My Cancer Treatment Is Over, Now What?

You’ve finished treatment for your cancer and your oncologist has declared that you have no evidence of the disease. Now what? Stay tuned because in this video I’ll be talking about what to expect next, from the follow-up appointments to treatment recovery. If you’re new here I want to welcome you to my channel Life as a Cancer Survivor. My name is Jelena, and in May of 2016 I was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer. For my treatment, I went through 28 days of radiation and oral chemotherapy, I had a Lower Anterior resection or LAR surgery, which is where they remove your colon/rectum and I had an ileostomy created during that surgery, I went through eight rounds of the IV chemotherapy FOLFOX, and had my ileostomy reversed. So let’s get on with what happens after that treatment is over with.


My last round of IV chemotherapy was on March 28, 2017, and I was disconnected from the pump on March 30th, and on that day I was officially done with chemo. My treatment with my oncologist was complete so he basically said, “Bye, see you in three months!” When you’ve gotten used to going to the cancer center every two weeks for blood draws, pre-chemo appointments, chemotherapy, pump detachments, it’s a little weird knowing that you don’t have to go back for three months. Yes, I still had my ileostomy reversal surgery in two months but I didn’t have any more oncology appointments. No more visits to the cancer center. It’s a little nerve-wracking not being under constant surveillance and not actively working on killing cancer in your body. Now it’s time to attempt to heal for good.


The National Comprehensive Cancer Network has guidelines published for guidance on what a recommended follow-up schedule is for colorectal cancer patients that were diagnosed from stage one through stage four. Here’s the table that I’ll walk you through. There’s one column for patients that were diagnosed Stage one then another for Stage two, three, and four patients. For stage one, if you aren’t having any symptoms then the only recommended follow-up treatment is a colonoscopy after one year. If that one comes out clean, another one in three years, and if that one is clean another one in five years.


The follow-up schedule for patients that are diagnosed Stage 2-4 is much more comprehensive. First, we’ll start out with the appointment schedule with your oncologist. The first two years post-treatment is an appointment with your oncologist every three to six months and having your blood drawn every three to six months to get your CEA checked. CEA stands for carcinoembryonic antigen and it’s a protein in your body that in many people rises when cancer is present. It’s the least invasive and safest way to frequently check patients for whether or not the cancer has returned. After those first two years then the CEA checks and appointments get spread out every six months for the next three years. Since I was diagnosed at a young age my oncologist preferred to see me every three months for that first year and then he only moved it to every four months for years 2, 3, and 4. This past August was my most recent appointment with my oncologist and since my CEA has been consistently low and my CT scans have shown nothing, this was the first time that he felt comfortable spreading out my appointments so that they would be every six months.


Then for patients that are diagnosed at Stage 2 or 3, the follow-up appointment schedule for CT scans is every 6 to 12 months for 5 years. I had my first CT scan the day after I finished chemotherapy because I was hospitalized for an intestinal blockage, so that was kind of unintended, then I had another one 6 months after that and both of those they came back showing no cancer and my CEA agreed with that, so my oncologist then moved my CT scan schedule to once every year. For Stage 4 patients it’s recommended that you get a CT scan every 3-6 months for the first two years and then every 6-12 months for the next three years.


The final part of the follow-up schedule is a colonoscopy and it’s the same whether you colonoscopy prep itemswere diagnosed at Stage 2 all the way through 4. If you didn’t have a colonoscopy at diagnosis, then it’s recommended that you get one 3-6 months after your treatment ends. For those that did get a colonoscopy before treatment, you wait a year for that first one. For me, I had mine one year after my surgery which was six months after my treatment ended. If nothing is found during the colonoscopy then you get to wait three years before you have to go in for your next one. If an advanced adenoma is found, which is basically a pre-cancerous polyp, then you only get to wait one year before the next colonoscopy. Of course, if the cancer returns then you stop this and you get back into treatment but this is what your schedule is going to look like for the next five years. Five years is the magic number because that’s when most cancer recurrences happen, so if you make it past that five-year mark without having any cancer detected then you’re done with your follow-up schedule. You just go in for annual physicals and you need to still follow what a non-cancer patient would follow as far as colonoscopy schedules go.


