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What to do about other health conerns??

Calabrian Fighter Joe's picture
Calabrian Fight...
Posts: 15
Joined: Nov 2011

Hi New Familia...hope everyone is holding strong.

Just wondering if anyone had any insight into chemotherapy/radiation issues or concerns that I may need to know about...My Dad only has "one kidney that is not working so well"?

My father 74 was diagnosed with EC on 11/7/11...staging not complete. So far from testing and what we are being told he is ..Stage II - T3,N0,G1 ---M???? We are still pending results from a biopsy taken today (EUS) to determine if my Dad has pancreas cancer (lite up on the PET test) or just esophageal or both??? Either way per the doctors if cancer is present in the pancreas he jumps from a Stage II to a Stage IV. So we are just praying and thinking positive that he is a Stage II and we are just focusing on that road ahead. If this is the case we still have a worrisome road to travel due to my fathers other health conerns.

Here are some of Dad's other health issues that concern the doctors regarding the chemo and surgery. A suggestion was brought up to just do "RADIATION ONLY"????? Is this going to help? They want to shrink and kill the bad cancers cell to operate?

1)Kidney - 1 kidney (10% FUNCTIONING) - fistula surgery in 2009 because the doctors thought he would be on dialysis within the following 6-9 months. He still to this day is not on dialysis he is doing it by the grace of god. He watches what he eats and has eliminated many things that would jepordize his kidney fuction which is very low. "He does not want to go on dialysis"...My feeling is to take the lessor of two evils...but he never wants to be on diaylsis!!!!.....HIS NEW DIET TO AVOID DIALYSIS ALSO MEANS ELIMINATING ALOT OF VEGATABLES THAT HELPS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM, which from what I hear isn't going to help being on chemo/radiation treatments. We already know "CISPLATIN" is out of the questions cause it causes kidney damage!!!!!!!!
3)COPD (lung issues) - 43% surgeon is worried most about his lung function
4)Corary artery diease
5)Enlarged prostrate
6)High blood pressure

A suggestion was brought up to just do "RADIATION ONLY" because the chemo will shut his kidney fuction down????? Is this going to help? They want to shrink and kill the bad cancers cell to operate do both treatments need to happen to do this? But doesn't treatment also kill the "good cancer cells"? But in the same sense isn't the chemo and radiation going to make my father even weaker? How will he survive the surgery? To many "how's"...to many "but's".

I feel like if we touch my father he will break and if we don't touch him he will break???

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you...God Bless...you all are always in my thoughts and prayers!!!!

Dawn Marie - For Calabrian Fighter Joe

paul61's picture
Posts: 1250
Joined: Apr 2010


It sounds like your Dad has some real challenges from a treatment perspective; but the oncologist should be able to tailor his treatments to his health profile. Unfortunately, it is true that chemotherapy kills good cells along with cancer. His oncologist may have to experiment a bit to find the right dosage.

Radiation therapy could help, particularly targeted proton radiation therapy. People who have had that form of radiation therapy report very few side effects. Here is a description of proton radiation therapy:

Proton Radiation Therapy Description

My concern about radiation therapy alone, would be that radiation is "targeted" to address the tumor only, or whatever tissue is in the radiated range. I am not sure what the approach would be to address your Dad's cancer from a "systemic" perspective. By that I mean, cancer cells that may have migrated into the lymph node system, or into the blood stream. Chemotherapy is normally used to address that issue.

Perhaps they could define a treatment plan of radiation and low dosage chemotherapy with just two or one chemotherapy agents.

They would have to be sure that they flushed your Dad's system thoroughly after chemotherapy infusions to protect his remaining kidney. They would also have to insure that he received regular IV hydration to avoid dehydration.

Perhaps they could define a treatment plan that was carried out as an "in patient" at the hospital so that there would be someone there around the clock to address any issues that may come up.

It sounds like your Dad is a fighter, so I am sure they will define a way.

Best Regards,

Paul Adams
McCormick, South Carolina

DX 10/22/2009 T2N1M0 Stage IIB
12/03/2009 Ivor Lewis
2/8 through 6/14/2010 Adjuvant Chemo Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
Two year survivor

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

Calabrian Fighter Joe's picture
Calabrian Fight...
Posts: 15
Joined: Nov 2011

Hi Paul:

Thank you for the tips and information. I've never heard of Proton Radiation...another reason why I like to come to this site. Everyone just has more experience and knowledge. I'm sure me and my family will too later on but right now we are clueless.

Thank you also for suggesting they "flush" dad after chemo. I've also never heard of this. I'm going to have to ask the Oncologist about this but first I'm going to see if she suggests it???? I really like your idea of an "in-patient" treament plan but my father is so stubborn. The last time he was in the hospital he told the doctor with his thick accent..."either let me go or Imma leavin". Dad can't stand hospitals to being with....but I think it is actually a WONDERFUL idea. I will also put this on the table when we see the oncologist again.

