My oncologist - Full of good news today (NOT)

eric38
eric38 Member Posts: 583
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
My oncologist told me that I am probably in remission ( Good news ) but that the cancer will return (bad news) and that maintenance chemo will improve the length of remission but not the overall survival time because I could die from a myriad of other complications due to a compromised immune system or damage from the chemo. In other words, if I don`t die from cancer, I`ll die from my body giving out. He said the survival rate for my condition was pretty much zero. I get where he is coming from - he doesn`t want me to have what he considers false hope but I don`t think any hope is false. This for some reason does not send me into a depression but it is a little tough to hear. I don`t know what I was expecting. He already told me I was incurable. I don`t dare ask how long he thinks I`ll live, it will just cloud my mind. All I can do is hold onto my faith, live to the fullest every day and hope for the best. I don`t think I am saying this out of denial but I believe that I will surprise everybody with the length of time I live. I refer back to a post lesvanb left one time - Ain`t dead yet.

Eric
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Comments

  • Sundanceh
    Sundanceh Member Posts: 4,392 Member
    My Buddy :)
    Hi Eric

    That is certainly sobering news alright - straightened me right up.

    I know your strength and resolve are tough and we've all talked about extensions in our lives to wait for other treatments or procedures coming in the pipeline.

    I know you will give it everything you have - I'm glad you're not depressed, but I know it must be like getting hit in the head with a frying pan or something - just not EZ to hear ever.

    You and I have talked alot and shared quite a bit in a short time - I have faith in YOU. I know you won't go down EZ without a fight - a TEXAN never does :)

    My onc used to tell me too, that Cancer won't kill you, but the treatments will - so I relate to what your doctor told you - that' the double edged sword in all of our battles - the body has to hold out in order for us to win and the more you beat on, the more you take away from it. We have no choice but to trade TOMORROW for TODAY, because "One in the hand is worth Two in the bush." We rob Peter to pay Paul.

    I'm disappointed for you, but not going to give up on you - No Way. It would be a devastating blow to me to have something happen to you.

    I've been working on my Christmas project and Santa has your package just about ready to go, so you will be getting it probably next week - I hope that it brightens your holidays some - It is a GIFT that I love to give my dear friends, such as you.

    I appreciate your candor in letting everybody know what's happening - you do sound pretty good, especially with that kind of news received.

    You've been through so much since I have known you and I know throughout your life, you have had alot to deal with - much more than anything I've been through. You are a strong man, full of courage and goodness and I feel a blessing will still be coming your way - we just have to stay after it.

    So, Texas 2-Step, stay in the fight and Craig loves you and I hope my present helps your mental outlook some and provides a few moments of healing.

    We'll talk soon - Craig
  • PhillieG
    PhillieG Member Posts: 4,866
    Tough One
    Man, talk about good news/bad news.
    Sometimes people don't do as they think they will, they often do better and you are one of those who can do better than the average guy.
    Don't ask, they don't know and it won't be useful.
    -phil
  • Patteee
    Patteee Member Posts: 945
    Sundanceh said:

    My Buddy :)
    Hi Eric

    That is certainly sobering news alright - straightened me right up.

    I know your strength and resolve are tough and we've all talked about extensions in our lives to wait for other treatments or procedures coming in the pipeline.

    I know you will give it everything you have - I'm glad you're not depressed, but I know it must be like getting hit in the head with a frying pan or something - just not EZ to hear ever.

    You and I have talked alot and shared quite a bit in a short time - I have faith in YOU. I know you won't go down EZ without a fight - a TEXAN never does :)

    My onc used to tell me too, that Cancer won't kill you, but the treatments will - so I relate to what your doctor told you - that' the double edged sword in all of our battles - the body has to hold out in order for us to win and the more you beat on, the more you take away from it. We have no choice but to trade TOMORROW for TODAY, because "One in the hand is worth Two in the bush." We rob Peter to pay Paul.

