E_T

I appear to have Cancer

119 posts in this topic

Since shortly before the Surgery that I had on my Left Arm, back in mid-November, I was starting to have problems with some blood in my rectal area.  I waited until after the surgery to start the long process (with the VA) about addressing this problem. 

 

Shortly after the first of the year, it was getting increasingly difficult to sit, or even stand for long time periods.  I had already seen the GI doctor and my Colon Screening was not until March 5th (would had been April, but I had begged and pleaded and they were able to set it then after making several phone calls).  At the time, no one was seeing the blood that I was seeing and the level of urgency on behalf of the VA was frustrating. 

 

While at work, I had to fart and farted a fair amount of blood.  I then spent the night at the VA emergency room and had a Doctor that was blaming my colon rectal problems and possible blood on my poor diet.  But he did find blood back there (was not documented in my medical files) and had me go back to my general provider for follow-up.  My reg doctor had already sent me to GI, but my pain levels were increasing in something was needing to be done.  I was able to get them to FINALLY get a consult in to the Proctologist/Rectal Doctor that I had seen a few years ago.

 

But in the mean time, I first had gotten them to give me a Doctor's Note for a pillow to sit on at Work and then shortly afterwards, a Doctor's excuse from all work to due to the inability to be able to be able to function at work in any respect.  My part time Job filed the note and tole me to keep them informed and that they hope that I get better soon.  My Full time job, which I had only worked a few Months and did not qualify for them to hold my job or pay me short term disability, asked me to turn in my badge and clear out my locker... I would be able to come back, once I have gotten medical clearance to do so...

 

That was about the end of the first week, beginning of the 2nd week of Jan.  Since then, I have been having to mostly stay in bed, as the pain is much reduced when lying/sitting on my side.  I am taking the max daily dosage of Ibprophin to reduce the pain and inflammation back there.  I also supplement this with tylonal at times, but the one seems to do the bast at the pain.  I had also implementation other things to help with swift passage of things back there and to help keep things from building up and causing more pain.

In the process, I was able to feel a growth in the rectal area that more than half blocks the rectal cavity and the anus.

The VA finally set up the Proctologist appt on Feb 6th.  The doctor immediately stated that I had a tumor, wanted me to have biopsy/colon screening as soon as the 9th.  But due to transportation issues, had to push it back until Feb 16th.  He also did an Anal Pap Smear. 

Right before the Procedure on the 16th, he told me the results of the pap smear was that I had Anal Cancer.  But due to the location, it should be showing as rectal cancer.  He stated that treatment for the two are different and even more need for the biopsy that he was about to do.  Also to see if it is malignant or not...

After, the Doc did tell me the rest of my colon looked good and will see me at the post procedure follow up.

 

I have my follow up tomorrow and will learn more.  The VA has already scheduled an MRI on May 7th and should be calling to set up a PET scan soon.

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Holy cow. Sorry to hear E_T. Hopefully they get on this and sort it out quickly.

I didn't mention this here last year (cuz it really wasn't relevant) but last year they found cancer in my gall bladder. The whole gall bladder was taken out. Thankfully it hadn't spread to anywhere else. Let's hope my luck is with you this time. :)

 

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Makes me sad that you know something is wrong, but you have to wait so long to get anyone to look at it. 

I needed my colon screening last year too (actually was one year over the recommended from my last one that had polyps).  Made an appointment with the guy (a new one, my old one retired).  Saw him 3 days later (at my convenience), procedure done the next week (its never convenient).

Let us know how its going, the VA is a bitch, still seeing what they put my pops through.  That is why I stayed clear of a military career.

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It is Anal Cancer.  It is Malignant.  

It IS treatable with BOTH Kemo and Radiation.

I will NOT have to worry about a colon bag (from having section of Colon Removed).

PET Scan next Monday, MRI Week after.

Kemo & Radiation Oncology Referrals/Consults are in, waiting for scheduling to set up appointments.

That's about it for now...

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That's the tragedy of VA, waiting for appointments. :(

It might be time to get a hold of a VSO, they might be able to help break thru some of the red tape.

Good luck.

Edit: My only advice. Keep your head in the game d00d. Fight this sh1t. Go to a support group or see a counselor if needed. Talk to fellow veteran's. Do what you need to do to keep fighting.