So you’ve got this follow-up schedule that sounds pretty intense but compared to being in the midst of cancer treatment it seems like nothing. You have to shift from actively going to appointments to kill the cancer in your body and having doctors and treatments rule your life to supposedly being in charge of your life again and going back to normal. I say supposedly because cancer treatment has most likely made some permanent changes to your body and that old normal can never be reached again. For me, I reached that finish line of treatment with scars from surgery, part of my colon and rectum missing, over a dozen lymph nodes gone, thinning hair, no menstrual cycle, neuropathy in my feet that caused constant tingling, and after the ileostomy reversal surgery, I was left with frequent bowel movements that required multiple medications to control. Three years after treatment has ended I’m still struggling with a white blood cell count that’s below normal and lymphocytes that are right at the bottom of the normal range which is great to have in the midst of a global pandemic. When I started treatment I naively thought that after treatment was done I would just magically be back to normal. Well, you don’t magically and instantly heal after having gone through multiple rounds of chemotherapy. There was no way that I felt like my pre-cancer self.



The mental game of trying to not wonder whether or not the cancer is growing back in between appointments can be tough. It’s not something that I thought about a whole lot, but it hit me front and center anytime I had to go into the cancer center to get my blood drawn and/or for scans. There’s actually a word for it in the cancer community and it’s called scanxiety. After attempting to move on with life you’re thrust back into the cancer center getting poked, prodded, and scanned. Your mind goes back to when you were first diagnosed, that uncertainty of how much cancer has ravaged through your body and wondering if it’s doing it again. After a few good scans and CEA test results you’d think that the scanxiety would let up a little. For me it did a little, but each test is different. Some tests don’t bother me at all now and other times just talking about it like right now has created a ball in my stomach. There isn’t just one magical thing that makes it easier either, because like I mentioned sometimes I feel the scanxiety and other times I don’t. You just have to come up with your own coping mechanisms of what helps to calm your fears a little bit. Fresh air, exercise, meditation, journaling, medication, alcohol, and marijuana are the most popular ways to cope and it’s usually not just one but a combination that works the best.



Another battle that you have to deal with in between your follow-up tests is your mind constantly questioning whether or not any new thing that’s happening in your body is a result of the cancer returning. It doesn’t help that a lot of the side effects from cancer treatment, like changes in your bowel habits and fatigue, are signs that colorectal cancer is returning. Your bowels do a lot of changing and adjusting after treatment so with each change you wonder whether it is a result of the chemotherapy or your ileostomy reversal surgery or if it’s the cancer returning.


These things are exactly why you shouldn’t assume that things will just go back to normal and your mental health will be perfectly fine. You’ve been through a traumatic event and it takes time to heal from trauma. It doesn’t mean that you’re weak at all. Your body has betrayed you so feelings of anger, sadness, and resentment are totally normal. If you’re one of the lucky ones that survived a diagnosis and treatment, happiness and gratefulness are totally normal, but survivor’s guilt also is if you’ve made friends along the way and they haven’t been as fortunate as you.


So what can you expect post-cancer treatment? Well, the follow-up schedule is one concrete thing that you can count on. Beyond that, the physical and mental side effects can ebb and flow for years. Try to do your best to make your health a priority so that you can make it through life post-treatment. My next live stream will be on Thursday, October 15th at 7 pm Mountain Time. So if one of those things that’s helping you out is watching my videos to help you feel less alone through your cancer diagnosis make sure that you’ve clicked the subscribe button and hit the bell so that you’ll receive the notifications when I’m going live and when my future videos are posted. Go on and click the like button down there too if you enjoyed this video. Thanks for watching.

*This video was originally published on October 9, 2020

What I Eat In a Week – Post-Ileostomy Reversal | 7-Day Food Diary

As a colorectal cancer survivor that had an ileostomy which was reversed, I get a lot of questions all the time about what I eat and what I take to help control my bowels and to keep the toilet from ruling my life. It’s really hard for me to describe to people what exactly I do so I thought that doing a food diary vlog and taking you guys with me for a week to show you exactly what I eat and what I take would be the best way to give you a sense of the bigger picture of things, so here we are!

