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Old 08-24-2010, 12:39 PM   #1
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Liver cancer - 6 months to live

Hi,

I am sure these are the same questions you have all read a million times but i needs some facts if someone could spare me a few mins. My dad has been given 6 months to live due to liver cancer today. I dont know if there are different types of cancer, or stages - just that he has 6 months. I dont like to ask as he is dealing with the news himself and i dont want all our remaining conversations to be about cancer.

I am finding that i cant accept it emotionally until i know the blunt logical truth based on other peoples actual experiences and not what the docs say. I can cope with my sadness, you dont really get any choice about that, but i am really worried and sad about what this means for dad. Will he be in pain, and if so when is this likely to start and why? Is a hospice a definate or do some people manage to stay in their homes and remain able to look after themselves (my parents are not together and he lives with his long-term girlfriend but she has the start of dementia so dad is caring more and more for her so there are huge implications for her future aswell). And the big one as i have read some of the postings - is 6 months a realistic outlook or do things tend to happen faster and sooner than that. He has been a drinker so was disgnosed with sclerosis of the liver a few weeks ago so is already walking like a old man (he is 64!) he is yellow, weak, brain seems to be slow - like dementia - is these sclerosis or are these signs of the cancer and that it is coming fast??

Sorry to waffle on but i need facts to deal with this realistically. Today was a shock and a surprise and i want to prevent any more awful surprises if i can by being prepared - maybe being more prepared will mean i will be stronger to support my mum and sister through this better.

Thank you for your time

 
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Old 09-04-2010, 07:27 PM   #2
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Re: Liver cancer - 6 months to live

Hello, I am sorry for that obviously extremely unfortunate news...

I am only 19 years old and am of little help, but I saw no one else posted, and thought I'd throw in a few cents.

I don't know a LOT about cancer, but usually when someone is given a set amount of time to live for cancer, it means it's inoperable/metastasized, that is to say, it may have spread to other organs, or his liver alone is just in extremely bad shape from the cancer.

I know that's of no comfort... I was just sorry to see all of the views on this topic and no comments...

As for his last days, he could maybe be given morphine to make the experience a lot less painful, and more peaceful. He may be extremely sedated and out of it, but at least he'd be comfortable.

Best of luck to you and your family.

 
Old 09-08-2010, 11:20 AM   #3
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Re: Liver cancer - 6 months to live

I am terribly sorry to hear your news. I can relate because I went through the same thing with my mother and we lost her pretty quickly. I, like you, wanted to know all truths so that I had a starting point with knowledge and for mental and emotional concerns for myself and family. I have a little bit of advice and only one part of it is medical. I am a hospice companion and have spent many hours with patients and families going through this and very similar processes. One of the best pieces of advice regarding time left and how to figure it out is this: If you see medical decline in the patient in months, then you likely have months left. If you see change weekly, then you have weeks. When you see change daily, then you have days. I have found this information to be quite accurate and helpful. My advise to you is to find balance between taking care of your dad and really really stopping to spend time with him. I was so busy "taking care of mom" that I missed out on precious time with her. If I could go back I would have not worried SO much about the details and given more of myself to her, which is really the number one thing she wanted anyway. I suspect this might be true of your dad as well. So, stay focused on what is important. Learn and love your way through it and you won't have any regrets. Oh, I also highly recommend hospice care earlier than later... studies show that people live longer!!!

 
Old 09-08-2010, 12:04 PM   #4
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Re: Liver cancer - 6 months to live

I'd like to address this as a daughter who lost her father to cancer. What I wanted to address was your comment, "I don't want our remaining conversations to be about cancer."

Years after my Dad's death, my Aunt and I became very close and one thing I learned from her was that she was the only one who would talk to my Dad about his cancer and his terminal diagnosis. Everyone else refused to talk about it- they wanted to keep the conversations happy and positive -- but my Dad desperately wanted to talk about it with someone.

My suggestion is let your Dad talk about whatever it is he needs to. I know it's hard for you- but it's hard for him too. Be the one he can talk to about it, if he needs to. Give him that freedom. There may be no one else he can talk to.

