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What else can I do?

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Old 03-20-2011, 01:27 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Budd Lake, NJ, United States
Posts: 1
Maghasology HB User
Exclamation What else can I do?

Hi everyone,
I need some help. I just don't know what else to do for my mother and was wondering if anyone else had an experience similar to my own.
My mother is 55 years old diagnosed with Type I Diabetes at age 11. The diabetes has always been temperamental but it was under control. The week before Christmas 2010, after being sick with "anemia" for over a year, she was finally diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer (it had spread to her liver). The tumors were too large to operate on. She is currently undergoing Chemo treatments (46 hour pump every two weeks). Between the medications, the dextrose they have to give with the steroids and everything else, her diabetes has gone completely haywire.
It got really bad about three weeks ago (today is 3/20/2011). She had diarrhea for 3 or 4 days, was nauseous and couldn't eat more than a piece of toast with jelly at any one time. She was suppose to get a Chemo treatment that Monday but couldn't and by the time we saw the doctor on Wednesday she has lost 13 pounds in about a week. The Friday when she was in to get the pump disconnected she got sick twice and had to be given IV glucose and saline. She is extremely weak and still has the diarrhea and nausea on and off.
A few times in the past couple weeks I have had to call the paramedics at 3 or 4 in the morning because she has bottomed out (BS of 18) and will not take food or drink from me which has never been the case before. The neuropathy is extremely bad, she can't keep her body temperature up and reports having her vision black out for minutes at a time (which for a woman who only has 20/200 vision in one eye and the other being glass is not a good thing).
Please, anyone, if you have any idea or suggestion, or know of a specialist that might be able to help, please do not hesitate to leave a message. I feel like I have tried everything I can think of and nothing is helping her. I am a 25 year old graduate student who is at the end of her wits because I can't help the woman who has always helped me. At this point I am open to any suggestion.

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Old 03-21-2011, 08:00 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 194
Re: What else can I do?

Is your mother under the care of a diabetic endocrinologist? It is important that a diabetic specialist review with her oncologist the treatment plan and suggest modifications that could be helpful toward stabilizing extreme diabetic fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Did she have preexisting neuropathy prior to treatment? If she is on Folfox there are several options to discuss with her MD. 1) decrease the amount of Oxaliplatin in the infusion; 2) slow down the infusion rate so that the chemo enters the body at a slower pace; 3) consider discontinuing the Oxaliplatin and continuing with 5FU alone or Xeloda (the tablet form of 5FU). After all it is the 5FU that does the bulk of the chemo treatment, the Oxaliplatin only adds about 6- 8% to treatment effectiveness and adds most of the bad side effects; 4) switching to Folfiri - some people have fewer side effects and no neuropathy with this treatment, however diarrhea can be a big problem.

Good Luck,

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