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Anyone in their 20s/30s currently undergoing treatment?

cagirl4455
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi there,

I'm 29 years old and was diagnosed with stage IV stomach cancer almost one year ago. Surgery was not an option at the time of diagnosis (and still is not) so I've been undergoing chemo since December 2008. At this point, I've already surpassed my initial prognosis of 8-10 months and am wondering what comes next.

I'm particularly interested in getting in touch with other people close to my age with stomach cancer. I'm getting a little tired of all the healthy young people around me - well, not really - but it would be nice to know other people my age who are spending most of their free time either undergoing treatment or recovering from it. :-)

Tiffany

Tomissimo
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 2008

Tiffany,

I remember from earlier posts, but were having problems finding them of some other women who were had posted about stomach cancer on this board who were in their 20's/30's. There have been several posts by caretakers who's spouses were in their 30's or 40's.

I'm 33 now, two years removed from the end of a Chemo/Rad to Total Gastrectomy Surgery to Chemo/Rad treatment. I am glad to hear that you are still going after your prognosis. If there are any post treatment questions that you have I'm more then happy to try and answer them. I was only Stage 3a with my cancer so it's not the same prognosis or treatment method, but there are simply not many people who have this cancer. And below 50 it is considered a rarer event.

Not that it's cancer related, but Dr's had given my Dad about 2 yrs to live after his heart bypass surgery, that was about 19 yrs ago. So thankfully Dr's can be wrong from time to time and I certainly hope for the best for you.

- Tom

cagirl4455
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi Tom,

Thanks so much for your response! Based on some of the searching around I've done, I wasn't too confident I'd find anyone in the same situation. There really aren't many people who have this type of cancer.

I'm glad to hear things have gone well for you! I'm crossing my fingers at the moment that my situation improves. As I mentioned in my post below, I just found out that my current chemo drugs are no longer working. So far, I've been on oxaliplatin, leucovorin, 5FU, docetaxel, and irinotecan. If you happen to remember, what chemo drugs did you take and how did they work for you? I've heard the most about oxaliplatin and 5FU, but since those are out of the picture, I really need to find something else.

Hope you are continuing to feel good, and thanks again for your response!
Tiffany

pumpkin853
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2009

I am glad to read your story and realize that I am not alone, I am 33 and have three children and was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer. I will be starting treatment on next week and I am a little nervous. It is so good to hear that your treatment has gone so well, that encourages me. I will have several weeks of treatment and then we will know if surgery is an option. I have been prayed up and I am ready.

So where are you from? And how hard was your chemo?

cagirl4455
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi there,

So sorry to hear about your diagnosis! Hopefully the info I have to share will be helpful in some way, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

I have been on two different types of chemo. Initially, I was put on oxaliplatin, leucovorin, and 5FU (fluororacil). I had treatment every other Thursday, and was usually back at work on the following Tuesday. The biggest problem I had with this combo was the nausea, but there are drugs your doctor can give you to help with this. The best combo I found was Emend (a pill you take the day of treatment and then for 2 days after) and Zofran (an anti-nausea drug that I was able to take every 8 hours as needed). Initially, I was given Compazine for nausea and this did NOT work at all for me. The Zofran was much better. I would typically take a pill in the evening on the day I had chemo, and then would keep taking a pill every 8 hours to fight nausea and to keep it from getting any worse. I was still nauseous sometimes (the worst of it usually was from Friday evening - Saturday morning/afternoon) but found that if you have food in your stomach, it helps soak up some of the drugs and keeps you from being as nauseous (at least it did for me). I'd recommend crackers of some sort, and also found that apples were helpful too. Oddly enough, it also helps to drink regular Coke. Another patient told me about it and it actually does work! I grew up drinking diet and don't like the taste of regular Coke, but I drank it since it helped. :-) About 6 months into it, I was still complaining to my doctor about nausea so he wrote me a prescription for Marinol (synthetic THC - my family calls them my "pot pills"). These were more difficult to find as a lot of pharmacies (at least in my area) didn't carry them, but they were really helpful. I took these instead of the Zofran and found they worked better with nausea. They actually made me fall asleep, but I'd rather be asleep than awake and nauseous! :-) The only other issues I had with this treatment were the sensitivity to cold caused by the oxaliplatin (but not such a big deal as long as you keep warm) and neuropathy. I still have residual tingling & numbness in my fingers and in my feet, but it's not so bad. It bothered me initially but I've gotten used to it. One other thing to keep in mind with the sensitivity to cold if you're on oxaliplatin - drinking cold beverages will probably feel funny - I felt like I was swallowing something fuzzy - so you may want to drink stuff that is room temperature. The positive side of this treatment is that I kept all my hair (which was important to me - I hate the idea of looking sick, and I'll admit it, I'm vain too). :-)

