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Cancer: Pancreatic & Liver Message Board
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Old 04-21-2011, 11:01 AM   #1
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Final Stages Questions ----You all are the best!!

I want to start out by saying that you all are the best! I have not registered before now, but I have been reading for almost a year, and I am so impressed by your strength, encouragement, and knowledge. You all have brought me comfort and knowledge in a really tough time. You all have made me feel as if there was a support system when I did not always feel that at home. I and I want to say thank you to all of you theat read and post on this messgae board!!

With that being said, I am reaching out because I am confused what constitues final stages and where do we go from here. As I have read many, many posts all seem a little different from my experience or maybe I have missed one that is similar.

I am 34 my mother is 64. I am her primary caregiver, and to cut a very long story a little bit shorter, she was diagnosed 3 years ago, had a whipple, was doing well, then had a matasis in her liver. She underwent chemo (abraxane and irnotecan) and that almost killed her with no reaction in the tumors. She went to Cancer treatment Centers of America and recieved and intraheptic treatment and was doing great! But after 6 mos she had to stop and started another chemo agent just irinotecan. Under this drug it spread to her lungs. She switched doctors, and started taking xeloda. She starteddto respond in that her tumor marks showed a leveling in activity. The doctor than up the dose in a final ditch effort to kill the chemo and I guess to see how much she could take.

With all this being said her counts dropped significantly and she developed moth sores. She hasnt eaten in a month and has been in the hospital for 2 weeks. Her mouth is slightly better. They have her on nutrition, antibiotics, and fluids. Well...yesterday she developed an infection a mild fever and has been transferred to icu. She is showing signs of heart problems, started taking insulin, antibiotics, albumien because of the accities being drained, aintibiotics, nutrition, and fluid.

I guess I want what everyone else wants on here an answer. I know this is not good by any means. But is this something she will recover from and we will leave the hospital, is this something she will be in the hospital for months with, are we approaching the final days, weeks months?

When should I call family without her feeling like I am giving up on her fighting spirit?

Thank you all so much again. My thoughts are with each and everyone of you.

 
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:27 PM   #2
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Mel52 HB UserMel52 HB UserMel52 HB UserMel52 HB UserMel52 HB UserMel52 HB UserMel52 HB UserMel52 HB UserMel52 HB User
Re: Final Stages Questions ----You all are the best!!

Hi I am sorry you are all going through the wringer. If I understand correctly, the cancer is everywhere. It doesn't sound good. If it weren't for the sores would she be eating? When the body is shutting down, they don't seem to want to eat anymore just sleep.
What does the doctor say? Have they done a scan lately to see where the cancer is? Does she seem confused? Sometimes the bile build-up causes confusion but if the cancer has gone into the brain it can do that too.
I would think the dr would be upfront to tell you what is actually the reality. Are they just making her comfortable and prolonging her time? When the cancer has spread it is stage 4 and it doesn't sound like she is going to recover from this. I am absolutely not educated about this, just have gone through it with my very best friend. Her daughter-in-law was a critical care nurse, and taught me alot, plus another friend of mine's husband is a GI dr. I read what I could, asked questions and talked often to my friend's dr when she was in the hospital. What does your mom want and what does she believe? Sometimes they will tell you they want to go and just need your permission. Ask her if she wants you to call family members. But first find out what the doctor thinks and look at her chart. Hope sometimes is something they hang on to. You aren't giving up, you are honoring what she wants and what the reality may be. Has anyone mentioned hopsice? My girlfriend didn't go in the hospital the last time because she knew they would pump her with drugs, stick in fluids and prolong everything. She knew she was at the end and had us call hospice. It was something she wanted. She had 1 more chemo treatment before they came, I guess that last bit of hope and while we secretly wondered why bother, her last reach for hope was respected. She stopped eating, slept, and communicating except for a word now and then. The last few days she slept and when her breathing changed her daughter-in-law called me and told me it was time. I am grateful I made it there in time to say goodbye.
Please let me know what the dr says. lots of hugs...

 
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:05 AM   #3
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wdotson HB User
Re: Final Stages Questions ----You all are the best!!

THank you so much for your reply. I am just trying to figure this all out. I do feel at this point it is a balancing act. I went up there yesterday. She was moved out of ICU because they managed to get her infection under control. But she had a slight drop in oxygen level, so she is on oxygen. A new thing is that she is also taking insulin.

She has been in stage IV for almost a year to a year and a half. The cancer is at least in her lungs and liver. I think if it werent for the sores she would be eating. She is sleeping more, but she is also taking dimerol. I have not talked to the doctor recently one on one.She has not had scans done in couple months, and she has been off chemo for about 2 weeks now. She does seem maybe a little confused but I can't tell if it is significant. The have not mentioned hospice yet.


I just want to thank you again for your help!!!

 
Old 04-22-2011, 10:38 PM   #4
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Re: Final Stages Questions ----You all are the best!!

Hi, she may be sleeping more too because of infection. She does sound like a fighter. My friend was also diagnosed diabetic and that was one of the first suspicions along with rib pain that something was going on.
I know it is hard to catch the doctors as they seem to make their rounds very early or very late. Is it possible to call the dr to find out what is the current situation?
I hope you find answers soon. If I truly could help I would make her and anyone fighting this horrible cancer well.

 
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