "Everything looks very good. Plan on being around for awhile." Nice to hear :)

    Minimal recovery: strongly disagree. My recovery is going well, but the standard recovery is several weeks. I'm 3-1/2 weeks out, still working on regaining my energy level bit by bit, trying to walk more each day, that kind of thing. I have a fairly big vertical incision (about 6 inches long) below my navel. Gradually regaining the ability to clear my throat & cough without pain.

    Side effects: disagree. That is, there's plenty going on, but it's all expected. Some difficulty moving due to impaired core strength --- particularly right at first when it was even difficult to lift my head --- some discomfort with bending or stretching, particularly on the left where my new ostomy is.

    Oh, here's a side effect: 10 days on antibiotics can really mess with your gut bacteria. I had a miserable few days once I got home, where everything I ate caused abdominal pain, gas, & diarrhea. It seemed like the only way to feel OK was not to eat anything (not a good solution when you're trying heal). The home health nurse finally recommended kefir, a yogurt-based drink with a lot of live cultures in it. That (plus Gas-X) seemed to straighten me out pretty well. I still say a little prayer every time I eat anything, though :-/

    And another one: I've got a Wound Vac attached to my butt crack 24/7. For those not familiar, it's a device to drain the fluid that collects at the site of an injury. (Think of how an ankle swells when sprained. This is a much bigger "injury" than a sprain, and your body can't tell the difference between having lifesaving surgery and being gored by a bull.) I was sent home from the hospital with it because my incision was still putting out drainage; there has been little-to-no drainage for the past several days, but my surgeon has been out of town this past week and unavailable to give the OK to discontinue it. So it's on until my follow-up visit in a couple of days (5/28). Part of the deal with the wound vac dressing is NO SITTING: standing or lying only. It gets old pretty fast, believe me. On the other hand, the nurses say my butt incision (where my anus used to be) is healing better & faster than usual, since people normally sit on theirs. So I guess it will be worth it, in the long run?

    Minimal impact to daily life: strongly disagree. Obviously this has a major impact on daily life. I'm learning to manage life with The Pouch, learning how to change it, the hygiene involved, etc. The home-health nurses tell me I'm coming along well.

    OK. that's about all my news for right now. I will give updates in the form of replies.

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    BruceB asked a questionColorectal (Colon) Cancer

    Upcoming APR surgery: what should I do to get my house ready for my return home?

    5 answers
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      I had an colostomy for three months.

      I learned to travel with a spare set of clothes and supplies with me whenever I went out.

      I used Chuck pads to throw the used products on the floor when changing it. Then I would just wrap it up and throw it all away.

      I had to learn to sleep on my back. That was hard.

      And if you need help getting used to the products or having trouble with them staying on, don't hesitate to call the nurse. It took 4 visits to the nurse and two different products before we found one that would work for me.

      Good luck as you enter this chapter of your life. Hugs.

      8 months ago
    • JaneA's Avatar
      JaneA

      Everyone is different - I was a "belly" sleeper and kept on sleep on my side/belly and it didn't bother a thing.

      8 months ago
    • Skyemberr's Avatar
      Skyemberr

      Those Chuck pads @Clinda mentioned are fantastic! If you can get them then absolutely do so. They are cheaper than old towels and do help to clean up the mess of all of the opened bandages and plastic, etc that you'll have from a bandage change.

      I'd forgotten about becoming a back sleeper until @JaneA mentioned that. I still sleep on my back a year after reversal. It an odd thing. Maybe you will want a back sleeper pillow if you are not used to it?

      It might get dicey the first few days at home as you get used to changing your Ostomy, but before you know it you will get very good at it!

      Good luck to you ! Please keep posting if you have more questions.

      8 months ago