Thanks again and again Paul for the tips...it is greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,

Dawn Marie - for Calabrian Fighter Joe

Posts: 24
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi Dawn,

My Dad is also named Joe and has other health concerns similar to your father's. My father is 70 years old and has: heart disease, stage 3B kidney disease, diabetes and PAD. I did not think that he would be a canidate for surgery but he was. He had MIE on Oct 13, 2011. He did not have chemo or radiation before because prior to surgery they thought he was Stage 1 and with his other health concerns they were reluctant. When pathology came back he was upgraded to T3N1MO. There were cancer cells found in his stomach and 2 positive lymph nodes behind the stomach that did not show during the PET scan. He is now going to start chemo and radiation on the 5th of December. He is doing 5 weeks of radiation and a constant infusion of 5FU. The 5FU is going to be given at a low dosage. They do the chemo and radiation at the same time to make the cells more suspectible to the effects of the radiation. My father also has said numerous times he would not go through dialysis so we are hoping for the best. Does your father see a kidney specialist? Is it possible to see him before beginning any treatment plan? I know how overwhelming everything is for your whole family but it helps to take things a day at a time and try to gather strength from each other and your faith in a higher power. I will pray for you and your family.

Calabrian Fighter Joe's picture
Calabrian Fight...
Posts: 15
Joined: Nov 2011

Hi pam716:

So your dealing with a "Joe" too? Too funny! I love Joe's! Thanks for your insight, I was not aware that chemo and radiation are done at the same time. Can you tell I'm a newbie?

I actually just discovered that my Dad's only kidney is only working "10%". He does see a kidney specialist that he has been with for years. We met with the other day to update him about what is taking place right now with the whole EC/pending pancreas testing situation . I was not pleased with the kidney specialist responses at all!! He was not optimistic at all. He told my father his kidney fuction is definetly going to shut down now. He said my father would not be able to take going further away to a top notch cancer center...he said we could just go "for a piece of mind" but Dad would not be able to travel. He was just so negative. I wish he would have mentioned something like "Paul" did (above) "flushing" the chemo to try to keep the kidney fuction going.

This kidney specialist ordered a CT test of the abdomen and pelvis for my father last year in June 2010. We just found out after Dad his recent PET Test this November that....In 2010 the CT test came back with something on the pancreas...the kidney specialist did not mention it nor do anything further to check up on it. Now we are on pins and needles waiting to find out if Dad has cancer in his pancreas as well. I want to tell my father lets switch kidney specialist but he is 74...the kidney speicalist is an older gentlemen too so he kind of puts all his trust in him..I don't know why. He puts so much trust in him that we had to make an appt to go see him to see what oncologist he would recommend my dad see...then we get there and he just crushed my father with no hope and no optimisum....I felt so bad for my Dad. It was like watching a 5 year old see his "hero" turn him down.

Pam716 -- thanks again for posting..I truly hope your Dad does not have to go dyalisis. It's just stinks cause it's another thing ontop of the EC but in the same sense I will take the lessor of two evils please.

My thoughts and prayers are with your and your family. I will pray for you and your family also because a higher power is the only reason we have gotten this far.

God Bless

Dawn Marie - for Calabrian Fighter Joe

Posts: 24
Joined: Oct 2011


I also love Joe's. Not only do they share the same first name my dad is also half italian.
My dad has also been with same kidney doctor for years and it is the kidney doctor that we credit with helping my dad get the right diagnosis. My dad's internist treated him with epo injections for anemia for three months without investigating the cause of the anemia. Out of my fathers doctors the kidney specialist has the worst beside manner but is one of the best doctors. At his very first appointment he told my father that the only thing keeping him alive is all the drugs he takes. When my dad was diagnosed with cancer the kidney doctor was very positive and told him that there are many different chemo drugs and some are less risky for the kidneys. It is my understanding that all treatment plans take into account the general health of the patient so they just need to tailor one for your Dad. I think that positivity is so important for the medical team. I am not saying that we are not told about the risks but they do not dwell on all of the medical issues he has. I feel very lucky that most doctors that have been treating my dad concerntrate on the positive things that my Dad has going for him. He is currently able to eat and is not malnourished at 5'9" and 180 lbs. I can relate to how hard it is to get them to change doctors. My dad used to be very much like that but when he was diagnosed any doctor that he had been seeing that he felt could not contribute to his treatment he quickly got rid of. He immediately switched his internist and endrocrinologist. Did the kidney doctor suggest an oncologist? How about going on line and doing a search of oncologists in the area and looking at their ratings. William who posts on this board is a wealth of information and probably has some advice on how to research an oncologist.

Sending prayers and positive thoughts


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