 

 

 

 

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Ugh. Sorry to hear this man. :( That sucks. Seems the doctors should get a kick in the behind for being such lazy asses (pun might or might not be intended). A proper doctor would have checked that out asap! Get well!

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Holy crap (pun not intended) dude!  Sorry to hear about this.

 

Dang, lose internet for a few stinking weeks and all sorts of bad things happen.  Seriously, get better & keep me informed!

 

VSO, BTW, is Veterans Service Officer (or something similar).  Basically, a point person to deal with the VA and to cut paperwork and push things along for you.  Uncle had one as his nerves started to melt from Agent Orange.  They did a hell of a job getting him his appointments, transportation, and hospice care after all the treatment options had run out.  Before he got one, it was nuthin' but headache and red tape.  

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Well, I DO have an Angel of a Social Worker in the Inf Diseases dept (for my HIV) whom has helped me immensely in the last few years.  Especially with the recent Colon Procedure/Biopsy that they did a week ago.  She has been a godsend...

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20 hours ago, E_T said:

VSO, Con??

Veteran Service Officer. They are fellow Vets who help there fellow Vets navigate the bullsh1t in the VA. Not sure how much they can work the appointment system but I do know they can work the claims system. A good friend of mine up in Wisconsin spends a ton of time as a VSO helping vets get what they deserve from the VA.

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13 hours ago, E_T said:

Well, I DO have an Angel of a Social Worker in the Inf Diseases dept (for my HIV) whom has helped me immensely in the last few years.  Especially with the recent Colon Procedure/Biopsy that they did a week ago.  She has been a godsend...

These folks are or can be a god send. BUT they don't necessarily know jack about the maze that is getting appointments for instance at the VA. I believe most VA's have an office for VSO's. Or if you are a member of the American legion or know someone who is they for sure can put you in touch with someone.

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And see my edit in my initial post. Keep fighting the good fight bro :)

 

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I definitely am not giving up if I have any say about it...

My Sister and I were born 4 years apart (11 24 57 and me 10 24 61).  My Brother is 4 years younger (12 27 65).  My sister passed from a Brain Tumor that was detected about 1-2 weeks before she was gone.  That was in Aug, four years ago...

If she had had a chance to fight it, she would have hung on with all her being and much more...She was a very stubborn person and almost a force of nature.  I hope to do no less...

 

But in a way, I have been expecting and at the same time, dreading this.  But it seems like this looks like it has been detected early enough.  The upcoming tests will tell...

PET this Monday, MRI following Wednesday with the Oncology the following Monday...

 

 

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PET Scan was this last Monday, MRI is next Wednesday.  Radiation Oncology initial Consultation Appt is next Thursday with the Kemo Therapy initial Consultation the following Monday.  As for when the actual treatments start, it all depends...  I'll see in one/two weeks...

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My prayers are with you. :(

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I have a similar thread about this going on over at AC2

BU asked me about this:


How's your immune system doing lately?

and my reply was:

I have been taking my meds, for one thing...

My last blood draw (3.5 months ago) had viral load as Undetectable (as it has been for a while) and TCell count at about 260 (IIRC, might be less, but definitely over 200).

Thing is, as I have dipped down really low, twice now (over the years), I am much more at risk for anything than if I had not been.

One Doctor put it this way:
Think of your TCells/Immune system as a Football Team.  You have your veteran players whom make up your first string lineup.  Then you have the not so good players, that you have to send out if too many of the first string guys get hurt, etc.  They aren't as well seasoned or just not so good at playing.  Then you have your third string guys, your rookies and has been players that make up the remainder if the team.

Your most experienced team members have knowledge of all of the little ills that your body has fought off since you were born.  Use the same analogies for the rest of the team...

Now, in the case of your TCells dipping below 200 (into AIDS range), what happens is that you take your first sting guys all out and shoot them dead.  Your now working off the 2nd string guys.  Have it happen again and your now using the 3rd String exclusively...  Doesn't matter if it bounces back above 200, you've lost that experience base for infection fighting that has built up since birth.  And a Child can fight off things much better than an older adult...

