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Stage 4. It's has spread to head.

Oscar Jr.
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2013

My dad was diagnosed with colon cancer a year ago, they did surgery. It had spread to his stomach. Lymph nodes found, and rumors found all around stomach. He now has the main tumor in the main bowel, as well as an obstructure, they said he's in a tough spot. if they do surgery it could fix the obstructure but lose his appetite completely. And it wouldn't fix the bigger problem (the cancer) they found a tumor sticking out of his head. Not too sure about the outcome of that, or what to do now. Any help would mean a lot to me. Thank you. 

joemetz's picture
joemetz
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2011

Greetings

this is a very touchy subject... and after reading your message, I thought for a few minutes on IF i should reply or not.

you did ask, and I have an opinion to share... but please please know that this is JUST my opinion based on my personal experience in the life of cancer fighting.

First, lets set the ground rules. 

I am NOT a doctor. I am a printer/sales guy.

I have had non-hodgkins lymphoma in 1989-90, so did my brother and my mom has had cancer three different times. I currently am in a stage IV colon cancer battle, which had spread to the liver. And, a couple months ago, it had spread to my bones in the pelvic area. I have had 60 weeks of chemo and 10 radiation treatments so far in the past 20 months.   About 9 years ago, my oldest brother was dx'd with lung cancer. But, after it was removed when they removed two fifths of his lung, it was discovered that it was NOT from his smoking. It was an outside cancer. (a Melanoma that had spread to the lung). It was removed, and he was "cancer-free" after surgery and some chemo. He had 3 good years... and then the head aches began.  It was that same cancer, but it had spread to his brain.

So... as you can see, this is building up to I am a guy who has witnessed others, and also gone through a lot myself. I find it interesting that everyone around always cheers us cancer fighters to do more, fight more... one more treatment, one more surgery... keep pushing, never give up.

I believe this... but after watching my brother go through a full year battle to try and beat the brain cancer. I also watched him go through more suffering that anyone ever deserves. And, it got to a point, where I honestly don't think he was making clear decisions based on what HE wanted to do.  It was the close family around him, that kept pushing and pushing him for more treatments, more surgeries... fight, fight, fight!! Beat Cancer.

well, there comes to a point where cancer wins the physical battle for so many.

My brother had an awesome three years. Those three years after his l lung surgery to the brain cancer discovery were great years. And, i think everyone became cheerleaders to one day see my brother be like that again. 

Nope... it never happened.

yes, he lived a four or five months longer than the doctors expected... but he was miserable.

he spent so many days, nights and weeks in the hospital. It was terrible.  It wasn't LIVING.

 

So... when the time is right, open this up and read it again.   I hope you never have to help him make the decision to stop the drugs... but often when the bad news piles up, there has to be someone who has to keep the cool head and help guide the family.

Health care professionals will fight and keep fighting, until you pull one of them aside (usually its the strong nurse) and you ask them "what would you do if this was your dad?"

Honestly, its the best question I've ever asked. (my dad had a stroke last March and I was in your position.) the news kept getting worse. And, I knew my dad would never want to be tied to a bed, and he would never want my mom to be a misserable lady taking care of someone who was virtually a vegitable. 

 

anyway... i hope you get much better news than this. Ask for all the tests, learn all the options for treatments and surgery. Ask all about the upside and the downside for each thing that can happen.  Hopefully, the treatments can kill or reduce the cancer. I hope you have the best doctors possible. I will pray for you and all in your family.

 

my best

 

Joe

 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1339
Joined: Jan 2013

When I was in the hospital after my resection, the Oncologist came in and told me Cancer Stage 3A.

Of course, hearing the work cancer just gutted me, but I knew that I already had Colorectal Cancer, it was the staging of 3A that hit me the worse.

Of course I thought immedietely that I was going to die.  I asked my Oncologist what were the statistics. I wanted to know if I had, say, six months without chemo, or 12 months with, I'd rather die happy (Well, I wouldn't be happy, I have children which I don't care to leave) than whacked out with fatigue and all the other side effects of the chemo treatments.

It's such a personal decicion.  And I pray you'll find you answer and have peace with it.  It will be hard for your dad, wanting to struggle on for you and the ones he loves, but at some point, you've got to let nature take its course. 

We are here for you.