If you’re new here welcome to Life as a Cancer Survivor. This channel will give you all the ups AND the downs of what life is like after you hear those words, “You have cancer.” My name is Jelena and in May of 2016, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Rectal Cancer. If you are new, please make sure you hit the subscribe button down in the corner or right underneath the video. I also have the link in the description so that you’ll be notified when all of my new videos are uploaded.

ileostomy stomaFirst, if you’re unsure what an ileostomy is let me give you a brief explanation. So it’s basically when part of your small intestine it’s run out of your abdominal wall and you wear a bag over it to collect your waste. So basically you’re pooping out of your stomach instead of your butt. Not using your full digestive system for months and having part of that digestive system cut out and sewn back together it just wreaks havoc on the system so that ileostomy reversal surgery is when they just tuck that small intestine back in. That’s when a lot of people start having issues with digestion and with their bowel movements. I’ll provide a more in-depth explanation and show you pictures of more of what exactly they are in a future video so stay tuned for that in a couple of weeks.

Doctors don’t even fully understand how to solve these digestive issues, so as patients we do a lot of trial and error trying to figure out how to solve and make our bowels a little bit more controllable. I also want to say that I only got two diet tips from my surgeon after my ileostomy reversal surgery. One was to just go back to eating like normal immediately after I got home from the hospital including a very high fiber diet. Then two and a half weeks later at my follow-up appointment with my surgeon, he said that I could start taking Metamucil and Imodium to help control my bowels but didn’t give me any kind of tips as to how to take them. And that was it. Did you get better advice from your surgeon? If so, let me know in the comments below any good tips that you got to help out fellow survivors.

This fall I went in to see a gastroenterologist that specializes in both woman’s digestive issues and colorectal cancer survivors. I went to the GI doc based on a recommendation from the therapist that I was seeing, which I was seeing her because of anxiety issues that I was having because of my cancer diagnosis. Now I want to emphasize that all of our digestive systems are different so what works for me may not work for someone else but this could be a starting point of some new ideas for you to discuss with your doctor to try.

I’ve been experimenting with different solutions to regulate my digestive system for the last two-and-a-half years and it seems like whenever I would find a solution it would work for a couple of weeks maybe a month or two, but then my digestive system it would get used to it and be like, “Nah, I don’t want that to work anymore,” and then just throw fits and I would have to find a new solution. I’ve been doing this current routine since the end of August and it’s now January so this might be a long-term solution for me. It’s been working well for the most part. The holidays didn’t even throw things off very much. And then the only thing that I don’t really show in the video is that I always have water with me so I’m drinking a ton of water all day. But otherwise, I’ve tried to show everything in there I may have forgotten a couple of times like my nighttime pills I may have, I didn’t videotape those every evening but those are taken daily.

At the end of each day I’ll have a calendar pop up that’ll show you a summary of what I ate for the day and I’ll just keep adding to that as the days go on throughout the video so keep an eye out for that. So here we go, here’s what I ate for the week.

Yesterday (Monday) I had that CT scan and did the barium smoothiewhich cleansed me out so I have not pooped yet today but seeing as how much I went yesterday morning after those smoothies, not a huge surprise. So I have been gassy and it’s been pretty smelly but nothing solid yet but for dinner, I want to show you what I’m having for dinner and you might think that I am crazy because for dinner, chili. Yes, that’s black beans, kidney beans, and corn and then this is some focaccia bread that’s got parmesan and tomato on it. So this chili it should be okay for one day I can’t eat this two days in a row otherwise I will have another one of those colon cleansing episodes but I’ll keep you posted and let you know how tomorrow goes and if corn and beans are just coming straight out of me.

Hi guys! It is bedtime. I usually shower at night and I don’t know what is going on with my little swoopy hair here I just let my hair air dry but anyway I wanted to go over my bedtime pill routine because that could have an effect on my bowel habits as well. These first two I don’t think because I’ve been all over the place and I’ve been on these basically well I guess a little after my reversal. So those are the two pills that I’m on for at least the next 10 years are because I went into menopause from treatment so artificially going into menopause in your 30s puts you at higher risk for heart attacks, osteoporosis and I mean just going through menopause you get a ton of hot flashes which I totally was getting. So I’m on 100 milligrams of progesterone and one milligram of Estradiol.

