Tag Archive for Rectal Cancer


Thursday was a bit better…I felt a bit more “mobile” & actually left the room & walked the hall ways a bit…I’m pretty sure I was the youngest one there on the entire floor.  For the most part the nursing staff & techs were good, though the night shift for some reason was significantly better than the day shift.

There are a hand full of staff that stood out…Robin, Gordon, and a few others I’ll have to get their names…they were great.  It still baffles me why the day shift wasn’t as “attentive”, etc.  I just felt more like a burden to them than when the night shift was on (7:30 p.m. – 7:30 a.m.).

Thursday was also when i started being allowed to have liquids (instead of just water/ice)…basically soup broths, etc.  Apparently that was faster than “normal”, so that was good I guess.

Each day I started to “feel” a bit better.  I was more mobile each day, walking further & further.  At first, just to the nurses’ station on the one side, then around the one side of the floor & eventually within a couple of days, around the entire floor.  I usually walked at least twice, if not three times per day.

Friday was yet another milestone…I was allowed to have “soft” foods.  Now, what THEY consider soft foods and what I consider soft food are 2 completely different things.  Regardless, there were no complications, though there was also no bowel movements either.

Friday was also nice because I got the catheter removed…it didn’t “hurt”, but lets just say that the last 12″ or so is a feeling that I NEVER want to feel again…seriously!

On Saturday I was allowed to have the next level of foods, which they classify as “low fiber”, so the food progression apparently I was doing really well with & I was considered ahead of scheduled.  I also got the drip bag removed on Saturday as well, which was nice as it meant I wasn’t “tethered” or tied down to anything at all.  I had MUCH more freedom to roam around, etc.  I hadn’t been using the morphine that much as the pain had started to diminish (a little bit each day).

Saturday was also nice as I got the “JP” or drip pouch, whatever it’s called, removed.  It was basically a tube…how shall I say this…up what “was” my rear-end that was connected to a collection ball at the end.  It “collected” any additional fluids my body couldn’t absorb naturally.  Given it’s location (my rear end), to sit or lay was very uncomfortable, as that’s pretty much about ALL you do while you’re in the hospital!   Anyhow, apparently, the amount of fluids in the pouch had gotten low enough that they felt it could be removed.  Yet another nice feeling as it too had restricted my movements and was of course, uncomfortable.  Again though, no “bowel” movement(s) through the stoma.

April 17th, 2012

This morning was ROUGH.  I got decent sleep last night…must’ve fell asleep around 1 a.m. & didn’t wake up until 7:45 a.m. when my Uncle Jim from Florida called.  I didn’t answer (I WAS asleep), and I went back to sleep.  I woke up about 30 minutes later as I could no longer sleep, but it went downhill REALLY fast.  Within an hour of being up, I had 4 bowel movements.  Again, for those asking WHY he’s mentionng bowel movements, it’s because it’s relative to my cancer.

I have rectal cancer, so when I have bowel movements, the stool passes in contact with the cancer on the way out…and it causes me excruciating pain.  I can usually deal with 1-2 per day if they’re spaced apart, but when I have 4 in the span of less than 60 minutes, it makes things quite unbearable.

I fought through it & took a much needed shower, which kinda refreshed me.  I then headed downstairs & fed the cat & dog & got my coffee started.  I then decided to call Uncle Jim back.  It was nice to hear from him & I really appreciated it.  The timing was good…emotionally, I’ve been dealing with quite a bit over the last couple of days, so it was encouraging.  Funny how sometimes God uses people in our lives to encourage us when we need it most.

I went upstairs & tried working for a couple hours.  At lunch time, I not only made lunch, but got dinner prepped.  Got a text last night that one of my best friends from home in Oneida, Jeff Reese was in town & wanted to get together.  I was stoked to hear that!  I hadn’t seen or heard from Jeff since we flew to NY last November (2011).  Anyhow, I prepped the polish sausage & the sweet & sour sauce that it cooks in.  I’ll turn the crock pot on around 3 pm or 4 pm & let it cook for 3 hours or so till Jeff gets here.

The plan is to just hang out, have dinner, shoot some pool & have a few drinks.  Jeff ended up coming over early & I gave him the grand tour of the Bruno household (though we forgot the upstairs) and we chatted for a bit.  Then we headed out to run some errands…needed to introduce Jeff to some Tuaco for shots / drinks while we play pool later & then we just needed a few miscellaneous items.

When we got back home, we had dinner & started watching a movie.  That didn’t last as we stopped the movie & just chatted for a bit.  We then went & shot a couple games of pool & then went back & sat down & talked some more as I needed to rest.  I had a GREAT time…it was SO good to catch up with Jeff!  He left around midnight & Dawnette & I picked up a bit & then went to bed…

Pain: 5

BM x too many to count!

