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Does five years mean five years?

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5378
Joined: Jan 2013

My hairdresser's dad has Pancreatic Cancer, and his Doctor's gave him six months to a year. She went to visit him over Thanksgiving, and found him sitting in a chair. Her mum said, he just sits in the chair. My friend asked him 'Why are you just sitting in the chair, dad?' and he said 'I'm sat here waiting to die'. 

He was diagnosed last December, and now that he is about to reach that year the Oncologist gave him, he is waiting to die. So very, very sad. 

He is on Chemo, and responding as well as can be expected. Chances are, it is going to get him in the end, but he has reached his expiration date and so he is giving up. 

I had to think about that. I am a VERY positive person, but have to admit that the five year cap that I was givien, sits in the back of my head. I don't want to reach that fifth year thinking 'This could be it', so I am trying to forget the year I was diagnosed. I've already forgotten the date, so now I'm going to work on forgetting the month and then the year. HA!

The mind is a VERY powerful thing, don't ever underestimate it. I don't know if I could ever have avoided learning about the 'estimated' time of survival for Stage IV CRC - I like information too much - but somewhere in my head, I wished I'd never heard it. 

I know the answer to the question in the subject line; I'm just musing. 

I am so grateful for the survivors who continue to post here. Don't ever feel like you shouldn't post, because we NEED you. We NEED your sucess stories. We see too many friends pass, we NEED you here. Obviously, we don't expect you to post on a regular basis, but popping in every now and again gives us a boost that is pure gold.

Happy December, everyone. And because I love Christmas for what it is, Happy Christ mass to those who believe. May we all see many more.  

Sue - Trubrit


jalusa's picture
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2015

I am hoping to have a liver resection (or two) in the next few months.  I know that people survive for years (cured?) after.

The numbers are averages and old. 

annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

is def a possibility for stage 4 patients.  Good luck!

lizard44's picture
Posts: 409
Joined: Apr 2015

cancer patients are people.  My doctor won't give survival times.  She won't  use the tern "cure"  for stage 4 patients, either, but she does emphasize that today, with modern treatments, Stage 4 cancer can be managed like any other chronic condition, that every patient responds differently to both the disease and the treatment and she wants to keep her patients around and in good condition for a long time. I appreciate that, and about  hearing from long-term survivors on this board. Having lost both my parents to cancer I  know the odds and the survival figures, too, but don't pay that much attention to them. I don't particulary  worry about death and realize it's inevitable at some point. But my goal is to spend my time, however much time that is, living, instead of  thinking about the possibility of dying. I realize that  may not be an easy thing for many people, especially those who are much younger than I am, to do, but  no-one, either with or without cancer,  is guaranteed  any time here past the present moment. I try to make the best of  each moment and try not to let cancer  dictate my every thought and take away my joy in living. Although I will admit that  this current chemoradiation has  stolen some joy- I could swear  that my diet  is composed mostly of  habanero  peppers cooked in  molten  lava and seasoned with fire ants!! Ouch! Yell


ron50's picture
Posts: 1729
Joined: Nov 2001

         Check on my friend Foxy. She had colon cancer and a liver met. She had colon surgery and a wedge resection of her liver. I got to know her well because we shared the same regime of chemotherapy, 5fu and a drug called levamisole. Levamisole was banned in 2001 because it had fatal side effects with some patients. This christmas Foxy (Virginnia) is out to 21 yrs (I think). I will be at the end of 17 yrs in jan. So that is a late stage three and a stage four both cured. We have issues but no cancer, Have a good Christmas Ron.

Easyflip's picture
Posts: 588
Joined: May 2013

doc said I was curable at stage 4. I'm going for it! And yes, trying to live in the present. Merry Christmas to all my fellow survivors.


thingy45's picture
Posts: 633
Joined: Apr 2011

yes I'm also reaching the 5 year dreaded line Coming April 2016. Every ache or pain is analyzed . I am just diagnosed with skin cancer, slow growing, they are on top of it, so nothing to get to exited about. Life is good besides the limitations of food and knowing where every bathroom is in a 50 MiLe radius. i hope it continues this way. As always .... One day at a time ....

wishing all of you a blessed merry Christmas but most if all  a healthy 2016.

abrub's picture
Posts: 2149
Joined: Mar 2010

Guess what?  I'm still here, and quite healthy, thank you!


PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

Back in February 2004 I was given 6 months by my first oncologist. I would never even think of asking my current Onc that question and she would probably answer "How should I know?". Too often I've heard that people are given the 6-9 months, or 1-2 years left nonsense. I find it to be very offensive to say the least.

Unless the oncologist is planning on popping a cap in your a$$ after you've reached your "Expiration date" I don't see how they dare to say that to people. One thing I learned early on is that the data that is out there is old. It often lags by a few years which in research time can be a long time. But even when I saw that 5% lived another 5 years I've always thought "why can't I be part of that 5%?". 
On a side note, two therapies came out for me just when I needed them. I'm lucky for sure. 

While there certainly are cases where a person's cancer may have spread beyond what's considered normal and the likelihood they will survive is very slim, taking away a person's hope when it's not certain is despicable to me.

Just a reminder, any one of us can get in a car accident today or tomorrow or the next day. Waiting to die is certainly not for me. All it does is make a person stop living...Have a nice day 

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

This is the first time I've been on in a long time, and it's so good to scroll down and find one of your wise replies! 




beaumontdave's picture
Posts: 1108
Joined: Aug 2013

I've stated my feelings about time frames, guestimates, and ball park oddsmaking. Don't want it, can't use it, won't have it. Dogs don't feel guilty about yesterday or afraid of tomorrow, so I'm just going to be a dog.............Dave

biglaur's picture
Posts: 72
Joined: Apr 2010

I'm still here...stage IV...mets to liver and lung...after chemo, gamma knife radiation, clinical trial...etc etc etc...I'm living a great life.  I still think about cancer...but it doesn't have a hold on me anymore. Good luck to you who are in the middle of the fight...it's horrible and barbaric...but you can come out on the other side.


annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

was "I know you're a reference librarian, but please don't research too much about your illness".  I took his advice.  Didn't look into the stats for my particular situation until I had been NED for a couple years.  As it turns out, prognosis rates for a metastatic carcinosarcoma are dismal...basically no one is alive after 5 years.

And yet, here I am.  December 1st marked four years since my final surgery.

I'm really glad I listened to my doctor (who in many ways was not so awesome) in this instance.  I don't believe I survived because of my deliberate ignorance, but I do think it helped make my day to day experience while I was fighting this crap a lot more pleasant.

Posts: 1270
Joined: Apr 2012

What a present I got 6 years ago!  Diagnosis of colon cancer!  But here I am, 6 years later after a bumppy road.  Ned, confirmed by two different colonoscopies. Now at 83 I wonder if I will Make it to 90!!!  My current Christmas wish is that all of us will live into our 80's NED forevermore!

DD3's picture
Posts: 134
Joined: May 2013

don't have much to add or a personal story per se as I am a caretaker.  Guess about the only one on here sometimes or so it seems like it.  As a caretaker the five year mark is always "there" for me.  Not so much my wife or as near as I can tell.  After her first post treatment CT scan came back clean, as she says "I'm done with cancer and have moved on. I wish these side effects of treatment would though."  We were at a drugstore the other day and the cashier asked if she would like to donate a dollar to Stand Up To Cancer fund raiser.  She said sure.  Look at the lady as said "I'm a cancer survivor."  Like she just battled the flu instead of cancer.  I'm truly amazed by her.  She never asked her oncologist about survival rates or her chances of re-occurence and etc. 

Posts: 1019
Joined: Aug 2013

My brother was diagnosed 4 years ago and is fighting back. He keeps telling me he's not going anywhere. His doctor refuses to give a timeline saying that every person reacts differently to chemo, so you don't know. She tells him that new drugs come along and that will extend his life even longer. She sees it right now as a chronic disease. She feels that he should just continue to live his life and enjoy whatever time he has. As a caretaker, it's hard watching him go through the side effects of chemo, but what's the alternative? Right now he's fighting the Vectibix rash and is dealing with fungal infections. It breaks my heart.

5 years is just a number and people are living well past that point now.


impactzone's picture
Posts: 542
Joined: Aug 2006

9 years here after stage 4 dx. Nevr know what might happen. All my best to all.


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