    I'm disappointed for you, but not going to give up on you - No Way. It would be a devastating blow to me to have something happen to you.

    I've been working on my Christmas project and Santa has your package just about ready to go, so you will be getting it probably next week - I hope that it brightens your holidays some - It is a GIFT that I love to give my dear friends, such as you.

    I appreciate your candor in letting everybody know what's happening - you do sound pretty good, especially with that kind of news received.

    You've been through so much since I have known you and I know throughout your life, you have had alot to deal with - much more than anything I've been through. You are a strong man, full of courage and goodness and I feel a blessing will still be coming your way - we just have to stay after it.

    So, Texas 2-Step, stay in the fight and Craig loves you and I hope my present helps your mental outlook some and provides a few moments of healing.

    We'll talk soon - Craig

    Here is what I love so much
    Here is what I love so much about your posts-
    this one clearly for Eric, but I got so much from it that I just want to hug you with thanks

    ((((((((hugs))))))))
  • Patteee
    Patteee Member Posts: 945
    no, you aint dead
    no, you aint dead yet!

    remission is good- and especially good if you are feeling better! I think your core attitude is the critical piece Eric- to live each day to its fullest - no promises about tomorrow - and of course none of us have that do we? I think a thread of hope is important, cause really there are all kinds of unknowns in the equation and I for one do not think it unrealistic to bank on or work on some of those unknowns.
  • AceSFO
    AceSFO Member Posts: 229
    with all due respect
    I think your oncologist is a bonehead. I can't believe he told you that! My uncle, a physician, had a basic philosophy that as long as a patient is alive and breathing there's plenty of hope, and plenty of reason to encourage them. Clearly you're doing lots more than just breathing. I appreciate the delicate balance between giving a patient an accurate picture of their condition but to do so in a way that makes it seem hopeless is irresponsible (I think).
    I think you hit the nail on the head when you wrote "I believe that I will surprise everybody with the length of time I live." Focus on that and show him he's wrong about you.

    Meanwhile, bask in the glow of knowing that you are loved by so many people -

    take care, buddy,

    Adrian
  • AnneCan
    AnneCan Member Posts: 3,673
    I have to agree with Adrian,
    I have to agree with Adrian, & unless your oncologist has magical powers how can he say the cancer will come back, when you are in remission? He could say it may come back, just as it might for anyone. You have a great attitude & I believe that takes you a long way on this journey. Unfortunately this onc. took good news and added "what could happen" to it. I hope you enjoy the good news & push the other on the back burner. Being in remission is something to celebrate!
  • lmliess
    lmliess Member Posts: 329
    AnneCan said:

    I have to agree with Adrian,
    I have to agree with Adrian, & unless your oncologist has magical powers how can he say the cancer will come back, when you are in remission? He could say it may come back, just as it might for anyone. You have a great attitude & I believe that takes you a long way on this journey. Unfortunately this onc. took good news and added "what could happen" to it. I hope you enjoy the good news & push the other on the back burner. Being in remission is something to celebrate!

    There is only one person who knows how long you have...
    and it isn't your DR! Statistics mean nothing and miracles do happen. Your body may be tougher than you are giving it credit for. And you are right, there is no such thing as false hope. Hope and faith is what you need to get you through. The fact that you are up and typing is enough to go live your life. Do not give up or give in to this!!!

    Being in remission is GOOD, no GREAT news. Just focus on that!
  • geotina
    geotina Member Posts: 2,111
    Tough stuff
    Wow what a tough conversation to have. Focus on the good news for now, you are probably in remission, celebrate that and take comfort in that. One never knows how long their remission will last, no one can tell you that. Stay focused on the good news. I'm fairly new to the board and with each visit we have with the oncologist I listen to all he says and come home with George and focus on the good points of the visit. I'm not stupid, my husband has Stage IV, lots of mets to liver and lungs, but when our scan came back with fairly good news, we celebrated that bit of good results. Take care - Tina
  • AceSFO
    AceSFO Member Posts: 229
    one more thought...
    I recently had someone point out to me the difference (in these sort of situations) between "what is probable" and "what is possible." Doctors tend to focus more on what is probable rather than what is possible. I think the trick for all of us in this situation is to strike a balance between the two - acknowledge what is probable, but focus on what is possible.

    ok - I'm done now.

