12 week check up post treatment

Well, I'm glad this milestone is behind me! CT clear, anoscope today revealed the cancer is gone! Blood work results to come on Friday.  Relieved .. however, this is just one more step on this horrific journey down Anal Cancer Lane. I realized laying on the CT table that this is my new normal. It brought tears to my eyes. Other than that pesky "mass in my a**" I was a healthy person. No prescription meds, only natural supplements, ate healthy, exercised daily, practiced yoga 7 days a week, meditated consistently, got consistent massages .. seems you can do much towards good health and it didn't matter.  Frankly, I've had my fill of virus' these past 6 months!

Still struggling with the after effects of chemo and radiation. Fatique and unreliable bowels test my patience daily. My pelvis feels "stuck" and it seems any muscle that attaches at the pelvis hurts, aches, and has limited flexibility. I'm walking and I'm back on my yoga mat daily.  I'm seeing improvement, but geeezzz I'm weak! I'm a Licensed Massage Therapist and I'm finally going back to work next week.  I'm very concerned If I have the strength to provide service to my clients. Starting back reduced schedule. Any suggestions for the next step from you warriors?   

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Annabelle, Shannon threw a punch at your cancer.
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Wonderful, NED!!

It's just not fair! Horrific it is!
I'm hoping you can work an amount of time that gives you extra rest. I hope you can take advantage of the unemployment options somehow. Doesn't seem fair they'll give it for covid symptoms, but not for cancer recovery, but surely there's a loophole.
Daisy and Tyndall are so experts with advise. And ofcourse, if you can go to a PT Pelvic specialist. They just had a bit on NBC 3rd hour talked about pelvic strengthening; mainly in regard to childbirth, but she did mention radiation damage. I'll post it if I can find it.
You are young; that will be in your favor!
My suggestion in general; listen to your body. If you need to lay down, do it. That will pay off in the long run. I find some days I feel depressed or non motivated; a nap always turns things around.
Big hug!
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Thank you for replying. I will look into a PT pelvic specialist. I was going to get PT and then Covid-19 kept me home. Didn’t want to take a chance with my suppressed immune system.
Easterly, Cheryl like this comment
The bowel thing takes a while. Add L glutamate in for cell repair to something you drink in the morning.
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Will do. Thanks!
I did not finish that before I posted it. The aches and stiffness in the pelvis are now after radiation. Just keep being gentle and stretching and it should get better.
I too did yoga 6 or 7 days a week before treatment. Never got sick. Only supplements. No prescription meds at all. I am now 5 years out. I have developed diabetes that I am on medication for a. Prior to cancer treatment come out I could control my genetics with diet and exercise. Things have changed.
Sending hugs, love, and prayers
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Hi Susan so happy for the good news from your tests. Yes. This us the new normal now and recovery will be ongoing. For me, I couldn't even lift a bag after treatment. I work out in gym and was only able to lift 10% of normal. It took 6 months to get to half and 1.5 years post treatment I am at 80%. I don't think I can get to 100% again since chemo, I noticed that I am getting tendonitis often, any twist or turn the wrong way will incur pain and suffering for months to come. So I took it easy and not set high expectations for myself. It's a good thing u were so healthy prior to AC. I didn't return to work for 3 months post treatment because my job entails functioning at full throttle so I stayed out until I'm ready. If possible go slow. Things will improve.
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Hmmm ... was thinking of starting to lift to help in my recovery. I think I’ll wait a little longer before starting. Thanks for sharing!
Congratulations! As time begins to pass your whole body, mind, and soul will improve and heal as well. Far less tears, fears, aches, etc. I try to tell myself I’m on a new journey, finding a new normal. I miss my old life something fierce, but I’m so thankful for each day I get to spend with those I love. It’s a balancing act but you will find your rhythm ❤️
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Great words! I miss my old life something fierce as well, just had never used those words. So fitting. I don't always like admitting that- don't want to appear ungrateful for being a survivor.
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Hi Susan...just to give some reassurance, I was twenty years older than you when I underwent treatment...took me some time to recover but I did go back to work (running a museum, not quite a strenuous as your work!) for several months. My biggest problem was being sure in the morning that I was done with the bathroom, but I just arranged to get to the office by 10. I did see an exercise therapist to get a workout for strenthening pelvic muscles and it did help! EAt carefully but treat yourself every now and then as well! You WILL get to the "new normal."
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My word .. you are a fighter! I can’t imagine going thru this twenty years older. PT is definitely in my future. So is a big bowl of buttered popcorn chased with ice cream! 😀
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Agree with Smurf and others who advise taking it slowly as you add back foods ... I had a BAD problem with ice cream, think I'm the only one on this blog, but just to say...chemo did a number on dairy protein...fermented stuff like cheese or yogurt was fine. Now I more or less eat any ole thing, including ice cream!