I was on that combo until the end of July, when we found out it was no longer working. Then I got switched to docetaxel (taxotere) and irinotecan. This treatment schedule required that I go in for treatment on 2 consecutive Thursdays, then I got a week off, then I repeated the 2 consecutive weeks, etc. These drugs were a lot more mild and I didn't really have any issues with them. They caused some minor stomach cramping and very very mild nausea, so I just made sure to stay on top of taking my Zofran. These drugs are supposed to cause hair loss, and my doctor warned me I'd lose mine. I was lucky though and although I started losing more hair than usual, I still have most of it.

Unfortunately, I found out last Thursday that these drugs aren't working for me either. I had fluid in my lung that had cancer cells in it, so it's time to explore another treatment option. At this point, I'm not sure what that is but my doctor is looking into a couple different trials for me (and hopefully my insurance will pay for one of them!!) At this point, surgery still is not an option (and probably never will be) so I don't have any advice to offer there.

Again, if you have any questions, just let me know! I live in the Los Angeles area and I go to the USC Norris Cancer Center for treatment.

Good luck with your treatment! I hope everything goes well for you!
Tiffany

vijendrasnv
Posts: 16
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi,
I'm particularly interested in getting in touch with other people close to my age with stomach cancer.
If you want any kind of information then just let me know.I m always there for you.
We are providing education and information about an dangerous cancer called GIST(GIST (Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor).

Thanks.

life4all
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi,

My wife who is in here mid 30s was diagnosed with Stage IV Gastric Cancer ( Stomach Cancer ) 3 months ago. Six months Prior to the diagnosis, the symptoms were a slight dull stomach ache for which we saw a doctor who said it was just acidity and suggested that she take Prilosec. After taking Prilosec for a month , the pain did not go away and we saw a urologist who also suggested the same after doing a kidney scan. Since we did not see any improvement and there was a slight bloatin, we went for a CT which showed everything was ok and saw a GI doctor who suggested that she have a endoscopy, which she did . Based on the Endoscopy and the biopsy, the GI doctor told us that she had H-Pylori bacteria in her stomach for which we were asked to take the required medication and other than that that everything was ok ! After we took the medication for the H-Pylori for 2 weeks and after waiting another week , the bloating in her stomach was getting larger (ascitis), plus she could not eat much, had trouble swallowing, general weakness, and we went for a second Endoscopy and CT which diagnosed the presence Stage IV stomach cancer .

She started Chemotherapy, the combo being ( Oxaliplatin, Epirubicin and Xeloda) and she is in her third cycle. She is responding well to Chemo, since here cancer markers were significantly down from the first to the second cycle and from the second to the third cycle we have not got the results yet. Luckily, she does not have nausea though she does take anti-nausea medication the first three days of there chemo. Also, there is some hair loss. We have two young kids and luckily we have a lot of family around us which is a huge blessing.

Good luck and stay positive

CancerSux2013
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2013

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jcohee
Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2009

my son is 23 and his story so far sounds very similar to yours, wondering how your journey has gone so far? Since it is my son, and still my baby, at only 23 he feels that he is the only one going through this, i wish it could be me and i struggle to get through every day, so glad to hear some encouraging stories on this site. Stay strong . keep praying

jcohee
Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2009

hi, my name is Julie, my son is 23 and was just diagnosed with stage 4 adeno carcinoma about 3 weeks ago. At the time the surgeon said he would not operate. B the way, he presented at the ER with accute pancreatitis, the drs even said " with someone this age we dont worry about things like cancer" this still sticks in my mind. It has been a devastating diagnosis for us all, we stll have trouble accepting it. These doctors have never seen someone so young with this condition. He is currently on Chemo, they hope to localize the cancer more and then do the surgry and thats what we are praying for . The drs are very happy with how his body seems to be responding to the treatment but Josh continues to have issues with eating and nutrition. He almost refuses anything by mouth, and at times will refuse the J-tube feedings dt. he says they cause him to be nautious,(even though a j tube goes straight into the small intestine. so we have constant battles . He is very weak and has a very poor attitude. He was extremely active and always on the go before, this has stopped him in his tracks, very depressing. This will be his 4th week in the hospital, im wondering if you have had sort of the same experience? Please dont give up. the mind is more powerful than the body and cancer , a mighty opponent can be beat whatever any doctor or statistics say. there isnt much info on age and this cond. so please dont give up.

