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new here diagnosed with stage 3 Gallbladder cancer

topcop12
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2018

I'm not sure where to post this exactly.  I'm a 49 year old fairly fit male.  I started having stomache issues a few years ago and went back and forth with my GI.  He finally sent me for a "Hida Scan" and during this my gallbladder never showed at all.  I was then refered to a GB surgeon.

I met with the surgeon and he gave me the option of operation or a 6 month diet change.  Thankfully I chose the surgery.  After the surgery he just told me it looked inflamed but he sent it off anyway.

The day after Christmas '17 he called and said it had a turmor in it and was positive for cancer.  I was then refered to a different surgeon for possible liver resection.  I met with new doctor and found out that I had a 6mm turmor in my GB but the margins were good and it didn't extend out of the GB.  But one of the lymph nodes taken by the orginal surgeon did test positive, thus i was staged 3B.

I was able to get a liver resection surgery at the end of Jan 18.  I was told there was no spread to the liver, the bile duct was clean.  I was also told they took 7 lymph nodes and 2 of the 7 (the two closest to the GB) tested positive.  He also told me he put a "clip" on a lymph node behind the pancreas because he could not remove it, just incase radiation was needed.

So off to the Oncologist I went.  After he met with a Cleveland Clinic Tumor Board it was determined I would have 3 months of Gemzar.  I would then get another CAT scan.  if this was clean i would move on to 5 weeks of radiation/chemo (oral chemo).  I would then finish with 3 months of Gemzar.  I would then get another scan.  If clean I'd come back at 3months, six months, and yearly if all stayed clean.

Right now I just finished my 2nd month of Gemzar.  Aside for a few side effects i've been able to work full time still.  Every single pain I feel freaks me out.

Anyway I was hoping to find someone with my same typle and stage that has been surviving this.  

Hoping for the best, trusting Jesus.

-Larry-

LorettaMarshall's picture
LorettaMarshall
Posts: 682
Joined: Sep 2012

Dear Larry:

First let me say, your “tag” “TopCop” leads me to wonder, “Are you really a cop?”  If so, thank you for putting your life on the line for total strangers.  Every day when a policeman gets up to go to work is a day that his/her life can end.  Often this is what happens when someone is called to check out a domestic dispute.  Sometimes it is a “set up” because we have trouble makers who hate cops PERIOD.  I thank God for policemen.  Their presence in my neighborhood makes me feel safer.  My appreciation goes for our military as well. 

But now on to your post.  This is NOT the place where you will find many, if any,  patients posting about their Gallbladder cancer, or at least none that I can recall since I’ve been checking the site in the last 5 years.  However, the Gallbladder is located in the Peritoneum.  As I checked the NIH site, a good source for information, I find the most recent update about Gallbladder cancer is covered in a detailed matter.

Since I wish to see that everyone who writes here receives an answer, even if it is an “I don’t know” answer to their particular problem.  So I’m giving you a few links that will enlighten you about “GBC”, at least it has me.  As a patient who was first diagnosed with Peritoneal Carcinomatosis, I had neoadjuvant (pre-op) chemotherapy of Carboplatin/Paclitaxel (Taxol).  After that I had Cytoreductive Surgery (CRS).  During the surgery, among other things my Gallbladder, Spleen, Ovaries, Fallopian tubes, Omentum and sections of my intestines were removed.  These were “tagged” as “non-essential organs,” although our Creator probably would not agree since He placed them in that part of the body for a specific reason.  But had they not been removed, no doubt my cancer would have had even more places to spread.  Peritoneal Carcinomatosis is a Stage IV diagnosis.  That’s just to let you know who is writing you this reply.

Your last line encourages me.  “Trusting Jesus” is the best place to start.  When we start there, and leave it there, all that happens in between is known to Him as well.  As for me, I am comforted by the thoughts expressed by the Psalmist David in Psalm 139, wherein He is talking to the Lord.  (Paraphrased) David says, “Lord there is no place in this whole universe that I can go, that You are not already there.  I can’t hide from YOU!” 

Others may choose to believe differently, but as for me, one of the main thoughts that I take as a “know-so” from this Psalm is that I believe just as David did, that God saw me when I was being knit together in my mother’s womb.  And ALL the days of my life here on this earth, were written in God’s Book when as yet there were NONE of them.  And though there are wearisome times, I take solace in the fact that even though He created me with a free will, and though some things are out of my control,  and will never understand—I will not live one day longer, or die one day sooner, than my allotted days on this earth.  God has blessed me with a longer life already than I could have ever imagined.  Stats for this Stage IV cancer, are not good at all.  But yet, here I am still alive some 5 years later.  Now don’t get me wrong—it has been a rocky road.  None of us would choose cancer at any stage, if it were up to us.  But who among us gets to choose what will happen to us during our sojourn here?  So while we are here, choices have to be made.  And in order to make good choices, one must “own” their cancer and not live in “denial.” 

