My stepchildren's mother was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer March 2008. They found it had already spread to her liver, did not look further so I do not know where else it spread. She went thru intravenous chemo, had a whipple (spelling) procedure and I believe she is taking oral chemo daily. Last week they removed 4 liters of fluid from her. even tho she said she is still going to the bathroom. Any clues what is causing the fluid retention? Could it be from a side-effect of the chemo or is this a normal progression of the disease and the start of her decline. I don't have much more info, she does not say much to anyone except to say she has lost alot of weight and is weak. Thanks for any insight.
Leea - thank you. Unfortunately she is back in the hospital, had to drain more fluid. They told my stepdaughter they thought she had some kind of blockage somewhere, and ruled out a side-effect of the oral chemotherapy she is taking. This is a horrible unrelenting form of cancer and as much as I do not want to think about it, I unfortunately suspect this is likely the start of her decline.
Maryliz, the blockage could be 'sludge in the bile duct'. My dad has pancreatic cancer. The doctors have placed a stent in the bile duct, to releive the blockage. It is a procedure that has to be repeated each 3-4 months. I've found with this kind of cancer, we just have to accept the poor odds. The pancreas is the gateway to so many other organs and the cancer cells spread fast. Enjoy the good days that are ahead. There will be some. Take care. Later, Linda
I just found out today my dad has pancreatic cancer and it has spread to his liver. I've been on the computer all day researching the disease, the treatments, life expectancy, etc. It's so devistating to think I may only have a few months left to hang out with him. Throughout my searching on the internet I found a few miracle stories of people currently living five years after being diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. I don't want to get my hopes up nor do I want to give up - I think I'm still in shock from the bad news. Anyways, this is my first time writing and if anyone has any advice to offer on any aspect of this disease please feel free to comment. I know it's important to find a good hospital so that sort of feedback will help too. Thanks
Val, I am so so sorry to hear this. I can totally relate. My father (the only parent I have ever known) was dx out of the blue with pc spread to his liver back at the end of May--they caught it by accident. I will be honest, it is a quick disease that takes over quickly, my father passed away 2.5 months after his dx. The good thing is he was not in a lot of pain, the pain he mostly complained about the weakness due to atrophy.
If you have any questions for me, please write me anytime. I know very very hard this is...
Thanks for the reply. It's really nice having this cancer message board to talk to people like you who have gone through something like this. I have a brother and two sisters who I can talk to but all of us are new to this so it's not the same. My family lives in Canada and my parents split up a few years ago. My dad just retired from teaching for 30 years and decided to go teach at a school in China where one of his former students obtained a superintendant position. He was only there for two months when he got the bad news. I met him at the airport today and I tried to be so strong and tried not to cry but all that ran through my head when I was hugging him was that I might not have the chance to squeeze him like this in 2,3,4, or 6 months. How do you continue living without that person you love so much? I don't even know how to act. I want to do anything and everything for him yet I don't want him to think I'm worrying about him or treating him any different so he doesn't feel bad. It's so crushing. It's not fair he's only 59. I just feel like I can't go on without him - I've just got really close with him in the past few years and I need more time than what I think he has. I'm sorry for going on and on I just don't know what to do besides cry all day long. I heard that chemo is an option but a doctor friend also said that for the short time it buys may not be worth the sickness that the chemo brings. What treatment was given to your dad? If you have any advice on anything I've said please feel free to tell me. Thanks.
Hi Val, I feel so much for your pain. I was very close to my dad and he was the person that brought me up. He was always such a vibrant person who was always cracking a joke and making people smile. I read through the cards people sent him (he had a HUGE stack) and all wrote about how he always brought a smile to his face and how he always had a twinkle in his eye. My dad was and still is my hero.
I felt the same thing at first, I did not want to cry in front of him, I wanted to be strong. However, its okay to cry. If you cry, just tell him you are crying becuase you love him so much. All you can do is be there for him. My Dad lived alone in Arizona. My sister lived about 5 miles away but she was so busy with her kids. So my brother moved in with my dad to be his caretaker and I flew from CA to AZ each week to spend time with him. We made more memories thoughout the journey which I cherish. We also got a book called a Fathers Legacy and went over it with him so we would always have this.
It is very difficult to see your loved one suffer. My dad told me we made dying easier, of course that send me to pieces.
Was your dad having symptoms at the time? How is his energy right now. There is a GREAT pc board, I cant name it on here but do a search under hopsitals that specialize in PC and you should find it.
My Dad did Gemzar chemo 4 times, it did make him a bit more sick but he said he woudl do anything...however it did not work with him so we stopped and brought in hospice.
Pls write anytime, I really know how hard this is. It is all so fresh in my mind still for me....
Val, I am so sorry you are going through this experience. Pancreatic cancer can be pretty ugly because it is often diagnosed at a late stage. I knew nothing about it until my best friend was diagnosed, stage IV, to the liver. She was like a sister to me for over 41 years. Her mom had died when she was 12 years old, so when I met her at 13, she became family and my mom took her under her wing. We both boarded our horses at the same ranch so we spent hours together riding, went to school together and always hung out. Often she stayed with my family. We remained very close all the way through adulthood. It was devastating to find out she was sick. She didn't look it. She had complained about her back hurting but thought she had pulled a muscle riding. She also had been just diagnosed as being diabetic and was blaming her tummy ache of the insulin pills. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
She took chemo, continued working, kept her weight up and had a positive attitude. At first it was believed she could have the spots zapped in the liver and have surgery to remove the tail of the pancreas and the spleen. The surgery was cancelled because the spots were too deep and were in different locations in the liver. Undaunted, she continued with the chemo, hoping the spots would disappear and she could proceed with the surgery. 8 months later, a MRI indicated she didn't have cancer in the liver so she was schedule for surgery again. She was very excited. She took a leave of absence from work and had another scan as preparation for the operation. The cancer had spread to other organs. The doctors said the MRI had probably been read wrong and she had the cancer in the liver afterall. She continued with chemo up until the very last. SHe lived a year after the initial diagnosis
If your dad has chemo, you want to make sure they check the potassium levels and put in a port. Having needles stuck in every weeks gets hard on the veins and the veins can collapse. Enzymes can help with eating and drinking Ensure gets the nourishment in.
I would say what is in my heart so that down the road you won't have that feeling of I wish I had said....Take pictures. There are lots of good memories still to be made. It may be months or it may be years....ya never know. There are some success stories out there. Some people have gotten the tumors shrunk down enough to have the surgery. Hope and believe. We are out here if you need someone to talk to.
I have been trying to find some information for my mother. She has a cat scan finally tomorrow to learn more. She has swelling in her side and it has been for about a month now. She was told it was swelling from diabetes. But now it is sticking out of her side. Her gen Dr said she can't tell if it is her pancreais of her spleen. Her blood work was all over the place and her blood pressure was extremly high, to where they are scared of stroke. I am pretty worried. She has a dull pain and the sweeling is spreading to her chest and ribs so breahthing and coughing are hard. She is at home right now waiting for the appt tomorrow. With her insurance she has to wait for the referal and can't get in sooner. I just spoke to her and now she feels like it is in her back or kidneys, not sure but she feels like it might be spreading.
Just wondering what the start of pancreatic cancer is or has any of your loved ones expierenced the severe swelling?
Any thoughts or advice while we wait.....
Last edited by declansmom; 10-30-2008 at 01:23 PM.