Has anyone here ever been close to the brink...
and still managed to make it back and get stronger? I'm just curious if there are any stories of those who may have been at deaths door, but managed to fight back.
Sorry for the long post, but I guess I'm worried and want to paint a full picture to get any insight. A little back story first. I've written on here a few times but frequently read the posts a lot as I find so many of them inspiring., My 44 yo sister has stage IV with mets in lungs, liver and bones. She started off so well and has always responded to chemo pretty good. However, when she had her kidney removed last spring and had to get off chemo, her tumors grew quite a bit, it's obvious her cancer is extremely aggressive. She got back on her Votrient but it seemed to not work the way it had and so she switched to Inlyta which, again, she did well on. The problem was she had some mets in her leg and pelvis that caused her extreme pain and weakened her a bit. For various reasons she didn't get radiation right away (but got those shots to strengthen the bones) and eventually was able to leave her job (she owned her own business and had to find a buyer, etc) and moved in with my parents.
Her leg got progressively worse and they decided it needed a rod and to go ahead with a partial hip replacement. While the surgery itself went well, several things happened. They couldn't fix one part of her pelvis that had a crack so they were planning on radiation but had to wait for her to heal from the surgery. The pain from this break and the pain from the hip replacement became overbearing and they put her on a ton of pain medication. She started not eating much and long story short it weakened her a lot. Her cancer came back aggressively as well. They put her right back on Inlyta when they felt it was safe and the cancer seemed to respond well, and visibly went back down.
Once her pain was fading, we brought her home with the hopes of recovering there. This was towards the beginning of June. Since then it has been a lot of bad and then better days. The problem is she never has really gotten stronger or started eating much and lost a lot of weight. It's been a roller coaster as we've had many days that seemed promising, then she was right back to not eating or refusing PT.
Last week, she started vomiting some dark stuff that we thought was blood and we took her to the hospital. Now she either has ulcers or even tears in her stomach, likely from the chemo. So she had to get off of that until they heal. Now she is in the hospital, thinner and weaker than ever. The problem is less the cancer directly (although now that she's temporarily off it, we worry.) The problem is just her weakness.
The doctors pretty much think this is the end, but she still wants to fight! In her mind, she is better because she feels better than she did a couple months back. But we don't know how she will be able to withstand a new drug (Sutent) in her weakened state, not to mention, the side effects are similar to Inlyta. She has a very big uphill battle. I think she was surprised to hear the doctors talk about hospice as in her mind, because she feels better than before, she thinks she can get better (and maybe she can.) She is currently on a feeding tube in her nose to help get nutrition in her, although the doctors don't seem to think that will make much of a difference.
Truthfully, she has been exhibiting most of the signs you see in the last few months of life, like not wanting to eat, anorexia, fatigue, so part of us accepts that this is probably it. But, on the other hand, her willingness to keep fighting, the fact that her vitals are good and up until now, all of her bloodwork has been good, it makes us wonder if recovery might be possible, even if it would be slow and hard.
So, my question was if anyone had any stories of those who made comebacks when it seemed impossible? We are realistic, but want to believe there is a possibility too. It's just been a very hard and stressful few months. Part of me thinks she could be gone in as little as a couple of weeks, part of me thinks she could linger longer and a small part thinks, if she would be able to handle Sutent initially and get a bit stronger, that maybe she could pull this one out.
Thanks for listening and best of luck to all of you, all survivors and their families are in my prayers!
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