So both of those they’re hormone replacements basically. Then starting in June of this year I started taking Escitalopram, 20 milligrams. I started having anxiety attacks and so because I was having issues with that they put me on meds so that I was not having daily panic attacks. And because I was having trouble sleeping once those attacks started I’m also on 50 milligrams of trazodone nightly but I have cut them in half I don’t know if you can tell that so I’m only taking half of a pill each night now. I’m trying to get myself off of that because I’m just like constantly feeling tired and it’s really hard for me to stay awake when I drive more than 20 minutes. Which is bad when I have to shuttle my daughter all over town for practices so I’m hoping within the next maybe week or two I don’t know or by the new year I’ll be able to get off of the sleeping meds and then also after the new year I’ll talk with my doctor about starting to wean me off the Escitalopram for my anxiety. Since it’s been under control since I have adjusted to that med. So I just wanted to talk to you about those real quick because those side effects are you know different things with your bowels so those could also have an effect on how often and the consistency as all that of my bowel movements. So I’ll see you tomorrow morning for breakfast.

So I forgot that I also take vitamin D every day. I had a vitamin D deficiency before I even started cancer treatment so this is one thing that I did already take before all this went down so I take 5,000 IU’s every day and that gets me to the level that I need to be at. So two of these little ones I have are teeny tiny.

Now that you’ve had a glimpse into what I eat over the course of a week I want to briefly elaborate on a few of the things that you saw in the video.

The first one I want to talk about is the psyllium husk. I would always take it first thing in the morning no matter what time I woke up, but I finally realized that if I take it any earlier than 6:00 a.m. it ends up giving me diarrhea but if I take it after 6:00 a.m. it bulks up my stools which is what I want it to do. So on the days that I have to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to take my daughter to the skating rink for practice, I just focus on getting myself hydrated and drink a bunch of water first thing, and then when we get home I take the psyllium husk and it’s usually around 8:00 – 8:30 when I’m taking it. After taking the psyllium husk, I limit my liquid intake for that first hour to make sure the husk gets into my digestive system and bulks up what’s in there and doesn’t work as a laxative. After an hour I’ll drink my coffee and then after 2 hours, that’s when it’s ok to start taking medications so that’s when I will take my 1 Imodium tablet.

The high potency probiotic was recommended to me by my GI doc. She was also the one that recommended I increase my daily Imodium intake from one tablet to two tablets, one in the morning and one in the evening every day. That change has both helped to regulate me and has decreased the amount of gas that I have and even the potency of my gas. I haven’t been back in to see how long that I’ll need to take those high potency probiotics, but after I finished the first bottle and I tried just stopping them my gas did increase and my stools loosened up some. So at least for the near future, I’ll continue to take those.

I also want to briefly mention that the kombucha, I only do it every so often I’m not drinking it every day. I get stomach cramping occasionally usually maybe like once or twice every month or two so it’s not often but when I do drinking the kombucha on the day that the cramping starts and then continuing for a few days helps to relieve it and kind of regulate things again.

It’s been two and a half years since I had my ileostomy reversed and I’ve gone from going to the bathroom 20-plus times a day right after surgery, to anywhere from 1 to 3 times a day now. So I’m pretty happy with where I am at the moment. I still have some bad days occasionally but I’m feeling like I really have things under control a little bit more and this is kind of the best spot that I’ve been in right now in the past two and a half years.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions you can comment below or my “About” page you can find my email address and you can reach out to me if you have any other questions that you’d rather not discuss in public since bowel questions can be a little bit of a touchy subject, a little taboo to some people, not to me obviously since I’m talking to you guys about it but others may not want to publicize their issues that they’re having.

Next week I’ll be talking about all the preparation that went into getting ready for my lower anterior resection surgery also known as LAR surgery. Please click on the like button if you enjoyed this video and make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss any of my future videos. I want to thank you guys for watching and I’ll see you next week.

Bonus for my website visitors!

Interested in the recipes for some of the things that I ate in my video?  You’re in luck!  Here are links to a few of the recipes:

Healthy Banana Bread – I use maple syrup, coconut oil, and whole wheat flour from the options that the recipe gives.   