    Adrian
  • Shayenne
    Shayenne Member Posts: 2,342
    geotina said:

    Tough stuff
    Wow what a tough conversation to have. Focus on the good news for now, you are probably in remission, celebrate that and take comfort in that. One never knows how long their remission will last, no one can tell you that. Stay focused on the good news. I'm fairly new to the board and with each visit we have with the oncologist I listen to all he says and come home with George and focus on the good points of the visit. I'm not stupid, my husband has Stage IV, lots of mets to liver and lungs, but when our scan came back with fairly good news, we celebrated that bit of good results. Take care - Tina

    Ewww...
    I don't like what he said, you are in exactly my situation as well, I think the maintenance therapy is us to be kept on until we can't take it anymore, but at times I think also it has helped others become operable, and seek other opinions, my onc didn't even tell me that. She said people live like this for many years on maintenance, and then we can still seek out other options down the road, right now, it's all about "stabilizing" it.

    Don't you despair with that news, I know you have alot of hope, we all do, and we're never losing it, take it day by day ;)

    Hugsss!
    ~Donna
  • coloCan
    coloCan Member Posts: 1,944 Member
    The Will to Live is a POWERFUL Force, Eric,
    No doctor can predict with any degree of certainty how long anyone of us has left as no one knows what the cells inside our bodies are going to do next, with or without additional chemo, etc.Who knows if a tumor that had been growing won't suddenly stop and start shrinking because that was its time to do so?Having a powerful will to live can help in this battle....Steve
  • snommintj
    snommintj Member Posts: 601
    AceSFO said:

    one more thought...
    I recently had someone point out to me the difference (in these sort of situations) between "what is probable" and "what is possible." Doctors tend to focus more on what is probable rather than what is possible. I think the trick for all of us in this situation is to strike a balance between the two - acknowledge what is probable, but focus on what is possible.

    ok - I'm done now.

    Adrian

    hope?
    If you can stick around another year or so, some "cures" are on the way! As for your body failing. They are doing some crazy stuff. Artificial livers and kidneys are prolonging life. If you can stick around another 10 years then you can expect to grow your own replacement organs. In the mean time living donor liver transplants will help out. Then there is genetic therapy. You will be able to reverse the effects of the chemo within 20 years. For now, you're cancer free. That's pretty sweet.
  • grammadebbie
    grammadebbie Member Posts: 464
    You're Awesome
    Dearest Eric,

    I am sorry to hear that your oncologist had such a dismal report for you. I don't think he knows you like we know you. You are a fighter and a very strong person. No one should ever take our hope away. I believe in miracles so no matter what...there is always hope. You continue to live life to the fullest. I know people say that we are not guaranteed a tomorrow (which is true), yet it's very unnerving to have a date stamp put on. As said before, the doctors do not have the right to do that. I just wanted to send you big hugs and prayers. You have certainly been an inspiration to me and impart so much wisdom and caring. Please know how much you are loved and respected. I will continue to lift you in prayer. Thank you for sharing.

    God Bless You,

    Debbie (gramma)
  • Annabelle41415
    Annabelle41415 Member Posts: 6,715 Member
    AceSFO said:

    with all due respect
    I think your oncologist is a bonehead. I can't believe he told you that! My uncle, a physician, had a basic philosophy that as long as a patient is alive and breathing there's plenty of hope, and plenty of reason to encourage them. Clearly you're doing lots more than just breathing. I appreciate the delicate balance between giving a patient an accurate picture of their condition but to do so in a way that makes it seem hopeless is irresponsible (I think).
    I think you hit the nail on the head when you wrote "I believe that I will surprise everybody with the length of time I live." Focus on that and show him he's wrong about you.