Tomissimo
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 2008

I had the same feelings your son had. When I started eating it was the most miserable experience of the cancer treatment/recovery. I went from 165 lbs to 103 lbs ultimately before I was able to get back up to around 112 lbs. All I can say is that it will get better in time and sadly it is a long experiment as to what foods he can take or not. I would suggest staying away from high sugar foods, natural or added i.e. fruit juice candy etc. This will cause the dumping syndrome. Other then that some foods will cause problems and others not. I can't really have any dairy except for very small amounts without discomfort.

jcohee
Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2009

just a thank you for your words of support, the doctors are focused on his body no one seems to be as concerned about his mind, although the doctors are concerned that he is "withdrawn" I can't seem at times to bring his mood up as he feels he will allways be sick even though were looking forward to the surgery and eventually in the words of his primary oncologist a "cure". BTW , do you know if with chemo, if it works, at some point might it stop "working?" they are trying to localize the cancer cells more to have better outcome with the surgery.

Tomissimo
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 2008

Chemo is by no means a cure. Chemo can help, where with me and the use of Radiation treatment it was used to shrink the size of the tumor prior to a total gastrectomy and the lower third of my esophagus. Chemo is probably pretty close to being as bad as you think it is or perhaps worse. It's function is to kill cells at the time of division, this is good or bad cells. Since cancers are a fast growing part of the body it kills the cancer faster/more aggressively then the rest of your body. But this is also why many people lose their hair and have lower immunities while undergoing treatment.

I really feel for caregivers who have to support us in this situation. It is an extreme burden. I know for my wife we were only married for 2 1/2 years at the time with an 8 month old daughter. So I know to some extent what you may be going through. However being the person who underwent cancer I also know that death is a real possibility for me at any time. I personally cope by not thinking in terms longer then 3 months until my next follow up.

The idea of the cure is probably the same as it was with me. Chemo to kill any possible spread of the disease to other parts of the body and the surgery to remove the tumor and hopefully any remnants of it in that area of the body.

Today is the two year anniversary of the start of my last treatment of Chemo/Radiation. During the recovery I would notice a great improvement on a weekly basis. My doctors always said it would be about a year from the end of treatments before life started settling into a "normal" routine. Though it took me about 18 months to start settling down.

As my Radiation oncologist put it, it's like seeing someone who had an arm or leg amputated, but since it's an internal organ people don't always comprehend the life changing effects it has on people. I know most people will scoff at that comment, and I guess I can't truly relate to missing a limb, but 80% to prior surgery is about the best I can hope for. You eat every 2 hrs non stop from wake up to sleep. There is no real sense of 'hunger' as you train you body to recognize new hunger symptoms. Eating is a chore. Think of yourself as a healthy person having to take medicine every 2 hrs for near the rest of your life.

It won't be easy for you, your son, or the rest of your family. The best help besides prayers, is that it will eventually get better though it won't seem likely at the time.

livestrong_fighter's picture
livestrong_fighter
Posts: 39
Joined: Dec 2009

Statistics is nothing to non-believers. I hope you keep doing well!

pieguy
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2009

I;m 31 and was diagnosed with STage 4 stomach cancer that has spread to several spots on my liver finishing 10 treatments of radiation, chemo starts in 3 weeks. would also like to know has was chemo, symptoms,more/less pain etc...
heard about a natural herb from a good health nut friend called Pau-d'arco, I suggest googling it ,it sounds quite promising, start looking 2 buy it ASAP.
thanx 4 any info!!

snv123
Posts: 10
Joined: Dec 2009

Don’t go for Chemo, it is by no means a cure. Chemo can help, where with me and the use of Radiation treatment. I'm particularly interested in getting in touch with other people close to my age with stomach cancer.
Thanks.