Massaman Curry with Baked Tofu – I LOVE lime juice, but I leave it out in this recipe and to me, it tastes WAY better.

Kitchiri – This one comes from a cookbook I have, The Ultimate Vegetarian Cookbook by Roz Denny.  (If you click on the link for the cookbook, know that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Don’t worry, it’s at NO COST to you.)  Here’s the recipe:

Serves 4

  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup Indian masoor dhal or green lentils
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 tbsp vegetarian ghee or butter
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 1/4 cups basmati rice
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves (or 2 tsp ground)
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 cups stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste 
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander or parsley, chopped
  1. Boil water then put lentils in for 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Fry the onion and garlic in the ghee or butter and oil in a large saucepan for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice, stir well to coat the grains in the ghee or butter and oil, then stir in the spices.  Cook gently for a minute or so.
  4. Add the lentils, stock, tomato paste, and seasoning.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 20 minutes until the stock is absorbed and the lentils and rice are just soft.  Stir in the coriander or parsley and check the seasoning.  Remove cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and cardamom pods.

*This video was originally published on January 8, 2020

Life Update: Getting a CT Scan

Hi guys! I wanted to do a vlog for this post, so here I am in my car because it is Tuesday, December 3rd. I have my next follow-up appointment with my oncologist next Friday, December 13th. So I am going in for follow-up appointments every four months, it’s been over two and a half years that I have been cancer-free and I’m going in once a year now for CT scans. So when I went in in August I was all good and my oncologist said okay we’ll do your CT scan your annual CT scan coming up for your December appointment. So I was like, okay.

So usually I get a call like two weeks or so ahead of time to at least one more like a month ahead to schedule the CT scan and then I know to make it in like a week before that CT scan to get my blood drawn because they need to like, check my kidney levels I believe to make sure that they can handle the stress of the contrast that they inject during the CT scan. So I didn’t get a call, last week was Thanksgiving and we were out of town so I forgot and didn’t call and forgot yesterday, so it’s Tuesday I called the office, the oncologist’s office, and was like “Um, I need to schedule my CT scan you guys haven’t called me yet,” and they had no record of me needing one. I was like, “Dr. Marcus said that I needed one the next time I saw him.” So they looked and then they change their story and said that “Oh, we’ve been trying to call you,” but they haven’t. I’ve gotten no calls and my phone number has not changed at all since I started seeing them so I don’t know if they actually were calling or what. So they said, “Okay, we’re sending it into the insurance company to get approved and if you don’t hear from them by Friday we will have you you can call the office and see if you can get scheduled.” 

Okay, so I figured it’s time to go in at least and get my blood drawn so I’m here in the parking lot. I go to just the office where my primary care doctor is because they have a lab in there and it’s only ten minutes from our house as opposed to like 25 minutes to get to the hospital where the Cancer Center is. So I’m here I’m gonna go in and see if they actually even have my blood draw request in or if they’re gonna have to call the oncologists office for that too. But if they do they the oncologist’s office is really fast about responding to that and I should still be able to get the blood drawn so I’ll be back shortly and let you know how that went.

Hi guys, I’m back. Hey, called it! They didn’t have the request for my blood draw so the lady was new not the usual one, so she didn’t call the oncologist office for me I had to call him, and then she just gave me the fax number. She was not very nice. So I called the oncologist’s office and so they were like okay we’ll send the request up to the lab and then they will send it in this lab so uh it took like 15 minutes or so 20 minutes, I don’t know it’s been about 40 minutes since I left the car and went inside.

So they sent over the results once I heard the fax come in within five minutes they had entered in the info and I was called back to get my blood drawn. So blood has been drawn. They took out three vials. One was a small one about yea big. The other two were probably yea big and about this big around yeah. I don’t know what was in the bottom of those two but like before they even put my blood in there was something that looked kind of like Vaseline or wax hanging out at thebottom so I don’t know what any of those mean but three vials for a checkup and to check all of whatever they check which includes my CEA and then to make sure the kidney levels are fine for the CT scan. So I will check back in with you guys when it’s CT scan time. Hopefully, they will let me come in and at least take pictures if not do a video of me doing the CT scan but I don’t know if that’s gonna happen or not because at the blood draw site I’ve tried taking pictures before while I was getting the blood drawn and they said if you take a picture don’t get anybody else in it except for yourself and don’t post where you took it. So my daughter took the pictures for me the one time. So I’ll check back in with you guys when I’m getting my CT scan hopefully. Alright, talk to you soon.

