Tough Day Today

Thank you all for sharing your pain and suffering during treatment.  You ARE true warriors.  Reality is setting in today and I am having a mentally tough time processing all of this.  Started crying after hearing a very beautiful song today appreciating it in a deeply personal way that I have never done before. I appreciate your honesty when sharing with me all the difficult moments while fighting this disease. Your comments will assist me greatly as I prepare for this battle.  A thought just came to me.  Would it a good idea to self-donate blood just in case I need transfusion for low blood count? I know I'm crazy right? Just going through the disaster preparedness drill.  Also, I am open to any good tips to minimize the damage from treatment.

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There have been a few people on here who have needed blood towards the end of treatment. But that is not a routine development. You could certainly talk to your Dr. about it.
Gearing up for treatment is intense. I found the week before treatment and the week after treatment to be two of the hardest. 1 mentally, 1 physically.
Easterly, Janice like this comment
I had blood transfusions after my second round of chemo and it went well. They gave me IV steroids at the same time and I felt great the next day - I woke up and had chicken and mashed potatoes for breakfast! If you donate your own blood, it could possible make you anemic now - make sure to ask your doc about that. I think blood that gets transfused these days is very safe - I wouldn’t worry. When you go through treatment, we will all be here to help you deal with side effects as they arise. If you know “too much” ie every possible thing we all went through, it might cause needless anxiety. There have been some people here who sailed through treatment really well - think positively!
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Hi there,

I had two blood infusions at the same time. It was also towards the end of treatment and really helped me feel better. At the end of my first day of treatment, at the dinner table, my husband announced to our son. Your mom is a real hero. Once I made the decision to go forward, I was determined. I did everything I could find to help my success. Friend prayed for me, I did a visualized during each radiation treatment of destroying the invaders, think Luke Skywalker shooting through the death star, and other characters. But, it also helps to rally your family and friends to your side. If it's terrifying to tell people exactly what you have, just say colon cancer or of the digestive track. Whatever. You need their support at this time. All the best, and keep us posted.
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Maridel. I chuckled when I read your advice on what to tell people. When a person has cancer, the first question is 'what kind?' I had a system -- the more distant the person was to me (emotionally, that is), the farther up the GI tract my cancer went -- anal, then rectal, then colon, then intestinal. Ironically, anal probably has the best outcome if treated early!
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I think blood transfusions are not so common with this treatment, but don’t really know the statistics. I had very low WBC in the first two weeks from the chemo, but was given neulasta shot and it went right back up. Advice to minimize side effects: rest as much as you need to, drink lots of water, take L-glutamine to help your gut stay healthy, if you have no appetite drink Ensure, and make sure your medical team listens to your comments and complaints. You are your best advocate in this process!
Easterly, Porter like this comment
I second all of what Julie wrote. Do not think so far ahead, so as to cause yourself needless anxiety. Take each day one step at a time and if issues arise ask your doctor and come to BFAC for support. Everyone is different in the way they respond to treatment. I did need several transfusions, but had no side effects using donated blood. Save your own as your body is already in battle mode.
Easterly likes this comment
One of the best things I did was to continue exercising (walking). I think it helped my body deal with it. Ice chips during Mitomycin infusions helped to keep mouth sores away.
Alexis, Elaine like this comment
I needed blood transfusions twice during my treatment, my blood took a beating and the blood transfusion was great. But don't worry about the blood counts, just keep thinking of short term right now. Too much information isn't always helpful, and you can't control everything. Some people do just sail through this treatment.....
I always thought of the people who were praying or thinking of me while I was lying on the radiotherapy table, I found it very comforting. Keep hydrated always. You will get through this.
Donna likes this comment
Once you make decision and have a plan of treatment, then you'll feel much better. Trust me.
I felt SO much better mentally after I began treatment because I felt like I was finally doing something to go after this disease. Fear of the unknown can overcome us, but is a normal emotion. I say let the emotions out now and then get ready for battle. Ask your doctors about donating blood. Luckily, I did not require a transfusion during my treatment. You will get through this, you will, and we are here to help you!
Itsme, Julie like this comment
The decision to FIGHT the beast helped focus my attention to the real enemy. You will survive and THRIVE, but don't delay. As a cardiac nurse we say time is tissue, but it may apply here too. You have found the best site for support. We are here for you
Kim, Julie like this comment
I am thinking of you and holding you in lovely thoughts and prayers. You will find your way.

