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Chronic pain due to radiation damage for colorectal cancer

Posted by @desperatelyseeking in Colorectal Cancer, Nov 7, 2012

I have become hopeless. I had colorectal cancer in 2004 and now have a permanent colostomy. My problem is that i have chronic abdominal and back pain. My dr says the pain is probably from the damage of scarred tissue due to the radiation treatment and the surgery i had to undergo. But probably isnt a real answer and there is no real cure. I have had many tests done to find the problem, but because they see no cancer, they assume it is scarred tissue from the treatments. It has become worse each year. I cant even live my life like i would like. There are days that the pain is so severe that my pain meds dont take care of it and my body reacts by vomitting. Then I have to take a trip to the hospital where they admitt me so give me meds and fluid thru IV. I'm miserable and too young to have my life altered in such a way. There are days I want to just give up. Does anyone have this problem or these symptoms? I really dont know what else to do. I was told that a friend of a friend had radiation damage that resulted in parts of her bowel dying...The Mayo clinic is the only one that found it after going to a few different dr's where we live that have told her what they are telling me. Any advice or stories relating to my experience would be much appreciated. Thank you


Posted by @elizabethrice, Nov 8, 2012

Hello - thanks for starting this conversation. I checked with some of our experts and they suggest that if recurrent cancer and small bowel enteritis have already been ruled out, pain rehab could be the most helpful thing for you. If you haven't already found this information, I'd suggest you look into the options available at the Mayo Clinic Pain Rehabilitation Center: Best, Elizabeth


Posted by @desperatelyseeking, Nov 8, 2012

I'm not sure what small bowel enteritis is. I do have bowel movements, but they are not regular. I do know that it takes me about 12 hours for my food to digest. When I vomit, usually my food isn't even digested yet. And as my vomitting becomes uncontrolable I end up becoming dehydrated. I end up having to go to the ER because the pain is unbareable and the vomitting don't stop resulting in dry heaves. This happens about every 3 months. My potassium drops very low, my white blood count usually is affected, and at times I run a low grade fever. So, about every 3 months I end up in the hospital for 3-5 days to get everything under control. Are there any test that the mayo clinic has that may detect something that a ct & x-rays wont? I know I went for over a year with problems before they realized that my gall bladder was completely filled with stones. I had been hospitalized at least 4 times before they found it because the pain was in places other than the text book places. I guess because of everything my body has been thru. I'do have a colostomy that is permanent. With everything I've been thru, I am concerned that maybe something has been overlooked.


Posted by @elizabethrice, Nov 8, 2012

I'm not a physician and we cannot provide specific medical advice online, but I did find the following information on Radiation Enteritis: If you'd like to be evaluated at Mayo Clinic, please click on the button at the top of the page to request an appointment.


Posted by @johnburghorn, Dec 1, 2012

Good morning desperately seeking. I have had chronic pain for about five years and have had five neck and back surgeries. I have also been diagnosed with probable ALS. My pain is also less than 50% controlled. The past few mornings I awakened about 3:30 with a lot of pain. I started praying pretty intensely and for a brief time my pain was gone. I also visit Hospice patients and have found that when I can get my focus on something other than myself, things get better. The worse thing for me is to focus on myself. I will be praying for you. John


Posted by @dda, Dec 2, 2012

Absolutely the best way to forget chronic pain is to focus on anything else: work, home and most of all helping others. Accupuncture was better than any drug the doctors prescribed!


Posted by @wickqcom, Dec 6, 2012

i had mine for 15years been moved 10 times because of hernias they said they have no place to moveit to so they are taking about revirsing it back to normal they cant i dont have what they neeed todo that i have another hernia and mystoma goes in to where its hard to where a bag and i pay 12.00 a bag and i go threw them like you wouldnt believe anything comes out it burns reallly bad thanxs for listening


Posted by @waynebeach, Mar 23, 2014

I have rectal cancer stage III diagnosed back in Nov. 2012, and had radiation therapy that ended four weeks ago Tuesday. The pain that diminished somewhat after the treatments has come back with a vengeance. Eating anything triggers it so all I've been doing is trying to sleep to forget about it. Pain relievers bind me up to the degree that they cause worse pain than being without. Please let me know if anyone has had a similar experience and how they have coped. I have an appointment with a surgeon this Friday and a MRI scheduled tomorrow. The tumor is very close to the anus and will most likely be fitted with a colostomy, which is something I have been trying to avoid. Went to Mexico for hyperthermia for three weeks, along with various IV's. Any help is appreciated. Thank you.


Posted by @nicoleferrara, Apr 15, 2014

Hi, Wayne. I am unable to share a personal experience, but I can refer you to some Mayo Clinic online resources that might be useful. Our general information page for colorectal cancer is here: This website includes information on treatment and drugs, alternative medicine and coping and support.

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