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Thread: Dad has Stage IV stomach cancer - up and down health

  1. #1
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    Dad has Stage IV stomach cancer - up and down health

    My Dad was diagnosed in early 2013 with Stage IV stomach cancer located up near the esophagus, which had spread to lymph nodes outside the stomach and also to lungs. He did palliative chemo treatment, but radiation was not an option. He is 83 years old, and has COPD.

    I've been staying with him now for almost 3 months because his health started to decline in the fall of 2014 after being really stable once chemo was done. He recently was hospitalized and none of us thought he'd be out of hospital again as he was in a really bad way -- unable to eat anything substantial, vomiting large amounts of mucous, not drinking very much either. He was put on a low rate of IV in order not to over-hydrate him, esp with the COPD, and it was amazing the turnaround after only 5 days. He's a much thinner version of himself, but he's back. He still needs someone to stay with him as very weak but Palliative Care will discharge him from hospital sometime this coming week.

    My question is this: In any reading I've done, dehydration seems to be very common in cancer. Is this hospitalization going to be the first of many?? He has lost at least 20 pounds in the last 4 months. Seeing him in hospital now I wonder how long he will be able to maintain how he is now -- he's been off IV now for 2 days and I notice that he is not drinking very much. While on IV he was also on a full fluid diet due to the swallowing issues, but now he is on a minced diet but no IV.

    So is this the first of many dehydration episodes? Anyone been through this who can shed some light on what to expect? I am also living here, apart from my husband, and I wonder how long I will be here ... how long can I expect my dad to live now that we're having these issues?

    Any other advice or help you can give? Most research online seems to deal with removal of stomach or part of it, or the very end of life and what to expect. I need to know what to expect between now and then, and whether I have weeks or months. I hope to be able to meet with the Palliative team alone before they discharge him to ask these questions. As I am caring for him, I need to know what to expect.

    Thanks -- this is a great site.

  2. #2
    Hi lori

    im sorry you are here but its a great place to ask questions.


    dehydration is an issue i/we are fighting too. Hes back in the hospital right now partly becasue of it. I watch his skin... turgor. You pinch up a bit of skin on the back of the hand and watch how fast it springs back to place. If it stays up and doesn't not spring back means a pretty good case of dehydration.

    He tried to get down as much Gatorade as he can.
    I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

    Only I will remain.

  3. #3
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    Thanks. My Dad is doing well still, eating better than he was for sure, but having difficulty with some foods. He's holding his own so well at the moment that I am thinking I can go home for at least a couple weeks as my sister and brother live here and can check on him daily .... I'm nervous about doing that as I don't know what to expect re: this improvement. I know the cancer is still there, still growing, so I don't know if he will very gradually get worse again or if it will be a quick decline when it starts?? Has anyone had experience with this? If he hadn't gone in for IV hydration, he'd be gone by now I'm 100% sure of it.

  4. #4
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    Update: My Dad is now having more pain, still trying to eat but his color doesn't look as good. He has also started to have night sweats -- not drenching ones, but wakes up damp all over. As well, he has started having to get up in the night to pee at least twice, whereas he never had to do that before. He also has diarrhea quite often. The palliative nurse comes tomorrow so shall ask about these symptoms. Did anyone else have experience with these symptoms with advanced stomach or esophageal cancer?

  5. #5
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    Visiting nurse mentioned that Dad's heart rate is increasing each week. Some of his tumors are on the left side of the chest, and have collapsed the bottom lobe of the left lung, so I wonder if they are also compromising heart function??? Has anyone else had this happen with their tumors?

  6. #6
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    No one has had experience with night sweats etc??

 

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