I had an experience while in the drug store the other day that needs to be recorded here in Cancer, if for no other reason than to prepare cancer patients for the unexpected. Without warning, pain, discomfort or any notice, I had an explosive episode that sent contents of my gastric tract into my clothing and onto the floor. I dashed to the rest room as quickly as I could, washed off all the debris possible, and then quickly checked out with what I had in my cart with an embarrassed "Excuse me" to the pharmacist. She assured me not to worry.
All my clothes, coat, and shoes were soiled. My coat went into the garbage, my clothes into the washer and my shoes scrubbed with a brush and soap.
Today, I returned to the pharmacy to get the other things on my list and had a very sympathetic conversation with my pharmacist. She told me my experience is not uncommon. It was news to me and I am passing it on, not to wallow in the green, globular, gunk, but to alert others. The pharmacist was so very kind and compassionate. I wonder if the customers felt such empathy?
Control is the big issue. I am not in control of bodily functions now. Things happen that I can't predict and can't control. That is my new normal.
My dear Joan, thank you for telling us about this. We are very sorry about the news as regards yourself. You are so brave and tough in every way. Your great brain goes on working at 100% but the body is increasingly letting you down. In that sense it's like all of us. The abdomen holds the engine that feeds the brain, and the brain is the motor that runs the locomotive functions and auto-operating abdominal parts. Gradually but some times suddenly we lose control. You are tops as a fighter.
Terry, thank you for your kind words. After such a humiliating experience I have not expected such understanding from everyone. I appreciate your description of the engine, motor of locomotion and auto-operating parts. That helps to understand what happened.
Joan, thanks for the update.
I know just how you feel. My treatments, or the change in my gastric tract, leave me with many emergency sprints to the restroom. I have had to leave groceries on the floor and almost run. To be crude, I have a profound understanding of the expression "never trust a fart". Or to be more clinical maybe, "Beware of flatulence".
So frustrating. You are not alone.
I try to plan ahead and use the bathroom before going to the store and use it often at work, even when there is no urge. It doesn't always help.
Sometimes I take a couple of lomotil before doing something that involves not being able to get to a restroom. I try not to do that too often. It can also lead to constipation.
Joan, again I can imagine the great embarrassment you must have felt, and I agree with Terry: "You are so brave and tough in every way. Your great brain goes on working at 100% but the body is increasingly letting you down.
Reminds me of a saying I so much agree with even though it's negative: "Youth is wasted on the young."
I have a dozen or more private communications from people who have the same problems and thought they were the only ones. OK, I opened the door for those of you who have these experience This is a good place to express your frustrations and anxieties about effects of cancer treatments. Professionals understand; more of the general public begins to have compassion because of so many people in treatment facing these challenges.
That is all they are ... challenges ... to be faced realistically and creatively. We are still the wonderful people we are, in spite of the occasional accidents in public places.
Thankfully, some creative mind came up with adult diapers. We can wear them with pride as a sign of our many accomplishments in facing this dreadful cancer.