New York Times
Six years ago, a relative of mine found out that she had rectal cancer and would need surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. She lives in a small town, and she consulted a local surgeon at a community hospital.
He was pleasant and kind, and clearly explained her condition and the operation he would perform. He was also painfully honest, and said that because the tumor was large, he doubted that he would be able to save the sphincter muscles that make bowel control possible. She would very likely need a colostomy, a procedure to divert wastes out through an opening cut in the abdomen, and would have to wear a colostomy bag for the rest of her life ... read more