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Stage 4 Survivors, please respond-Dad and Chemo

julita128
Posts: 19
Joined: Jan 2013

Hello, 

 

So Dad's was dx with Stage 4 CC.  He has a chemo port placed last week.  We are hoping to start Chemo -Folfox/Avastin next week.  I am trying to gather as much information as possible.  Seeing as there are many stage 4 survivors on here...please kindly share your stories.  Dad has lost weight and i think  depressed but he is also retiring and i think this has been a trying adjustment.  I hear diet and exercise are key but I cant force him to do anything he generally lounges around the house these days.  

 

I dont know what to really expect from Chemo.  I got all the side effects but that can never give me insight into how mentally and emotionally he will feel.  What is this process like?

 

I read up on cancer and I correct me if I am wrong but as it progresses it shuts down organ function correct?  What do I need to look out for? 

 

I am terrified but I need to keep it together for the family! 

 

How also did you tell family?  I am an only child and right now just my mom and me know of course, but I am thinking of the best way to tell the rest of the family.  

 

 

God Bless and Thank you!

-Julia 

dmj101's picture
dmj101
Posts: 521
Joined: Nov 2011

I commend you wanting to help dad.. but it sounds like he is going thru alot all at once and maybe you need to just let HIM find his way...

I don't mean that meanly...

just be there for him when he needs you.. and leave it at that..

Food wise.. I found proteins helped me alot.. and dry carbs...

Don't stess it Julita... let it be...

 

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4659
Joined: May 2005

I'm sorry to hear about your Dad. People do survive this and/or can live with it as more of a chronic thing. That's been my case.  I did 6 months of FOL-FOX chemo with Avastin for 5 out of the 6 months. I had surgery in Sept 04 where they removed a piece of my colon (no bag), 60% of my liver, my gallbadder, and installation of a hepatic pump. 

What to expect??? Everyone is different. It's no picnic but side effect do vary as well as response to treatments. They are NO guarantees at all no matter what method you try (TCM - Alternatives - Western Medicine). I wouldn't "over-research" it either, there's so much info on the internet but you can read stuff that will scare the pants off you but it might be old data or a 1 in a 1,000,000 side effect.

Telling the family? Again, each family's different. My wife knew that there was something going on with how I was DX. It was during a routine physical (I had no symptoms to speak of but looking back there were clues...) so when my doctor called me back for tests she knew that something was up. From being "healthy" to being diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer all happened within the span of 8 hours. The hardest part was telling our 10 yr old son about it. That was without a doubt the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
That was 9 years ago so here I am, living with cancer. Am I unique? Not especially. Was I fortunate to have great doctors? Yes. Does everyone get the same results with the doctor? No...

The BEST piece of advise I could give you is to get a second opinion and to get the best medical team you can. It truely makes all of the difference inthe world

I hope this helps.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1273
Joined: Jan 2013

You sound like a wonderful, caring daughter, and I can promise you, having that kind of love and support will go a long way toward helping your dad as he faces this journey. 

I am only stage 3, but will share my experience knowing that everyone manages emotions, treatment, family in the way that works for them. 

It was gut wrenching telling my two young adult boys that I had cancer, I honestly don't think there is an easy way around it at all. Don't be affraid of tears, but also try to be positive. At this point every positive thought goes a very long way. 

Everybody handles the chemo meds in different ways. I honestly believe that daily exercise goes a long way in helping the body, but for some reason that doesn't always motivate us to get up and do it ( talking about myself here). I find that on my bad days, when I sit around all day I feel worse. Its good to get up and do something, even pottering around. 

My best freinds father, who is well into his seventies, walks daily, and is handling his chemo treatments wonderfully. 

You have come to a wonderful place to get help and support. 

Good luck with all that is ahead of you. We'll be here for you when you need us. 

 

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2169
Joined: Oct 2011

I've been both caregiver and patient and I have to say I think I found it easier, at least emotionally, to be the one with cancer.  It's not easy watching someone you love struggle with this disease.  A few thoughts...the best advice I got at the beginning of my experience with cancer was to take it one day at a time.  Don't look too far down the road.  Your dad may have many, many years ahead of him, so thinking about things like organ failure is not a good use of your energy at this point.  The cancer journey is a "marathon, not a sprint" in most cases, so it's important to focus on what is happening in the moment, and not worry too much about what may or may not be coming in the future.  Probably the best thing you can do for your dad is just be there for him and be supportive as much as you can.  If he feels like taking a walk, walk with him.  If he feels like talking, or watching TV, or just sitting quietly and resting, then your presence there will make him feel less alone.  I think for many of us that is one of the hardest parts of having cancer...you go from having a full, busy life (working in your dad's case), to having way too much time on your hands, and often too much time spent alone.  This is going to be a big challenge for your dad, especially giving up his work, so he will probably feel pretty down for a while.  I think your presence in his life as he walks this path will make a big difference!  Hugs to you both~Ann Alexandria

PS  If it was me, I would tell the rest of the family asap (although this is also your dad's call).  It's easier to bear a burden like this when it is shared.

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3387
Joined: Apr 2010

Did your Dad do a lot of exercise before?  If not, don't push, walking around the block or the neighborhood is sometimes as good as it gets.

As for diet, it isn't the best time to start pushing that, when on chemo, you may not care for a lot of things, and the things that you do like are the things you should be eating.  If he's losing weight, then high calorie is good for him, so is protein.

As for him retiring, that's an adjustment all in itself, and hopefully he will find a hobby to do.  My husband retired 3 years ago (got laid off and at his age and this economy, never got back to work) and has no hobbies, except to play on his android and hang around the house.  Talk about depressing for ME, I miss the days he was at work all day long and I could get things done without his interference.  Retirement alone, never mind the cancer is a huge adjustment, not just for you dad but for your family as well.  All of that will take time to adjust to.

And as for progression, please remember, stage IV doesn't mean he's dying anytime soon, I'm still going strong over 3 years later, and other stage IV have been here for many, many more years. 

I wish you and your family well, and great progress in this fight against cancer.

Winter Marie

renw's picture
renw
Posts: 282
Joined: Jan 2013

I had to deal with rapid weight loss few months ago, lost 16kg or 20% of my weight at a rate of 1 kg every 2-3 days. Even though it seems counterproductive, I found excercise, resistance training in particular helped the most. I recovered my muscle tissue and put 5kg back on. I was to sip various supplement drinks, eat more carbs etc., according to the hospital dieticians but I did none of this as I also believe diet can play a large role in slowing cancer growth. Last thing I wanted is to eat more sugar. I am only 3 months ahead of you being diagnosed late october 26 with stage 4 and I have documented what I went through so far on my blog. it may be of help: http://mcrc4.com

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