I am at the beginning of what is going to be a long and difficult journey.

 

Since my diagnosis on 22 February I cannot help thinking I am in a dreadful nightmare and I am going to wake up to find none of it is real, unfortunately, no luck in this regard.  I have been fortunate to have always kept extremely good health, so much so that I have taken it for granted; that illusion has been well and truly shattered. 

 

Today I commenced radiotherapy and chemotherapy and despite my trepidation about having to take six tablets a day; 3 after breakfast and 3 after dinner; I handled the medication better than I could ever have imagined.  Bouyed by my success, I went to the hospital for my first radiotherapy treatment, which was a piece of cake.  It is only the first day but thus far all seemed to be going well;   then this illusion was also shattered when I saw the radio oncologist after my treatment. 

 

She informed me that the PET and MRI had shown suspicious lesions in the liver which they believed were metastasis from the rectal cancer.  Suddenly my optimism and hope collapsed; I still hadn't come to terms with the prospect of surgery and having a temporary colostomy that is to follow the chem/radiotherapy; now I was being hit with another complication.   My sister, who was with me, burst into tears but I was too shell shocked to show any emotion; I was still hoping this was just another nightmare that I would waken from.  Suddenly my stage A or B low grade cancer had become a D and despite the assurances of the doctor and nurse I am very afraid of what the future holds and whether or not I will survive.  

 

On Friday the medical oncologist, radio oncologist, colorectal surgeon and liver surgeons are meeting to discuss my case and what the best treatment options are.  My present treatment will continue as planned as will the surgery to remove the tumour from the rectum but I am possibly facing surgery on the liver as well as another course of chemotherapy; it is all very frightening and daunting.  

 

Tomorrow is day two of 25 treatments and I hope I am able to tolerate the treatments with minimal side effects; I will keep you posted as I continue this frightening journey through uncharted territory.     

9 Comments
Super Contributor

 Hi Rosella52,

 

It sounds like you're a positive person.  Keep it up if you can.  You will need to stay positive to go through all of that.  

 

I have a terminal cancer & it is very difficult to stay positive ALL the time.  There are times I just sit & cry because when I die I'm going to be missing out on all that will happen with my children & grandchildren.  I think that is the worst part about dying, knowing what you'll be missing.  But at the end of the day, everyone dies, eventually.  The only things that are different is the how, when & where.

 

Concentrate on living; think on the best things that happen in your day, rather than the bad.  Exercise & healthy food intake are extremely important.  So is keeping up your water intake.  Talk to someone, anyone who'll listen, or a counsellor about how you're feeling.  Download to this site as often as you like.  It's a pretty good place to have a chat about things that are bothering you.

 

Take care of yourself

Budgie

 

 

Frequent Visitor

Hi Budgie,  

 

My thoughts are with you at this challenging time.   My major worry about dying is not my three children or 4 grandchildren, but what would happen to my 2 dogs?     I know it sounds crazy; I know my children and grandchildren would be fine but I am worried about the dogs not being properly cared for.   They have been my devoted companions and are always there when I need comforting and I need to ensure they are taken care of if anything should happen to me.   From what I have read online, the 5 year survival rate of a bowel cancer patient with metastises in the liver is 11%, if this is correct, the odds are not in my favour.   

 

I am trying to stay positive and take one day at a time, but it is hasn't been an easy time and I am still coming to terms with the fact I have bowel cancer let alone cancer in the liver.    All I can do is focus on getting through the chemo radiotherapy I am having at the moment and worry about the rest later.  

 

Thank you for the good advice, one can get so caught up with the endless round of tests, needles, pills, doctors appointments, etc that you forget to enjoy your life.    

 

Wishing you the best.      

Super Contributor

I’m sure your children, knowing what the dogs mean to you, would look after them properly, but I do understand your worry. 

As for the 5 year survival rate, I think that depends on a number of factors; how far the disease has spread, how healthy the person keeps themselves & how well they tolerate the treatment.  The survival rate for stage 4 kidney cancer is only 8%, but I’m passed the 5yr mark, so I am very grateful to still be here. 

 

Anyway, do take care of yourself and I hope everything goes well with your treatment. 

 

All the best

Budgie

 

 

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Super Contributor

Rosella52

A mate of mine is on a similar road as you he also has rectal cancer,with Mets to the liver,he has had chemo radiation,rectal surgery and a temporary colostomy bag,and is now recovering from having part of his liver removed ,he is going well, at the end of this month he will have his bag removed ,his recovery is going good he is back working a few days weekly and walking 4to 5kilometres regularly he is early fifties,as I say to my mate take it one day at a time ,best wishes with your treatment he was diagnosed 14 months ago.

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Frequent Visitor

Hi KJ,  

 

What a wonderful outcome for your friend, I hope his improvement continues and he is able to resume his life.   His journey sounds similar to the one I have just embarked on, oral chemotherapy combined with ray to shrink the tumour, then surgery and a temporary colostomy, now liver surgery (not sure when that is going to happen).  the multidiscipline team met to discuss my case yesterday and I do not know the outcome as yet.  I have just finished my third day of ray/chemo and enjoying the weekend break. 

I am older (66) than your mate and probably not as fit; it has been a good while since I felt well enough to take my dog for a good long walk.    I am hoping that I can come out of the end of this process as well as your mate has.

 

Best wishes to you and your friend.      

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Frequent Visitor

Hi Budgie,  

 

It is amazing that you have beaten the odds,  I hope you continue to do so for a lot longer.    

 

What you say is very true, much depends on the individual and how far the disease as spread.    All I can do is follow the treatment path and take things one step at a time. 

 

The multidiscipline team met yesterday to discuss my case; as yet I am nost sure of the outcome.   The radio oncologist said the liver tumours were small and operable so I suppose that is good news although I am not looking forward to more surgery.  

 

I hope you continue to keep well and enjoy the time you have.  

 

Regards

 

Rosella  

 

 

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Frequent Visitor

The first stage of my battle with rectal cancer is almost over,  I only have four more radio/chemo treatments to go.  The side effects haven't been too bad,  a bit of nausea in the early stages, some gastric and pain in the treatment area.   With the help of medication and the wonderful cream moo goo I am doing well.   The next part of the journey is a terrifying prospect.   

 

From outward appearances,  no one would suspect I am battling a potentially fatal illness because I look the picture of health.   My doctors have ordered MRI's of the liver and lower abdomen and a PET scan  five and six days after the completion of the treatment and I am praying that I have had a good response and the tumours have shrunk or hopefully disappeared.   

 

I have an appointment with the colo rectal surgeon and an appointment with the liver surgeon to find out my treatment options; I am terrified at the prospect of surgery on the rectum and the liver.   I wish there was another way of treating cancer rather than the surgery rout.    

    

  

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Super Contributor

Hi Rosella52

 

I’m glad to hear the radiation hasn’t had too bad an effect on you. 

 

Surgery isn’t pleasant at the best of times, but at least one good thing is with the liver - it will grow back.  It’s an amazing organ in the body. 

 

I certainly hope everything goes smoothly & well with the operations you have coming. 

Take care. 

 

Budgie

 

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Frequent Visitor

Hi Budgie,

 

Thank you for your positive thoughts; as someone who has never had to have a tooth removed or take an aspirin this has hit me hard.    I have always kept robust good health and being diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness has been a rude awakening.  I have always taken my health for granted however those days are long gone.  

 

I hope you are going well and send my best wishes and positive thoughts your way.  

 

Kind regards 

 

Rebecca.  

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