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Nathan's Cancer Blog

Week Two Done

This has been an interesting week.  About mid week my wife had horrible bloating and cramps.  Those lasted about three days and Weds. was a hard day.  I haven't seen my wife in that type of discomfort in a long time.  The chemo is going good, as long as she keeps on taking the nausea meds.  The radiation of coarse was the reason for the uterus to cramp and fight but she has been lucky to not have burns yet.  She is starting to pass some mucus blood and has been very constipated which is not what we thought would be happeing we thought diarrea but that may be on the horizon.  I think that the constipation is results of the nausea meds.  I was really feeling good about everything till her sister said something about one of her frieds that lsot the battle to breast cancer.  It placed both of us in a sour mood this weekend good thing we see the docs tomorrow they always build us back up.  It feels good to be 1/3 done and after this weekend we will be half done.  I do know that end of the week is when most of the typical side effects kick in, I hope we are ready. 

I do have a couple of questions.  I spoke to a neighbor that beat stage four lymphoma and has been clean for five years now.  which made us feel good but the issue he said is that we really should travel 50 miles to the Huntsman Cancer Institute.  It brought doubt back into if we have the right team for my wife.  I do feel that the treatment plan is very standard and cook book which means that it has been proven, but what is the advantage of going to a Cancer Institute.  I think the one year in Salt Lake is nationally ranked, but I'm not sure what that means and if it truely means anything.  The hospital that we are going to has a partnership with the Huntsman Cancer Institute and that the radiation division carries the name and that both her radiation doctor and oncolgist are certified by them.  Sorry for the ramble but I just wonder.  I hate to second guess but that's part of the desease.  He also mentioned that we should both get depression meds. but I have never been a fan of them and wonder if I'm making a mistake their. 

Thank you guys for taking time to read this,  I really do pray that we will beat this and I respect all of you for sharing some very personnel information on this blog as it has helped me.

Kim, Guerrera sent you a prayer.
Tammy, Guerrera sent you a hug.
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The nausea meds and the pain meds can cause constipation. You can have her take magnesium and it will help with that. Also, make sure she's drinking plenty of water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! As far as the depression meds go, I believe that is a highly personal decision. My thoughts, and prayers are with you
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It really bothers me when people I care about tell me about someone I don't know that died from cancer. It hurts. I am sorry that was said; people just don't understand, unless they've been through it.
I hope she stays hydrated, and takes stool softener and keeps the bowels moving; with Miralax or some other mild laxative, if constipation or hard stools are the problem. As time went on I used/use magnesium oxide 300mg every day. Some people tend to get constipated. She made need to go off the recommended diet, if troubled with constipation. I got to eat all the fruit and vegetables I wanted; I just have that system. (all drugs do make me constipated)
I still resist taking anti-depressants. Instead I depend on sleep, coffee, and walking 1-2 miles a day. I know now, if I start getting depressed, it's because of neglecting sleep and exercise.
I hope you guys are taking really good care of yourselves and plan a treat vacation for after.
Big hugs, Jean
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You can certainly contact the cancer institute and ask their opinion, but chances are it would be the same. If you are needing something for consitpation, I really liked Benefiber, just 1 teaspoon at night was all it took. And make sure that she is eating soluble fiber foods, versus non-soluble fiber. You can find lists online. Solute fiber helps with creating a soft smooth BM versus non-soluble creating more-bulky-cleaning- the-intestines BMs. Sorry, may I ask the location of the tumor along the colon-rectal tract? I thought with colon cancers, the resect part of the colon tract that had the tumor so then you have to have an osteomy bag until it heals. Maybe I missed one of your posts??
As far as antidepressants - yes! My doc prescribed them to me on day 1 - Ativan. They will help you get through things and help her sleep. Do not hesitate to ask for this.
Best,
D
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The primary tumor is in the lower rectum.
I think it's normal to question everything with this disease...we certainly did as well. My husband and I spent too many hours to count reading and researching, and I still continue to do so. After meeting with 2 teams in our area at separate hospitals we discovered the treatment plan was the same (much like you've said) so we didn't pursue a cancer treatment center but we certainly discussed it.

I've never been on an anti depressant before but when I received the initial news my gynecologist prescribed me xanax for the high levels of anxiety I was experiencing. The xanax calms me and puts me to sleep pretty quickly, it's been of huge help. I've used it for my scans as well. I believe my husband and I will seek counseling in the months ahead, the stress has been overwhelming, and the fear can mount. I've received this advice regarding counseling from several couples in our area that have been impacted by cancer diagnosis' as well, they've benefited from it. We want to be as healthy as we can for the kids, including our mental health.

