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Thread: 33 year old father just diagnosed yesterday

  1. #1
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    Exclamation 33 year old father just diagnosed yesterday

    Hey Everyone,
    My name is Steve. Im a 33 year old father of 3 beautiful children ages 2,6, and 7. From my mid 20's I've had "weak guts". Drs told me it was IBS, and to learn what I can eat and what I cant. I did, and for almost 8 years I've been great. Occasional bouts of diarrhea that I could link to eating something I shouldn't have. I would have bouts of constipation also, that would produce slight amounts of blood with a BM.

    5-6 weeks ago I had an insane episode of diarrhea, that lasted all day which is unusual for me. It also produced more blood than I had ever seen.
    I promptly made and appointment with my PCP, who referred me to a GE. Waited 1 1/2 weeks to see the GE, who told me "you have classic IBS symptoms, and I suspect internal hemorrhoids". He told me to lighten my diet and come back in 4 weeks.
    2 days after I saw him I had a BM at work, and I thought that was the end for me. I rushed to the ER, and after some reluctance and blood work the GE agreed to schedule a colonoscopy the following week to "Humor me".

    Flash forward to yesterday morning at 9AM. I had my scope and was just coming to when I heard him say "Colon Cancer".
    I broke down immediately because deep down I knew it! I just knew it! He apologized to me and said he would have bet anything that it was hemorrhoids. He said I have a "large mass" 5" from the anus in my colon, and that it is definitely cancer. He biopsied the mass.
    I now have to go for a CT in 3 days to see if it has spread anywhere else. The following day I see the Oncologist to discuss CT results and surgery.
    I do not know what stage, how big the mass is, how bad it is or isn't, and I wont know until next Tuesday when I see the ONC.

    I'm losing my mind. All I have been told is "you have colon cancer, for sure". I'm your typical "big tough guy who doesn't cry for anyone or anything" but that's all I have been able to do. This not knowing the stage is worse than knowing I have cancer. I cant even speak without breaking down and I guess I'm looking for some support from other young people who might be or have been in my same situation.

    My babies are my life, and the thought of leaving them soon is tearing me apart. My beautiful wife is being strong and optimistic for both of us at the moment, but I can see the pain she is in when I look into her eyes. I feel I've let her down, in some weird way, I feel guilty.

    I watched my mother battle and beat ovarian cancer a year and half ago. She had a tumor the size of a cantaloupe removed from her and did months and months of Chemo, and is now in remission. I know how hard cancer can be, I've seen it first hand. I know I'm in for a rough road, I just wish I know how rough its going to be at this point.
    "

  2. #2
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    Sorry to hear this story. I've got two girls 6 and 8, and I'm 34. Had some symptoms that had the Docs worried I had colon cancer back in December of this year, but it turns out I don't. I had a lot of feelings of not wanting to leave yet and I can relate to the head game. Stay strong, it sounds like your wife is going to be a big cheerleader in this.

    With the hemmerhoids - did at any point your doc or a colon doc look and confirm them? Or was it just a "verbal" diagnosis? For as easy as it seems to diagnose that, I don't get why they didn't at least take a look. I had to go to a colon doc and he poked and prodded me for an hour and saw 3 stacked hemmeriods and a fissure...just can't believe that someone wouldn't take a look to confirm.

  3. #3
    Administrator Top User lisa1962's Avatar
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    Slambert:

    Sorry you had to find your way here given your diagnosis. If I am reading correctly, the "mass" seen on the colonoscopy was actually biopsied and cancer confirmed?

    While I can not personally provide insight or answers to your specific questions regarding CRC, our members here within our Colon Cancer Forum are highly knowledgeable and supportive so please check back often for responses.

    Lisa

  4. #4
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    Hey Van. He ďas in the GEĒ was positive it was hemorrhoids. And yet, after 3 rectal exams that produced nothing, he still wrote the possibility of cancer off. He said I was too young, and he didnít think it was anything bad.