    Meanwhile, bask in the glow of knowing that you are loved by so many people -

    take care, buddy,

    Adrian

    Ditto
    I agree with Adrian also. I don't believe your oncologist should have gave you a zero cure rate and not to have "false hope." Hope is what gets the human race through so many different situations. If it at all possible, could you get another opinion? I do admire your spirit through this good/bad news. I am glad you are in remission though and if those new drugs can keep you there longer than that is good news.

    Kim
  • sfmarie
    sfmarie Member Posts: 602
    YOU hang in there
    Live in the now, live your life to the fullest and do not lose HOPE! Someone also told my sister she had a 0% chance for a cure, but she is still fighting and she is still alive. Noone knows how long! Hang tough and I am glad you have great faith.
  • thready
    thready Member Posts: 474
    What everyone else has said
    Eric,
    I won't repeat what everyone else has said, but one thing I was thinking about, you are in remission now, now is the time to rest and enjoy life! Who knows what will happen, but your body has time to heal. Yea this cancer thing is tough on a person, but you are wonderfully made, you can heal and have what it takes to fight again if needed. Who knows you might never need to revisit chemo again!

    Take care Eric, miricles happen, doctors are often wrong, and you are a hero here.

    Jan
  • dianetavegia
    dianetavegia Member Posts: 1,942
    Agree...
    You got some great thoughts from the others and I have to agree with them. I also agree with Craig who said 'I love you'.

    Diane
  • KFen725
    KFen725 Member Posts: 108
    Prayer
    Eric, I am sorry that you had to hear some sobering news today, but I am glad that for now, you are in remission! We got the sad news this week that neither Folfox nor Folfiri has done a thing for my mom, and she actually has a few more new liver mets. She decided to stop chemo ("the right decision", according to her dr) and isn't interested in clinical trials. So, now she is in a similar place as you - trusting in God to do a miracle! Dr's are certainly not God, and ALL THINGS are possible with Him. Praying for a miracle for you, buddy!

    Kelly
  • robinvan
    robinvan Member Posts: 1,012
    Ain't dead yet!
    Which is truly amazing considering your oncologist!

    Eric, it must be very hard to have to hear this stuff from the one who should be a "hope-bearer" and leader of your medical team. As long as you are still alive you might as well find another oncologist!

    Being realistic is one thing but leading a patient to despair! That is too much. I am so sorry you have to deal with this.

    It was said above, and I've heard it put like this... "There is no such thing as false hope. Only false despair."

    You are remarkably resilient and I admire your ability to get past this stuff and serve as a source of inspiration to the rest of us.

    Be well... Rob; in Vancouver

    "The note we end on is and must be the note of inexhaustible possibility and hope."
    Evelyn Underhill
  • eric38
    eric38 Member Posts: 583

    Agree...
    You got some great thoughts from the others and I have to agree with them. I also agree with Craig who said 'I love you'.

    Diane

    Texas Strong
    All of you are such sweet and caring people. I thank God for you. I know doctors go by the book and the stats but sometimes people defy stats and I think my doctor is an atheist so he does not believe miracles happen, but I do and there are new things coming out all the time. The doctor is still going to give me 4 more mop up treatments but at the present moment I have had a break from chemo for about 3 weeks and am feeling better than I have in 2 years so that is the positive in all this. I am certainly not on my death bed. Whatever comes my quality of life has improved because I was so fatigued for such a long time before my diagnosis. I`ll certainly live alot longer than I would have without treatment. The surgeon was under the belief that i wouldn`t have lasted 6 months if I didn`t respond to chemo. Those are the things I can be grateful for and I am prepared to face whatever comes but I believe that I will be sticking around for a while. I come from a family of survivors. If there was a nuclear holocaust it would be me and the roaches left.

    Eric