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what to expect?

Posts: 24
Joined: Dec 2004

My father has colon cancer with liver mets. He was diagnosed in August when the tumour was removed from the colon. The oncologist is now ready to start chemo as the number of lesions has more than doubled though his liver function tests are normal, and the tumour marker has only gone up to 9. He is 65, lives alone has little community support, is sight impaired, doesn't drive and has COPD. the chemo recommended is the usual for this type of cancer. I am trying to have him consider staying with me for the first course or two as we don't know what to expect for someone who already has serious health issues. It seems that the chemo would be worse than the cancer. So many of the side effects have to do with the lungs - oh and he is recovering from shingles too. Any suggestions?

Posts: 99
Joined: May 2004

Hi Closie,

Im so sorry to hear of your father's diagnosis, but you have definitely come to a great place for advice.

I was diagnosed Stage III colon ca in May, 2004 no mets to other organs. I underwent Folfox 4 chemo, 5fu (continuous pump), leukovorin and oxilipantin - I was told to expect the usual suspects when it came to side effects: hair loss, fatigue, nausea, mouth sores. I was very lucky as the only one I had was nausea but it was nausea to the max. If was finally controlled with a number of anti-nausea meds. I am not sure if this will be your father's protocol but my best advice is to wait and see. Everybody reacts differently to chemo and I firmly believe that attitude has a whole lot to do with how one feels during chemo. I exercised daily, meditated and did a lot of guided imagery and it really helped me.

I always recommend a great book that definitely helped me as well as my husband and you might want to give it a read: Cancer, 50 Essential Things to Do, by Greg Anderson, himself a cancer survivor.

I will keep both you and your father in my prayers and please keep us posted on how you both are doing,

Take care,


Kanort's picture
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Colsie,

I think that you would probably feel better if your father stayed with you since everyone's reaction to chemo differs. Please keep us posted on your Dad's progress.


Posts: 186
Joined: Nov 2004

Hey Colsie...sorry to hear about your dad. My wife's uncle (he's more like her dad since he raised her from an infant) is in very poor health and lives alone and does not drive. And like you have done with your dad, we have tried to get him to move in with us--unsuccessfully. It's very nreve-racking for sure. My wife's uncle is quite understandably very comfortable in his own home, and would be content to die there when the time comes (hopefully a long time off).

Is there any possibility that you could move in with your dad at his place, even for a little while??? If the treatment does hit him hard, he may feel better in his own bed in his own home.

Either way, I agree with you 100%--he shouldn't be alone. He's probably very appreciative of you for your concern. He may not say it out loud, but you can bet he is thinking the world of you.

Good luck to both of you.


nanuk's picture
Posts: 1362
Joined: Dec 2003

since your dad is 65, he is probably on medicare; there are provisions for home care that you may not have explored. Regardless, it sounds like he will definitely need and is fortunate to have your support. Bud

Lisa Rose's picture
Lisa Rose
Posts: 597
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Colsie,

Well I have experience in both departments... I myself am the cancer patient diagnosed at 40 years of age March 5, 2002 . My father suffered with COPD for many of years and also lived on home oxygen. Anyway I do agree with Jimmy if your Dad can't come and stay with you are you able to go and stay with him.

Please feel free to write me anytime. I've been there and I know it's not easy.


kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Welcome Colsie. There are different chemo meds. that apply to different types of cancers and the dx'd agressiveness. It would help others here to help you if you are able to determine the chemo he will be given. You will also get a better idea of some of the side effects that he may get but keep in mind that everyone has a different reaction at times even if on the same chemo. I would suggest it is wise to make sure your dad has someone with him for much of the time--all of the time if possible. Although chemo can be very tolerable it can also be a very difficult time. It not only effects us physically, it has mental and emotional effects as well.
Remember--some do tolerate it very well.
Reading some of the personal webpages can be a good source of info as well.
Nanuk's(Bud) advice re; home care nursing is a worthwile avenue to explore. Caring for a cancer patient, particularly while on chemo, can be very tiring. You are obviously very supportive of your dad but you do need to discuss with his oncologist his treatment and the possible effects of it, especially as you are able to be with him.
Your dad would almost certainly be more comfortable in his own home during his treatment--but I guess your circumstances need to be considered as well.
Do keep us informed.
kindest regards, kanga n Jen

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, colsie -

Welcome to the semi-colons. Not much more I can say. I lived alone when I was going thru chemo and quite frankly, it sucked. Not that i was incapacitated or anything but you get tired - especially later on as the chemo meds build up in your system. I was only a spry young thing of 38/39 but I would have certainly liked to have had someone there with me. I tried to get some of the girls working at the local Hooters to move in with me - purely for medical reasons, mind you - but that's another story alltogether.

Anyway, I agree with my compadres - if he won't move in with you, you migt consider staying with him at least until you get an idea of how the chemo will affect him. nanuk makes a good point about Medicare if you live in the US (we're such an international jet-setting group here, your US residency isn't necessarily a given).

Anyway, best of luck to you and know that we're always here for you any time you want to chat!


- SpongeBob

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