Saturday, December 1, 2012

Butt wait, there's more!

Seems the weeks following my radiation, I've been feeling something is wrong.  I let it go on for a little while keeping an eye on it, then began cycling on what it could be and when I was certain that another tumor had developed, this time in the rectum or bladder, I went for consultation.  So in my last post, we learned that no new tumors or evidence of cancer has come back to the vagina and I was sent for another CAT scan and for a colonoscopy.  I still have to hear the CAT scan report and her findings from that this coming Tuesday.

Friday morning was the colonoscopy.  Seems everyone I spoke to has had one but me.  You have to eat a light liquid diet the day before and drink this prep stuff that night and then repeat again in the morning, the day of the outpatient surgery.  Did I listen?  No.  I got up for work, fed the dog and prepared my lunch like normal.  I eat with another co-worker in what I call my happy place - it's dark, has nice long tables, a full kitchen and an enclosed bathroom where you don't sit in public stalls.  So when she asked me what I brought for lunch and what time we were eating in there, I still spaced out that I wasn't supposed to be eating and ate that turkey tv dinner.  Even ate handfuls of M&M's around 4pm and you aren't supposed to have have any red or purple dye.  I only remembered when I got home and saw the prep medication.  It will have to do.  Mixed the first 6 oz. bottle with 32 oz. of water and got half of it down.  I should never have stopped drinking.  Took another half hour to finish it.  Got a really fat straw and put it in my water holder and drank another 32 oz. of water easily to wash it down.  Went and warmed up the bathroom, lit a candle and brought in my iPad to play games.  Then the evening really got started.  Each visit was so long my legs ached.  I would think that there were periods of time when the prep must have stopped working so I would come back to the couch to stretch out and rest only to jump up and rush down the hall, and suddenly the bathroom seemed so very far away.  This lasted until 11pm and I found I had fallen asleep on the couch.  I woke up long enough to get ready for bed when the last few urges tugged at me again.

Set my alarm for 5:45am and started the entire process again.  This time I mixed it with Gatorade with no red or purple color and drank it all down in one sitting.  I had evacuated most everything out the night before so it was clear coming through and no evidence of tv dinner!  I may be able to bluff my way through and fib that I stayed mainly liquid.  I admitted to it anyway.

I showered, got into my leopard-skin fuzzy duster, slid into my slippers and off I went to the Outpatient Surgery Center on the other side of town.  Don't know how you're going to be feeling afterwards, so you may as well be warm and comfy when you roll into bed upon your return.  It was 10:30am when I got there and everyone was in their street clothes and the place was filled with surgery patients.  I felt out of place.  My procedure wasn't until noon but they took me back fairly quickly and got an iv in me and ready to go.  I could hear the nurses talking on the other side of the curtain, rooms weren't available, doctor's weren't there, telling each other it's a good time to go to lunch.  My husband was off somewhere voting on his new union contract.  We were there early enough for him to just drop me off, I wasn't scared this time but would have liked the company.  I knew I was going to lay there awhile.  But everything was going really smoothly, the anesthesiologist came by, then the doctor, then the nurse came and wheeled me in.  Got me situated on my side, put some air/gas on me and I started to feel woozy when they started talking about how I was in O.R.5.  I said What?!  O.R.5!  Do you know they are re-making that movie, I was so hoping I wasn't going in THAT room.  There was brief conversation about Coma and the re-make and how the nurse loves this room, so I suggested just changing the name to something fun and she blurts out "The Tiki Room!"  I told her that place and Double Down were the best bars in Vegas.  She agreed, they were laughing and I was on my way to my own happy place.  Good night, lights out, and then a funny thing happened.  During the procedure, I felt this pressure I didn't like, some kind of pressure in me, a pushing in my belly, when I realized I had woken up during the surgery!  Couldn't move or open my eyes but I was aware what was happening for a moment and thank goodness I fell back under again.  I was back in the recovery room just waking up when the doctor came in.  I think of him like an Asian James Bond.  I really like his style.  He gave me an excellent report that there was no cancer evident, no tumors, no mass, no polyps, but what I did have was this:  (I'm cutting and pasting from Wikipedia)

Radiation proctitis (and the related radiation colitis) is inflammation and damage to the lower parts of the colon after exposure to x-rays or other ionizing radiation as a part of radiation therapy. Radiation proctitis most commonly occurs after treatment for cancers such as cervical cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. Radiation proctitis involves the lower intestine, primarily the sigmoid colon and the rectum.
Radiation proctitis can occur at two times after treatment:
  • Acute radiation proctitis — symptoms occur in the first few weeks after therapy. These symptoms include diarrhea and the urgent need to defecate, often with inability to do so (tenesmus). Acute radiation proctitis usually resolves without treatment after several months, but symptoms may improve with butyrate enemas.[1][2] This acute phase is due to direct damage of the lining (epithelium) of the colon.

So this is what I am feeling causing me to feel like there is a mass there.  For those of you going through this cancer journey with me, see what we have to look forward to!!!  It's not going to heal.  They have burnt the tissue inside and possibly my bladder as well, they are just perfectly good cells that got taken out in the line of fire.  Going to have to adjust my lifestyle, go back to a healthy diet and juicing once again, and use enemas from now on.  This area of the rectum may also have shrunk causing difficulty in my bowel movements.  At least I was aware of my body to know something was amiss and go check it out - remove the fear that cancer had jumped to another area and get back to getting my house in order.

So back in the recovery room, another nurse was back with my clothes, my husband was there and she gave him instructions to go get the car and come around to the drive through in back and I would be there.  She complemented me on my leopard-skin duster and commented how well prepared I was to come dressed for surgery.  Not my first rodeo now, is it?  Love my comfy, cozy cushy clothes.  With all the people I see dressed in pajamas to do their grocery shopping these days, why not the surgery center?  I was starving, we got some quick food and headed back home.  Life feels very promising right now.  It's coming on Christmas.....

1 comment:

  1. You are one brave soul! You probably don't realize how you inspire those around you! Love and hugs!