My 52 year old husband was diagnosed with inoperable stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer on Sept 25th 2010. He started chemo (Gemcitabine) at the end of November and has completed his first 7 week cycle. Tomorrow he has a C-T scan to see if the chemo has been helpful. We know that the treatment is considered strictly palliative and to help delay the onset of further symptoms and hopefully delay pain. The first few weeks of chemo were not too bad but the last few have been awful. He is so weak for two to three days after. He can hardly stay awake long enough to have his meals.
The scale is saying he has not lost any weight but his arms and legs are thinner and his tummy is quite distended and bloated. Not a look this former athlete is pleased with.
I just need to know a few things.
Has anyone found a really good solution to the bloating? I don't want to restrict his diet too much. (quite frankly if I were in his position I wouldn't want anyone telling me I couldn't have a piece of chocolate).
Does anyone else feel like chemo is almost as bad as the disease?
How big a threat are these blood clots? (yes he is on blood thinners)
Thank you to anyone with thoughts and insights.
I only found this wonderful man a few short years ago and we haven't even been married a full year. I am so angry at not just the diagnosis but the chemo for making him feel so sick for half the week.
Hi Rasta. I am very sorry about your husband's advanced Pancreatic Cancer. I cannot reply directly to Pancreatic Cancer since I do not have that type of cancer. I can only speak as another cancer patient. My chemotherapy was terrible too. I took is for 13 months. That was the worse year of my life! The following year, I turned 40. My friends made the normal "over the hill" type comments. I told them that I had no issue with being 40 but I felt someone owed me an extra year . But in hindsight, 1 year was a good investment since that was 18 years ago. I know the odds for your husband are not good so I cannot tell you the "investment" will be a good one for him. Unfortunately, Pancreatic Cancer has a devastating impact on a person's quality of life.
I do not what him on a diet! He needs all the energy he can get just to fight this thing. Talk with his doctor and staff (hopefully a nutritionist) and ask them what they suggest.
Good luck, Rasta. You and your husband are in my thoughts and prayers.
Hey Rasts. My Dad was diagnosed in early December with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. He is on the newer drug called Folfirinox. I believe it just came out in Fall of 2010 but had been studied for years. It's a combination chemotherapy. Dad is on his second round today. No major side effects from the first one. Is the bloating from ascites? My Dad has his abdominal fluid drained when it is unbearable. At the hospital, when he was diagnosed, they fully drained the fluid....11 liters of it! I can't imagine how uncomfortable that would be. It had filled up again, but now he gets it drained right in the doctor's office but only a couple of liters. Enough to get his appetite back. The doctors told my Dad to NOT restrict his diet. I had read a lot of material on what to eat and what not to eat when you have cancer. But the docs told him to eat ANYTHING that tastes good to him.
Thanks mbs and brainman for your responses. The first five weeks of chemo were pretty much event free. The last two weeks were terrible. He was slammed with every side effect possible for three full days. He had a C-T scan yesterday and this will tell us whether the chemo has had its desired effect but I must say he is hesitating to continue because of how it is affecting his quality of life. His tumor markers have more than doubled during the chemo treatment.
I haven't and will not restrict his diet. I agree with mbs's Father's doctor and encourage my husband to eat anything that feels good. Each day is different.
mbs - I am so sorry to hear about your father. This is a terrible disease.
Keep me posted and maybe we can share more insights in the next while.
I was diagnosed with stage 4b cancer in September 2010. My cancer is in the liver and bowel.
I have now had 10rounds of Chemo. Different drugs I suspect but has the same effect. I started off well with little side effect but now I to get hit by all of them for the first 5 days after treatment. Not a great feeling but happy to put up with it as i have had some poitive results. if you are interested to read more on my path from the beginning to now I have a blog site and the link is http://cancerbutpositive.blogspot.com/
Hope this helps
So sorry to hear about your diagnosis David B. (hey, I have been to your beautiful country and I am also sorry to hear of the devastating floods your countrymen are facing). It sounds like you have an amazing positive outlook and I can just imagine the 'mind over matter' effort it took to climb the rock wall. I have witnessed the weakness and exhaustion in my husband and I know how difficult everyday efforts can be.
When I say he was slammed with all side effects I truly mean slammed. He was so weak he could barely walk and I could not leave him alone for fear he would fall. Truly the C-T scan will tell more but due to a large volume of scans his has not been read yet. My doc put in a call to the lab and managed to have his film pullled and put on top of the pile, so I am hoping to hear something today.
He had a break from the chemo this week and instead of feeling better his appetite is still low, his energy level is low and his feet and legs are starting to swell. The most he can manage in a day is a short stroll to the beach, where he can dip his feet into the ocean and "feel the pull of the tide". So next time we walk to the beach I will face westward and wish you, David, a continued success.
I will keep an eye on your blog for future updates.
I cringe when I hear about CHEMO. The Oncos make lots of money just ordering poison cocktails. I am so glad my husband stayed strong and refused chemo when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 PC. So glad we did not fall into the "buy him some time" scam. My husband used intervenous vitamin C and within 2 months the lung, liver Mets was cured and not returned in the last few years. It was a relief to no longer be in stage 4. His PC tumor was still there but finally became inactive and can live a normal life other than the routine monitoring every 6 months. we are looking into cyberknife to ablate the remainder of the tumor once and for all.
