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Hi Everyone,

I am saddened to be here but grateful to seek support from others in the same tragic situation. My 84 year old father (excellent health other than cancer!) has stage 4 colon cancer wtih mets to the liver. He was told over 10 years ago that he had a precancerous tumor in his ascending colon and dad refused to treat due to being afraid of surgery. So here we are 10 years later in the worst situation. He has undergone 2 treatments so far of Folfox with no side effects other than extreme fatigue, no appetite and food tasting like metal. We have an appointment at UCSF's colon cancer institute next week where I hope to find a better therapy for him. He's had two blood transfusions in a month due to blood loss from the tumor, so hospital stays then back to chemo. I understand there's a 40% chance of tumor shrinkage with chemo and if successful, surgery can be considered. Considering my father's cancer is systemic, all over in lymph nodes, etc. I'm at a loss as to continuing this care or moving on to palliative care as studies have shown longer lifespans vs chemo and they are comfortable. I'd much more prefer that for my father than his current regimen. It's hard because he looks to me for my opinion and it's a hard predicament as it's ultimately his decision and I don't want to be responsible or have that weight on my shoulders. He's lost 25lbs and he has lost all muscle leaving him weaker than ever. It's just devastating...his labs other than cancer are better than mine at my age of 44. And he's so full of life. I just wanted to introduce myself and connect with others in a similar situation. Not knowing how much longer my dad has is unbearable. Thank you for reading and I look forward to chatting with some of you!

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  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,800 Member
    edited September 2016 #2
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    Welcome to the forum, Emma

    I am so sorry to hear about your dad.  It really is an awful disease, and robs us of happy years if we let it. 

    I know people would tell you that at 84, your dad's had a good running (I really hate that expression, but surprised how often I hear it). But who cares what age, a dad is a dad, and even if he were 99 1/2, you'd still want him fighting and living. 

    If we could just turn back time......   I was only thinking last night how, the year before my diagnosis, I was looking in the mirror at my body, and thinking how it just didn't look right, with a very bloated stomach. My spirit whispered to me that it was Cancer, yet I blew it off as being paranoid or being hypochondriac. Really! I could have caught it early, but now. Well,  we can't turn back time, so we have to move forward. 

    I am sorry that dad has already faced transfusions. That must have been allot of blood loss for him, and very scary. 

    I was on the FOLFOX, but had my surgery first, due to a large tumour blocking the bowel; so I don't have advice about chemo - surgery. Many here have gone that route, and I'm sure they will come on and help you with your questions. 

    I wish the best for your dad. And I wish the best for you, as you take care of him (and yourself). 

    SUE

  • kristasplace
    kristasplace Member Posts: 957 Member
    edited September 2016 #3
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    Welcome!

    Hello and welcome to the board!

    I have no doubt you'll find the support you need here!

    I'm an advocate for no chemo, though I would never recommend someone stop treatment unless that's what they feel would work best for them.

    I did two rounds in the beginning then never again despite several recurrences. As bad as the chemo made me feel, I knew it was only going to make things worse. When I got a recurrence in spite of doing so much of it, I knew I was right. But the choice should be out of confidence and not what someone else tells you to do, including the doctors. I recommend you do some heavy duty research. It sounds like you've already done a lot, but just keep on with it. I'm not the only stage IV who's healed without chemo (there are a few on this very board), and there are people with stage IV who swear chemo healed them. 

    From my personal experience dealing with cancer for nine years and knowing and following others who have it, I know more people who've survived over ten years using alternative methods, than I do of people surviving over five years using chemo. The thing that makes that revelation most interesting is that I've known dozens more people who used chemo, than haven't used chemo. It's my personal opinion that your father would most likely live longer if he doesn't do chemo, even if he doesn't use an alternative treatment at all.

    It's a tough decision, though, I know, but if you guys do enough research, you can feel confident about the decision you make. 

    Many hugs and best wishes!

    Krista 

  • Lovekitties
    Lovekitties Member Posts: 3,364 Member
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    Welcome to the board

    It is a hard situation when trying to help a loved one thru the difficulties of the disease and its options for treatment.

    You mention that your dad vetoed surgery 10 years earlier.  Is he any more receptive to it now if the chemo does make him a canditate for surgery?  Has the onc even indicated that it might be an option in the future?  With his age, coverage of the disease and declining physical stamina, it may not be.

    Are you sure the blood transfusions were necessary because of blood loss?  Chemo can cause issues which can require transfusions.  I don't know particulars about the chemo he is on.

    I am glad you are seeking a second opinion.  That might give you both more information so that you can make the best decision for his care.

    You are in a state  (assume it is Cali.) which legalized medical marijauna.  There are options other than smoking it which might help him with his appetite issues and in turn help his stamea.  You may want to ask about it.

    I know what it is to have a loved one looking to you for advise.  I was my sister's medical advocate.  She had stage 4 uterine cancer.  I did the homework and gave her info, but let her make her own decisions, being fully aware of the ramifications of her choices.  Even when we do the very best we can for them, it doesn't always keep the disease at bay.

    I hope that you both have some good options presented to you.

    Wishing you both the best,

    Marie who loves kitties