Biopsy next week but already have so much pain

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Shortish back story - been having problems with what I thought were internal hemorrhoids for a long time (longer than I'd like to admit).  Had a really bad case of constipation due to taking Zofran for covid nausea in Sept.  Started having additional problems after that with more bleeding, some minor bowel movement pain and some minor leakage.  Again, thought I might have a small fissure or inflamed my hemorrhoid due to the constipation evacuation.  Started using creams, etc.  and kept saying to myself, I should get this checked out.  But busy life, the holidays...I put it off. 

Well the week before Christmas things took a turn for the worse.  Something popped out of my anus (it was small and hard but not painful to touch) and I started to have a lot more pain with bowel movements.  Stinging pain for 20-30 minutes after the BM.  I saw Gyno on 12/29 and she said "small external hemorrhoid" and gave my hydrocortisone.  I called her a few days later with increased pain and bleeding.  She wanted to refer me to GI, but her nurse actually suggested a colorectal surgeon might be quicker (and she was totally right!) 

I saw CRS on Monday (1/8).  Told him my symptoms and he said "sounds like a fissure," then did an exam (which was very painful).  He left the room and came back and said he didn't see any evidence of a fissure or hemorrhoids.  What the Gyno thought was a hemorrhoid he called a "skin tag" and he said he felt a mass and saw a lot of inflammation.  He said I needed a biopsy and surgical exam ASAP.  I am schedule for biopsy with general anesthesia on 1/19.   I read his office note on the online portal.  It say "anal mass, most likely squamous cell carcinoma."

I am extremely concerned with the amount of pain I am having and what that means.  I can barely walk (it feels like my anus is ripping with every step), I have random sharp shooting pain up through my anus and rectum (sometime when just sitting or laying down) and terrible pain with BM.  And lots of bleeding.  Mostly with BM, but I have had some spotting in my underwear.  

Does this amount of pain and symptoms equate to the size and stage of the cancer/tumor?  How am I going to handle the treatment if I am already in this much pain?  How am I going to get through the next few weeks until I even start treatment.  

I am so worried and I am so upset with myself for not getting this all checked sooner! 

  • Hi ESB,

    I'm SO sorry you're in this state, and unfortunately I know all too well how it feels. I had ongoing anal pain for two years, and heard internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids, skin tags, fissures, had a colonoscopy, a hemorrhoidectomy, and a whole lot of 'Well, you might as well get used to it' until I got the diagnosis no one wants.

    Except that after all that, it was a relief just to HAVE a diagnosis, and a direction to go.

    It does sound like anal cancer, although I hope it's not. 

    The treatment, while no picnic, doesn't just hammer you all at once. It builds, and while almost all of us get some of the side effects, most of us don't get them all. You should get pain medication, just remember that the really effective pain meds cause constipation, so you have to use stool softeners as well.

    Equnip yourself now with a Sitz bath if you don't have one, and a peri bottle for cleaning purposes. Since you're already having bad pain with movements, try actually moving your bowels in the Sitz bath (they're easy to clean and keep handy.) Get some Epson salts for baths too, they soothe the affected area. Use your peri-bottle to clean if you need to, and pat dry- no wiping! And get some unscented wet wipes, you're probably already too sore for paper.

    If you can, line up help. You'll want rides to and from treatment when the pain increases and/or you're using pain meds, someone to walk the dog and so forth. The first few weeks of treatment aren't so bad, but it gets tough towward the end, and the first few weeks of recovery. Plan to do nothing but rest and heal.

    The good news (and there IS good news, and it's REALLY good) is that this cancer, while awful, is highly treatable and your chances of going on to have a brilliant life afterwards are very good.

    And you've been smart enough to find your way here. We'll be with you all through it.

    Keep us posted! And stop being upset with yourself! No one expects THIS!!!

