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FIL Diagnosed - Stage 3 Stomach Cancer

sespencer78
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2010

My father in law was diagnosed a week ago with stomach cancer. They've since done an endoscopy and determined that it is stage 3 and was found in nearby lymph nodes tested. They did a PET scan this past friday but we do not yet know what has been found. They put a port in on Thursday and he's supposed to start Chemo treatments on Monday....they are saying 4-6 wks of chemo, surgery removing part of the stomach, and then radiation...

What I want to know, is it normal to be in SO much pain?! HE is taking a double dose of liquid narcotic painkiller....he can barely eat, has lost 20-30 pounds. All he ate yesterday was 1/2 cup of icecream. He takes the medicine, sleeps for a couple hours, has about 40 good minutes, then the last 30-45 min until he can take another dose he's in terrible pain. Just doesn't seem that it is a good sign.

He's 70, VERY active, hikes, travels regularly, eats very healthfully -doesn't smoke/drink....he is healthier than I am, and I'm 31!

Can stage 3 really turn around and be cured? I don't want to sound hopeless, but I also want to know what we're in for.

Right now I seriously think that my mil and fil both think that the chemo treatment on monday will make him feel better. Huh? Is that possible? Any advice?

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1560
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Sesspencer,
I was a caregiver for my dad, also 70, who beat ec. His tumor was in his esophagus, just above his stomach. He was not a candidate for surgery, due to past heart surgery, and the sight of the tumor. The drs thought it was too much of a risk. He did 6 weeks of chemo and radiation. He did great. He had a wonderful year. Unfortunately, in December he got mets to his liver. Blocked bile duct, stent put in, blocked esophagus from scar tissue, stent put in, chemo started for liver cancer, this was the beginning of the end. He did not do well at all. He passed away on March 9th. Everyone is different. Everyone responds differently to treatment. Since your dad is a candidate for surgery, that is great. First though, they have to shrink the tumor with chemo and radiation. Then they can perform the surgery. Another thing that is in your dad's favor is the fact that he is very active, and great shape. You need to be to fight this. As far as the pain is concerned, my dad had tremendous pain once it went to his liver. He had to have morphine every 12 hrs. Just do your best to manage his pain. Once the treatment starts, this pain should get better. The chemo and radiation does have side effects, but again, everyone responds differently. I do not think that "pain" is a side effect. It is mostly fatigue, tired, nauseous, vomitting, etc. The tumor is giving him the pain, once it is shrunk and removed, it will be gone. There is also another great discussion board for caregivers. Since you are now one, you will benefit by going there.
You are not alone, we are all here for you. I will be praying for you all. What are your names? Keep in touch.
Tina

luckie1
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2010

I NEED and WANT a great deal of support myself. I was JUST
DIAGNOSED WITH STOMACH CANCER OR PERITONEAL CANCER, if it is the same thing YESTERDAY, MAY 14, 2010 and I;m in a state of shock. I am in my late 60's. I recovered from COLON CANCER and it came back, in my peritoneum. They did a PET SCAN the other day and feared the worst. I'm starting CHEMO again next week. IT is called CAPTOSAR, whatever that is. I'm very, very
scared. My hair will fall out, the oncologist said. My husband and I have a 12 YEAR OLD son. We are devastated here and I can't stop crying. I need alot of support. Our family consists of the 3 of us, and that's all. I worry about my son all the time. I do not know what or how to tell him., He saw me go through the colon cancer regime and now it's back. The oncologist really does not know how the chemo will work on MY BODY, but does seem hopeful. I'd love to hear from you or somebody who can give me some encouragement. Thanks. Joan

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1560
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Joan I am so sorry to hear of your story and of your cancer. It is just heartbreaking, but you know what??? If you beat colon cancer, you can beat this! And who cares if your hair falls out, it will come back. Wear a scarf, bandana, hat. I was a caregiver for my dad. He had esophageal cancer. The tumor was at the end by his stomach. He did 6 weeks of chemo and radiation. Did great for 12 mos. In December, it went to his liver. No good. Horrible 3 months. He passed away in March. I am ok with this though. He no longer had a quality of life. He was in constant pain. He was bed ridden. No way to live. If you are not comfortable with this opinion, go get a second one. If the dr seems hopeful, that is a good sign. Of course you are scared, that is normal. Stay positive. Mental outlook is half the battle. Have a strong faith. We are here for you. Come visit this board often. Keep in touch. Now dry those tears and write back to me!! Peace.
Tina

sespencer78
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2010

My FIL was scheduled to have surgery Tuesday. They were going to remove a portion of the esophagus and most of the stomach. (The tumor is completely around the base of the esophagus at the top of the stomach)

