Jan 20, 2014 - 5:16 pm
My 77 year old mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer (mets to the liver) in Sept 2012. I have drawn a lot of inspiration from the stories/information posted here since that time and was hoping I could ask for some advice.
My mom has been incredibly lucky so far. After her colon surgery, she had to wait 8 weeks before she started chemo. The cancer was already spread through her liver and continued to spread through her liver while she waited. By the time she was cleared to begin chemo, she was so weak, the doctors were hesitant to let her try. Fortunately, her oncologist prescribed capecitabine/xeloda. Within two weeks, my mom was literally back to her normal self. She had a very dramatic response (the best her oncologist has ever seen!) and within a month, all her liver function tests were normal and her cea dropped below 1.5.
She has been stable since and the xeloda seems to still be working. Her dosage was reduced not long ago to manage some side effects and there has been a small rise in her cea and CA19-9 (gone from 20 to 26 over the last two months). Last week, avastin was added to her regimen.
Anyways, tomorrow she has her very first appointment with a liver surgeon. The oncologist has been hesitant to refer her—he doesn’t want us to get our hopes up that she will be a candidate for resection because her tumours were very extensive and spread throughout her liver. The thing that has confused me is that even though the CT scans show no active cancer, the tumours never really shrank or disappeared. Instead, as I understand, they became like fluid filled cysts, so when you look at her scans, her liver appears to still be completely filled “stuff”. I’d like to have a better understanding of what is left now in the liver if it isn’t active tumours and discuss options for her.
I would really appreciate any thoughts you may have on the types of questions we should be asking the surgeon. Thanks for your help and for all the support and sharing you provide each any every day to the many people like myself who rarely post, but check in every day.