As to the timeline- it's just a guess. He could last longer, or he could go quickly. I would treat every day as though it's precious and go from there. That way you've made the most of whatever time he actually has.

 
Old 09-08-2010, 09:59 PM   #5
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Re: Liver cancer - 6 months to live

Hi, I am sorry about your dad. Is he receiving any chemo? If he was given a time frame to live, which is just a time frame not a given...then I would guess it would be a stage 4, which means it has gone to other organs. Is this something you can find out?
If he is yellow then the bile ducts may not be working correctly. The toxins can build up and that can affect his thinking. It is possible the cancer has spread to his brain too. Sometimes a procedure is done to insert drains in the liver.
Is there anyone you can ask? Is your dad willing to discuss it?
If your dad starts eating less or not eating at all, the doctor can prescibe enzymes to stimulate the desire to eat. There are tasty drinks like Ensure that are filled with necessary nutrients.
Take the time though to tell your dad things you want to say. Talk about good times and build good memories to cherish. Do you discuss your belief system of what happens after we pass? Will you believe that he will still be around in spirit? Does he? Does he need reassurance that you will be ok even though you will always miss him? Sometimes things are left unsaid and until you approach different topics, they will be left unsaid.
My best friend was given 8 months for pancreatic cancer. She made it a year. I wish you the best

 
Old 09-11-2010, 02:23 AM   #6
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Unhappy Re: Liver cancer - 6 months to live

I'm so sorry that you are all going through this and as you mentioned that it's not just your dad's life but his girlfriends too that will be deeply impacted on.
My mum was diagnosed on the 23rd Aug and like you I'm still very upset.
I have found that through the hospice system that they do offer great palliative care. They can organize anything that you may require and even legal advice etc so that your dad can get his affairs in order. (Such as medical power of attorney, wills etc) They can also help out with any government forms that may be needed...They have organized a disabled parking permit for mum as she isn't strong enough to walk and we now take her to the shops for a short while in a wheel chair.
They can also organize home help etc and he isn't obliged to accept any help that he doesn't want.
I have arranged a social worker to go and visit her on Monday so that she can talk freely about her worries & fears etc.
The aim is to keep them in their own home for as long as possible and the care they get when they do go in is far different from the main stream hospital system.
They try to give the patient as much dignity and respect as is deserved.
I know how hard it is to go down this path but I guess we have no choice.

Take Care and I'm thinking of you...and more than likely crying at the same time you are

Love & Hugs Jan xoxoxo

 
Old 09-15-2010, 09:34 AM   #7
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Re: Liver cancer - 6 months to live

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wellywoman View Post
Hi,

I am sure these are the same questions you have all read a million times but i needs some facts if someone could spare me a few mins. My dad has been given 6 months to live due to liver cancer today. I dont know if there are different types of cancer, or stages - just that he has 6 months. I dont like to ask as he is dealing with the news himself and i dont want all our remaining conversations to be about cancer.

I am finding that i cant accept it emotionally until i know the blunt logical truth based on other peoples actual experiences and not what the docs say. I can cope with my sadness, you dont really get any choice about that, but i am really worried and sad about what this means for dad. Will he be in pain, and if so when is this likely to start and why? Is a hospice a definate or do some people manage to stay in their homes and remain able to look after themselves (my parents are not together and he lives with his long-term girlfriend but she has the start of dementia so dad is caring more and more for her so there are huge implications for her future aswell). And the big one as i have read some of the postings - is 6 months a realistic outlook or do things tend to happen faster and sooner than that. He has been a drinker so was disgnosed with sclerosis of the liver a few weeks ago so is already walking like a old man (he is 64!) he is yellow, weak, brain seems to be slow - like dementia - is these sclerosis or are these signs of the cancer and that it is coming fast??

Sorry to waffle on but i need facts to deal with this realistically. Today was a shock and a surprise and i want to prevent any more awful surprises if i can by being prepared - maybe being more prepared will mean i will be stronger to support my mum and sister through this better.

Thank you for your time

 
Old 09-15-2010, 09:35 AM   #8
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Re: Liver cancer - 6 months to live

You need to talk to his Dr for these questions he or she would be best to answer them. God Bless!

 
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