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Just Diagnosed, Not Yet Treated Or Even Staged

ScissorsMacGill...
Posts: 8
Joined: Jan 2009

Following a GI series for reflux-like symptoms that showed "transient thickening of gastric folds," I had an endoscopy back on Jan 5th to "rule out a mass." Well, a mass wasn't ruled out because sure enough there was one, 6 cm big and just below the esophageal junction. The little $#!%# was biopsied and sure enough, it was malignant. A CT scan (with contrast) showed that it had not gone through the stomach wall (good), that two lymph lodes were effected (hrm...) and that there was a "questionable" spot on my liver (uh oh).

My first appt. with the oncologist is on Friday at noon.

I'm trying to keep a good attitude, and I'm lucky to have the support of friends and loved ones.

I figure surgery and chemo are givens. But how much chemo? I've tried to find out on line how often and how much a person gets, and while I figure it depends upon the stage of the cancer, I can't even find that out.

Also, I've read that pre-surgery chemo is new thing that's improving the outlook for some folks. Anybody here had that?

Finally: what, if anything, helps when you start to feel a black mood come on?

Tomissimo
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 2008

Scissors, I wish you luck and success in your treatments. What you described as what they found out so far is similar to what I had. Stomach Cancer, 5 or 6 cm tumor at the junction of the esophagus and stomach, 2 Lymph nodes infected. They didn't determine the amount of lymph nodes until after the surgery.

Quick Treatment for me was:

2 Weeks of Radiation treatment with a week of Chemo to shrink the tumor and kill off any cancer cells that may have spread.

Total Gastrectomy and removing the bottom third of the esophagus

And a follow up treatment of 2 Wks Rad and 1 wk Chemo about 2 months after surgery.

That was all between June and November of 2007.

As far as Black moods, I used my wife (married in 2005) and my 2 yr old daughter as my incentives to keep going. It was just having something to hold on to each day to tell myself one more day for my family.

If there are any questions that I can answer for you please let me know and I will be happy to relay any information that I can.

mamakaren
Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2009

Tomissimo what size was your tumor?? They say that my moms is inside the bottom of her stomach wrapped around. the endoscopy showed no signs in the esophagus or in the beggining of the small intestine. All other organs tested good with bloodwork they say but still have to do a PET scan. Her lymth nodes are swollen so i'm praying that they are cancer free. They said they would take her stomach out. I need some kind of comfort(not that anything will) I'm very scared for my mom just wanna talk to someone.

allicandoispray
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2009

Hi,my mom just got diagnosed the first of this year with stomach cancer. I too have been researching like crazy and I am nervous and having trouble sleeping. I have not been able to find anyone that has been through the whole thing and can tell me what I can expect. Every site talks about the treatment options but not about what the average patient goes through phsically, and emotionally during treatment or after surgery. Do you know of any sites that go more into detail? I am trying to get my mom evaluated at MD Anderson in Houston. She was uncomfortable having the surgery in El Paso. Mainly because she wasn't given many options other than surgery and its a tricky high risk surgery. Did you develop any blood clotting or low blood counts? My mom is on Coumadin to thin her blood because she developed a clot in her neck after she fell. That is actually how we came to find out she had stomach cancer. She was taken to the hospital because her arm was turning purple and she had a lot of swelling and pain in her arm the cardiologist did further blood testing and found that her blood counts were low and ordered a colonoscopy and endoscopy to check for internal bleeding. That is when they found the tumor in her stomach. Biopsy came back positive for cancer. We saw the surgeon a week after she was realeased from the hospital and we never got a copy of the pathology reports or anything but he set her up for surgery. I could tell she was not comfortable with the doctor and his explanations so I decided to start looking into other options and everyone keeps saying MD Anderson is the best?!? God only knows...I am scared I just lost my dad in April of last year to lung cancer. My mom is only 61. I know I am on the other side of the fence compared to you and my mom but I am also feeling the depression, anxiety, fear...All I know to do is pray so I will pray for you, my mom and anyone who is going through this. God Bless You

Tonia11
Posts: 57
Joined: Jan 2009

My 38 year old husband was just diagnosed with stomach cancer as well. We are in Atlanta and he is being treated at Piedmont Hospital. He will be undergoing chemo treatments first and then surgery. He will undergo 3 rounds of chemo with each round lasting 21 days. We just saw an oncology surgeon at Emory University Medical Center today and we will definitely be transferring to Emory after chemo. My husband was otherwise healthy and the oncologist is hopeful that he will tolerate it okay. Chemo before surgery is the new approach with stomach cancer and most of the research I've done shows it significantly improves the prognosis.

As far as black moods, you need to remember you don't have cancer you were diagnosed with cancer and you will beat it. People do survive this cancer so why can you or my husband be one of the survivors??

ScissorsMacGill...
Posts: 8
Joined: Jan 2009

Hi everyone—many thanks for the good wishes and information! I count myself very very fortunate to have people on my side in this battle. Know that you are all in my thoughts as well.

Long story short, the mark on the liver the CT scan revealed will make all the difference. If it's a spread of the stomach cancer, the oncologist said that made the cancer stage IV and operation might promote the spread; it'll just be chemo to slow the progress of the disease. If, OTOH, the mark on the liver is fat or something else, then it's a total gastrectomy, chemo, radiation, and a possible cure!

I have an MRI to determine the progress of the tumor on Sunday at 9:15AM. I won't even ask the tech. I'll wait for the doctor's interpretation.

Thanks again for all the well wishes: you too are in my thoughts. Let hope that someday we can raise a glass (of water; I understand you must be extra careful for life about what you eat when you get a total gastrectomy) and mock these stupid, undisciplined cells that thought they could wag the dog of our health.

Peace and health to everyone,
Scissors

Labguy's picture
Labguy
Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2008

I was diagnosed Jan 07 with stage IV adenocarcinoma of the gastro/esophageal junction. I didn't have mets to other organs but four lymph nodes were involved. I had three rounds of chemo(Carboplatin infusion and two weeks of Xeloda). Next I had a partial gastrectomy/esophagectomy. Then, five weeks of chemoradiation with Xeloda. Finally two more rounds of Carboplatin and Xeloda.

I finished treatment Nov. 07 and have remained in remission.

I have a wonderful wife, daughter and six year old granddaughter living with me that keep me going. They are wonderful.

Best wishes,

Tom

Rebecca Katie
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2009

PLEASE HELP - Where were you treated?

canuck1
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2009

I am a Canadian who two years ago went thru the exact scenerio as you are now. I posted a reply to a previous person today that you may want to read. I hope that everything turns out well and I will Pray for you as I know many have for me. You may contact me at starasoff@telus.net and give your phone number and i will be very glad to contact you and tell you my experience.

ScissorsMacGill...
Posts: 8
Joined: Jan 2009

Thanks to all for your replies. Haven't been here in a while.

Long story short:
Neither a CT nor an MRI could determine if there was spread to the liver, but a PET scan showed NO spread, so that was good news. An ultrasound endoscopy showed the little $@#%! had crept up into my esophagus a bit, so I'll be having a good piece of that removed along with my stomach.

The drill:
I'll be doing my chemo and radiation before the surgery. The surgeon would like to see if chemo and radiation can smack down some of the esophageal stuff and keep him from cutting more than he has to (and he's already going to be cutting a lot) and the radiologist says that he won't have to use as much firepower over as large a region of my body if I get it before the surgery—which will, naturally, stretch out not just the affected (effected? I can never keep them straight) areas as well as the margins quite a bit.

I might be stage II or IIIA. As I mentioned above, the CT scan showed two enlarged lymph nodes, but they didn't come up on the PET scan. The hell with wondering about stages: since there are folks here still standing tall after stage IV, I figure, why not me too?

A nurse in the radiology department talked to me about side effects and said that staying hydrated can be key in supressing nausea: try to increase your intake of water 50% and have a sports drink a day. He acknowledged that would be difficult, but just having it as a goal and getting more water than you otherwise would will be good.

In an odd way, I'm looking forward to treatment. I know it'll be hard, but at least I'll feel as if I'm doing something to evict these unwelcome and destructive cells from my body.

My thoughts and best wishes to everyone else here in the struggle,
Scissors

Tonia11
Posts: 57
Joined: Jan 2009

Scissors, you didn't say when you start your chemo but best of luck with your therapy. Check in when you can and let us know how it's going.

