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Stomach Cancer Complications? Please help anyone?

Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2011

My Father was diagnosed with Stage IV stomach cancer spread to lymph nodes 3 years ago. He had a total gastorectomy surgery and has been on numerous chemo and radiation treatments prior to the surgery and after. This was 2 years ago. He was cancer free and a survivor for about 6 months when we got the news that it had come back...this time surrounding his intestines. He was labeled palliative and for the last year and a half has been on chemo treatments every 3 weeks.......
Recently about 3 weeks ago he had just finished his routine chemo treatments, b/c he cannot drink a lot of water the home care nurses come to the house after his chemo at the hospital, to hydrate him through his port. Prior to his treatment he was complaining that it seemed as if he couldn't eat as much as he normally could the last couple of years since his surgery. After his chemo treatment it went downhill. He was hospitalized and has been in the hospital for the last 3 weeks. He cannot eat or drink anything orally although he has tried, it just comes back up and he was violently ill, throwing up what looked bile anytime he tries to eat or drink. He feels nausea pretty much 24/7 and is on a strong anti-nausea medication via IV. He also has TPN bag via his port as well. He is so exhausted that he cant even try to eat or drink as of today b/c it takes so much out of him getting sick all of the time.
He feels some pressure in his torso area, and has a lot of days where he is just so exhausted and throwing up even though he hasn't eaten in 3 weeks (just the TPN). We've had a few doctors look at him, and at first they thought it was just bad side effects from chemo, CT scans have been done, scopes have been done along with numerous blood tests and everything appears okay nothing is showing up. Then there was talk of a possible tumor or blockage but like I've said nothing has shown up.
We are worried and have asked his current physician and oncologist to refer him to another hospital where they have more resources and one that specializes in gastrointestinal cancers, etc.
Our doc has forwarded information to a hospital that is bigger and specializes in gastrointestinal cancers etc (where his surgery was performed) and we are now waiting on that hospital to get back to our doc. I'm frustrated! Has anyone been through this before? He is starving, and losing so much weight, and on TPN all day, he is getting weak, and exhausts very easily.....we have no answers at all and dont know what to think! Feel so helpless....if anyone has anything to add please I appreciate it.
I don't want to push on the medical staff....but perhaps its time for a second opinion....I just feel helpless b/c we are waiting on that second opinion to get back to us and it's almost been a week!
Thanks for listening and God Bless, keeping everyone who is going through struggles with cancer in my prayers...

Posts: 377
Joined: Oct 2010

My husband had esophageal cancer , surgury and then it recurred. Anyhow they have him on TPN feeding while on Chemo and he has also been throwing up bile like stuff and looks and feels exhausted. Tonight is the last night he will be on it as I think the TPN is making him sick. I have never heard of it before but we are going to try without it. If anything he will be getting a JTUBE. One night we forgot to plug it in as we do the TPN at home and he had no throwing up the next day.

I will get back to you on Sunday after a n night without it to see what happens and let you know.

It is so awful to see. Looks to me like you and I are going thru the same thing.
Have you asked hospital staff about the TPN? maybe getting a feeding tube?


Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1566
Joined: Nov 2009

Hello Chanel and welcome to you your dad and family. Sorry you are all going through such a rough time. My dad passed away in March 2010 from esophageal cancer. I have learned from all of my experience as a caregiver to always go with my gut feeling. Your gut feeling is correct, it is definitely time for a 2nd opinion. You need to get your dad to a hospital or cancer center that specializes in his type of cancer. Do not wait any longer. Time is important. We will be thinking and praying for all of you. Keep us up to date.
Tina in Va

Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2011

Thank you Tina. We have gotten second opinions and still not one doctor knows what the root of the problem is! It's frustrating and even the doctors themselves are saying nothing follows the "textbook" in this case at all. Nothing is showing up on CT scans, xrays or scopes there is just no explaination. We are waiting on the opinion of another doctor right now. He hasn't eaten for 23 days, he's still on TPN, and they've exhausted all options with anti-nausea drugs, nothing is working and he is fading away. Losing a lot of weight, throwing up bile basically every 20 min, and starving.
He is not in pain, he is not bloated, the docs said it can't be a chemo side effect, and said it breaks their hearts that they have nothing to do to help.
I dont know how much time we have left with him, or if this will eventually surface and we find out what is going on. But for now we have no answers.....
Thanks Tina nice to meet you!

Eric Grush
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2011

I've had enough wrong opinions given to me that I think it always makes sense to ask for a third, fourth, fifth opinion if they aren't giving you answers. If the opinion you are waiting for doesn't work out, I would seek out another from someone at another hospital that sees our type of cancer often. It may be very hard for him to travel right now - are there other close hospitals that potentially do this? I've got to believe/hope that someone could figure out what is wrong. I'm sorry -it must be so difficult to go through this.

Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2011

Keep looking! My husband was diagnosed with stomach cancer and was told by his PET scan that it was only in his stomach. 2 days later Mayo Clinic ER told him he had the flu by his CT results and then after fighting with the ER physician and getting him admitted the GI doctors told us that his stomach ca was wrapped "around" the outside of his bowels. It did not show up on the PET scan. His bowels flatten when they get food in them and he gets nauseated and obstructed and vomits. Scopes didn't show this. It took 2 CT scans to find it. Keep pushing for someone to give you and answer. Good luck.

Posts: 8
Joined: Jan 2011

Push for a PET scan. They are far more accurate than a CT.

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