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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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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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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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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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.
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Keep your chin up, medicine is a marvellous thing hopefully you and Neile will get to do your wonderful trip. I have to admit I admire his positive attitude I wish I were able to summon up the same amount of courage that he has.
My family has been touched by cancer; in 2005 my wonderful mother died of lung cancer, she was 72. I still miss her every day. I hope your dear mother is able to enjoy quality time in whatever time she has left. My father had surgery for rectal cancer in 2007 and is now 84 and still going strong - he is a mean cranky old man. My lovely sister had major surgery for cancer on the scalp in 2013 which came back despite the drastic surgery and radiotherapy. She has metastises in the liver, lungs and bones and is currently receiving palliative care. I have been recently diganosed with rectal cancer stage a or b - today was my first day of chemo/radio therapy which I breezed through and was feeling optimistic.
Then I saw the doctor who informed me that the MRI and PET scans had showed lesions in the liver which are most likely metastasis; suffice it to say I am feeling very scared. After the course of ray/chemo I am to have surgery to remove the tumour from the rectum which will involve a temporary colostomy - I still haven't come to terms with that! Now I have been told I will also need to have surgery on my liver and another course of chemotherapy. I HATE cancer!
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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.
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Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.