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Cancer: Pancreatic & Liver Message Board
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Old 10-07-2010, 01:44 PM   #1
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pancreatic cancer what to expect

ex husband diagnosed 7 mths ago with locally advanced pancreatic cancer. Tumor encases the major vessels so can't operate. Has been on 5fu and radiation, then later, 2nd round on gemzar. Would take two weeks but not manage to reach 3rd week, has to keep starting cycle over. Now we find he has a couple spots on his liver. He is weak and has bouts with digestive problems, diah, etc. blood sugar levels range from 40 to 700, on insulin now but having trouble maintaining good levels. they originally said 6 mths to 2- 1/2 years if operable, then later said 6 mths to 18 mths. Now ct shows the cancer has spread to his liver, atleast 2 spots. I am his major caregiver and he won't ask the dr. specifically how much time he has left, he won't let me since he is pretty much in denial and doesn't want to hear it. I need to know what to expect as this progresses and what kind of care he will need. I need to know what signs I need to watch for to know when he might need hospice, etc.

 
Old 10-17-2010, 08:52 AM   #2
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Re: pancreatic cancer what to expect

Hi, My friend had breast cancer for 4 years and it spread to her liver a year ago this month. She was an extrodinary case...and she was determined to BEAT the cancer. Because of her will to live she lived 9 months after the cancer spread to her liver. However, SHE WAS EXTRAORDINARY....Anyone else that I have EVER hear of where a cancer spread to the liver had a very short life span the longest i have heard...3 months...the shortest 6 weeks. I would tell you...he already has uncurable pancreatic cancer...doesn't sound like he is doing well with his treatments or his spirit...so i do not think it will be long, just an intution guess (to help you prepare)...2 months tops.

 
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:57 AM   #3
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Re: pancreatic cancer what to expect

thank you for reply. I too feel like it will continue to get worse. Now he has lymph nodes that have swollen quite large. Will see Dr. in a week and I will try to get as much info as possible without upsetting him further.

 
Old 10-17-2010, 12:59 PM   #4
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Re: pancreatic cancer what to expect

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Originally Posted by caregiverforhim View Post
thank you for reply. I too feel like it will continue to get worse. Now he has lymph nodes that have swollen quite large. Will see Dr. in a week and I will try to get as much info as possible without upsetting him further.
Hi, I've been through PC with my mom so I understand what you're going through. Hospice is a great thing, but he has to be in the right place mentally for it. We called them in when the Gemzar stopped working.
When the pain becomes too much and he is put on morphine then things will start slowing down physically. In the mean time I suggest you check out some fantastic pancreas cancer websites, one which is run by a major Boston hospital. It's very supportive and informative. The other site is run by a Pancreas Cancer advocacy group and they will do everything they can to help. Good luck to you, I'm sorry you're all going through this.

 
Old 10-17-2010, 01:15 PM   #5
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Re: pancreatic cancer what to expect

The hospital is is in Baltimore, not Boston. Sorry!

 
Old 10-17-2010, 06:09 PM   #6
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Re: pancreatic cancer what to expect

My best friend was stage 4 when diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She lived a little longer than a year after diagnosis. She did very well until the last few months. We actually think she would have lived longer but for some reason she lost her muscle enzymes and couldn't move her legs herself. We think she lost hope at that point.

 
Old 10-18-2010, 11:18 AM   #7
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Re: pancreatic cancer what to expect

thank you for your reply I will check these sites.

 
Old 10-18-2010, 11:27 AM   #8
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Re: pancreatic cancer what to expect

Why not see the doctor by yourself? Or have him call you where you can take the call out of earshot of your ex?

 
Old 10-19-2010, 03:54 AM   #9
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Re: pancreatic cancer what to expect

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Originally Posted by Titchou View Post
Why not see the doctor by yourself? Or have him call you where you can take the call out of earshot of your ex?

 
Old 10-19-2010, 03:57 AM   #10
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Re: pancreatic cancer what to expect

unfortunately due to the privacy laws, they will not talk with me without his consent since I am no longer married to him and he does not live in my household . I have a list of questions i plan to give to his nurse on Monday and hopefully he will address them either together or to me privately since I will be driving him to the doctor that day.

 
Old 10-24-2010, 06:47 PM   #11
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Re: pancreatic cancer what to expect

I'm sorry. I thought since you were taking him to the doctor you would be in the room to talk with them at some point or had POA.

 
Old 11-17-2010, 07:22 AM   #12
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Re: pancreatic cancer what to expect

he is in nursing care now full. He has a living will and the Dr's have now said there is nothing more they can do. He sleeps most of the day now, only waking for small amounts of time. Sometimes he is confused, other times he can recognize us. His voice is weak and he is in pain. THey have removed all meds except what will make him comfortable. He only takes a few bites of his food and drinks very little liquid. His has reached his 8 month diagnosis point. The Dr. has told us that is will probably be within 2 week, perhaps less.

 
Old 11-17-2010, 11:20 AM   #13
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Re: pancreatic cancer what to expect

I did but dr. just said at last visit that he thought it would be beneficial to continue chemo (for pain managment, etc) but he soon developed a blockage in the small intestine and after placing another stent to relieve the blockage, he spiraled down so fast. he went from watching a ballgame on Sat. afternoon to the way he is now on Monday and Tuesday, So fast

 
Old 11-17-2010, 11:42 AM   #14
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Re: pancreatic cancer what to expect

we called in hospice for pain controll n they r great my mom is going through liver failure from cancer. we have had a long road. she is yellow, confused, shakes real bad from the toxins in her body from the liver not functioning properly. u r in my prays

 
Old 11-24-2010, 07:03 AM   #15
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Re: pancreatic cancer what to expect

My brother who is also my best friend was dx with pancreatic cancer in August. It had already spread to his liver and he was in a stage 4. Dr. said chemo might give him a little longer but with all problems from his bile duct being infected it was not possible...he only had chemo 1 session. He's had about 3 surgeries involving putting stents in his liver. He got weaker as time went by. At present he's with hospice. He's not eating much at all. He says it hurts to eat and swallow. I see how difficult it is for him just to take a sip of water now. He went from stages of wanting everyone around him to wanting to be just left alone. At one time he told the family that the dr. said he couldn't see anyone for 3 weeks. We suspected it wasn't true and maybe one of his I want to be alone moods. Three days later he called the family and said he needed company. He's lost a lot of weight..you see the ribs..I think he's lost like 70 pounds already. It's a horrible disease...3 months ago I was out and about with my bro and living life. I'm posting this because I've gotten comfort knowing what to expect from others..I hope this helps.
Things I've noticed that helped were those little sponges on the sticks..kind of like popsicles helped get him some water and keep his mouth moist, baby food helped besides ensure drinks. If he wants to be alone I respect his wishes. I really dont' think I'd want people all around me, staring at me, waiting for me to die. Yes, when the end comes I would want everyone I loved around me, but not until then. A lot of people will just want to come and visit just to see what's going on and see how he looks and what he's going through...we are all curious I guess, but sometimes I feel its cruel. I'm giving him his space just as I'm sure he would have given me. by the way, I'm his sister..bet you all thought reading this, that we were both males. I stated I was posting this because I wanted others to know what to expect....well I also wanted others to know what I was going through also. Thanks for reading this.
Love you bro....your sis.

 
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