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Colon Cancer Stage 4

MzStarbucks
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2010

Hello

My dad has been diagnosed with Colon cancer, he had 12 inches removed and has a colostomy bag. He had 33 treatments of radiation and chemo in the pill form. Now he has to have a port inserted. He went to this doctors visit without me and I am afraid he is not telling me the whole story. Anyway, I asked him if the doctor gave him any reason why the port, and he didn't know why. He also told me that the doctor told him that their isn't as many spots as was before. So my question is about how many treatments do you think he will have, and what do I look for as for his health.

Thanks

Barb

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

My dear, the port is a wonderful device. It means that he will be receiving chemo in the IV Form (surprised he hadn't already). I went through 6 IV chemo's before I ASKED for a port. Instead of being stuck with an IV needle through the veins and suffering from the chemo effects, instead it goes through the port and direct to the system WITHOUT PAIN!!!
It just means they are trying different chemo to shrink his tumors. As for not knowing why, he needs to ask his onc why, always there is the need to understand the treatment.
I'm stage IV, my "spots" have shrunk, but now I need a different chemo, as they have stopped shrinking, this happens often from what I understand, a different treatment hoping to have the same end result.
Glad you are looking after him, the best way is to have someone with him during the appointments so both understand what is going on. There is no knowing how many treatments he will be undergoing without questions to his oncologist.
My best, and prayers to you all.
Winter Marie

MzStarbucks
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2010

Thanks for the reply. Did you also have radiation along with the chemo(port). And did they ever tell you that you will be cancer free being a stage 4

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

No, I have not had radiation. I was told I was a hopeless case, they did not recommend doing chemo, etc., go home, enjoy life, die.
I took the chemo instead. Now.... 6 months later, I'm still alive, doing quite well, and looking forward to a surgery I was told I would never be able to have.
And yes, my onc, did mention last month, if the surgery works, then some more chemo, I could expect to live 5 years cancer free, and after that? Be considered cured, some onc's won't say that (being lawsuits etc.) but does that chance exist? YES, now more then ever.
Stage IV is no longer a complete death sentence, we do what we can, we bear the treatments, the surgeries and if the end result is good, we live our lives to see our grandchildren graduate from high school, and we love every bit of life we have left, finding joy in the little things, like the sun rising every morning and we're still here, hugging our children, watching their futures unfold, holding our grandchildren, passing on our wisdom.
What I'm saying, I guess, is don't give up!!!
Stage IV is scary, but survivable.

AnneCan
Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

I am sorry you need to be here but you have the right place. My port has been a godsend. My veins are difficult to say the least + the port makes it simple. For me the surgery to implant it was very easy. It seemed to be over very fast. They can also take blood from it, and if you are having IV contrasts with scans, they can use it for that too. My sister-in-law who is at a different cancer center (chemo nurse God bless her) really encouraged me to get it. I am thankful at every blood draw + chemo treatment that I have it.

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

I also want to add on to you, don't fear asking any question here on this forum. We've all been through something or another and can hopefully provide answers to you. Nothing is too embarrassing (once you get cancer, modesty goes out the window after a few procedures)to ask.
We are family here, caregivers, cancer patients alike, we care for one another.
I'm glad that you are there for your Dad, be strong for him, and at moments when you feel alone or sad, or doing the happy dance come onto the forum, we'll be there for you.
Winter Marie

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

If you are having chemo or if your veins have to be accessed on a regular basis, the port is great. I see that he had radiation (I have yet to have that) and his chemo has been in pill form (again, yet to have that). I had a port put in 2-3 days after diagnosis and it was a very smart thing to have done (IMO). The only reason I can see for having a port installed is that the oncologist is gearing up for chemo infusions for your Dad. I feel that whether you are having 6-12 rounds or 200+ rounds, a port can only make those infusions easier. There are many protocols out there that many of us are on that are giving through and iv.

We are all different Barb and no one knows for sure how your Dad will respond to the treatments but usually they are given in round of 12 from my experience. It's often good to have someone with you when you go to doctor visits. I know from my experience that sometimes I miss some things that are being said. Often I bring a small mp3 player/recorder that I have and just record the visit in case there is something I need to know that I missed. He may or may not be keeping things from you, if he doesn't object I would try to go with him to his visits.
-phil

MzStarbucks
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2010

Thanks everyone. I prolly will have lots of questions. I am going to call his doctor tomorrow and ask for my own appointment and have a really good talk with the doctor. I know that I am the Power of Attorney for him and they have my name on all his records so hopefully the doctor will have this appt. and let me know whats going on. My dad's spirits are still good and I think that has alot to do with how he is handling all this. My daughter and I moved in with my dad and have been helping him along, along with the company too. I went 1 time with him to the radiation dept. while he was getting the treatment I asked the nurse some simple questions and she kinda put my mind at ease. He did really well with the radiation and chemo, the only side effect he had was the tiredness, he slept alot during the day. I would let him sleep figuring his body needed the rest, but he would always say "don't let me fall asleep", I would leave for work and call later in the day and he would still be sleeping. Its hard to see my dad this way, because he was always so active - but he is 70 years old too - so I guess both equations have this toll on him.

Thanks for listening.

Barb

MzStarbucks
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2010

I know its been awile, but I am still here :)

My dad had his port put in, couple of days later he had his first round of chemo. He will have chemo for 24 weeks, being every other week. His first treatment my daughter and I went into the room just to see how it is done. There were many others in there too and as I looked around at everyone I noticed this group of people seemed in happy spirits, they were talking to each other and watching TV, reading, on their laptop. It made me feel good seeing these people and I know it helped my dad seeing that everyone was in good spirits.

His treatment lasted for 3 hours and when I went back to the hospital to pick him up, he had a pouch that he has to wear for 2 days and then take it back to the hospital.

I did have a meeting with his DR. and he answered my questions. And at this meeting he told me that my dad's liver enzyme was elevated and that he will have to get a CT Scan of his liver and a bone scan. So will find out tomorrow what that outcome is.

His doctor told me that he was going to be aggressive with this round of treatment.

So how about some feedback on this aggressive approach.

Lilmiss82's picture
Lilmiss82
Posts: 257
Joined: Dec 2009

I know many here will give you some good advice and I will try my best to answer your question too :) Usually stage 4 colorectal cancer is treated with FOLFOX which is a combination of oxaliplatin,leucovorin and 5-fu. The oxaliplatin and leucovorin are the ones that are given at the infusion center along with a push of 5-FU. I can describe a push as a big syringe filled with 5-FU that is injected slowly into the IV/port. The bag your dad goes home with is more 5-FU. Leucovorin helps the 5-Fu stay in the system longer. Sometimes the oncologist will add Avastin during chemo but it depends on the patients condition/overall health since it can cause high blood pressure along with other side effects. Also, they might run CT scan every 3 months to track the effectiveness of chemo,and do blood work a day before treatment. The blood work will check the standard CBC ( red blood count, white blood count, platelets ect) and they might check CEA which is our cancer marker but honestly some do not use it because it is never a good indicator for them and it tends to jump around while on treatment, and finally they will check the liver enzymes since chemo is pretty harsh on it ( my enzymes were pretty high during treatment but my oncologist told me that this was typical. I think your dad is getting what most doctors would recommend, but my advice to you is make sure to report and side effects to the oncologist right away since there are many medications that can reduce the unpleasantness of chemo than rather try to push through them. Also, make sure he is well hydrated ( drink 64 oz of fluid one day before infusion and during treatment to help flush it out) because if dehydration hits playing catch up is nearly impossible and will make side effects some much worse. I hope this helps and best wishes for you and your day :)Melissa

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