Mar 12, 2013 - 3:08 am
Hello to All~
I have been reading posts for about a month, ever since my dad was diagnosed with what I think is stage 4 EC. This has been a little hard for me to talk about because I know the path we are on, and because we lost my mom a little less than a year ago so the thought of losing my dad is tough.
Ok, here is his story.
My dad will be 70 on March 27 of this year. He is not overweight, is active and takes pretty good care of himself. He had prostate cancer a little over 10 years ago. The prostate was removed and he had no need for further treatment. 2012 was particularly tough in our home with mom and she passed away on April 27. It was around September when he started to feel a little irritation down close to his abdomen but he thought it was because he was eating a little too much, so he cut his meal portions down. He didn't tell me anything about it until he went to the doctor in October. His doctor wanted him to go for a stress test but my dad thought that was crazy because he is physically active and he wasn't having chest pain, it was lower. The doctor referred him to a gastroenterologist. In December, he saw the gastro and he thought it could be a hiatal hernia and they scheduled an appointment for an endoscopy a little over a month later. We went on a Wednesday, and when the doctor called me in to his office, I knew it wasn't good. Things went very fast after that, which was great for dad because he is always saying "if you gotta do something, just get up and do it, none of this lollygagging around." The very next day (Thurs) he had the EUS with biopsy and the day after that, a CT Scan. By Monday we had the follow up appointment with the doctor and met with the oncologist on Wednesday. The following Tuesday he had a port put in and the following Monday he had his first chemo treatment.
So here are the results and where the uncertainty of staging and treatment comes in. EUS stages him T3N2Mx. I think the Mx means mestastases cannot be determined at that time. It also showed the liver to be clear and a possible lesion on the spleen. The CT scan however, revealed multiple lesions on the liver but does not mention the spleen and both indicated metastatic lymphadenopathy. The EUS also states it has invaded the MP and is moderate to poorly differentiated and ulcerated. The oncologist said to him "we can't cure you, but we can fix what we can." I am not sure what that means, and he never told us what the stage was, I had to get the reports and read them myself, and stage it after researching how. I realized once they located it in the liver, it was stage 4. The doctor said he is not a candidate for surgery and that he would be treated with chemotherapy only. Now my dad seems happy with the treatment plan and with the doctor and I know this is important, but as far as I know, my dad is not aware of the lymph node involvement. The oncologist never said it and I only know from the reports and I am afraid to tell him because he is content with the information we have and I think he has put his trust in the oncologist, he likes him and that is a big thing. I don't want to make it seem like the doctor is a bad guy, I don't think he is and the truth is, the questions I have I don't really want to know the answers to. I don't think I can handle the answers and like I said, dad seems happy and is approaching the situation with a positive outlook and has said he doesn't think he needs to see someone else. He has been able to eat just about everything and swears that he can swallow better because of the chemo and I am not about to put a kink in that thinking. Something important to know about this is the oncologist is also treating another family member for stage 4 stomach cancer and it has been 2 1/2 years since his diagnosis. It's tough to see them together.
I guess I am just wondering why only chemo. The recommendation from the gastro and the doctor who did the EUS was neoadjuvent therapy but our oncologist said that was not for my dad. Is it not for him in a negative way, or does the doctor believe this is all my dad needs to help him? He is getting a combination of 5-FU and Oxaliplatin every other week, coming home with one of them in a pump for two days. I know the doctor is the only one to answer all the questions I have but I am just curious about what insight you may have. I do believe that we shouldn't look at statistics because ultimately they do not tell the whole story and besides, I believe in the power of prayer and positive thinking.
Wishing you all the best on your life's journey,