Which is one reason that I was sort of expecting this to happen, as I am more susceptible to things, like strange cancers.  This one is already kind of strange, according to the one doctor.  The Anal Pap Smear showed it as Anal Cancer (which the biopsy confirmed).  But the location of the Cancer, which is in the Rectal Cavity, then it should have been Rectal Cancer (which is treated differently and would have required sectioning the bowl and me using a colostomy bag afterwards).  There are other things that I am suspecting, but we will see over the next few weeks.

Now, I already have an ID (Infectious Diseases) appointment with Blood draw set for two weeks from now.  I will be doing the Blood draw for that Appt this Wend (the day of my MRI).  I will also be getting ID to step up the frequency of appointments over the year while I am being treated for the Cancer.  I will also be asking about any prophylactics that they might recommend, too... 

So, moving forward, we will have a very good baseline, prior to my cancer treatment.  Which we can see if we need too keep any eye on anything and hopefully stomp on it before it becomes a problem...

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On 2/23/2018 at 1:03 PM, E_T said:

It IS treatable with BOTH Kemo and Radiation.
 

Some good news among a sea of bad. Good luck, ET

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I figured that it is time to post an update as to everything that is going on with this.

 

First off, the Anal Cancer is fairly advanced...but still within treatable limits.

I start a combination of Kemo and Radiation Treatment on March 26th.  The Radiation Treatments will be for 6 weeks, 5 days a week (I have the weekend off.... woohoo :rolleyes: ).  So a total of 30 days of Radiation Treatments.

The Kemo will coincide with the Radiation treatment.  I will have a Port installed on the 23rd, to facilitate this.  I am still uncertain as to if I will keep the port in or not after it is done...  we will see...

The Kemo will be a 96 hour (4 days) pump that I will carry in a kind of belly bag.  After the 96 hours is done, they will give me a pill.  Then, on the final week of the radiation therapy, they will give me a second 96 hour pump, followed by a pill.

So, first week is both Kemo and Radiation, followed by 4 weeks of only Radiation and then the final week gets both again.

 

At that point, from what I am told, even though I am no longer getting the treatments, they (the after effects for the radiation and kemo) are still working, sort of long term, on taking out the Cancer.  Then, Sometime in August, I will have another PET scan to see as to how the cancer had responded to the treatment.

 

The Radiation Oncologist, believe it or not (I sh*t you not), Dr. Geiger, tells me that he is fairly confident that this treatment SHOULD be the only one that I will need to have to take care of this.  BUT, just to be clear, he also had told me that my Anal Cancer is by far, the largest that he has ever seen (and treated).  This is because people normally have problems much sooner than I had happen and thus catching it much sooner than this cancer is in me now.

It's around 9cm and has started to get into some other areas.

So, from what I am understanding, this treatment regiment is going to be very aggressive and I'll be going though a lot before the 6 weeks has passed.  They have already set up daily transportation for me and are getting things ready, for in case they need to put me into an assisted living facility, towards the end of the treatment.  This should make sure that I don't miss any days of treatment.

Because, one other thing that Dr. Geiger (and everyone else) has stressed is that once I start this treatment, I can't even miss a day of the treatment.  This is because the cancer could rebound and become immune to the treatment.

 

Also, next week, I will also be meeting with my Infectious Diseases Doctor (for my HIV/AIDS) and see what Prophylactics that they will want to have me start on, because I WILL be needing something to help prevent any opportunistic infections, before this is over.  Dr Geiger is also concerned about my current T-Cell count (which is now around 265), because he likes to have people with counts of 400 or better before starting treatment.  But that is not going to be possible in my case...

 

They (the Oncology and Infectious Diseases Social Workers) will also be helping me with applying for SS Disability.  Because, even after the treatment has been successfully completed, I will still be in a position, medically, that would make me fully disabled, Medically.  I will need to keep up ongoing medications, check-ups and maybe other treatments, to keep the cancer from popping back up in me somewhere else.  Also, this cancer is sort of HIV/AIDS related, as it appears to be an HPV (anal warts), that in the environment of me being immune compromised as well as having T-Cell counts dipping very low (below AIDS threashold) twice in the past.  So, I'll be filing and likely getting SS Disability from this.

 

It's going to be a concerted effort to get though this, but I will get through this...  It's going to be a tough slog through this, but I will get through this...

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