My Prayers go out to all the other patients diagnosed with this horrible disease
Yes I live in a great country, Australia, but we do get some crazy weather conditions!
I too love the beach and the ocean and find it very relaxing to sit on the beach and watch my 3 year old boy run play and splash. The small things like this keep me going everyday. Please let your Husband know he is not alone and I will be thinking of you and hope all goes well.
We finally got the results of my husbands C-T scan. The two large tumors have shrunk a bit but there are more tumors on his liver. He decided to give Chemo one more shot but again he was slammed for four days. He has decided to stop the chemo and enjoy the time he has left. He wants to ski one more time with all his friends in Lake Louise. A week ago I would have worried about the cost of the trip but I checked my lottery tickets and won a few thousand dollars. Every penny will go towards his bucket list.
Lots of memories to be made yet!!!
I also got a call from my sister last week and found out that my 82 year old Mom has bone cancer. I felt like I had been slammed up against a wall. She is so amazing. When I called her she said. "I am 82 years old and I have lots of daughters here to take care of me. You stay where you are and look after your man, I will be fine".
Talk about a roller coaster week.
My husband was diagnosed with pancreatic CA last 11/224/10. It was spreading to his liver, spleen, spot on his lungs and leaking to his right leg. In short, the doctor told us it is incurable. He survived 4 chemo treatments and is due for tests this week. The effects of chemo are worst than the cancer itself. He has trouble eating and even drinking water. I gave him gatorade which he drinks in small amount. I spent long hours on the internet googling for food recipes. Here are some of the foods that he eats really good.
1) Grits and eggs
2) White rice with hamburger patty, tomato stew and cream of mushroom for gravy
3) Breaded cat fish fillet coated with eggs and deep fried along with red potato and baby carrots mashed with fork and lots of butter
4) Yellow squash or zucchini with lots of butter
5) Yellow rice with chicken make it creamy by adding little milk or cream soup
He likes his plate warm, so I always warm it up for 20 seconds before putting the food on it. He eats on plastic spoon or fork to avoid the metallic effects of silverware as it touches the tongue or mouth. For pains on his legs, I exercise it every night, and apply an Omega Pain Killer an oriental ointment that can be purchased from oriental stores. Since I started doing that, he is not complaining of leg pain anymore. His biggest trouble is nausea, in fact with his condition, I am very thankful that he is not in so much pains.
And yet, we all know that pancreatic CA is one of the bad ones, but I am not giving up. I believe in miracles, and if literature says only 6% survival rate, my husband gonna be one of them. We can increase that statistics by fighting. If modern science and medical advancements give up on our loved ones, there are other alternative treatments we can use. The key words: NEVER GIVE UP in HOPING AGAINST HOPE!
Well, he is still going strong since stopping the chemo. He has lost a bit of weight, his appetite is slipping and he is taking more pain meds but we still have great days together. He sleeps more now too. I know he hides much of his discomfort from visitors so I cover for him when I can. It would be lovely if spring could come early so we could set up the patio furniture and sit in the sun.
We were married one year ago today and dispite the unexpected journey we are on I wouldn't trade this for anything. He is an amazing man who showed me the wonders British Columbia and continues to show me strength, love and laughter.
If your husband has a large tummy or his legs and feet look swollen, he may have ascites. It is a condition where fluid leaks into the abdominal cavity. My Dad suffered with it, and during and after his chemo, he would have the fluid drained approximately weekly. For my Dad, it was done at the hospital using ultrasound to guide the needle. The treatment didn't hurt, and Dad felt more confortable afterwards.
I wish you both many days where you can both sit in the sun and enjoy the Northern spring. My thoughts are with you at this time.
With warm Regards,
Mum diagnosed June 1993, surgery and chemo died August 1993 (Pancreatic Cancer)
Dad diagnosed July 2007, chemo only died January 2008 (Pancreatic Cancer)
A final update. My darling husband passed away on April 29th. He made it to our first anniversary in March and for that I am grateful. The disease did not debilitate him until the final week. In fact one week before he passed he was cooking dinner. The next day we sat on the patio and visited with family. In the end he only spent four nights in the hospital and passed away very quietly and peacefully. He was always so open about the disease and willing to talk. Because of this we had many, many evenings just holding hands and talking. Nothing was left unsaid. He took care of me right to the end.
Thank you to all who have shared their stories on this forum.
Rasta, I'm so sorry about your husband but I am glad he had some quality of life until nearly the end. It made me think about my best friend. She was diagnosed with stabe IV pancreatic three months ago. Best to you and your family.
Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!
First, so sorry for your loss and what you two have had to endure. I was glad to read the end was peaceful...it's the way it should be for all persons stricken with cancer. After reading your original post and the many replies, I have a better understanding what my wife, Lisa and I are in for. Lisa was dx'ed two weeks ago with inoperable stage IV, M1 PC...too say it was a heck of a shock is an understatement for sure. She's only 47 and doesn't fit any cancer profile to explain her situation. I tell our sons, 24 and 22 it's nature ran amok...because there is no rhyme or reason to it.