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Thread: New Cancer

  1. #1
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    New Cancer

    Hi. This is my first post and also the day I received my pancreatic cancer diagnosis. I was in the hospital for shortness of breath, and after tests a biopsy was done. So I’m she’ll shocked even though I knew this was a possibility. In the next ten days I am supposed to get “healthy” and strong so I can tolerate the most aggressive chemo. However I have no idea how to do this. The doctor said to rest and eat well. Duh, not helpful. I desperately want a ball park of how much time I have. The cancer has metastasized to the liver and so... well and so. Any helpful tips on staying sane or what to try or skip would be so much appreciated. I’m busy comforting those around me. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around???

  2. #2
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    Nicfor,
    Sorry about your diagnosis, yes, I would be shell shocked too! Probably all's you can do to prepare for chemo is what doctor suggested, rest and try to eat healthy though getting any cancer diagnosis isn't conductive to getting much rest and you probably don't feel like eating much right now. It happens, where we comfort those around us initially, but they will come around and hopefully be a great support to you.
    My best wishes to you.
    Linda

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Top User ddessert's Avatar
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    #1: The first round of chemo is often the worst. You have no idea what it’s going to do to you nor how to overcome it. You’ll learn quickly and it often gets a bit easier.

    #2: Any stats on how long you have are usually median numbers. 1/2 live less and 1/2 live longer, sometimes much longer. Which side you’re on is determined by things like age, health going in, initial treatment effectiveness.

    #3: Consider anti-anxiety treatments. Especially if you’re having trouble sleeping at night.

    #4: You may find that people who contact you are more worried about themselves than you. They want to know that they’re okay. These will be among the first you jettison if you lose stamina and have to cut out friends.
    BRCA2 3398del5
    Dec 2010 - back/abd pain
    May 2011 - Unresectable stage III, 2.5cm tumor
    Jun-Aug 2011 - Gem/Cis, 9 rounds
    Oct-Nov 2011 - IMRT+Xeloda
    Oct 2011-Sep 2012 - shrinking tumor
    Feb 2012 - National Familial Pancreatic Study
    Aug 2012 - Downgraded to stage IIA, PGP
    Sep 2012 - Whipple, T3N0M0, 0.5cm tumor, 0/16 lymph nodes
    Dec 2012 - Quebec PanCan Study
    Sep 2012-May 2019 - NED
    Mar 2013-present - NCT01088789
    Jun 2019- NCT03805919
    @pancanology

  4. #4
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    My father doctor, tried to modified the doses for the first time chemo, so my father can handle the 1st chemo, of course its not easy for the 1st time, so I hope you can get it through.

    Doctor usually will give you anti nausea medicine before and after treatment, this really help my father when he was in the treatment.

  5. #5
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    I saw alot of cancer survivors, most of them have the most positive mindset compare to their caregiver or family, the survivors always put the disease as the 2nd problem in life, they dont really stress about it, they always encourage themselves that they can hang on with their families as long as they want, most of them will use their time to encourage friends, family, that he/she will be alright, create the best moment with them, eat healthy, enjoy your life, and the most important thing is, always prepare backup plan for your treatment, ask your doctor to help you looking for clinical trial.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicfor View Post
    Hi. This is my first post and also the day I received my pancreatic cancer diagnosis. I was in the hospital for shortness of breath, and after tests a biopsy was done. So I’m she’ll shocked even though I knew this was a possibility. In the next ten days I am supposed to get “healthy” and strong so I can tolerate the most aggressive chemo. However I have no idea how to do this. The doctor said to rest and eat well. Duh, not helpful. I desperately want a ball park of how much time I have. The cancer has metastasized to the liver and so... well and so. Any helpful tips on staying sane or what to try or skip would be so much appreciated. I’m busy comforting those around me. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around???
    I'm in the same boat. My diagnosis was last April. I've never been given a prognosis, even after seeing three different oncologists. The only plan I seem to have in front of me is to do chemo and then wait and see.

    It is hell on the mind. Chemo sucks, there's no getting around that.

    The other replies here are excellent. There are a lot of great folks here with good advice.

    I would suggest that you focus on your mental state as best you can. Try to stay positive. Seek treatment if you feel that depression or anxiety is getting to you. I did, and I got on some meds to help.

    As for preparing for chemo, that's a tough one. Get as much rest as you can. Don't eat a lot of heavy stuff the day before.

    Stay in contact with your friends and family that you feel are helpful and supportive. Let them know that their thoughts and contact is beneficial to you. I have found that it helps me a lot.

    Everyone responds a little differently to chemo. You'll have to see how it goes for you and perhaps do some trial and error in figuring out what foods and drugs work best to help with your symptoms. Try to stay hydrated. It's very important. Keep the food coming, even if you're not feeling hungry. Food is energy. Early on, I found that stuff like applesauce, pudding, jello, etc helped me when I didn't feel like eating but I knew I needed calories.

