Three years ago I underwent treatment for rectal cancer that included surgically removing a foot of my colon (large intestines) and half of my rectum, 28 radiation treatments and 2 rounds of chemotherapy. After the treatment ended, my bowels got worse, with increasing diarrhea and abdominal cramps. My gastroenterologist thought my gall bladder might be the cause, but all the tests he had me take showed it was normal. He would put me on a clear-liquid diet for a few days when the pain and diarrhea would become unbearable, and it would get better for a while. He also told me to stay away from all lactose products and foods that cause gas. He gave me some chalky pills to stop the diarrhea, but they didn't work, and neither did Immodium. After having serious abdominal pain non-stop for several hours, I was taken to the hospital emergency room. Unfortunately, I relayed my doctor's guess at what was causing the problem, so they didn't do anything but put me on a morphine drip for the pain. A few weeks later, when the same thing happened, my husband took me to my doctor's office. After I vomited in his waste basket, he decided to admit me to the emergency room again. This time they did a CT scan that showed an inflamed small bowel and a bowel obstruction. I had emergency surgery as soon as they could get a surgeon, and he cut out 12 inches of my small bowel that had become necrotic (dead)and entwined with my Fallopian tubes. He had to call in a second surgeon to help him separate the good tissue from the bad and put the ends of the small intestines back together. Luckily for me, his used the same 14-inch cut from above my navel to well below the bikini line, so I wouldn't have a new scar. I was in the hospital 9 days before I had a tiny BM and could be released. But after that, the diarrhea returned in full force, and nothing would stop it. I finally asked my oncologist if he could refer me to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He did, and I had a barage of tests, including one that took several hours while I drank a special liquid that showed the path it travelled through my intestines. The results showed that both areas where my intestines had been cut had healed properly, but my small bowel was inflamed and full of lesions, or sores, from radiation damage. They told me that I was suffering from radiation enteritis, which was common for the treatment I had received. They said that my small intestines had fallen and become wedged between my pelvic bones prior to the radiation, which had been aimed exactly in the place where the small bowel had come to rest. Therefore, the previously healthy tissue had sustained the full force of the radiation, apparently without the knowledge of the radiation oncologist who was treating my rectal cancer. A gastroenterologist at M.D. Anderson gave me a special diet to follow, an ileostomy diet, and said that tincture of opium would stop the diarrhea, but I would have to be monitored carefully, because this was a dangerous drug. I was desperate for some relief, so I went back home to my El Paso gastroenterologist and told him what the M.D. Anderson doctor had said. He wrote me a prescription for the opium, but he wrote it wrong--10 times stronger than the dose should have been! I took the first dose and knew immediately something was wrong. Luckily, the pharmacist noticed and called to let me know of the mistake before I could take a second dose. I was on the drug for 4 months before I started to feel like I was getting another obstruction, but at least I wasn't having chronic diarrhea most of the time. Finally, I decided to see a colorectal surgeon who was recommended to me by my gynocologist. He was a godsend and immediately took me off the opium. Instead, he put me on Lomotil (Lonox), or diphenhydren with atropine. It has worked much better, and I feel much better most of the time.