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Too much Chemo for the rest of life

Posts: 150
Joined: Mar 2011

I posted this somewhere else, but maybe you all can help. My husband, stage iv breast cancer, mets to all bones was told that he had to be on chemo for the rest of his life. He has treatment every 21 days. We have been going through this since September 2009. He was 41 during reocurrence, but he looks like an 80 year old on a walker. Could someone share a story? Anyone with a similar story?

Barbara53's picture
Posts: 658
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Jackie,
I'm so sorry to hear your husband has been stricken at such a young age. It is so unfair! I will chime in here with my mother's story, who was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in Feb 09 at age 78. She had two complete chemo courses over two years, followed by a couple of hormonal therapies. After her last PET scan showed lung and bone mets, she elected to go with the medication that might impact the cancer with the least side effects. Also a hormonal therapy, the Megace gave her a good two months of holding time that's just now deteriorating. The Megace is synthetic progestone that breaks down into a steroid. It can only be used with terminally ill patients because it can lead to diabetes. It gave Mom and mighty appetite and the steroid effect upped her energy level a lot. It's worth discussing with your husband's oncologist because many forms of breast cancer respond to hormonal therapies, at least in terms of buying time.

One thing we have in common is watching our warriors losing their battles. Mom talks about death more and more, which I think is a good thing. She had no regrets about ending active treatment, because it's vastly improved the quality of her last days.

Good luck with this day, darlin. We care.

grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

My husband used to say that chemo was good. It meant that the drs still felt there was hope. It's when they stop the chemo and say there is nothing more they can do that is sad. I know this constant chemo is hard and that your husband is probably sick and tired of being sick and tired, but you never know when some new treatment will come along. Hang in there. Hugs, Fay

LilChemoSmoker's picture
Posts: 192
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi Jackie,

I don't have a similar story to circumstance outside of knowing that my husband's cancer is terminal and incurable. My husband was dx in June of this year, so we haven't been fighting this disease very long, but certainly long enough to understand the finality it brings. My husband was asked in the beginning if he would like to do some palliative chemo and was educated as to the side effects and rewards of extending life by weeks or months (depending on how well he tolerated the treatment). I stayed out of the decision as I knew darn well that after being married 16 years that if I weighed in he would base his decision on a combination of my thoughts and desires and his own, though I don't think he would have did as much internal soul searching if I had shared my opinion. He was mad at me for quite some time for not 'sharing' and after that time he came to understand my desire to 'not influence' his choices. The disease was his battle and the choices made would be his to carry the consequences of their impact, not mine. Yeah, I would have to be there to help pick up the pieces and support him in any choice he made, but that is not the same as having to actually endure the physical pain, the horrible side effects or the general physical battle of treatment. It was for him to decide what he could tolerate or not tolerate. I am only capable of being his cheerleader and helpmate. I did voice that I would support which ever decision he made. He did some serious soul searching and decided not to do the chemo. His thoughts and feelings on the subject were that he was well aware that his tolerance for pain and discomfort were low and he did not want to be uncomfortable for as long as possible, so he opted out of palliative chemo.

I say all this to let you know that only the patient can know when enough is enough as this is truly their body and their level of comfort. Your husband will know when he has had enough, and as long as he is at peace with knowing you will be okay with which ever he decides, he will make that choice for himself. But he has to know that you are truly okay with it or he will continue to make decisions based on both of your positions. It truly needs to be an unbiased decision. This makes for a peaceful journey or at least eliminates any feelings of doubt. We all want to make our partners proud and we want them to feel safe, though I do think that for some patients this comes at a price of sabotaging their own comfort level.

I feel your frustration with the issue and hope that you can find some balance in the situation. I will pray for peace and understanding for the both of you.


Best Friend
Posts: 222
Joined: May 2011

I know if it were me I would want to make everyone happy, but i know if my mom were to ever decide she had had enough, I too would let her make that decision and support her fully. Yes it hurts but why make someone be in that kind of pain if it is just going to end in pain?
I also think you have to really trust your doc. I have faith in my mom's doctor. He is old school. My sister doesn't have faith in him because he hasn't been to school since the 70's and he only went to one school in England where he is from. To me, sometimes older is better. It seems today the newer doctors have less of a heart and more interest in seeing if they can accomplish the impossible even though this puts someone through hell. He told my mother her PPC never had good survival rates and he was gonna give it his best shot, and he would try and do his best to keep her around a couple more years for her grandchildren. He never said," WE WILL CURE YOU". He is just a trustworthy guy. If my mom was bad, he would tell her.
I think you should talk to your doctor about this decision he is suggesting. Ask him what kind of life this is gonna allow ur husband to live? I know it is painful but ur husband should know you want him to really spend time thinking about what he really wants to do and that you will help him through it. There's always hope, I know, but i tend to be a little bit more on the realisitc side. Faith is good too, but sometimes if you stop and think about why this person was given this disease, it's more scientific. God didn't say,"Hey, let me give this one cancer and see how he/she reacts?" I believe in only the scientific.Faith can't heal what was most likely ur destiny to begin with. I know the odds are good that i too could have this cancer, or my daughter, or neice, or sister, and faith can't will it away. So, thinking realisticly helps.
Am i making sense? Ha!
Hope everything works out for you whatever he does. I will be following ur journey.

Posts: 150
Joined: Mar 2011

Hi, so good to know that I can converse with others. We want my husband to be around for as long as possible. I just know that the chemo is potent! Currently on Xgeva, Avastin, Neulasta, Neupogen, Halaven, gabapentin, and fentanyl 75 mg and dilaudid.

I know I have to trust God in this thing. It's just that I think that it is too much.

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