So I mentioned that I had my blood drawn to check my CEA levels, but what exactly is a CEA? Well, it is a tumor marker and it’s actually a protein that’s in your blood. CEA it stands for and I’m gonna read it carcinoembryonic antigen. So it checks for that level in your blood and that protein it elevates when there’s tumor activity in people with certain types of cancers. So colorectal cancer is one of those where the CEA, in most people, it’s a good indicator as to whether or not there’s tumor activity inside of you. So for a healthy person, the level should be under 2.5 if you’re a smoker it should be under 5. Mine for the first two years I was tested after treatment it was less than 0.5 then it kind of started creeping up a little bit it went to 0.6 and then 0.7 but it’s not always a good indicator so that’s why the CT scan is also necessary. They spread them out as you from finishing treatment so now I’m just going in once a year.

Hi guys I’m back! I hadn’t heard from the CT office about scheduling my CT scan. So it’s Friday, so I called them, and they were like ope, yeah let’s get you scheduled, and they actually had an opening on Monday, 8:15a.m. So I was like, “Yeah, give me that appointment!” So that should be plenty of time for them to take the images and them to get to the oncologist for my appointment on Friday a week from today.

So this is a new place that I’m getting the images done. This place I have to do the barium smoothies. I have two of these fantastic things 450 milliliters each. So I have to drink one at 6:15 in the morning and then the other one at 7:15 in the morning before the 8:15 a.m. CT scan. From what I can tell because I’ve only had the berry one and it had a picture of berries on it but this one just has a picture of your digestive system so I hope it’s not digestive system flavored. But when I looked at the ingredients it has artificial orange and vanilla flavor so I’m guessing it tastes like a medical creamsicle I’m guessing. So I’ll drink these on Monday and I will check back in on Monday while I’m drinking these to let you know how they are.

Good morning. It’s taken me like four tries to get this down cause, I’m atthe skating rink. And, there’s loud music so it’s hard to get good video anywhere but here we are. Maybe this one will be loud enough. I am, drinking my smoothie. It’s more Orange than vanilla. Not tasting the vanilla.

Good morning. The music is off for a minute, so I’m gonna hop on and tell you that part of getting ready for the CT scan is that you’re supposed to wear stuff that doesn’t have metal on it. So I am. . . in yoga pants, comfy shirt, and then women you’re supposed to wear a sports bra no underwires otherwise you get to change into a hospital gown.

So it is about time for me to grab smoothie number 2 because it is 7:14. Those things, ok, let me pull number two out here for ya. I had to bring them to the rink. Number two, and when you open it up it has one of those fun seals. You’re supposed to, um, lift it. Open it. Except I can’t lift it open. And since I am not at home I just used a good ol’ key to stab it open so I can stick the straw in, so bottoms up for number two. 7:15 now. Time to get started on numero dos. Within a half-hour gotta drink it all. My tummy, it’s a little bit not happy. Not too bad but, it feels, I had to go down and go to the bathroom.

Time for smoothie number two. About two-thirds of the way through it. My tummy’s a little extra gurgly but otherwise, it’s handling it okay. Here we go.

Whew! Okay, so that was a rough morning. Uh, let’s see here so I last left I think when I was finishing up the final smoothie. My insides were super gurgly and after a little bit then I really felt the urgency to need to go to the bathroom. Uh, but I had to drop my daughter off and then head straight to the office so I had to hold it for a little bit.

As soon as I got to the imaging office though I ran to the bathroom and it was basically if you’ve been through the colonoscopy prep that’s kind of what it was like on the toilet there for about ten minutes which I was really surprised with I did not have that problem the very first time that I did the CT scan with the barium smoothies but my digestive system is a little different now than it was that very first time when I did it for my diagnosis. So lesson learned I need to make sure that I get in at the Cancer Center and not any different office because that the Cancer Center they don’t require the barium smoothies.