Much like Jean, it hurts me when others share their stories about folks that have lost their battles with cancer, and also increases my fears. I much prefer to hear about those that are thriving and surviving and I like to use them as inspiration. I find myself seeking some control in a situation in which it feels you don't have any...I've decided (for me) that making dietary changes gives me some of that control I seek...we do a lot of juicing vegetables now that my gut health is better, I get more fruits and vegetables in me than ever before, I've cut out as much sugar as I can, only drink water and tea, etc etc. These are choices that make me feel like I'm doing something. It may seem extreme or unnecessary to others but not to me. Prayer has also been of huge help to my husband and I too. Our faith has been strengthened...allow yourself to lean on Him.

The treatments are hard but you will get through them as a family. Sending prayers!
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Thanks Kim for the five weeks that we waited to get on treatments we really watched the diet. She was actually trying to hit only 50 carbs a day. It was the advice of the GI doctor to go on a low carb diet and he actually said that we should embrace the diet as it will be one of the few ways that a person can actually combat the cancer as we waited for treatments. It empowered us and made us feel like we were doing all we could to fight so I get the whole juicing thing. Since we have increased the good carbs into our diet so she can have the strength to bare the treatments. What we are reducing and eliminating are the refined sugars and processed foods.

Its those survivor stories that help get us through those bad days. What bothered me the most about her sister is that it was her identical twin that said it. Her excuess was that she was keeping us grounded or keeping it real. GRRRRRRRRRRR. I do that enough on my own and don;t need to hear it from others. It's a little ironic as after my wife was scoped and we discovered the tumor we called her twin sister to get our kids and keep them as we were going to have a long night getting scans at the hospital, were the twin has had similar health issues we told her to go get a scope. Well two weeks later they found an advanced pulp in the same location as my wife's tumor. The same GI doctor mentioned that she was a few years behind my wife and good that she came in. I only share this as man she could be grateful that she is not going through this trial in life as we are and add a lot of positive vibs to the situation if she wanted in-place of trying to keep it real.

Lastly I agree faith and prayer are big components of this. Leaning on Him has been one of the ways I have been able to get through this. I pray for a miracle daily and hope that I can have the faith to receive it.

Thanks
I'm relieved to hear that your doctor encouraged dietary changes, you are lucky to have found one that gave you this advice (in my opinion). "Let food be thy medicine" is something I tell myself on repeat as I cut out the processed junk / sugars. I believe building up the immune system through food, supplements, exercise makes sense. When you look at the statistics your wife and I are quite young to receive this specific diagnosis...that's another reason why my husband and I question the "why" and everything else about this. Again, I think this is normal for all cancer patients and their loved ones.

As for your sister in law, it's rather incredible she was able to go in for a scope and find what they did, she is very fortunate to have had this forewarning. I've learned that people deal with the grief associated with a diagnosis in many different ways these past 5 months, some say things that feel insensitive, others have words that are so uplifting and kind, and some say very little, etc. I'm sure her twin is very scared and has loving intentions, try to give her some grace. Any maybe you can pull her aside and tell her that right now you need her to be as positive and upbeat as possible, a cheerleader for her sister, while you make it through the treatments? The negative comments can just push you over the edge.

Lastly, try to also have faith in the doctors and the treatment plan (it sounds like you really like them which is wonderful)...the plan has helped many people on this blog successfully. When I read about how many of them are NED and continue to have positive scans and test results, it makes me so happy. I feel joy for them as individuals and feel positivity for my own future. Keep the faith.

My husband, Brad, and I have talked about you and your wife and we both find it very admirable that you've sought out support on this blog. This blog has been a blessing to us. I hope it's helpful to you as well!

Nathan, I know this is a rough time for you and your wife, but I hope you are both hanging in there. I had copious amounts of diarrhea, which was terrible. Your wife may experience that as some point. Everyone's side effects can vary though.

As for not going to the large cancer institute, please know that many of us, including me, were treated at local hospitals and cancer centers and we're still here. I never gave thought to going anywhere else and was very blessed to have wonderful doctors. It sounds like your wife's doctors are well-trained and since they have a connection to the Huntsman Cancer Institute, I'm sure they are using the same protocol, which is standard.

Please know that I send good thoughts and prayers for you both. You will get through this!
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I was also treated locally and loved my doctors and trusted them. Family members suggested treatment at different places to me as well. Sometimes I would question it them.
I was given some anxiety meds that helped me sleep at night those first few weeks post diagnosis. I am not a fan of them either but it help me sleep during that time. I went back and forth with constipation and diarrhea and would have to regulate what I was taking between magnesium and miralax and imodium. I continue to have both of them available..... It's such a fine balance. Thougts and prayers for you!!
Yes ... nausea and pain meds will cause constipation. I would flutuate between diarrhea and constipations during treatment. Now, constipation is a constant battle. My go to is Miralax ... stool softeners don't help me much.
The "nice" thing (not that there really is one) about this cancer is that the treatment is fairly straight forward and standardized. If you trust your docs, put the woulda, coulda, shoulda's out of your mind. You will kill yourself wondering what if....
As far as depression meds, everyone is different ... keep that in mind no matter the advice you get ... we are all different and we all react to stuff in different ways. Some people may need depression meds, others need to talk, others may need to blog it out. Do what is right and feels right to you. It is common for anxiety to pop up and for docs to prescribe anti-anxiety meds. I used them when it got so overwhelming that I couldn't sleep. Now, the anxiety is under control (for the most part) and I only occasionally use Ativan when I can't turn my mind off at night.
Sending you good vibes and virtual hugs!!!
Sorry ... should say I take an ambien not Ativan.
My treatment plan was "cookbook" and it was fine...7 years later anyway I am still here! Driving back and forth 50 miles, or staying somewhere away from home takes you away from your "normal" life even more. I would not do it unless there is a really good reason.

