Starting treatment for recurrent cancer

LKBrokaw Member Posts: 5
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
I spent the past hour reading your messages before signing up to join you. I'll try to condense background info. I'm a 2 1/2 year survivor of a very aggressive breast cancer treated with lumpectomy, node removal, chemo and radiation. In June,2003, my husband had a right hemicolectomy to remove tumor and had 1 positive node so went on 5FU/Leuc treatments which ended last month. However, the last blood tests showed increasing CEA, so the DR. added PET scan to the CT. Spots showed up in mesentary (?) (fatty tissue around the intestines) and possibly on liver. He's having a port inserted to do the 5FU/Leuc 36 hour infusion with oxi and Avastin. Although everyone we know has marvelled at our positive attitudes both through my experience and his, this new development has sent him into a tailspin and put us both on edge. In trying to analyze the failure of the first chemotherapy, he decided he didn't do enough to control stress in his life. His solution is to take a leave of absence from work. Everyone thinks this is a good idea except me. I know I just have to get my head around this, but I could use some encouragement. By the way, I knew this was the right site for us when I read you call yourselves the "Semi-colons." That was the first statement my husband made about himself when he knew he would have surgery!


  • Hello and welcome to our crazy little group. I am so sorry that you need to be here and while all of us, both patients and care givers alike, wish we weren't, I think we are all grateful to have found this group.

    I am caregiver to my husband Bert, diagnosed 8/03 stage III colon cancer with four nodes involved. While I can't give you any actual advise as I am not in a similar situation, I would like to tell you that never, ever give up hope and keep the positive attitude's 50% of the battle. While I can relate to your husband's tailspin (I went into one myself not too long ago when my husband's CEA had gone from 0.9 to 7.7 in three weeks flat), I found that my tailspin did more harm than it did good. Keep things light around your husband and try to function as normal as possible. Reinforce in your husband that this whole cancer this is one heck of a roller coaster ride, with many ups and downs, and what is going on right now is just a little set-back. Look at it as two steps forward, one step back...which still keeps you moving ahead.

    There are many options out there which can help your husband with this new development. I know you will be hearing from many other people shortly on this board who are in similar situations or have been in your situation, so you definitely have come to the right place and hang in there....we are all here helping each other.

  • shmurciakova
    shmurciakova Member Posts: 906
    Well, it is a little bit surprising that w/ only one positive node he has had this recurrence, but 5-fu/Leucovorin did not work for me either. I had I believe 4 positive nodes and w/in 3 months of finishing my chemo I had a recurrence to the liver which I then had operated on followed by Camptosar/Xeloda(oral 5-FU). Hopefully this has worked......we shall see, but the treatment that they are planning for your husband is the very most agressive treatment available at this time. As you probably know the Avastin cuts off the blood supply to the tumors and thus kills or at least shrinks them down. So all of this is positive news. Just a couple of months ago this treatment was not even available! At any rate, as for working.......if his job is "stressing him out" then maybe it is the right decision for him to quit as long as he does not just lie around the house feeling sorry for himself. He has to get out and go for walks, do things that he enjoys, etc. etc. Otherwise he should try to remain at work for as long as possible. For me working really helped me to feel "normal", although I do not have a high stress job. If the cons of working outweigh the "pros" and he can afford to quit, then that is what he probably should do.
    I know this all seems horrible, but as you yourself know, people can live very long lives w/ cancer and some are lucky enough to be cured! Best of luck, Susan
  • jsabol
    jsabol Member Posts: 1,145
    Hi LK, Seems pretty understandable that you feel in a tailspin, facing this third go around. Don't be too hard on yourselves; from my experience, the panic will decrease when the options and decisions become clearer.
    I understand your husband's thinking about work. A while ago I posted a "to work or not to work" message and received many replies - pro and con. I guess it sort of boiled down to needing to know yourself. I work a four day week, and have decide to take a week of leave time after each six week course of chemo. For now, that seems to be working for me. Are you worried about how your husband will spend his time?
    Give yourself the time to get your head around it, as you said. I know that positive attitude is important, but there are also those dark times that we all have to acknowledge and struggle through. Hope we can be of help, wishing you hope, Judy
  • 2bhealed
    2bhealed Member Posts: 2,064
    hello LK,

    Wow a couple of fighters. I think it may be easier to be the warrior than married to the warrior and now you both are in that predicament. Each to his/her battle.

    I vote with your hubby to relieve his stress.

    I suggest reading Spontaneous Healing by Dr. Andrew Weil.

    Hang in there and keep us posted. And congrats on your 2 1/2 yrs!!! :-)

    peace, emily
  • LKBrokaw
    LKBrokaw Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for the replies! You're right - being the patient is a lot easier! No, I'm not worried my husband will have nothing to do. Actually he plans to spend the time on his sailboat since that has a calming effect on him. One problem is that means the rest of us (myself, 26 yr old son and 22 yr old daughter) won't necessarily be with him. I did read the thread about working vs. not working and I want him to get on here to read your discussions. This has only been a few days that we were hit with this, so the emotions are on overload. I know they will settle down and I must say, being on this site has helped me. Just have to get the man on the positive track, too.