The Cleveland Clinic has an excellent reputation.  I’m glad they have recommended adjuvant (after surgery) chemotherapy.  It is unwise to think that those tumors can’t multiply and travel to far-away places.  And when the cancer is found in more than one major organ, it is deemed metastatic.  At that point treatment choices are more difficult.  So we who have traveled the chemotherapy trail, and most have, know that as bad as the side effects of chemo are, leaving tumors untreated paves the way for cancer to “travel on.”  It can spread via the lymph nodes, the tissue or the blood.  So keep up the program that you’re on.  And yes, every unexplained and possibly not-previously experienced pain (strange and/or sudden) can put us in a panic mode.  It’s difficult to stay calm ALL the time.  We are only human, but we can’t let fear of the unknown cripple us and hold us captive for long.  And so it all comes back to your last words—keep trusting the Lord—keep a positive attitude knowing that the number of your days are in His book, and even though he hasn’t handed us an itinerary that includes a chronological list of our life’s journey, if you choose to follow Him, He can give you “soul peace” even while your physical body is at “war” and often feels like it is “coming apart at the seams!”

If anyone else has a similar diagnosis, I hope they will see your letter and share their treatment protocol with you.  God bless you Larry—hoping for you ALL the best!

Loretta

Peritoneal Carcinomatosis/Ovarian Cancer Stage IV

P.S.  I hope you know to ask for HYDRATION on a regular basis as chemo really wears you down. 

________________________________________________________ 

1.     https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/gemzar

[My note:  Larry – this link has a definition of all the cancer terms plus an “audio” symbol so you can pronounce the words as well as the doctors do.  Although we aren’t as smart as they are, we should at least know how to pronounce the words.  And I always ask, “How do you spell it?” when my doctor uses terms that I’ve never heard of—which is OFTEN!  How about you?”]

Gemzar

listen (JEM-zar)

A drug used alone or with other drugs to treat certain types of breast, non-small cell lung, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers that are advanced or have spread to other parts of the body. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Gemzar stops cells from making DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimetabolite. Also called gemcitabine hydrochloride.

More Information

 

·         listen (jem-SY-tuh-been HY-droh-KLOR-ide)

___________________________________________ 

 2.     https://www.cancer.gov/types/gallbladder

“The gallbladder lies just under the liver in the upper abdomen. The gallbladder stores bile, a fluid made by the liver that helps digest fat.

Almost all gallbladder cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids).

Gallbladder cancer is hard to diagnose in the early stages because there are no signs or symptoms. Gallbladder cancer may be found when the gallbladder is checked for gallstones or removed…”

_________________________________________________________

3.    https://medlineplus.gov/gallbladdercancer.html

 GALLBLADDER CANCER -On this page

Basics

§  Summary

§  Start Here

§  Diagnosis and Tests

§  Prevention and Risk Factors

§  Treatments and Therapies

Learn More

§  Living With

§  Related Issues

Research

§  Statistics and Research

§  Clinical Trials

§  Journal Articles

Resources

§  Reference Desk

§  Find an Expert

For You

§  Patient Handouts

___________________________________________ 

4.     https://www.cancer.org/cancer/gallbladder-cancer/treating/chemotherapy.html

 TREATING GALLBLADDER CANCER 

“Chemotherapy for Gallbladder Cancer

Chemotherapy (chemo) is treatment with anti-cancer drugs that are usually given into a vein or taken by mouth. These drugs enter the bloodstream and reach all areas of the body, making this treatment useful for cancers that have spread beyond where they started. Chemo can help some people with gallbladder cancer, but so far its effects against this type of cancer has been found to be limited.

For resectable gallbladder cancers, chemo may be used after surgery (often along with radiation therapy) to try to lower the risk that the cancer will return. This is called adjuvant treatment. Doctors aren’t yet sure how useful it is in treating gallbladder cancer.

Chemo can also be used (with or without radiation therapy) for more advanced cancers. Chemo does not cure these cancers, but it might shrink or slow the growth of tumors for a time. This can help relieve symptoms from the cancer, and may help people live longer.

Doctors give chemo in cycles, with each period of treatment followed by a rest period to allow the body time to recover. Chemo cycles generally last about 3 to 4 weeks. Chemo is often not recommended for patients in poor health, but advanced age by itself is not a barrier to getting chemotherapy…

DRUGS USED TO TREAT GALLBLADDER CANCER

The chemo drugs most often used for gallbladder cancer include:

  • Gemcitabine (Gemzar®)
  • Cisplatin (Platinol®)
  • 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)
  • Capecitabine (Xeloda®)
  • Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin®)

In some cases, 2 of these drugs are combined to try to make them more effective. For example, combining gemcitabine and cisplatin may help people live longer than getting just gemcitabine alone. When chemo is given with radiation, most often 5-FU or capecitabine is used…”

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5.     http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/gemzar.aspx

“Gemzar - Generic NameGemcitabine

Drug Type:

Gemzar is an anti-cancer ("antineoplastic" or "cytotoxic") chemotherapy drug.  Gemzar is classified as an antimetabolite.  For more detail, see "How Gemzar Works" below.

What Gemzar Is Used For:

  • Pancreas cancer
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Soft-tissue sarcoma
  • Metastatic breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer

Note:  If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians sometimes elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it might be helpful.

How Gemzar Is Given:

  • Gemzar is given by infusion through a vein (intravenously, by IV).
  • There is no pill form of Gemzar.

The amount of Gemzar you will receive depends on many factors, including your height and weight, your general health or other health problems, and the type of cancer you have.  Your Nadir: Meaning low point, nadir is the point in time between chemotherapy cycles in which you experience low blood counts.

Onset: none noted
Nadir: 10-14 days
Recovery: day 21…”

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 6.     https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+139&version=AMP

______________________End of references______________

 

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