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Please help, Dad has Colon Cancer Matastisized to Liver - hasn't got on chemo yet

KDWalker
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2013

Can anyone lend any advice please.  Long story short ...my Dad who I've never seen sick in my life went to the ER on Feb 10th for abdominal pain that was going on for a few weeks, CT showed nodules on liver and colon.  Saw a oncologist 4 days later, set up a liver biopsy for 2 weeks later, in the mean time we got him in for a colonoscopy, surgeon who did the procedure said it was cancer and sent off the biopsy of the colon tumor to verify (tumor is in the cecum) .  Devastating thing is doctor thinks the tumor was missed udring a colonoscopy a couple years back.    The results came back in Friday the 22nd - Cancer.  The same day we took him into the ER - pain was horrible, bloated and yellowish color.  ER did blood work and CT scan.  THe blood work showed his white blood cell count was high (higher than 2 weeks prior) and of course his liver function was low ... CT scan showed air and some fluid but doctors were't concerned and would've released him that night but he opted to stay overnight.   He is suppsed to get a port installed this upcoming week to start chemo on the March 4th .... has anyone out there been this sick and had their liver struggling this much prior to chemo ... do you have any advice?    We are in major shock ... we've never dealt this this before and the doctors help (or lack there of) is mind boggling.  We can't tell if they don't want to say too much because they have NO good news or what.     My worst fear is hs liver continues to get worse and they don't do chemo ..;. I'm not sure how it all works.    He is in good spirits most of the time and we are trying juicing, teas and low sodium to try to help liver and are open to any other advice on diet   Right now he has no swelling in the legs or ankles. 

Can someone please offer any advice ... me and Mom are really struggling to make sense of it all

tachilders's picture
tachilders
Posts: 315
Joined: Jun 2012

Why is his liver function so messed up?  Is it due to the tumors in his liver?  I was diagnosed in June 2012 and had mets to my liver. I had to have surgery because my colon was blocked. I had to get a colostomy and that meant I had to wait 4-5 weeks to start chemo. In that time my liver tumors grew so much they blocked my bile duct and I became jaundiced. They went ahead and started chemo but reduced the dose until my liver numbers got better (due to a biliary drain I had to have put in).  they can do chemo with impaired liver function but you need to ask questions until you know exactly what is going on. Don't take no for an answer. Have they talked about surgery at all?  What chemo are they proposing?  Good luck. 

KDWalker
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2013

Thank you for the reply!   When he was in the hospital overnight Friday becasue the pain got so back, his stomach is disteneded, threw up and still looks a little yellowsih. but they weren't too concerend with the amount of fluid or 'air' showing on the CT and although they said his liver functions aren't good they felt he could go home.   We have a appt this Friday for the chemo port and should be starting chemo next Monday or Tuesday.    He is in so much pain it's horrible to see, pain meds help but also give him the hiccups which makes him even more uncomfortable.   We almost have to force feed him because he doens't feel hungry.   It's very hard seeing him go from such a strong man at the begining of the month to needing help getting up and then shuffling around.

Thank you for the hope ... it's an awful disease.

 

 

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 2926
Joined: Jan 2010

In the battle with cancer, some things are of vital importance.  One is that you get the best information you can, and another is that you have confidence in your medical team.

Any doctor your dad sees should be willing to tell him and anyone he disignates exactly what his medical condition is, what the treatment plan is and why, and what the treatment consists of.  Getting a second opinion from a doc not in the same practice or group as the current one is advisable, and can be done even with him receiving treatments.

It is true, his condition sounds serious with what seems advanced liver issues, but do not give up hope.  There are some folks here who have been in similar situations and have responded well to chemo, even allowing them to be candidates for surgeries to remove remaining tumor(s).

I know that it is early days since you and your family have received this news.  You will find that the more informed you are the better you will be able to deal with this. 

Wishing your dad the best outcome.

Marie who loves kitties

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

My liver was quite bad, over 70% tumour, bad liver function, intense pain, swelling, almost unable to talk or breathe due to liver pushing on the lungs and jaundice. I was nautious all the time.

I started to excercise a lot (gym 3-5 times a week), changed my diet (vegan + fish), stopped drinking all alcohol and coffee. I took silimarin and found hot baths helped with the liver pain. I felt much better after excercise so I continued. Things improved greatly as result. This was just before I started chemo.

Today, after 8 rounds of chemo, liver tumours have not shrunk, but have not grown either, other than nausea I feel fine. Liver function improved and have no liver pains. Just the damn daily nausea persists, but I don't take any meds for it to spare the liver.

KDWalker
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2013

Thank you so much for the reply.  The swelling (distended stomach) and pain is almost unbearable, but the ER he was in recently were not too concerned with the amount of fluid and 'air' in his belly.  We have changed his diet, but he has a hard time eating because of the pain and also the swelling ... were you ony able to eat little bits at a time??     We did get him up a for a walk Monday but he gets so winded so fast and then he fell. he was so strong just amonth ago, it's so scary.  He has no swelling in his legs or feet right now ... he does look a tad yellowish so we are just doing things that are easy on his liver so we can get the chemo started.    May i ask if you ever started to turn jaundice?  or what they gave you for the pain?   He is on oxycodone right now but gives him horrible hiccups which as you can imagine makes everything worse sice he is already swollen and in pain.

 

Thank you!

John23
Posts: 1832
Joined: Jan 2007

 

It was already said, but let me say it again… Get another opinion (or three).

 

If he went in via the ER, the physicians are staff physicians (usually); you get who is on duty. They may or may not be “the best” for your specific circumstance.

 

He needs to make an appointment with a colorectal surgeon who is not of the same group or organization as the one he already seen. Appointments with other Oncologists should also be made.

 

How he is treated initially can make a world of difference for his overall prognosis. He should never accept only one physician’s opinion as fact; it is that critical.

 

Best wishes to you both,

 

John

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4666
Joined: May 2005

It's been said, it's been said it's been said, and I'm going to say it again...Get another opinion. Chances are that if everyone offers the same diagnosis (DX) then it's probably correct.

This brings you to the next phase which is how to deal with it. There are many methods out there. Some are Mainstream, some are more Natural based, and some are "out there" but with cancer there is no One Size Fits All. The tough part can be deciding which route to take. The bottom line is that one has to be comfortable with their choice and also be flexible that if they see it's not helping to seek out an alternate plan.

I think we all can tell by your post that your head is spinning. Not that this makes you feel better but that's pretty much how most of us felt I think. I know that was my reaction. I had felt fine and was DX at stage IV by chance. Do yourself a favor and do not over-research this on the internet. While there's a lot of great information out there, there is also a lot of outdated and sometimes mis-information out there too. Just because it's on the internet doesn't make it true...it just makes it on the internet.

In MY case, I opted for chemo first but my situation was such that it made that possible. That's not always the case. The thinking behind it was that I was otherwise healthy so my body could withstand the chemo better. Many types of chemo can take a toll on the body physically. Not to mention that I also had a large tumor on my hepatic artery in my liver but that didn't stop my first Onc from wanting to cut first, ask questions later. Thankfully I got that second opinion...

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