I am soon to be 47 year old female that was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal (anal cancer) at the ripe young age of 43. Thanks to a dr. dismissing me as someone in need of anti-depressants disguised as pain meds for nearly a year, I was stage 3c at formal diagnosis with involvement of nearby lymph nodes.
I went through standard protocol for this type of cancer: 2 -96 hour stints of chemo, mytomycin and 5FU. Lucky me, I had this for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I also had 36 rounds of front/back full pelvic radiation. The chemo was given about weeks 2 and what should have been 4 of radiation.
While my cancer responded well to treatment, I did not. I suffered from those obituary worthy Ďcomplications from cancer treatmentí. I was told both during and after my hospital stay that the doctors had not expected me to live through Christmas day. I required 2 blood transfusions, I spent a full month in the hospital so high on pain meds I donít remember 2+ weeks. I was unable to eat, drink or eliminate for over 2 weeks. I was on TPN, Total Paranatel Nutrition for 3 weeks which is calories given intravenously because I could not eat. I had to have 4 anti-nausea meds IV simultaneously, IV fluids, a pain pump of 16 mg of morphine per hour, a suction tube tied to my mouth to suction out, as I am told, the lining of my stomach that I was vomiting up and the resultant blood. On the bright side, the month in the hospital gave me time off from radiation for sick behavior and I did not experience bad burning on my bum as many others have.
For all the pain and hell, which I have decided I will not go through again, I beat the odds, surprised the doctors and lived to marry my boyfriend who was by my side so often in the hospital I woke up (after 2 weeks) to a cot beside my bed with him in it. It will be 4 years since my treatment come January 30th or so. I canít say I am NED because I have discontinued follow up check ups. As I said, I will not go through that hell again. If it comes back I will fight the good fight as long as I can and then I will go with God.
I have and still suffer from numerous side, after and long term effects but thanks to a Naturopath and a holistic internal med MD I am doing well enough to run my own very busy bookkeeping business with 2 employees (one of whom is recovering from her own battle with a rare stomach cancer and oddly enough has the same oncologist in another state as I had), be starting a photography business and go hiking and kayaking when time allows.
While I am told this cancer generally strikes older folks, Most people I have been in contact with have been +/- a few years of my age and both men and women. I also had early stage cervical cancer when I was just 22. These 2 cancers are often related though generally not distanced by so many years.