Miguel witness
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2010

My Father in law was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma the last September 2009, no surgery was suggested because of the grade of the cancer I guess, so the doctors started with the chemo immediatly after the diagnose but just as a palliative which meant to be only to try to improve his life quiality. I have to say the first time I saw him once he backs home, he was totally devastated of course morally and clinically (lost weight around 20+ pounds), the first words he said to me : "Ya fue todo, hasta aqui llego" which means "This is it, I have reached the limit" for what I answered with words trying to impulse and increase his downgraded mood. Well, we started to seek for home based remedies and alternatives to the chemo, etc... he tried some of them, lost his hair etc... and the last December like 30 days ago went to a regular evaluation , at that time he recovered his regular weight as well, and when he met the oncologyst, yes the same that made his doagnose, The doctor was amazed by the real progress!! he mentioned words that a doctor you never expect to hear: "What are you doing here?, I have not count with you since the first diagnose!! ", after that he programmed a gastrectomy surgery (complete) for this January 22nd...We made all the arrangements and requested studies (X rays, TACs, blood etc...)and when my father in law went to evaluate those results and get intern to his surgery the doctor was amazed again, words more or less: "After review your results once and again, I have to tell you: We have to cancel your surgery, there are no indications that tells me you have Cancer", you can imagine the total surprise of that, of course there has to be another post or evaluations to follow up with it, but as you may guess, we have to say that's a faith/medical/alternative miracle or whatever you want to say. I am trying to get all the exact pieces together to let others know about this, but one thing I have to say: Never ever surrender to any kind of disease, keep your spirit as high as possible. I'll keep in touch with you people to let you know what I get of all of this. Regards. Miguel, Monterrey, Mexico. mike.nuncio@movistar.mx.blackberry.com

livestrong_fighter's picture
livestrong_fighter
Posts: 39
Joined: Dec 2009

I am 36 and was dx stage III Nov 2009, 85% stomach and partial esophagus was removed 11/20, and currently on first cycle of chemo (started 12/28/09), ECF (Epirubincin, Cisplatin and continous 5FU). I didn't experience too much side effects at this time except a few times nausea which were quickly put under control by medication. I trust the power of healing by body itself, if body can bring cancer, it can also take it away. Be positive, eat healthy, laugh more, cherish life more.

I hope you continue doing well and hope to hear from you here.

- father of two

frcostley
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2010

Hello, my son is 21 just diagnosed this month 1/5/10 with stage 4 stomach cancer. The tumor is blocking his stomach from his esaphogas (dont know how to spell that, but learning these medical terms fast) he starts radiation tomorrow to target this tumor. He has other tumors spreading and we were told they were "too numerous to count". His liver has 60% cancer and has some on his lungs. We're totally new to this experience and currently his problem he says is gas stuck in his belly area. He cant burp or pass gas. Is there someone out there that might have a suggestion. He has chemo pills but is refusing to take them for now. I've been praying so hard for him and anyone with suggestions for his pain please post.

jcohee
Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2009

so sorry about your son's diagnosis, I lost my son, who was 23 to adenocarcinoma Jan. 17th . Josh had morphine pump and still had lots of nausea, lots of chemo, im sorry i can be of very little help but there is a percentage of survivors and remind him that he can be in this group, i hope all goes well but am also sorry to say that the treatment course that my son had was grueling and aggressive, make sure you are comfortable with his doctors and treatment plan and talk to them about pain management and keep praying. I am praying for your son and your family also, this disease is pure evil......stay strong.....and positive.....Julie

liveinhope
Posts: 83
Joined: Mar 2010

Julie,I am so sorry to hear about your son.When you wrote"he is 23 but is still my baby" you could have been speaking for so many of us.My son was 30 when he was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma stomach last July.We found a good doctor here in Bombay,a good surgeon and a wonderful human being.My son has been through chemo,a total gastrectomy and again chemotherapy.His strength and humor and the tremendous support from extended family and friends has seen us through so far.When I was diagnosed with breast cancer 17 years ago all i hoped for was to see my children through their teenage years.Dealing with my son's cancer has I think been tougher than my own.
My heart goes out to you.How can I help?

liveinhope
Posts: 83
Joined: Mar 2010

Please ask you doctor to refer you to a pain specialist:these are anesthesiologists who deal only with pain.I feel that could give him some relief.Our good wishes are with you and your family

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