Monday, March 3, 2014

Don't be afraid, its OK to say Anal Cancer

You all know how I love to share stuff. Well here is another biggie, it’s going to be graphic, and it might gross some of you out but it’s a reality that not enough people talk about because of the stigma associated with it. But this has been and still is MY reality. This is just the very basics of information I have found along with my personal experience.  Always check with your doctor if you have concerns

 People don’t know about the specifics of what happens when you have rectal STD’s We constantly hear “wear condoms, protect yourself from HIV and AIDS”, and often times we hear about STDs but it usually seems to be an afterthought. So many people have that mentality of “if I get AIDS I just take some pills and Ill be fine ” You don’t usually associate HIV or AIDS with physical pain. But Ill tell you what rectal pain is no walk in the park.

 Before I get into my personal story, let me give you some very basic info via Wikipedia.

  Anal dysplasia is a pre-cancerous condition which occurs when the mucosa lining of the anal canal undergo abnormal changes. During this condition, lesion, or visible pattern of clustered abnormal cells, appear. These cells may then progress from low-grade lesions to high-grade lesions.

Causes Anal dysplasia is most commonly linked to human papillomavirus (HPV), a usually sexually-transmitted disease HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease. Roughly 80% of people who have had one or two lifetime sex partners and 100% of people who have had five lifetime sex partners have had HPV infection, which may persist for life.

Symptoms Symptoms of anal cancer include bloating and change in bowel habits, a lump near the anus, rectal bleeding, itching or discharge. Bleeding may be severe.

 The pain and suffering (yes suffering) I have had to endure over the years due to rectal STDs has been the worst and most intense pain I have ever felt in my life. I have been dealing with these issues off and on since about 2000. When I first started having pain I would write it off to oh maybe its hemorrhoids or I just had a “busy” weekend with the sexual activities. But as time went by things got worse and happened more often.
I had my first rectal surgery in 2002. After that When I would get a flare up I would just double up on antibiotics and take several baths with Epsom salts. It always seemed to do the trick… for a while.

Due to blood, and other discharge from the rectum the need to wear women’s panty liners is constant. Ive tried every brand and every size. I know more about this topic than most women. My favorite are the brand “Always” overnight, heavy flow, extra long , odor control with wings. Along with the constant pain is not being able to sit upright at all, always having to lay on your side, walking can sometimes be a relief but could also be extremely painful. Not to mention the intense pain associated with bowel movements and forget about wiping with toilet paper, you have to jump in the bathtub or a sitz bath. Not so easy if you have a job to go to.

The day I was checked out by a specialist his prognosis at that point was not a very positive one. He said I am very concerned about this lesion and we better take care of this immediately, because its quite possibly anal cancer. After I picked my heart up out of my stomach I said…in my usual randomness “that’s how Farrah Fawcett died” after a few seconds of a blank stare from the Dr. he said oh, I did not know that.

 The 5 year survival rates for people with anal cancer range anywhere from 7% to 71% depending on the stage of the cancer and some other various issues. So you know my mind was really working up into a frenzy. I thought he was just trying to scare me into handling this matter very quickly, which we did. Originally he was going to just take a snip of the lesion for a biopsy but when he saw the size of it…the size of a silver dollar he decided to remove the entire thing. It was on the outside as well as the inside canal. The next day when the surgical dressing came off it looked like a scene from the worst horror movie you have ever seen.

 In the follow up appointment he immediately told me I did NOT have cancer and showed me scans of the 3 things he surgically removed. He was stunned that he was wrong, but so very happy at the same time. I still have some pre cancerous “things” that we will keep a close eye on. I already have my 6 month follow up appointment booked.

Anal cancer has a huge stigma associated with it due to the nature of its origins. When the media first started talking about Farrah Fawcett’s cancer they didn’t use the words anal cancer. Many of her obituaries didn’t use the words anal cancer either it was just cancer. Farrah is the one that made the decision to make this a very public issue to raise awareness, and get people to actually say the words ANAL CANCER.

OK so hopefully you have taken the time to read this but wonder what my whole point of this was. It’s the same message we’ve been trying to get across to people for 30 years… Wear a condom!! You don’t have to have HIV or AIDS to get a deadly STD.
 Honestly, did any of what I wrote here sound enjoyable? Hey power bottoms, you can forget about all of that anymore. What do the kids say these days? “REAL TALK” or for my Deaf friends “True Biz”. I hope sharing my experiences hasn’t been too much for some of you and for others I hope it scares you to death!

I found this link and found it very informative Farrah's Gift
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