    Hugs

    Suz

  • Hello ESB

    Many of us ignore symptoms and put them down to minor ailments and live to regret it, you certainly aren't the only one. I had skinny poos but no pain and eventually thought I should go to my GP where an extremely thorough doctor (although she found nothing at all that alarmed her) put me on the fast cancer pathway.  Two weeks later I was told I had a tumour and a spot on my lung.  Your pain sounds horrendous and as you are now 'in the system' shout out, and loudly, for strong pain relief to keep you going in the meantime.

    I am so sorry that you are going through so much at the moment, and please, please bare in mind that although the treatment can be brutal towards the end, it is for only just over five weeks.  Ridetbred has given some really good tips and there is no reason why you can't start putting them in to practise right now. The Sitzbath can be very soothing when you are in pain in your nether regions.  I use baby lotion for wiping even now two years down the line.  It might help if you start taking Laxido (a stool softener, not a laxitive) right now to help make the passage of your stools as easy as possible.

    It will seem that you have such a wait for treatment to begin, you will have various scans and investigations, and there is a lot going on behind the scenes.  Once they identify the cancer exactly a multi-disciplinary team have MDT meetings to tailor the best treatment for you.

    Please let us know how you get on, and we are always here should you need support.

    Sending big hugs

    Irene xx  

  • Hi  ,

    You’ve already received a couple of great replies from both Suz & Irene  so I just wanted to say how sorry I am that you’re going through this right now. As Irene has said maybe start using a stool softener such as Laxido or Movicol to ease the discomfort of having a bowel movement. I didn’t have a lot of pain prior to surgery/treatment but found Epsom salts really soothing during & after. I hope your biopsy on the 19th goes smoothly. We’re here to support you however we can so please just ask if you’ve any questions at all.

    Nicola 

  • Thank you all so much for your replies and kind words.  I appreciate it so much.  I had a better day today, and I am trying to stay positive.  

  • I’m pleased you had a better day  , it’s really difficult to stay positive sometimes especially when you’ve not yet had an official diagnosis, it’s like you’re in limbo & your mind automatically takes you to worst case scenario!

    I’m hoping that this is something else but should you receive a diagnosis of anal cancer there are many of us here that are testament that the treatment for this is very effective.

    I’m jumping ahead a bit here too but we’ve quite a few members here that have had temporary stomas, as advised by their oncologist/colorectal surgeon, this has generally been done to relieve difficulty/pain with bowel movements following diagnosis & whilst going through treatment, so although it’s probably something you don’t want to think about right now remember it’s an option if you find your pain unmanageable & have exhausted all other avenues. 

    Thinking of you.

    Nicola 

  • I just read your story and I am going through everything that you’re going through right now. Pain started in September and I also thought it was just hemorrhoids until it got so bad on December 23 I went to the doctor. I just had my biopsy done on Friday and it is cancer. I’m now in the process of getting appointment set up for chemo and radiation. I know the pain that you’re going through, it is horrible. I wish you all the luck with what you’re going through, I know we’re both gonna need it. 

  • Hi  ,

    Firstly welcome to the Macmillan online community although I’m so sorry to hear of your recent diagnosis. Everyone here will sympathise with what you’re going through right now as we’ve all been there too. The support here from our lovely members is really second to none, it’s what got me through my own diagnosis, surgery & treatment almost 6 years ago. Please just ask if you’ve any questions you think we may be able to help with. We’re here to support you however we can. 

    Nicola 

  • Hello Dogwatch

    I am really glad you have found this small community who all share this horrible disease but sorry you had the need.  Almost all of us have been through the chemo\radiotherapy and have tips to share, it can be quite brutal but is short and it is all worth it for a cancer-free life in the very near future.

    I won't overwhelm you with information right now but we are here when you are ready.

    Best of luck with your planning meeting.

    Irene xx

  • Thank you Nicola. This is my second go around with cancer. In 2001 I had testicular cancer, so I have a pretty good idea of what to expect. I will just be glad to get it over with

  • Hello Irene, I will take any advice but you have to offer in getting through these treatments. This is my second time round with cancer in 2001 I had testicular cancer and did 30 days of radiation treatments. From what I’m gathering this time route, it might be a little bit more intense, so any suggestions you might have to make it more tolerable would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance,