Bowel cancer treatment and side effects


worried and confused

my partner has bowel cancer and during the week it was diagnosed he suffered a heart attack and is due to go radiotherapy soon.
He is weak and vulnerable eating very little and lacking motivation and struggles to come to terms with the enormity that all this has/will yet present us with.
I fear I have or will lose him amid all of the upset and uncertainty as I cannot reach out to him with his present state of poor general wellbeing and mental state.
I am not expecting a miracle just some assurance that there is hope and help out there from others in a similar situation or those well on a journey to recovery.
Thanks for taking time to read this-much appreciated.:(:(


Dear @JAMESC.. Welcome to the forum, sorry you find yourself here, but I am sure you will find it a helpful and friendly place.
My husband is nearly the same age as your partner, and it is hard to understand how someone who looks so frail can survive what sometimes seems like very harsh treatments.
You don't give us any information about the bowel cancer - what stage? What treatment path has been decided on? If you tell us this then more people will be along to give you advice/encouragement.
It is a dreadful shock to get a diagnosis of cancer, and in your case has been compounded by the heart attack.
As for the eating - little and often, and only what he fancies. My husband survived for quite a while on custard, ice cream and cream!
You say you cannot reach out to him, but you are there by his side and I'm sure this helps enormously.
Gentle hugs :x::x::x:


Hi @James I'm so sorry to hear about your partner. It must be very difficult for your partner having had a heart attack as well and I can certainly understand how he must be feeling. You are obviously a supportive and caring person so continue being as you are. Be there for him, listen if he wants to talk or just keep him company.
With regard to the cancer, I haven't had radiotherapy so I can't comment on that, I'm sure that others will; also if you give us a bit more information we can offer more support and advice.
Just for the record, i was diagnosed over four years ago, stage 4, inoperable, incurable. I'm still here and still quite well, have a look at my profile perhaps it will give you and your partner some hope. Positive thoughts, love and hugs coming your way. :x::x:


Hi @JAMESC.. And welcome to our forum. We are a very friendly bunch and will offer you help and support in anyway that we can. Iam not sure how long ago your partner was diagnosed, or what treatment he has undergone, other than the forthcoming radiotherapy. All of us have probably suffered with the mental side effects of being diagnosed with this disease, and have tried various ways of coping, councelling, Mindfullness, yoga, meditation etc. There is help out there for your partner and it is definitely worth chatting to your GP about this. So sorry to read he has also suffered a heart attack, that on its own is difficult to cope with. I hope by joining this forum you will get some helpful advice from our caring members and nurses. Diane :x::x::x::x:


Hi @JAMESC.. sorry that you find yourself here but a big welcome to you! There are a load of lovely people here with a wealth of information - I have only been on here a short time but have found everyone to really 'get' it and they have helped so much.

My Dad who is now 82 has recently undergone chemotherapy and managed radiotherapy when he was around your partners age. He was 72 when he was first diagnosed with bowel cancer and is still here to tell the tale albeit fighting new demons now!

You are both in a very scary place and the early stages with all of the uncertainty and fear are what I found the hardest - once I had some facts and a plan and made contact with others at various stages on this journey. The heart attack will have only made a difficult time more fraught .
Look through the profiles of some of the people who post on here, there are many inspiring stories from people who are fighting and living with this horrible disease.

Just by being there for him you are doing a lot - it is easy to look in on yourself when you get this kind of diagnosis - I couldn't really let people in until I had processed it for myself and I know this was hard for my husband but just knowing that he was there when I was ready meant a lot.
Sorry, this has turned into a bit of a ramble - I hope some of it makes sense :)
Take care, Jane :x:


A very big thank you to all who responded to my earlier posting regards my beautiful and wonderful partner des we have been together nearly 40 years and have stuck together through good and bad times.
This is and will be our biggest challenge to date and will no doubt present us with many sleepless nights and going to very dark places where sunshine battles to show itself-so its a comfort knowing that many people on here are at hand to give guidance and support.
Des is to under go 25 days of radiotherapy then after a break onto surgery at some point down the line all this is taking its toll on him and its showing-the heart attack came out of the blue as we keep ourselves in reasonable shape exercising regularly and eating well.
The cancer has not spread-that is the only silver lining in all of this-its just sad to see a person you love and care for being so inward and lacking spirit and motivation but that's how things are.
Anyway 2018 has just begun and a long journey into the unknown awaits and I will travel with him no matter what the road ahead is like facing rain and shine together and with folk like yourselves then perhaps our journey will not be in vain.


Good morning and welcome @JAMESC... So sorry that you have had to join us, but glad you have found us at the start of your joint journey. Do feel free to ask any questions at all or just have a moan or a rant at the unfairness of it all.

The radiotherapy/surgery route is a common plan, but the heart attack must be complicating things. At least Des will be getting the best care and of course, underlying good health is a great place to be starting from.

Have you looked a the download booklets mentioned just below? But whatever you do, don't Google, as the information and statistics could be very inaccurate and out of date.

Best wishes to you both.


Hi @JAMESC.. and welcome to the board. I'm sorry to hear about Des's health issues but I'm sure the support you are giving him will be of huge benefit. Can you talk to him about his worries? I'm wondering if there is a specific aspect of the upcoming treatment that we could reassure him about? I found it helpful to break things into stages and not worry about what might or might not be involved further down the line. I found the radiotherapy to be very doable then had a 6-8 week break before the op (the radiotherapy continues working for several weeks after the treatment ends) so tried to keep fit by doing lots of walking in this time
I hope @Chas doesn't mind me mentioning his recent successful treatment as he is only a few years younger than Des so you may like to have a look at his profile?
Take care and keep posting
Karen :x:


Thanks for the kind words of support and providing a window of opportunity for some rays of light to lead us on the journey that awaits.
if Des had not had the heart attack then things would have been less complicated and less worrying but thast is how things are and finding reasoning in this all is not easy.
But with people like you around to tell their own personal cancer story it is a blessing in times of need.


Hi @JAMESC.. Good day to you. Welcome to this club that nobody wants to be in. Just for your information, there is a Relative section that you can visit. It is a private section and we can discuss anything in there! As we do, we also have some good laughs and advice and comfort!

We can also privately message people by clicking on their name and using the message symbol! This way we can receive individual comments! All the people on this forum are wonderful in their own way!

You will learn many ways of dealing with the situation from the many on here. Best of luck to you. Hugs and prayers, :x::x::x:

springer michelle

Welcome here @JAMESC.. Cancer diagnosis is hard enough without other health issues. You are obviously an amazing partner, and you will get des through this. Tell him to trust his team. I don't know what the plan is regarding his heart attack, but radiotherapy is really not tough, I had 5 weeks then the operation to remove my tumour. With his heart problems they will keep such a close eye on him. Try to build him up and get him to be more positive. It's such a tough time, for you too, so look after yourself. While I was having chemo after my op, my hubby had 8 cardiac arrests so I know how tough it is. But I'm here clear of bowel Cancer and hopefully des can kick its butt too. His hasn't spread which is great news. Tell des to join too or read our posts cos it's an amazing place and we all help each other tremendously :x::x:


What an horrendous time for you ! The diagnosis must've been a big shock for you the to have to deal with the heart attack on top of that. I'm so sorry you've found yourself in this situation but this forum is amazing and you will find the support invaluable as you get further into your journey. As the caret, ive found it better to take one day at a time and not look to far into the future as that can be terrifying, especially when you don't know what it will bring. I found it hard to do that at first but it's my way of coping now. Make full use of the professionals around you and I'm hoping that once you've found your stride then you will also find your new normal. :x::x::x: