CSN Login
Members Online: 2

Pancreatic Cancer

Karena123
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2009

Although it is no longer rare, my mom is 78 years old with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer which his in-operable due to it is laying on and encasing the main vein of the pancreas. Does anyone know of any good treatments, medical or otherwise. I am afraid chemo and radiation with make her very sick and destroy her quality of life, and may only give her a few more months after treatments. I don't know what to do or what to tell her. I don't see pancreatic cancer listed on this site.
any info is greatly appreciated.

nancyj_pa
Posts: 20
Joined: May 2009

Go to the Johns Hopkins Pancreatic Cancer discussion board and you will get a lot of information. It is a very active site. Also, Pancan.org is very informative, and you can order an information packet. Just Google the Hopkins site and you will find many people like your mother. PC is a very devastating disease. My husband was diagnosed earlier this year and had a Whipple procedure. He is 69. You have to find a very experienced doctor and hospital in a major city to get the best care. Best of luck.
Nancy J

wife22
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2009

How did your husband handle coming home after the surgery? My husband had the surgery 3 weeks ago. The tumor was wraped around a artery. He has ahard time sleeping and no appetite.

Diane S.
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Karena, My mother is 81 and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 11/08. She is on a program of chemo which is working very well for her. She is not nauseous, she does not throw up, she has not lost her hair. It took about 2 months on chemo to see a BIG change. She had more energy, she got around better, she started doing her own housework again (and even mowed the lawn once or twice), she is driving again and going into grocery stores and occasional shops. She even drives herself to chemo treatments now! Before, we had to drive her and push her from reception room to waiting room to chemo in a wheelchair. (Her cancer is also inoperable because the tumor encases the splenic artery.)

dbruce
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2009

Diane,

Can you tell me if your mother goes to a physican who specializes in pancreatic cancer. My husband was diagnosed 6 weeks ago and stil has not recieved treatment. We live in Louisiana and I am trying to find someone who can refer me to an oncologist who specilizes in pancreatic cancer. His cancer has spread to the stomach by the umbilicus and has spots on the liver. We are now being sent to get a biopsy today to see where the cancer originate from. I'm not real happy with our doctor and we've tried to get in with other doctors but they are not taking new patients. We really can't afford to travel outside of Louisiana. If anyone can help us with a referral service we would appreciate it. And, Diane and Karena I hope your family members respond well to the treatments.

nancyj_pa
Posts: 20
Joined: May 2009

My husband has it as well. He had a wonderful doctor in a major hospital who was able to perform a Whipple surgery to remove the tumor. You MUST find a doctor with tons of experience because this disease is the worst! Contact PANCAN (you can google it), and they will send you an info packet or you can call for names of great doctors near your home. The Johns Hopkins pancreatic cancer message board is also an excellent way to get information. Everyone there is supportive and helpful. My husband had his surgery April 29 and is recovering nicely. Only a small percent of pancreatic cancer patients are able to have this option. Most are treated with chemo and radiation if the cancer has spread or involves main arteries, blood vessels, etc. You must act immediately because this cancer spreads quickly.
Nancy J

b616
Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Nancy

I had gall bladder surgery in March, Dr. discovered an obstruction in bile duct.
After much checking at UVA they discovered a tumor in pancreas, it was cancer.
I had the Whipple procedure at John Hopkins, had Dr. John Camermon (the best).
Just finished 25 radations and Xeloda Chemo, whoo! I had so many side effects,
down to 110 lbs, weighed 146 in March. Feeling better now, they are giving me a month off then want me to start chemo Gemzar, Do you now much about Gemzar and its side effects. Dread
starting something else when just starting to feel human again.
Barbara
b616

nancyj_pa
Posts: 20
Joined: May 2009

Hi Barbara,
I'm glad your're finally done with your radiation/chemo. My husband Len just finished 20 out of 25 radiation treatments and chemo 5-Fu, pump 5 days a week, and once a week oxaliplatin. One more week to go. He had terrible gas and diarrhea and extreme fatigue. It really did a number on him. He had his Gemzar first. Three treatments once a week, then he had a week off before starting the radiation/chemo. He had almost no side effects with the Gemzar. His white counts went too low the second week and he had to get a shot. He had a slight rash that we controlled with benadryl and some cream to rub on his rash. He wasn't tired or anything. I don't know how it will be for you after just completing your other treatments. Hopefully the month off will allow you to build back up. Len has lost 50 pounds so far, but he had it to lose so that part is O.K. He had a buddy in the onco's office who had nausea from Gemzar. Everyone is different. Good luck. Nancy

Tim_PM
Posts: 10
Joined: Aug 2009

Barbara,
I just completed week 4 of a gemzar/trial drug medley. It will continue as long as it proves effective. I have had no nausea with gemzar, but they give me a couple of anti nausea pills 1/2 hour before starting the Gemzar. Also, they sent me home with a prescription for compazine (tablet form, not suppository), and I have taken a couple of those when I thought I might be starting to feel nauseous. I now think that there wasn't any nausea, but didn't want to take a chance. My oncologist, and the nurses at the infusion center all agreed with this practice. Get out in front of it even if it is imaginary, because once you start throwing up (pardon the descriptiveness) if it really is nausea, its much harder to get control back. The normal Gemzar treatment at my clinic is 3 weeks of Gemzar, and a week of rest. In the trial, they want to hit it hard up front, so the gemzar starts with 7 weeks on, then a week of rest. The trial drug gets added the first week, and every third week after that. I have had some side effects that I don't think can be avoided if the chemo is working. I tire easy, and sleep quite a bit, though not necessarily at night. Thank goodness for Poker stars with their around the clock free tournaments. One starts about every 20 minutes. I will sign up, and play to pass the time until I am ready to try to sleep again. Gemzar will likely make you anemic after a few weeks, and lowers your white and red blooc cells, decreasing your ability to fight diseases, and making you tired...did I say you get tired???....tired. Also, I had my central vision go blurry for a few hours, and am told that was probably due to the Gemzar. Vision is back to normal now. I am told that once the chemo starts destroying the red and white blood cells, the bone marrow kicks in, and starts producing replacements. I am told it takes a while for the new blood cells to mature, so you reach the "nadir" low point after a few weeks, then the body starts outputting new cells. But if your body doesn't make enough cells, you may need shots, a transfusion, a change in the quantity of chemo "juice", or a temporary stop in the chemo treatments. I hope you have as easy a time as I am having so far. I expect it to get worse over time, but so far, I am very pleased with how good I feel. I just completed week 4 of gemzar, three more weeks, then I get a rest week, and a CT scan to see how the chemo is actually affecting the tumors.
Best wishes, and many prayers.
Tim.

Faithr
Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Tim my husband was just diagnosed with Pancreatic carcinoma w/mets to the bones. We got this news on Monday 23 of November and he will start taking Gemzar and Tarceba on Monday the 30th. I found that your post about this drug was helpful to me the wife, who is looking at all the information I can get and I must say relying on my Hospice family as I work for them, to give information. Jim has been seeing this oncologist now for four years although this is his first battle with the big C. In the begining we were seeing the oncologist because his blood count was low and they wanted to get it up for stomach surgery that he was going to have. They got it up high enough for the operation and have been keeping tabs on it all this time. They are not sure if he will be able to withstand 6 or 7 weeks of Gemzar because of this. They may have to cut it back and only due one or two weeks with a break. We have been told that it is in-operatible because of the spread to the bones, but gotta keep the Faith and he just might be the one to make it.
Best wishes to you and enjoy that Poker.
Faithr

lizdeli's picture
lizdeli
Posts: 522
Joined: Jul 2009

You might want to try MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. I know you said that you couldn't afford to travel outside of Lousisiana, but there may be housing assistance avaialbe for you through the Hospital. Plus, depending on where in Lousisiana you live you might be able to drive to Houston.

Wishing you all the best,
Liz

Diane S.
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2009

I've been thinking of you, and what you are going through, and what you are going to go through with your mother. Did you make a decision about chemo treatments? As I said in my other post, chemo has made my mother's life better. She receives gemzar once a week. It takes about an hour. She does this for 3 weeks, and then has one week "off," when she goes for a scan, labs and a doctor's appointment. Her cancer marker numbers have gone way down. The nurse practitioner at the doctor's office said she knew another older lady who was on the same protocol, and she lived for three years!!

Diane S.
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2009

dbruce-

Our first thought upon hearing the diagnosis was to get in touch with, and fly to, Johns Hopkins Pancreatic Cancer Clinic, as they, obviously, only work with Pancreatic Cancer. They have trials you can become a part of, but only if your cancer hasn't spread. After finally doing a PET scan, they found that my mother's cancer had spread to her liver...so she was out! To tell you the truth, she is happier back here in Syracuse, living in her own home and being around her own people and places. The oncologists here do not specialize in pancreatic cancer...they treat all types of cancers, but what they're doing for her seems to be working. She feels better, and her life has improved, and is extended. The big advice we received in the beginning was to get with an oncologist at a University affiliated hospital...a teaching hospital that is up on the newest treatments and procedures. Hopefully, you have done that. If not, you can always get a second opinion from one during the course of treatment, to make sure you still feel good about your plan, or to change.

Tim_PM
Posts: 10
Joined: Aug 2009

Karena,
I have stage IV pancreatic cancer which has metastazised into several lymph nodes, and probably into the liver, though the spot is still too small to be clearly identified. I also am inoperable, even without the metastasis. The tumor encases major arteries and has also put pressure one the channel that drains the liver. That pressure led to jaundice (yellow eyes and skin) and severe itching. It took a while from that incident to identifying the cancer, but my doctors were very quick to insert a stent to allow the liver to drain. I still have a lousy prognosis, six months without treatment, and with chemo, possibly double that. At sixty one, the timing of this is not great, we haven't completely prepared ourselves for retirement, and my early death makes my wife's financial future difficult, especially on top of what the economy has done to our life savings. Of course all of these life expectancy tables are statistical averages, and mine may be more or less, though as I absorb the information, and assimilate what is happening to me, I just can't get rid of the feeling that I am on the low side of those numbers. Quite frankily, this cancer scares the living daylights out of me, and the treatment is equally intimidating. I have chosen to do chemo to try to extend my life expectancy a few months, but my wife and I have both agreed that if I don't feel the side effects of the chemo are worth the extra time, I will call it off, and let go of life. I have also joined a trial to help the scientists who are helping us fight this disease. I don't expect it will turn into the magical silver bullet that cures this cancer, but I felt it was worth a try for that possible outcome as well as for the advancement or the science. I think the decision is your mom's to make, whether to fight, or just let go. They can make us comfortable for the most part for the months we have left with pain medications as the disease progresses, and without treatment, it is not a terribly long time to wait. Let your mom decide whether she wants to try to prolong her life through Chemo, or whether she would rather just call it a day, and see what the afterlife is like. My thoughts and prayers for your mom, and yourself. She has a difficult decision to make, but your support of her decision will be very important. Best Wishes, and may God hold you both in the palm of his hand.
Tim.

NH_Naz
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Tim,

We'll add you to our prayer list. My dad was diagnosed with the same stage IV Pancreatic metatstatic cancer last week - also inoperable. Doctor's confirmed it's spread to his liver - only option he has is the chemo, as you mentioned, to possible extend his life. Up until now he'd been quite healthy and prior to this his doctors had actually said that they's seen some 65 year olds in worse shape than he (my dad's 75). He's getting the first bout of Gemzar on Wednesday. He wants to play some golf this weekend if he is feeling ok - try to get out with close friends and close family since we do not know how fast this is going to go since we have no "baseline" as to how quickly it's progressed. Obviously this has been a real kick in the gut, but one's faith can't be tested in the easy times, and it still doesn't change the fact that ultimately God is in control...needless to say, I know these next few months will change me permanently. Fortunately we have been blessed with a close family and the four of us kids along with my mom are doing what we can to keep thing as normal as possible for dad (and my mom). My dad still has his sense of humor and for the time being is maintaining his weight. His pancreas is in essence "out to lunch" and no longer really producing much insuling which requires my mom to give him a shot each day. Keeping his blood sugar down has been huge in terms of improving how he feels. I'm not sure if you mentioned anything like that in your previous posts but if for some reason they haven't validated your glucose levels lately they probably should, especially if you have been exhausted as of late. In any case, keep the faith and get outside and enjoy each day you're feeling well enough to do so. From what I have researched in some medicals journals, light exercise (walking or stationary bike) is supposed to help avoid/minimize some of the side effects of chemo.

Take care of yourself and good luck with your chemo, as I mentioned, you and your family are on the the prayer list. We've had a bunch of folks supporting us and it makes an enormous difference.

Best,
Ken

debbidoo
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2009

My sister is 78 and was diagnosed in April with pancreatic cancer. She had the whipple surgery May 1st and spent the next month in the hospital. Bottom line was that her stomach never "woke up" and they sent her home to die. They referred her to hospice and she and her husband decided to spend the rest of her life at home. She receives her sustenance by a liquid thru' a tube and pump into her small intestine and has a tube (drain) from her stomach attached to a bag. She is in her third month of this daily routine with no control of pain and continuous nausea. Hospice is ineffective, coming only three times a week. How can a surgeon destroy a person's insides and then say, "Sorry, didn't work. Go home and die now." And, not have any follow up because she is under the control of hospice.

mstanner2
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2009

I totally agree with your opinion of hospice....My husband was diagnosed April 2009 and is 64 years young. He has always been healthy and very strong. We were given no hope, since his cancer had metastized to his lungs and liver (ever so slightly) However we do have good insurance so naturally we got all the Chemo and Drugs they could throw our way. Then after he was hospitilized for pneumonia...overmedicated....and I got angry with the onc. we asked for some home health assistance so he could come home and thats where we got thrown under the HOSPICE BUS....I had no idea they actually take over your insurance and you have to beg for treatment. I fired them immediately, put myself in charge of checking the medications for drug interactions...called the insurance company numerous times just for advice...Please do not think there is not a time for HOSPICE....however it seems to be just a polite way for the Medical Community to dismiss you. My husband was given 2 to 6 months to live. We are now in month 8...My husband is not giving up and I will be there for his fight. I don't think anyone should be given no hope and how dare a Doctor look you in the face and say sorry, He's done. We have had a second opinion and at least this oncologist gave us some hope.....my husband is almost back to his normal weight of 200lbs, and although he is weak sometimes...we still are on the chemo wagon and are willing to fight on....Thanks for your insight.

Faithr
Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2009

I'm so sorry that you had a bad time with Hospice...I work for a non-profit Hospice and we are not like that...we take anyone, with insurance or without, cancer, no cancer, children or adults. I wish you and your family all the best. My husband was just diag. with pancreatic carcinoma with mets to the bones and lymph nodes. We were given 6 months without treatment and year with teatment. He starts his first round of chemo on Monday, Gemzar and Tarceba. I have to keep the Faith that he will be with me for awhile longer, there are many other problems that he has had. Jim is a diabetic,begining stage of COPD, stage one of liver disease from drinking (but would you believe that his cancer isn't in the liver?)and high blood pressure. Our biggest problem with chemo is going to be keeping his blood count up. That is one of the reasons that he has been going to his oncologist for so long, they had to get the count up before he could have stomach surgery.
Any way, enough about us. I wish you and your husband all the best. God keep Blessing you.

Tim_PM
Posts: 10
Joined: Aug 2009

Ken,
Just had my second round of Chemo (gemzar) or gemcitabine. Plus a trial drug. I have had no noticable side effects, but various stats from my blood tests are moving around. I think its way to early to be concerned by these. Thanks for the glucose level hint, I am keeping an eye on it, as are my doctors. I had a PIC line put in at the recommendation of the chemo nurse that put in my first IV. Now that it is in, I probably won't take it out, but no one can tell me whether I can take a full swing at the golf ball, or not (be cautious is the advice). The nice thing about the PIC line is they can take blood draws from it, as well as administer chemo, and if I ever let them do tube feeding, I have had PIC line feeding before, and it wasn't very difficult. The BIG problem is the maintenance. They have to change the dressing once a week, which entails pulling all the tape and stuff off, washing the area with alcohol and other stuff, then reapplying the PIC dressings. This process is in my opinion, more of an irritation than having an IV line inserted every week, but perhaps over time, I will find the PIC has more value. For now, I am not sure I like what it will do to my golf game (not that I have much of a golf game now anyway, but I do have great memories of how well I think I used to play.)I am going out sometime in the next week or two to the driving range to test how the pic line is affected when my club meets a golf ball. Best wishes, and prayers to your family, and special thoughts for your dad. Tell him to keep playing golf, and you join him, and keep making memories.

NH_Naz
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2009

Tim,

How are you doing? Has been a while since I checked up on the site. We ended up losing our Dad on October 23rd - 91 days after he initially reported having some pain/discomfort which started us down the pancreatic cancer path...Dad was strong in his faith to the very end. He never complained once. I am one of four kids and he had a special relationship with each of us, and of course with my mom who was his bride of 48+ yrs. One of the hardest things to manage is the new "norm" of him not being around...an enormous void has been left in his absence. Between the four kids, my Dad also had 12 grandkids ranging in age from 5 months to 14 yrs. We love him and miss him. And ultimately - the way we feel is teh way it really should be when you have a Dad and a family that was/is as close ours...really as family was intended to be.

I hope this finds you doing well...thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. To those also battling or who have a eloved on battling cancer, my older sister found a great site that allowed us to post photos and status updates that our close friends and family could access. I would highly recommend it for those who have family scattered abroad....there is no cost to use their site and it allows people to post messages and send their prayers/love over the wire...priceless now that he is gone.

The site is www.caringbridge.org.

Warm regards and sincerest prayers,
Ken

Tim_PM
Posts: 10
Joined: Aug 2009

NH_Naz, sorry to hear about your father. I hope his passing was gentle. My prayers continue for your family, may you all enjoy your wondeful family memories.

On my front, I have been doing Chemo for 5 months now, with a short break when my stent clogged, and I got an infection. 4 days in the hospital with antibiotics, and a short easy procedure to replace the stent, and I went back into the chemo. I have had two transfusions, that helped offset the tiredness from the chemo. I tried going through this free week without the blood transfusion, hoping that the break would allow my body to recover on its own, but I don't think I will do that again. I have been sleeping most of the time. Haven't managed to stay awake for an entire football game, or hockey game, etc.... in the past three weeks. All those bowl games gone to waste.
I still am not having problems with nausea, hair loss, or most of the other chemo related issues, except of course, the tiredness, and reduced immune system viability. Trying to avoid crowds, and no one who is sick gets to come visit us. With a compromised immune system, those are just prudent measures.

Anyone with diahrea here is some information. I already was taking morphine for pancreatitis pain, but the Oncologist added a liquid morphine to the mix, and the diahrea was quickly brought under control. Unfortunately, there was a side affect, muscle spasms, especially in the arms and legs, but there was no pain associated. To try to get rid of the spasms, we changed to tincture of opium. Liquid morphine tastes pretty bad, but the tincture tastes terrible, and it wasn't as effective as the morphine. I decided I would prefer the muscle jerks to the taste of the opium, and went back to the morphine. They offered another alternative prescription, but I decided to quit experimenting. I will continue with the liquid morphine.

There is a tumor tracer blood test CA-19 I believe. I was at 59 in July when they detected the tumor, but a recent run of that test was only 17. Zero is the best. I am not sure that I totally understand this tracer value, and I didn't quiz the doctor well enough, all I know for now is that lower is better. I will quiz my oncologist the next time I see her.

I am in a trial that infuses a trial drug every three weeks plus the standard Gemzar treatment. I will keep up the trial/chemo for the foreseeable future, and hope that the treatment holds the cancer at bay for a while.

I can really tell that I am putting a lot of pressure on my wife during all of this. I am basically a couch potato with no energy, and with a lot of needs. I have to work on that. Any suggestions from the caregivers out there? what kinds of things can I do to make my wife's burder easier, and to cheer her up?

Take care everyone, once again, my prayers go out for all of you.

Sincerely,
Tim.

Janj13
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Tim, im really saddened to hear your story. My husband was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer last week as yet we dont know what stage it is. We do know that up to last week it hadnt spread to his liver it is at the head of the pancrease and therefore inoperable. as it is covering the main blood vessel into his stomach and creaping into the lymph nodes that join this vessel. Like you his bile duct was blocked and they put a stent in to push the tumour out of the way to allow the bile to drain to where it should be. For a few days after he felt a little better but last night it was as if hed gone back to square one. His colour is slowly returning but he is still being sick, he hasnt eaten anything for well over 2 weeks. I was wondering if you could tell me if you experienced this after your procedure. Im really worried about his state of mind as well, its almost as if he has given up before the fight. Im giving him all the support and strength I can but he can be so upsetting some times as he is very narky and irritable. I would be greatful for any advise or words of encouragement that I can give him.

Kind regards

Jan

nancyj_pa
Posts: 20
Joined: May 2009

Jan,
My husband has PC as well. He was able to have the Whipple surgery April 29, 2009. It is so scary for all involved. Your husband will go through a lot of stages to get through this, such as denial, anger, etc. Try contacting PanCan for their information booklets and/or support, and also log onto the Johns Hopkins Pancreatic Cancer Discussion Boards for info and support for yourself. You can google them. You can read stories of others like your husband. Chemo and radiation will probably be used to try to shrink the tumor. Make sure you get a second opinion from a major cancer center with a doctor VERY experienced in pancreatic cancer. Good luck in your journey. Nancy

Tim_PM
Posts: 10
Joined: Aug 2009

Jan,
I haven't had any side effects from the stent procedure, except that the yellow went away, and so did the itching. It took longer than I would have liked for the itching to get really trounced, but it was worth the wait. My appetite is fine, and I even went on a little eating binge when I was first diagnosed, since so much that I read said that PC patients tend to lose weight during Chemo. I put on about 12 pounds in short order. Then I found out that the quantity of Chemo they give you is predicated on your height and weight. I was already in trouble since I am about 6'6", and the 12 pounds just compounded the issue. This is really just joking around, since I probably can't tell the difference between what they would have given me if I hadn't gained the weight, and what they are giving me since my weight is up. On the serious side, your husband should try to eat something. His body needs resources to effectively battle this cancer. You might try ensure, though if he has to watch sugar, this drink has a fair amount of sugar, so be careful. Also, Ensure seems to be pretty pricey. I haven't found anyplace that sells it for less than a dollar a bottle. I will keep looking though.
Perhaps some of what I am about to say will help with you and your husband. I don't expect to beat this disease, it is just too unrealistic, especially at stage IV. But I wouldn't mind beating the statistics, and adding several months to my life expectancy. And if I succeed in doing that, I want those months to be as enjoyable as possible. I am into making memories for my wife and friends. Being irritable is counterproductive, though I understand why your husband might feel that way. He probably considers that he has just received a death sentence, and quite honestly, that is probably the case, especially if his cancer is inoperative. But the timing of that death is still uncertain, and the journey will be what you and he can make of it. I suspect that there will come a time when I will become introverted, trying to put my life and death into perspective, and I will pull away from loved ones somewhat. I have seen that in my parents, and father in law. Don't let that get you down, you are not at fault for anything, it just seems to be a part of the process of death. But I think your husband is letting down a little too early. Let him know how hard it is to be supportive when he is irritable and "narky". Best wishes, and many prayers for you and your husband. I need to rush off for Chemo right now. If you want to exchange comments in a less public arena, I would share my personal e-mail with you. Or there may be a less public way on this bulletin board, I haven't explored that possibility yet. Bye for now.

Bartrip_Devon
Posts: 10
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi to all of you out there suffering with PC.

It's good to hear you are doing well Tim_PM, and I have to say that I agree with you about the Ensure supplement milkshakes. Apparently, they are full of the vitamins which you need to keep you strong. Since I last spoke to you (when hubby saw Consultant and does not need to see him until the New Year) he has seen his GP. He has been advised to come off the Paracetamol (he was taking 8 a day) but now he only has to take them when he needs to. He takes Zomorph and Creon (enzyme pills) on a daily basis and one Ensure a day to build him up - he has put on 5lbs since he last saw the GP back in April (I think). Like you, he has a positive attitude and you MUST be proud of that, it's people like you who face this awful thing head on and help other people - give your self a pat on the back!!!!

My hubby is not into computers, he is the more outdoor type and loves working his gun dogs (springer spaniels) and shoots on a regular basis. I just feel that, if that is what he wants to do, let him do it.