May you have happy days with your dad. Love him. Hug him. Tell him you love him, every day.  

Blessings!

smokeyjoe
Posts: 1428
Joined: Feb 2011

I'm kinda confused,  you say tumor sticking out of his head ..... is the cancer in his brain,  has he had scans??    I too have lost someone to brain cancer, it was a primary inoperable and the decision was to do palliative rad. to reduce her pain but it was basically hospice from the time of diagnosis. 

Oscar Jr.
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2013

Thank you very much for your input, no worries that did not scare me or hurt me or anything that you might of thought. I have been thinking about that as well too. He wants to fight. And I'm the scared one. 

Also when I say it's sticking out I mean he has a lump on his head they did a biopsy and they said its a tumor we just got a catscan done to see if it is in his brain. Results should be in soon. 

fatbob2010's picture
fatbob2010
Posts: 372
Joined: May 2012

Wow, what a load of information to try and process.  Although it does not sound good there is always hope.  

This is a touchy subject and one that can surely become emotional.  And, I am not a doctor, lawyer, or other qualified professional; this is just my humble opinion.

In my opinion; Joe And Brit have a good points.  I am on their team for the most part.   

This is a hard time that many of us have faced or will have to face.  

Knowing the wishes of the cancer victim, in my humble opinion, is the right and proper way to proceed.   The cancer victim can help their family's and medical care team by investigating the possiblity of iving wills or advanced directives.  The victim's wishes and preferences can be  expressed in a way that may lead to a more peaceful passing, and less hurtful discussion afterward.

The felt need to meet the unrealistic expectations of others can be overwhelming.  The cancer victim's potential felt guilt; and the desire to show family that they have "done all that is possible" must be horrific.

Peace and wisdom in this terrible time,

Art

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2184
Joined: Oct 2011

And for you too of course.  I'm so sorry for your family.  Cancer is just so devastating, and not just for the patient.  It's like when you throw a rock into a pond...the ripples go outward and affect everything in the vicinity.  I think for me, as the person with cancer, I want to be able to make my own decisions, whether that is to do treatment, have surgery, or let things go and let nature take its course.  Like Joe, I watched a loved one (my sister) suffer with chemo that was utterly pointless given the extent of her disease.  In her case, the doctors made it clear to her that it was very unlikely to make any difference, but she chose to give it a shot.  It didn't work out for her, but at least she did things on her own terms.  I suspect if/when I get to that point, I will make a different choice, but again, the important thing for me will be that I make that decision for myself (with some input from my doctors).

What does your dad say he wants to do?  And what are the doctors telling him they think he should do?   I think those are the most important factors in this whole terrible situation.  Please feel free to come and talk to us anytime.  My heart goes out to you and your dad.  Ann Alexandria

Oscar Jr.
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2013

Once again thank you for your input. He wants to do whatever it takes to live. It's only him and I. And I'm 19 he wants to be with me as long as he can. The doctors are discouraged because its not looking good. His liver and kidneys are great, vitals are good as well. So I'm hoping that's a sign. I just started reading on Avastin and I'm not sure if it'll work. Any input would be helpful. Thank you all. 

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2184
Joined: Oct 2011

You mention Avastin.  Anything else?  Any plans for further surgery or radiation?  The board can be most helpful with the most complete amount of information possible.   And I know that's not easy...one of my kids is about your age, and I know she wouldn't be able to tell anyone the details of what I've had done.  Maybe you could ask your dad for the specifics, if that's comfortable for you, and then tell us, so we can try to be more helpful.  AA

Oscar Jr.
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2013

I know the specifics. I know more than he does. He wants anything. i don't want the surgery because its in his stomach so it will be very weak to reattach which can cause more pain. I've been reading on Zaltrap as well. The oncologist is coming around 5. I will talk to him about everything. It's only him and I and they try to be very upfront with me so I get the picture. 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1339
Joined: Jan 2013

We are here for you and pray that your Oncologist is sensitive and competent. If you don't feel completly comfortable with him, then look for another; thuogh make it quick, as you dad is in a bad state.

What a soldier he is to do what it takes to stay with you. What a wonderful Father.  He will know when it's time to give up, though of course, we hope that time doesn't come.

Bless you both. We will await your post telling us all about your consultation with your Dad's Oncolgist.

Blessings to both of you. 

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