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Please someone tell me what to expect

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2011

My friend fuond a lump. She ignored it. By the time she went to the doctor it was large and had gone into her lymph nodes, chest wall, liver and vertebrae. They started her on aggressive chemo and actually got her to a point where she could take a break - it had worked. She went off chemo for about 6 months and it came back. Went back and beat it back again and got 9 months off. Now its back again. She is in advanced liver disease. She is having problems with both hypercalcemia and ascites and has a build-up in her abdomen within a few days of being drained. The doctor told her there is nothing more they can do and she needs to get her affairs in order. He won't give a time frame and we are all wondering how long she really has. I saw her today and she was yellow and was so tired and confused it frightened me. She can't remember what was said 10 minutes ago. I don't want to over-react but it seems like she doesn't have more than a few days. I am just wondering what people saw in those last weeks/days. I don't want to panic her family but they are out of town and keep asking me if they should come. I sounded the alarm and asked them to come in a few months ago when the hypercalcemia started and maybe I am just panicking again. She goes in to her oncologist on Wednesday to get her calcium checked (and probably get fluids and lasix to flush out that extra calcium).
I just don't know what to do. I want to do everything for her that I can and I feel like I should know but I don't. If someone had a loved one who had these signs, how long did they live? I realize everyone is different but it would give me something.

Posts: 34
Joined: Jan 2011

cathult, I'm so sorry to hear your friend is in this condition.
I don't really have answers for you. My husband has hcc and other issues. You might do some research on the liver foundation sites for further information. I'm pretty sure they list the signs of end stage disease. Hope this helps you some. Take care.

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1566
Joined: Nov 2009

Hello Cathult and welcome. You are such a wonderful friend. She is lucky to have you. My dad passed away in March 2010 from esophageal cancer which went to his liver. The tumor was blocking his bile duct. Quality of life is what you need to be looking at. The yellow color is definitely coming from her sick liver. Once cancer goes to the liver, it is almost impossible to cure. Unless you get a transplant. I am sorry for being so honest and the bearer of bad news, but I have been where you are with my dad. I believe it is time to call her family and tell them to come. It is time for all of you to give her your blessings. She has dealed with this cancer and has done extremely well. She is a fighter. But....sometimes it is time to say enough is enough. Ask yourselves, does she have a good quality of life right now? He she happy? Or..is she suffering and in pain? Pray, and pray some more ask God to give you the strength and knowledge to know what to do. He will answer. Keep us up to date.
Tina in Va

teresam6464's picture
Posts: 9
Joined: Sep 2010

But the jaundice (yellowing), from all the research I've done, def. means something is seriously wrong with the liver. If cancer is already the issue, this is not a good sign. My husband has primary HCC, dx'd last Sept.2010 But as of yet, no signs of liver failure. As Blondek said, lots of prayer is in order, and maybe time to let family know soon. We will be praying for her as well. What a great friend she has:)

Pennymac02's picture
Posts: 336
Joined: Aug 2010

My husband passed of liver failure while waiting for a transplant because of liver cancer. He was dandylion yellow for the last 4 weeks of his life, and had taken to wearing dark sunglasses in the hospital because the jaundice was so bad that the billirubin had caused his eyes to be bright yellow as well. He was diagnosed in July, and the doc said 3-18 months without a transplant, but he passed in 6 months because his liver got so sick, his other organs began to fail as well. It is my understanding that liver cancer is incurable unless it is caught early and surgically removed, chemo is almost always NOT an option because of the toxicity that can't be handled by the liver.

He had been tapped to remove ascites many times, and the fluid always came right back. Except when the gave him albumin after the paracentisis. The albumin helps the body restore fluid balance. From what I understand, it's very expensive to administer, and therefore not always done. Maybe you could help your friend by researching whether she's had albumin as a follow up to the draining of the fluid?

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