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  1. #1
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    Cancer/obstruction help requested

    Hi, everyone. I was wondering if any of you can help me with a problem that has been caused by undergoing numerous cancer treatments.

    All the scar tissue from prior surgery and radiation can sometimes press on my small intestine causing painful kinks (called bowel obstructions.) They are quite painful, as they block the food from digesting properly until the kink reverses itself, often a day or so after it starts.

    Once you have the obstruction, there is not much that can be done for the pain. So my number one prioroty is to try to avoid having one. The doctors know very little about what triggers an attack. So almost everything I know about avoiding them I have learned by avoiding foods that seemed linked to attacks I had in the past, eliminating any waist-twisting motions from my exercise, wearing loose clothing whenever I can, especially around the house, etc. Yet I still get them a few times a year.

    I have never met anyone who gets them, so I thought I'd come here. I started a thread a year ago when I was considering clinical trials and received a variety of very helpful responses. So hopefully there are at least a few of you who are familiar with this type of problem.

    Do you know of anything I can do to avoid getting a bowel obstruction?

    Do you know of anything, if I do get one, that can help alleviate the pain until the kink reverses itself?

    Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
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    Hi mikemba!

    I'm glad to see you

    Unfortunately I don't have any good advice for you. Every couple months or so, I get tummy pains which are excruciating, but go away. I have no idea what causes it, but I just fast for about 24-48 hours, and that seems to do the trick.

  3. #3
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    Something you may want to try is a stool softener (like Colace/docusate sodium) once or twice a day, to keep things softer and moving through easier. Try to drink plenty of fluids if you can, as that helps as well with stuff passing through without getting blocked as much.
    I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally.~W. C. Fields

  4. #4

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    Mikemba -

    Are you getting treatments for colon cancer? There are some amazing online support groups that can give you some really good advice. Most of the people have experienced the same symptoms and can tell you what worked for them.

    PM me for more information!

  5. #5
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    Are you getting treatments for colon cancer? There are some amazing online support groups that can give you some really good advice. Most of the people have experienced the same symptoms and can tell you what worked for them.
    Although I am no longer undergoing treatment, I was treated for colon cancer many times over the last 10 years. Thank you, harekrshna43, I will PM you for the info.

  6. #6

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    To speed things up, I posted your question on one of the lists I'm on and got this response from someone at Colon Cancer Alliance.

    I will send you other suggestions as they come in.

    All the best.


    ....... thought I'd send you my 2 cents. My mom has many blockages due to food/scar tissue etc. She refuses to keep a food journal to see what triggers but having been with her on a few occassions, I think it has to do with nuts, ice cream and chinese food - not very scientific I know.

    The best way to treat them is of course, bowel rest - nothing but liguids for a few days. Her first clue is bad gas. I tell her, when you have the bad gas, you have to go on bowel rest; otherwise, the food she keeps putting in will be blocked and she will start with the throwing up, the pain, and end up in the hospital due to dehydration.

    Ask your friend if her body gives her clues it's beginning to happen and if so, go on bowel rest. Most of the time, they need to go to hospital for fluids or pain management because she's right - it's painful!!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kasey View Post
    Something you may want to try is a stool softener (like Colace/docusate sodium) once or twice a day, to keep things softer and moving through easier. Try to drink plenty of fluids if you can, as that helps as well with stuff passing through without getting blocked as much.
    I would add that staying on something like Colace is helpful. Don't quit taking it because you feel ok or go back to it when there are problems. After my recent surgery I had issues with that and had to be convinced that a pill once or twice a day was much more useful than a pill when there was a problem.

  8. #8

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    Hi Mikemba -

    Advice from someone I highly respect -- she is what I would consider an "expert" on all aspects of colorectal cancer -

    I have had lots of bowel obstructions, partial and complete. I had
    several surgeries to clear adhesions, but surgery makes more scar
    tissue. Complete obstructions are emergencies, but I try to manage
    pain which comes and goes but isn't outrageous by going on a partial
    or complete liquid diet.

    That can include ice cream, puddings, and creamed soup if you are not
    lactose intolerant.

    The first step with serious pain is usually hospitalization with an NG
    tube which can take pressure off the bowel.

    But since my last surgery four years ago, I've managed okay by cutting
    back on solid food when I have pain for a few days.

    Some people are scar tissue makers and will have more problems with
    adhesions and bowel obstructions. If pain can't be managed, surgery
    to remove scar tissue or cut it away also is a possibility. There are
    now films that can be put into the abdominal cavity to reduce new
    adhesion formation after surgery.

    This is not an unusual complication of abdominal surgery, but can be a
    difficult one.

  9. #9
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    I am also very glad to see you mikemba. Sending you much love and good thoughts...

  10. #10
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    Mikemba, nice to see you !!! I have been thinking about you . I have nothing to really add sorry but the suggestions of liquid diets seem to make sense, have you tried that yet?
    Please keep us all updated on how you are doing and best wishes

  11. #11

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    Mikemba - I hope you are feeling OK. I have received a few more replies to the post I made on the COLON cancer list on your behalf - you are not alone in your condition.

    Here are more suggestions:

    I have had a partial obstruction as well as numerous spasm episodes since my resection. For an actual obstruction I have gone to the ER or been admitted to the hospital where I was put on a liquid diet and given narcotic pain medications. This was very effective and the obstruction did clear without an NG tube or surgery (although those would have been necessary if the obstruction did not clear). For the periodic episodes of spasms, the doctors have prescribed a medication to reduce the spasms (hyomax) as well as pain meds (percocet) and a nausea med (granisetron) to take at home. I carry a dose of this in my purse at all times so I am prepared to take action immediately since I find the longer it goes on the worse it gets. I also go on liquid diet and stay on it for the rest of the day at least. I am not really sure if the combination ends the pain or it is just coincidence, but it does seem like they end sooner with the medication. It could be the placebo effect, but hey, I'll take it. I also find that holding a heated rice bag over the afflicted area (mine are always in the same spot) helps keep my muscles from "joining in" on the pain.

    AND

    I have lived with this problem for well over a decade and sympathize with you. I too have partial obstructions and they become very painful from time to time. The pain seems to be from bacterial overgrowth that develops when the material cannot continue to pass through the intestines. Antibiotic treatment helps when the pain becomes intolerable. I don't know if you have a problem with overgrowth but it is something to consider.

  12. #12
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    Hi everyone. Thanks for your kind wishes and helpful infomration. All of it is very comforting.

  13. #13

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    My husband doesn't have scar tissue to deal with but my brother does and both of their doctors recommend that they eat Activa at least once a day but prefer twice a day to keep things moving and the good bacteria in their systems. As long as they do this, they tend to not have any issues.
    Have you hugged your kids and told them you love them today?

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemba View Post
    Hi everyone. Thanks for your kind wishes and helpful infomration. All of it is very comforting.
    It's good to see you posting, mikemba.
    I hope that the input from all the caring people here helps you,

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