Tonia

ScissorsMacGill...
Posts: 8
Joined: Jan 2009

Tonia11, thanks for your good wishes.

I've just finished the third week of my course of chemo and radiation. I get radiation every day. I've had two of the four doses of chemo; this week was a "week off" for the chemo, which is cisplatin and irinotecan (sp?)

So far the worst and only side effect is enormous, can't-do-a-darned-thing-not-even-sleep fatigue.

After the radiation and chemo, I get a month to recover, and then comes the surgery. I'm optimistic.

Again, thanks for the good wishes, and strength and health to all of us.

mamakaren
Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2009

I was diagnosed 1yr ago with breast cancer. My mom has been there for me through all my stuff and now they say that she has stomach cancer! I can't beieve this crap we had her first appt with the onclogist and they want to do a pet scan and check her blood work. They say that her lymph nodes are very swollen so they don't know if its just inflamed or they are contaminated with cancer. My mom is in shock, she has no emotion she is just ok with everything. Maybe God is giving her strength. I can't deal with this. I can handle my own pain but not seeing my mom go through this horrible journey. My mom is 58yrs old and other than this, she is very strong and healthy. I keep praying for a miracle and that God hears my cry for desperate help. My mom had a ulcer about 10yrs ago and i guess it turned into cancer. I hope everyone stays strong and keeps thier faith to overcome this monster. I need to talk to someone that has gone through this so i know what to expect PLEASE.

Scissors~ I will keep you in my prayers tonight and keep fighting.

Tonia11
Posts: 57
Joined: Jan 2009

I would say first you need to take a deep breath. Your mom needs your steady support.

My husband (38 yrs old) was just diagnosed with stomach cancer in Jan. We have two boys ages 10 and 7. So on top of all of this we still have two boys to raise. My husband was diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer. The tumor is at the top of his stomach but not quite into the esophagus. It measured about 6cm. His treatment regimen is 3 rounds of chemo first. The chemo is administered once every 21 days. He gets oxiplatin and eripibucin (sp) via IV. He also takes Xeloda pills everyday. His 3rd round is on 3/16. After that he will get a new round of scans and tests to "re-stage" the tumor. Then they will remove the tumor along with all of most of his stomach. In doing my research, this regimen with chemo and/or radiation before surgery is standard. So far, my husband hasn't had too many problems with the chemo. He has neuropathy (tingling and numbness in hands or feet) from time to time but nothing debilitating. He's gotten his nausea under control with the help of Kytril, Zofran, and Compazine. And there's nothing you can do about the fatigue but to sleep it off.

Think about the things you did to calm your nerves when you were diagnosed. I try to keep a sense of normalcy to our lives especially for the boys. And it helps that hubby really isn't all that sick right now. I don't know if you are a spiritual person, but prayer and reading the Bible brings me peace and strength. I also have a lot of good friends that check in on me often.

Hope this helps.

Tonia

mamakaren
Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2009

Thank you Tonia I really believe in the power of prayer and that's all that my whole family and friends have been doing. It really does give some peace of mind. I have a husband and 4 kids 19,13,9,6 and one beautiful grandson who is 5months. My kids are scared for my mom I try to reasure them that nana will be ok and that she will have to get treatment like i did. My moms cancer is inside of her stomach, is inside or out of stomach different?? I don't know what or how to register all this info but I find myself looking for more answers and knowledge of this cancer from the internet. This is something that i never did with myself i was a wreck when i was diagnosed. I would cover my ears so i wouldn't hear what the onc was saying and never even knew what king of cancer i had until recently. I am very postitve around my mom but deep down inside im falling to pieces. Maybe because i have been through cancer and still going through treatment. I don't know maybe I feel like finally i am cancer free they say and then this happens. I can't even feel happy about being cancer free because then i feel guilty about my mom. Deep down inside i feel guilty like it my fault even though i know it's not but i feel like maybe if my mom wasn't there so much for me she wouldn't have got this monster disease. Thank you for listening Tonia

Tomissimo
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 2008

I hope your recovery and prep for surgery is going well. From my experience the best I felt was the week or two before surgery. For me the Radiation shrunk my tumor enough that I could eat without pain.

I wish you the best of luck and hope for your full recovery.

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