Know that everyone's treatment moves along differently. When my doctor would say "this is what is going to happen....this is what you will be doing... etc etc" I would say "we'll see."

ask your doctor about the blood transfusion idea you have. it's a good one i think. I had a transfusion towards the end and for me, that was a hard decision to put someone else's blood in my body. But it was the right decision.

If you want time to give blood and wait to start, ask about that. Be on your own schedule. This is a slow growing cancer. I am very tiny and so I told them I wanted to wait two weeks so that I could put on 10 lbs. I did it and was so very glad I did. Starting at 92 bs a loss of 18 would have been a lot. But at 102, not as bad!

Listen to your body. You know it better than anyone. Listen to your heart. I disagree with somoeone below who said call your cancer colon cancer. Be proud of yourself. This is just another body part and being a warrior is bringing awareness of challenges into the light. Never be ashamed of yourself or what you have.

There will be trauma around the treatment which is intrusive and can seem to violate. Know that you will heal and you will be whole and vibrant and even more fully alive in the future, having weathered this storm.

The best thing I did was make my radiation treatments the best part of my day. I wore a headset and listened to Yoga Nidra for 25 min. each time - not only did it help to heal me (I set an intention of minimizing burns but healing cancer and it really did work) but I actually looked forward to this part of my day each time. The radiation team saw the power of it and began suggesting it to others. Be in touch with me if you want some recordings, that will be my gift to you my anal cancer sister.

Ask yourself what you need, seek support wherever you can, ask for help even for the things you do not need help with and you will - in time- shine more brightly than ever!

I am 11 years out. One of the "older" success stories on this site. I got it before Farrah and before it suddenly became more common. In 2006, there was not one thing on the web about anal cancer in women! I guess I was a pioneer in some ways.

I had an amazing life before cancer, but do you know what? My life now is so rich and I am filled with more humbleness and kindness and generosity - I actually love myself more than ever and feel more at peace every day.

Be strong, be soft, be open, be subborn. You've got this!

4 people like this comment
You are so inspiring. I start treatment in 3 days. Please continue to post!
Don't go too far ahead. I needed 2 blood transfusions and did fine. They make you sign your life away before getting them and that freaks you out. I would not deplete my body any more that I have to beforehand. You will have your rough patches but will be fine. My radiologist recommended using Aquaphor on your skin everywhere down there. It helps but you have to wash it off prior to treatment. I have eczema now from the radiation, never had it before and Aquaphor is a life saver! Lots of information out there but your experience will be unique and you have to cope in your own way. All the advice in the world won't help you. Just use what you can and don't sweat the rest. I did get my teeth cleaned prior to treatment and had my dentist get me the special mouthwash ordered for the mouth sores. You might want to do that.
Hello posting late as I was traveling (yes, you will be able to travel!). Want to let you know that there is a website for us,, which I set up seven years ago post treatment, and it has lots of tips from BFAC friends and others on how on to get through the treatment and, in some ways more challenging, the post-treatment years. Hope there is something to help you! HANG IN THERE!!!
Lauraanderson likes this comment
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Vital Info


April 10, 2018

February 18, 1966

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

February 21

Stage 2

2.1 - 3.0 cm

Grade 2


Proton Therapy

Mitomycin, Xeloda

Causes sense of fear and hopelessness

Cancer can be managed and cured.

Prayers and heartfelt concerns

Plant based diet. IV vitamin C infusion. Homeopathic treatments.

No mets


Memorial Sloan Kettering

Bleeding with BM, itching initially. Protrusion of tumor 3 mos after diagnosis started as a small polyp and gradually progressing to looking like a mushroom accompanied by increasing pain and rectal bleeding



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