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Old 11-03-2008, 03:53 AM   #1
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Question Is is Normal to have pain from Chemo - husband has rectal caner

This is my first time posting. My husband was diagnosed with rectal cancer March 2008, he turned 60 in June. It has spread to his lungs, liver and had started in the bones of the pelvic region. At the time the doctors said radiation first for 6 weeks with as he termed it "chemo lite". Then they put him on the industrial strength chemo, he gets 3-4 kinds at the doctors office and then they send him home with the pump. He just completed his 6th treatment, he has to have a total of 12. When he took time off between radiation & chemo his CEA jumped to 57, since doing chemo, it has come back down to about 23. He is in a lot of pain and for some reason they can't get that under control. He is on MS Contin every 8 hours and Dilaudid for break through pain every 3-4 hours.

The doctor said the pain isn't from the chemo as my husband believes it is, and the doctor has hinted that it could be in his mind. I beleive the pain is real, seeing him lay on the couch or the bed moaning and holding himself, gets to me.

Can he really be having all that pain or is the doctor correct? They want to wait on doing any kind of surgery being it is so low, the doctor can feel it when he does an exam. They say quality of life is important, but when you are in that much pain - what kind of life is that.

Is what my husband is going through normal so to speak?

 
Old 11-03-2008, 01:09 PM   #2
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Re: Is is Normal to have pain from Chemo - husband has rectal caner

Hi Jes,
Sorry to hear about your husbands situation. I believe the doctor is telling the truth as he sees it. I am an 11 yr survivor of stage 3 colon ca,it was into 6 lymph nodes. I lost most of my descending colon and had 48 sessions of 5FU and levamisole. I had quite a deal of pain prior to surgery but very little afterwards. Some of the other chemo patients were actually having chemo as part of palliative care to reduce pain levels so I honestly don't think that the chemo would be causing the pain...making him feel sick,altering taste,causing mouth ulcers perhaps but not pain.
I have spoken to a lot of cancer survivors over the years many of whoom were prostate sufferers . Prostate commonly metastacises to bone and they told me at times the pain from the bone mets was unbearable. If I were to guess I would guess that his pelvic mets are the source of his pain. I think he needs to see about a pain management regime perhaps in hospice. My thoughts are with you both,Ron.

 
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Old 11-07-2008, 12:37 AM   #3
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Re: Is is Normal to have pain from Chemo - husband has rectal caner

I would agree with Ron here. Once cancer invades bone tissue or marrow, most likely that is the source of his pain. My only advice here would be to see if he could have a pain pump of Dilaudid. That would be constant flow of drugs to help him with a bolus available of an extra dose when the pain becomes too much. If they can go in and place a port cath. for this, it could help ease his discomfort. Your doctor does not have to believe him in order for you to force your wishes on treatment. Personally, if my doctor were hinting around to that I was making it up, and refusing to help me, I would seek other help.

 
Old 11-07-2008, 03:47 AM   #4
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Re: Is is Normal to have pain from Chemo - husband has rectal caner

My husband tells me the pain is not in the pelvic region, which is the area that showed signs of the cancer. The doctor has stopped his chemo until Dec. 3rd to give him a break, his CEA has gone down to 11 in one month and he wants to do another PET scan in December (he just had one in Sept.) It appears that the Avastin was causing him to have nose bleeds and other bleeding, so that also stopped that for a couple of treatments. We will see how he feels with time off from all his treatments.

Thank you for the info.

 
Old 11-26-2008, 07:50 PM   #5
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Re: Is is Normal to have pain from Chemo - husband has rectal caner

Since my post, I met with the doctor by myself and he acknowledged the pain is real. He ordered another CT scan & PET scan and then a bone scan (first one). The doctor said his CEA went down to half of what it was, but he said we can't rely on the CEA tests completely. We got a call today, evidently the doctor got the scan results and wants him to start back on radiation. We go see him on Wednesday 12/3 to find out what changed to prompt this. We feel that maybe another tumor is there or it has spread more in the bone. The doctor also gave him a script for a pain patch, we hope that can provide some relief.

I will keep you updated.

Last edited by jespsl; 11-26-2008 at 07:52 PM.

 
Old 12-05-2008, 04:10 AM   #6
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Re: Is is Normal to have pain from Chemo - husband has rectal caner

UPDATE: The CT & PET scan came back the same, but the bone scan showed that the cancer is in the bone, actually in his tailbone which is the reason for the pain. They want to do radiation on it to see if it will help. It depends on how close it is to his prveious radition treatment. As I understand you can't go over an area that has already had radiation as it will turn to mush so to speak. I hope that is not the case. Also, his hemoglobin was down real low and they had to do a blood transfusion (2 pints). That took from 9:30am until 6pm when he left the hospital. I hope he doesn't have to go through that again.

Last edited by jespsl; 12-05-2008 at 04:11 AM.

 
Old 12-05-2008, 02:29 PM   #7
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Re: Is is Normal to have pain from Chemo - husband has rectal caner

I am sorry to hear this news for you. I hope that a full recovery occurs and you and your loved one can spend the holidays in peace. Best wishes~

 
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