So I wasn’t able to take any pictures or video of the actual scan but here’s a picture of what the machine looked like it’s a little different from the one that I usually get imaged by at the Cancer Center. Here’s a picture of me at the Cancer Center with the CT machine that they use. So as you can see they’re a little bit different. We’ll go back to the one that I was imaged by today. I got an IV in and then the table rose and went into the machine up to about my pelvis level and so it took me out and then back in and then out either two or three times I don’t remember already.

So then after those two or three sets of images it rolls back out and then there’s this fancy pump which they have attached to the IV and the pump first pushes saline in because the tech isn’t in the room she’s outside so it pushes the saline in and then and the other barrel it pushes the contrast in. And then this time the contrast it started I felt it in my throat because I had my arms up above my head but they were at a bit of an elevation because there was a pillow back there so I think even though the contrast went into my arm and the arm would have been the closest I think it fell and like gravity took it to my throat first and so then the machine, the table, starts rolling into the machine again and right as the machine was saying to take a deep breath and hold your breath that’s when the warm feeling made it down to my crotch and it feels like you’ve peed your pants and then after that then I felt it warming up my, mostly just my hands, I didn’t feel it in the rest of my arm so that was a little different from usual. But I had to hold my breath for all of those scans, forgot to mention that, but I mean the machine tells you when you have to hold your breath and when you can breathe. This one didn’t count it down like the machine at the Cancer Center so I just had to hold it, but none of them, I had to hold my breath for more than 10 seconds or so. Then after doing going sliding the table in and out like another three times or so then I was all done. So she disconnected my IV and I could come home.

And so I got home and I purged some more in the bathroom. But I wasn’t hungry at all, all morning until like one o’clock and I finally had lunch. I still it’s like five o’clock now and I still feel a little unsettled. It’s not gurgly but I feel like at any time I could maybe go back into an episode of diarrhea. So I did eat a normal lunch. You are supposed toglass of waterdrink a lot of water after going through and doing the CT scan because of all that barium and then the contrast that they put into you they want you to drink a lot of water to flush all that out so I have not been very good about that today so this is my reminder to myself to start drinking more water. She said today and even the next day so tomorrow I should be drinking a lot of water too.

So that was the story of going through the CT scan now I wait. My appointment with my oncologist is on Friday today’s Monday and the tech said within about three days they should have the results so I was like okay that seems like a long time but that’ll still be in plenty of time for my oncologist to receive the results and go over them with me on Friday. So that’s what having a CT scan is like, at least with the barium prep so I hope that was informative to you guys and you learned a little something.

I’ve put in a poll up here. Let me know if you’ve done a CT scan before did you have some horrible diarrhea after doing those barium smoothies? I’d love to know how many of you have experienced that because I never did before and I haven’t heard anybody mention it before but it’s not really something you usually discuss so you can tell me anonymously in the poll I won’t know who voted which way I’ll just know that people have voted.

So next week I will hopefully in an exciting way share with you what I eat throughout the week because I get a lot of questions as someone that’s had a temporary ileostomy that was reversed what I eat and what I do to keep the toilet from ruling my life.

Hello. I’m here for one final wrap-up of all the CT scan craziness cuz I can’t just leave you hanging after I went in for it and not let you knowwhat the results were like. So um, well I’ve got a celebratory coffee here because CT scans came out clear no signs of any tumor/cancer activity at all. My CEA results they came in at a 0.6 so it went down a tenth of a point from the last time so happy to hear that. He said my white blood cell counts are still at 4.1 this past time which the normal range for a healthy adult is anywhere from four to eleven so it’s within the range but really down at the bottom so now I wait another four months till I go back to see my oncologist again. That time when I go in another four months I’ll just do the blood draw I won’t have to do a CT scan.

If you’re new here and need to catch up on some of my older videos I’ve got the playlist up here on My Beginning of My Cancer Journey so you can go through everything from my diagnosis story through tests and all of that and also you can click on my head down there to subscribe so you’ll be notified when all of my videos are uploaded every week. And if you liked this video I’d love it if you gave me a thumbs up or a like over here. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week.

*This video was originally published on December 18, 2019.