The Beginning…

Let me be up front…this is going to be pretty blunt & as descriptive as possible, so if you are squeemish, you might want to hit the back button on your browser at this point.

I was diagnosed with Rectal Cancer on February 10, 2012.  It wasn’t a complete surprise.  I had joked with my wife Dawnette a couple months earlier that I had a dream that the pain I was going through was actually cancer.  Kinda interesting when you fast-forward to today.

For some background, since roughly May 2011 I started experiencing some pain…because of the location, symptoms, etc. I figured it was hemorrhoids.  I don’t get them often, but you just do the usual Preparation-H & a week or so later you’re good to go.  This was a bit different though, the pain seemed a bit more intense.  And it only got exponentially worse.

After trying the Preparation-H for a couple weeks, I eventually went to the doctor in August (yes, it’s called procrastination).  My GP (Dr. Jennifer Culver)  gave me the latex glove treatment & told me I had hemorrhoids.  After giving me a couple of prescriptions, she told me to check back with her in 30-60 days.

During this time, the pain kept getting worse…more intense and accompanied by bleeding.  Not just the usual blood-tinged stool, but it started literally dripping blood.  Bowel movements became increasingly painful as well.  The stool wasn’t hard…it was fairly soft, but it was still painful nonetheless.  It got to the point where I was sitting on ice packs to help alleviate (what I thought was the) inflammation from the hemorrhoids.

After 60+ days of no relief, I figured I would try some herbal remedies.  I ordered some Mayinglong Musk Hemorrhoids Ointment Cream from Amazon.com & that seemed to alleviate the pain, at least temporarily…perhaps “sooth” the pain might be a better explanation.  I also started using “wet-wipes” that I saturated with Witch Hazel.  That had a slight soothing effect as well.  Remember, we thought we were treating hemorrhoids.  I also purchased some Horse Chestnuts (don’t ask, I have NO idea) & Butcher’s Broom (again, don’t ask…it said it would work, so I was up to trying just about anything).

By this point, I had also started doing HOT baths with epsom salt…this also seemed to provide temporary pain relief….and then there were the ice packs…sitting on an ice pack tended to sooth what we thought were swollen hemorrhoids.

In November 2011, Dawnette & I went to New York to visit with family, go to the City (we went & saw Wicked on Broadway), etc.  On the way back (literally the day before we left), I came down with some sort of facial skin rash of some sort.  I thought we could wait it out, but the cream we bought before heading to the airport to get back to Dallas did nothing.  So on the way home, we stopped at the Frisco Urgent Care facility.  They gave me some steroidal cream & then gave me an additional prescription for my hemorrhoids.

Two months went by & I had enough…I went back to my GP (Jennifer Culver) on January 17th & had a follow-up visit, explaining to her that the bleeding wasn’t the usual blood-tinged stool, but rather, dripping blood.  She also was surprised that I was still in the severe pain I was in, so she set me up with a visit to an oncologist.

It took me nearly 2 weeks to get an appointment, but on February 30th, 2011, I met with Dr. Burlesson & got the rubber glove treatment.  He too thought it was hemorrhoids, though was concerned with the bleeding & pain.  He set me up with a colonoscopy for February 10th, 2012.

The night before was fun of course!  I delayed starting the colonscopy preparation regimine as I had bowling with the guys on Thursdays.  So instead of starting at 5 p.m. as I should have, I didn’t start until 9 p.m.  Let’s just say it made for a L-O-N-G night!  I took the stool softener pills at 7 p.m. while at bowling.  When I got home shortly after 9 p.m., I mixed the Miralax into the 64oz of Gatorade.  I started drinking 8 oz every 15 minutes.  It took effect fairly quickly…the cleaning/purging began within about an hour.  The first hour or two wasn’t so bad, but after that let’s just say I didn’t stray too far from the bathroom!  I finally finished up around 2 or 3 a.m.

A couple of hours later, we were up & headed to the facility across from Medical City Dallas.  I was a bit nervous/apprehensive, but we got there at 7:30 a.m. for the 8:30 a.m. appointment.  They got me in pretty quick, prepped me for the procedure and took me into the room.  The anesthesiologist started and I was out quickly.

The procedure itself seemed to be over in no time.  As I was awakening from the anesthesia, I remember they brought Dawnette to me where I was sent to recover.  Dr. Burleson told me that the result of the colonoscopy was that I didn’t have hemorrhoids, but it was rectal cancer.

To be honest, all this time I had been so frustrated with myself as I thought I was simply being a wuss for not being able to handle the pain from stupid hemorrhoids.  At least I knew I wasn’t being a wuss…it was something a heck of a lot more severe than just hemorrhoids!

He then told me that the cancer itself was 3 1/2 – 4″ in size (6-8+ centimeters)…the problem is that the rectum is only roughly 6 inches in size itself, so my cancer is over half the size of my rectum!  Well, that explains the ridiculous pain I am in!