Take a deep breath, be in the moment and enjoy your life. But don’t forget to carry a purse/bag with you at all times filled with underwear, wipes and a plastic bag in case there’s no garbage can. I learned that wearing two pairs of underwear and carrying a pocket scissors to cut one off is a saver for me trying to take off my jeans in a public stall. After treatment I told my doctor I was going to drink, smoke, and do drugs because obviously doing the healthy stuff doesn’t keep you from getting cancer! Lol.
oh my gosh; I don't think your kidding?
You really cut the bad undies off? OMG
Yes. If I have a small accident and just clean myself up with wipes and cut off the bad undies. I have cheap underwear from amazon on auto reorder every month. Lol. It makes it easier and not humiliating to try and take off my clothes in a stall. The scissors look like a small tube of lipstick so I can bring them in anywhere I go. It probably sounds crazy but it works for me. Lol
not at all!
How's the drinking, smoking, and drugs, going?🤪
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Lol!! I can’t bring myself to do it. I didn’t do any of these things and I ate healthy and walked a lot. I got cancer. I just felt like what the heck! Now I eat more ice cream and chocolate. That’s my way of being a rebel and living on the edge.
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Enjoy! I think most of the ladys that got this were in that category, and had no history of different partners, also in my case no sex in 30 years. But here we are.
So, we go on and just appreciate the good; (and treats)
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Nicole, Easterly like this comment
Already carry an emergency bag. Need to add a scissors and plastic bags. Thanks!
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Amen to the chocolate! No guilt felt here anymore when I eat chocolate.
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Easterly there is a reason I like you!
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Keep doing what you are doing. Did you get a dilator yet? The strength will get better. I remember walking up some stairs thinking man I am weak. Continue to keep hydrated. Not so soft stools are no fun. If you were taking a nap, when you return to work go to bed early. Baths in epsom salt help relax. If you can find a pelvic floor therapist go. Mine helped me a lot. Going outside for walks helps me. When God winks at you look up and smile.
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Shannon likes this comment
CRS recommended dilator yesterday. Will make an appointment with Gynecologist today. Not looking forward to it. Does it hurt? Wondering if the health benefits will out weigh the pain/discomfort. I’m post menopause and would rather sleep than have sex. (My husbands perception may be different, however, I haven’t asked!)
Lori, Shannon like this comment
It does help. Just go slow. I think of it as healing. And of course sex is the last thing I am wanting to do:) But I want to live and one day enjoy it again. Also I want to be the best me I can. The therapist helped me a lot. Once I learned how and what to do and also for it to not hurt it made me want to use the dilator more.
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unless you have been using the dilator, you'll want to explain that before you get in the "position"
Make sure they have a child size. Maybe just ask for consultation...
SUSAN likes this comment
Great news on your follow-up tests! Congratulations! I can say from my own experience that side effects do get better with time. I learned what foods triggered bowel urgency/diarrhea, but it was trial and error and took some time. Fatigue also took some time to lift. As for aches and pains, I still suffer from pelvic stiffness and limited range of motion and flexibility. However, I remind myself often how fortunate I am to be a survivor for almost 12 years. Celebrate all steps forward, no matter how small. I wish you all the best!
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Thanks. 12 year survivor. Wonderful!
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You will get stronger each day. Take care of yourself! When you are tired rest. Being outdoors helps. Just a nice walk. And stretching
SUSAN, Cheryl like this comment
Sending happy birthday wishes your way Susan!
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Happy Day! Hope you can find some way to celebrate! And let us know how you are doing...
SUSAN, Cheryl like this comment
Started back to work this week. It’s going well. Can’t say I celebrated today given the strangeness of life these days, however, I’m grateful to be well enough to do what I love. Helping people who are in pain with therapeutic massage.
Helen Marshall, Cheryl like this comment
Keep going Susan, sounds like you are doing good, even though good looks different these days.
I'm 16 months post treatment and even though it's so slow, body does get stronger and behaves better. My son is your age, so I'm sure my age adds to my difficulties, but like you I was practicing a healthy life style. Seems this CA doesn't care Lol but at least it probably helped me get thru each day.
Try not to overdo it, I made that mistake. Had to regroup!
Glad you are using this group as you heal, I wouldn't want to have done it without them.
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Vital Info


March 7, 2020


May 8, 1963

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Squamous Cell carcinoma in the anus

November 21, 2019

Stage 2

2.1 - 3.0 cm


The disruption to my wellness and everyday lifestyle.

My only control is to surrender to the moment.

Practice patience.



Non judgemental support.

Sarah Cannon

Rest and be patient. Healing from treatment is a moment by moment process!

Think positive, when you struggle with this, forgive yourself.

February 6, 2020

Waiting to find out if treatment was successful.

Rectal bleeding, pain with sitting, change in bowel habits, anal itching, fatigue.






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