And yes, keep hydrated! Even if you have to do it a tablespoon at a time..
Well, I think I disagree with most of the people here who have responded on the issue of cancer centers. While I agree that most of the protocols are standard, sometimes it's important to have a world-class oncologist at a world class cancer research hospital who is able to think OUTSIDE the box. My husband has been treated with all the standard pancreas cancer protocols: whipple surgery, gemcitibine, capcitabine (xeloda), radiation, abraxane, 5-FU. He is so debilitated from seven years of treatment that his oncologist (at MSKCC), who does alot of cutting edge research, has decided to start him on a PARP inhibitor. I am absolutely certain that oncologists at regular local "dog bites and broken bones" hospitals have never heard of this very new treatment, because I've had the opportunity to ask. I really believe that - if at all possible - people such as your wife and my husband with challenging stage 4 cancers should be treated at major cancer research centers. Just my opinion, I know - but pancreas cancer has a 5% five-year survival rate. Our wonderful MSKCC oncologist has placed my husband in that lucky 5% group.
Good luck! Positive thoughts and prayers headed your way......💪🏽
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Cramps and Bloating

My wife is well into her second week of pelvic radiation.  The chemo has been kind to her, but I see that the radiation is starting to build up in her.  It obvious that her uterus is not liking being placed into the microwave xray or what ever it is and is not going down without a fight.  How long will she experience the cramps and bloating?  Any suggestions on what she can do to help wtih this side effect?

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Thomas threw a punch at your cancer.
Guerrera sent you a prayer.
3 people sent you a hug.
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Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! Also, cleansing teas, apple cider vinegar with lemon juice & stevia every morning. Add glutamine for cell repair.
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I do not have any good suggestions, but I agree with Lori that good hydration is necessary for lots of reasons. I would recommend she bring this cramping and bloating to the attention of her doctor and see what he/she recommends.
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Talk to the doc. It could be intestinal bloating and it may be helpful to add a probiotic to rebuild the gut bacteria. I still experience intestinal issues. My rad onc recommended eating good yogurt, sauerkraut or olives (doesn't matter the color). But, most importantly, talk to her doc!

Hugs!!
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I'm not sure if this applies, but I had a horrific menstrual cycle during radiation (lots of cramping)...I only had one and then they have since stopped completely. Perhaps she is experiencing some PMS type symptoms that are heightened from the radiation? I could be way off base but I thought I should mention it just in case. I'm now dealing with menopause and some other side effects likely from the high doses of radiation. My heart goes out to your wife and I hope she feels some relief very soon! Please tell her I enjoyed her "thumbs up" picture, she is lovely and you can tell she was ready to get these treatments rolling and done...I felt the same way. One last thought...my daughter made a paper chain with bright colors during radiation treatments and we hung it in the hallway from the ceiling to the floor, we would take one off each time I had a treatment. It was awesome to see the chain get smaller and smaller and it made my kids happy as well. Perhaps your kiddos would like to do something like that for her remaining treatment days. Take Care!
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thanks everyone for the tips. I do like the chain idea.
My wife did speak to the radiation Onc today and they mentioned that these really bad PMS type issues are normal and that she will have them for awhile. Along with that its time for her cycle also. They did prescribe some sort of bloating medication that I need to go get tonight.
Not looking forward to early menopause, but we will cross that bridge once the cancer bridge has been crossed.
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Vital Info

Posts

March 11, 2017

Utah, USA

September 28, 1971

Loved One is a Cancer Survivor/Fighter

Cancer Info

Colon and Rectal Cancer

Mildly Advasive Ademocarcinoma

March 3

Stage 3B

4.1 - 5.0 cm

Yes

Fluorouracil (5-FU)

That I'm so helpless.

Just be there and give a shoulder and a helping hand.

We looked at N1048. Its very hopeful for early stage three colorectal cancer as it is looking to fight the disease with just chemo. We did not qualify as a iliac lymph node has been tested and has cancer in it.

Help us out with the kids so they can have a break and be normal.

McKay Dee Hospital

Change is bowel habits, constipation, mucous and blood in stool, hair loss and anemia. Was told it was hemorrhoids for two years after complaining they found celiac disease and said that is your problem.

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