I would advise anyone out there to make sure you have all your financial stuff in order, it really helps. We were lucky, we had an insurance on the mortgage and therefore have no mortgage now ,in the present situation (recession) is a godsend - it takes the pressure off so we can enjoy our days together. Our daughter doesn't really understand what is going on, bless her, she is only 7 and just knows that Daddy is poorly. How do you explain the real situation to a child of that age? Does anybody out there know? Any advice would be gratefully appreciated.

(Sandra) Bartrip_Devon

UTJEN
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2009

My mom was also diagnosed with pancreatic cancer August 2009. She had been having a lot of back pain and had thought that she had hurt her back working. She went on like this for probably a couple of months but the pain became constant and after taking meds for back problems that did not help she eventually became jaundiced and started itching really bad. Another trip to the doctor and more tests gave the cancer diagnosis. She is 64 and has worked for about 45 years. Never been sick. Unfortunately for her, she had retired a few months early to help care for her parents and she, for probably the first time in her life, had no insurance which makes it hard to go to the top notch hospitals and get that all-important second opinion. Her surgeon at first seemed reluctant to do the surgery.
He was concerned that because she was having so much pain that the cancer had spread to the nerves in her back. After doing another scan that did not show that the cancer had spread, he agreed to do the surgery. I do not know how many Whipple procedures he had done before but with no money or insurance we felt lucky that he was kind enough to do the surgery at all.

My mother had the Whipple procedure on Sept. 3rd. The surgeon had told her to expect to be in the hospital from 10 days to 3 weeks after surgery. They removed the tumor(3cm)from the head of her pancreas and did not see any more visible signs that the cancer had spread. She came home on the sixth day after her surgery. The pathology report found that 2 out of 13 lymph nodes removed did show cancer. All things considered, she is doing well now I think. She has those same problems that most people do with having no appetite and she doesn't feel good a lot of the time but she is not even two weeks out from surgery yet so I think that is to be expected. She is scheduled to start chemo and radiation in 3 weeks. I am hoping she will eat between now and then as I am afraid that it will make her too sick to eat. They have told her to drink Ensure whenever she can.

With everything you read and hear about this cancer it is hard not to fear the worst but we are trying to stay positive and thank God for the good result she has had so far. I wish all of you the best of luck. I know it is very hard on both the patient and caregiver. We are just taking it one day at a time.

Daddyslittlegirl
Posts: 11
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Karina,

My father was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer two months ago. He was inoperable as the tumor was lodged between the pancrease, bile duct and liver and due to his age (86) the doctors said the whipple surgery would be too hard on him with more risks than a possible benefit. So he opted to go with chemo. He has finished his first round with Gemzar. He goes in once a week for three weeks and then rests the fourth week. I must say that he didnt have any side effects at all (just as the dr said). He did get EXTREMELY weak by the 3rd week but it's been two weeks now with no chemo and he is back to himself again. He just had his stent replaced from a temporary one to a permanent metal one and while the dr was in he did say the tumor had gone down in size.So after just one full round of Gemzar it did seem to help. As for the quality of life- the first weeks weren't bad. The last week was horrible! But after rest and plenty of good eating my dad is holding up fine.

Also-we did have a hard time with his appetite. There was a point where he just did not want to eat anything. I did some reasearch and found a prescription called Megace and asked dr to fill it. It's been a month since my dad's on it and he has GAINED 11 pounds! Not sure why the dr didn't tell us about it but I'm just thankful that I found it!

Best of luck and remember that ultimately it's not your responsibility to decide what your mom will do. It's her decision-but it is your responsibility to provide her with the right information so that she can make her decision based on the right facts. I had to accept this myself as I used to loose sleep over what my dad's choices were.

mmacmonagle
Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi DLG! (I have two of those)

I am glad you dad isn't suffering any side effects. My doctor told me the same thing but it wasn't to be, nausea, exhaustion and hair loss. I must say none of it has been debilitating but it it there. I think everyone is different. I have had other unrelated ailments that I believe are aggravated by the chemo: Gout (finally got a handle on that one). Sinus infection, and now edema. Up until this I was quite healthy for a slightly overweight 60 year-old.

All in all I am very lucky as the PC was confined to the head and very small. The surgeon removed a third of the pamcreas, with good margins and it hadn't spread. The chemo and radiation should take care of anything that may be there but they can't see.

I wish you all the best!

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network