  5. #5
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    Lisa, correct. The mass was biopsied, but I havenít gotten a confirmed result. This is what my hysteria is based off of.....
    After my exam, while in recovery, the GE came in and just sat down in a chair. This guy looked shaken, like visibly shaken. After a few moments of silence, my wife finally said ďwell, is he ok?Ē GE replied ďNo, itís really bad. We donít usually tell people in this way, but I just felt I needed to come talk to you. Iím going to tell you flat out, you have a large mass 5Ē from the anus, and it is cancer. Steve, you have cancer. I took biopsies, the rest of your colon was great. If it wasnít for you (meaning me) pushing the issue, we wouldnít have done the scope. I feel we caught it early, youíll have a CT to see if itís spread anywhere else, and Iíll refer you to an Oncologist as soon as possible. For you to have this at 33 years old itís genetic.Ē Then he left, and here I am.

  6. #6
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    Ok, just got confirmation of cancer. He said it was an adenocarcinoma.

  7. #7
    Moderator Top User Doug K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slambert View Post
    Ok, just got confirmation of cancer. He said it was an adenocarcinoma.
    Slambert,
    Sorry you have had to find your way here, but you are on a good forum. There are many people here who can listen and offer suggestions for you to consider. Check out my signature as I was diagnosed, many years older than you, and there are many people in my colorectal support group (at the hospital where I have been treated) who had difficult diagnoses and are carrying on ten years later. As my surgeon said to me, "If you have to have a cancer, colorectal is one to get, it is curable." I know that isn't always the case, but listen carefully to what you are told as you find your way forward.

    I don't know what sort of condition you are in health wise, but would suggest that you take the coming weeks to work on it, the better physical condition you are in at the start of this process the better. I don't mean it is a terrible experiene, but you will rebound better, faster if your general health is as good as it can be.

    Sounds like you are headed toward a chemo-radiation period, then surgery then maybe a chemo depending on many things that they won't know until the testing is completed. Some folks have surgery immediately, so each situation is different.

    I hope you can find a way to have someone with you as you proceed through the doctor gauntlet. For me my wife was my ears and brain as I found my way through. She would ask after an appointment, "Well, what are you thinking?" I would say, "I have no idea what the doc said." She: "You were there," Me: "yes, but all I heard was tumor, cancer, chemo." So, please have someone with you. Write down those questions you have before and after the appointment. Call ask for clarification. Again, this cancer is curable. You will learn more in the coming weeks. There will be some waiting, testing, more waiting, scheduling, appointments, waiting. So, get ready to learn your patience quotient, maybe increasing it a bit.

    You might want to offer us some details as they become known. To, what country are you located or area of the US are you in? I am in Columbus, Ohio and was treated at Riverside Hospital. (Ohio Health affiliated with the MD Anderson Cancer Centers.)

    Hang in there, post your questions here, there are more people who will weigh in and offer suggestions. Eat well, walk, run, exercise, whatever you can do to be as fit as possible.

    doug


    PS: Try to stay away from the internet... there are lots of shaky science sites. This is a very good one!
    MyJourney:
    August 2004 Colonoscopy Clear
    June-July 2013 Abdominal Discomfort Upper Abdomen X-ray, UltraSound, CTScan all clear
    8.23.13 Diagnosed 5cm tumor on rectum wall: adenocarcinoma @age 66
    Aug-Sept2013 Met with Surgeon,Hematologist and Radiation oncologist
    Oct.-Nov.: Xeloda concurrent with radiation: 25 doses
    November CTScan, MRI and surgeon scoped: Tumor gone, scar tissue
    1.6.14 Surgery LAR: Rectum removed, sphincter remains: Pathology: no lymph node,
    Tumor downgraded from Possible T3 to T2
    Feb. - April Chemo:5 FU and Oxilaplatin:6 infusions over 14 weeks
    9.4.14 ColonoscopyClear,CT Clear
    Dec.14 Follow up BlWk +,CEA .9
    Mar.15Follow up BlWk +,CEA .6
    June.15 Follow up BlWk +,CEA .7
    Sept2015Followup BlWk + CEA .7 CTScanClear NED
    Dec2015SurgicalHerniaRepair
    Sept2016Followup BlWk + CEA .7 CTScanClear NED
    Sept-Oct2017Followup All clear NED
    Sept-Oct2018CTScan+Clear Bldwk+
    Mar2019Bldwk+NED
    Continue ColoRectal Support Group monthly

  8. #8
    Administrator Top User lisa1962's Avatar
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    Wow, sorry the news was delivered in that fashion. Keep checking back here, many with incredible knowledge will chime in so stay strong.