    Keep a positive attitude. After I was diagnosed, I really felt like the end was near for me. I felt hopeless. Now, nearly 5 months later, I do my chemo every two weeks and then have a few slow, down days. And then that's followed, usually, by more than a week of feeling almost normal again. I work full time, I do yardwork, I exercise, I have hobbies, I do things with my kids, we have family activities, etc.

    You can get better. Just keep your head in the game and focus on fighting it!

    Probably none of this seems very helpful to you right now. You're headed into unknown territory. Just know that you're not alone in this fight. Folks here are friendly and helpful. Let us know how it's going and if you need support.
    Apr. '19 - Diagnosed Stage IV with many liver mets, CA 19-9 500,000
    May. '19 - Started chemo - FOLFIRINOX
    Jul. '19 - CA 19-9 100,000
    Aug. '19 - CA 19-9 77,000 CT scan shows shrinkage in tumors
    Sep. '19 - CA 19-9 52,000 after 9 rounds of FOLIFRINOX, switched to FOLFIRI due to neuropathy
    Oct. 1, '19 - CA 19-9 44,000
    Oct. 28, '19 - CA 19-9 26,000 (cont. w/ chemo...)
    Houston,TX

  7. #7
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    Hang in there, I got Diagnosed at the end of July so I am not quite two months in, Chemotherapy stinks but I am able to still work full time and have some quality of life. Don't lose hope, some people go for a few years even with stage IV and some see enough change with Chemo that they eventually get a chance at Surgery. I was lucky that they found mine while it was still local, but I have some blood Vessels that are making it risky so they are hoping to shrink the tumor and get to the point were I could do Surgery. I remember my first few days after I was diagnosed and it was rough, but eventually I found I could keep a positive attitude and somehow just take every day at a time.

  8. #8
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    I received my pancake stage 4 diagnosis 2 1/2 years ago and I felt just like you do. But I did all the chemistry and I believe it has kept me alive. Most of the patients I saw during my chemo sessions tolerated the side effects fairly well, some did not. As for getting a timeline from your doctor or is very difficult to predict. Take it or day at a time and bless you.

  9. #9
    In the early days I never asked doctors how much time I had. After I had a recurrence, I (carelessly, I feel now), asked the doctor the question. Later, when I told a PanCan advocate and great mentor about this, he suggested, "Don't ask them. Ask yourself, how much time do YOU want to have?" A positive attitude is everything. Sometimes it's an effort, but I have mostly maintained this attitude. It's been three and a half years since I was diagnosed with Stage IV.
    February 2016- diagnosed with PC
    March 2016- inoperable due to arteries, also liver mets suspected
    March 2016-January 2017 -Gemzar/Abraxane
    February 2017 surgery-PC tumour and liver mets removed at same time
    July 2018 Back on Gemzar/Abraxane due to rising CA 19-9. Scans were clear.
    January 2019 Tried FOLFIRINOX after G/A became ineffective. FFX doesn't work. CA 19-9 rising
    February 2019 two small tumors appear on liver
    May 2019 - CA 19-9 skyrocketing. Started IMRT radiation treatment.
    August 2019 MRI done. No Evidence of Disease (NED). CA 19-9 dropped significantly. Still not normal range.

  10. #10
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    I was diagnosed with Stage IV on June 11th of this year. I'm going through Folfirinox.

    The first month was very rough. You are overwhelmed. Your life has forever changed. You view it differently. Anxiety is rampant. Pondering mortality is renewed. I had the help of some meds (Celexa, Xanax), but it's a process I think everyone goes through in coming to terms with their diagnosis in some way, shape, or form -- with or without the help of drugs. Know that now, some 3 months later, my mental state is much improved. As others have noted: POSITIVITY rules. I refuse to curl up into a ball and throw in the towel. So I stay positive and live every day the best I can.

    As far as chemo: in my experience, the first cycle was the worst (based on the date of your post, you're probably already learning that). I've also commonly read that it does get easier for many -- it did for me. I'm in the middle of cycle 7 of Folfirinox. The first 5 cycles yielded a 50% decrease in my primary tumor, and shrunk my liver mets as well. Depending on your age, overall health, etc., tolerating the regimen may be more or less difficult. Common side effects are obviously nausea (I've vomited once, first cycle), fatigue, and peripheral neuropathy.

    Try to stay positive -- I wish you the best!
    -----------------------
    Brad
    Central Massachusetts

    April - June, 2019: mild to moderate abdominal and back discomfort -- wouldn't describe as pain
    June, 2019: Diagnosed stage IV, 4cm pancreatic body tumor, 1 suspected met to liver
    June, 2019 - Present: Folfirinox

 

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