When they went in laproscopically the found that the tumor was far more entwined than they initially thought - attached to many parts and had grown to encompass more of the stomach than it had. It is attached to the liver - but cancer is not IN the liver...it has however met to the Abdominal wall and lymphnodes in that area...so it is officially a Stg IV and inoperable.

The dr says that the course of treatment at this time is chemo w/ radiation. He said that it'd be taxatare(sp?) or platinum for the chemo depending on the size of the radiation field.

He did HORRIBLY with the original chemo treatments which were much milder...He has difficulty eating and they've moved his feeding tube to his small intesting in prep for radiation. He's under 150lbs and about 6ft to 6ft 1 in tall...VERY thin.

Stg IV 5yr rate is like 4% and that's IF you've had successful treatments...Am I wrong to wonder if this is just going to hurt him more than help him?

sbeard3333
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2011

your father in law's situation (at the last time you wrote) sounds very similar to me dad's.
i'm very sorry for what you and your family have gone through. i am wondering what happened next? did he continue with treatment? if so, how did it go?
thank you for your story and your help.
:) stephanie

chemosmoker's picture
chemosmoker
Posts: 525
Joined: Aug 2011

Hello again sespencer78. I have read and followed your posts so far and I was originally encouraged when you said it was only stage III. It sounds exactly like MY diagnosis and cancer. Mine is now officially called esophageal cancer. They originally told ME I had stomach cancer too. Then when they got the PET and CT and long needle biopsies done, I was changed to esophageal and STAGE IVb. Inoperable. At the distal junction, the base of the esophagus and top half of the stomach.
I decided NOT to do any chemotherapy. This is and was a VERY personal and hard decision to make. I might do some palliative radiation to open my throat to swallow if and when that gets worse and eating becomes more of a problem. For now I am eating okay, but it's hard to keep up with my tumors apatite! It can apparently eat 3000 calories a day, aside from what I need to not loose more weight. Ug.
It took a LOT LOT LOT of prayer, study, talking to THREE different oncologists, radiation oncologists, and thoracic surgeons. Then the talking with many patients, family, friends and others who wanted to offer much advice.
It is a HARD thing to talk about with those that are close to me. The ones I thought would have a hard time with this decision didn't and the ones I thought would take it well, didn't. I have learned a lot and also that I cannot always read people or assume how this will effect others.
I wish you had better news and that you didn't have to watch your FIL go through this. Hell, I wouldn't want Osama Bin Laden to have this cancer!
We are all here to help, there are so many great people here, and many survivors as well. Keep coming back and read many posts-that helped me.
I have all kinds of pain. I know that many people get their first relief from starting chemo. That was not an option for me. But I do understand that the shrinking (God willing) of tumors does provide pain relief. Mine has spread all over but so far I am doing well and I thank God every day, for every day. Every single person is so different, especially where pain and chemo and cancer are concerned. This I have learned.
I metabolize fast I have learned. 12 hour pills work for 8 hours inside of me, if I am lucky. My dosages had to be adjusted-allot. Work with the doctors, call them from home, tell them he is in pain the last hour. They will NOT want this as it makes it harder to survive and overworks his body. I had to find what worked and I am there now. It is not easy.
Does he go online? He would benefit from this site if he is interested.
Please keep us posted and let us know what has happened next. It's SO very frustrating to read the beginning of someone's progress and then never hear again from them.
Tina had some great advice for you. You ARE a caregiver now. I know that the help for you is there, too. And LOTS of support. TAKE IT!! ALL OF IT! You WILL need it all.
I hope William and Sherri post to you. They always seem to have the best advice, as well as many others. Best wishes and prayers coming your way. I look forward to hearing more...
I hope this helps.

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