    Lisa

  9. #9
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    Doug, I greatly appreciate every word and the time you have taken to offer support and guidance. To answer some of your questions:
    I’m located in Northern Michigan, Traverse City to be exact.
    Munson health care system which has the Cowell Family Cancer Center, and partnered with University of Michigan medicine.
    As stated I’m 33 years old, and strong as an ox. Not saying I’m the picture of fitness by any means, just physically I feel/felt great, strong.
    There has been a noticeable decline in energy and stamina over the last year. Also, I’ve been sick with colds and upper respiratory infections all winter long, and haven’t been able to recover. Like most people, I ate horribly, regularly. I’m a very busy person always on the move, so eating whatever, wherever, was the game. Today we went and bought lots of fresh fruit and veggies, fresh chicken, vitamins, and fruit juices. This is what I will consume from now on, no red meat, I get the picture and know what I need to do. No more burgers and soda. Healthy eating for a healthy body.
    My brain is still going 100 different directions at once. From worries about my own health, to financial worries if something should happen to me. The more I talk to people, I settle down a bit more and things start to become a bit more clear. I am thankful my wife was there for the diagnosis. Because I, just as you stated, heard ¬ďcancer¬Ē and that was it. I greatly appreciate everyone¬ís time and support, experiences and advice. I will continue to update as I receive more I formation.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Top User Baz10's Avatar
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    Sorry is just a normally just a word yet here on the forum it means we truly mean sorry as we have all been in exactly your situation.

    Although the diagnosis comes as a helluva shock keep in mind CRC is one of the most treatable cancers there is due to major advances in understanding and treatment options that have taken place in the last 15 years.

    Now, one thing that comes over from what you say is that you’ve committed to a healthy diet with vegetable and fruit taking precedence.
    A word of caution, don’t overdo the fruit at this time.
    Keep your diet balanced but yes cut down on red meat as well as processed meat.

    Please don’t fall into the trap of self blame such as had I not eaten, drank certain meats, drinks etc as this state of mind will achieve nothing beneficial.

    Age and fitness are on your side and this will count irrespective of the treatment path proposed.

    Take it from an old fogey such as myself, after two CRC surgeries I’m still living life and on the whole enjoying it. Proof indeed that modern medicine allied to a stubborn self commitment and with the support of a good wife and family pays dividends.
    Please keep us posted.
    Barry
    Diagnosed stage 3 March 011
    Radical resection April 011
    Restaged 2b April 011.
    12/09 Colonoscopy clear but picked up hospital infection.
    Aorta & femoral arteries occluded.
    Clot buster drugs put me in ICU with internal bleeding. 9 blood units later they got it under control.
    Aortobifemoral surgery 5th May. yughh.
    PET scan indicates clear
    DEXA bone scan clear
    13/5 CT showed "unknown" but no concern from docs.
    Inguinal lymph nodes and severe groin pain.
    Ultrasound and MRI show no nasties. Pheww
    Groin pain and enlarged lymph nodes still there.
    October -still the same pains but under semi control.
    Additional chest CT scan ordered for 11th November prior to surgery.
    Sinus surgery done and dusted.
    July 2014 PSA at 5.10. 2months of antibiotics in case of UTI, jan 2015 PSA at 7.20, 23/08 now 8.2, current 8.1
    Prostate Cancer confirmed Gleason 3+Marginal 4.
    Active surveillance continues.
    PET CT Aug 2017 indicated lung nodule changes
    CT Guided biopsy 7/09
    November 1 Vats Wedge section pathology Glomulated previous infection
    no Cancer.

    Not all's rosy in the garden, but see following.
    Stop grumbling Baz, your still alive and kicking so far.
    Age and illness doesn't define who we are, but more what we are able to do.
    Motto
    Do what I love doing, when I can until I can't.
    and dodging bullets in the meanwhile, too many bullets at moment.

 

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