wow...I believe those things and that Teddy is ok with the new chapter of your life. People who love you want you to be happy...that includes your beloved Teddy.

2

(9 replies, posted in Members' Cafe)

I'm definitely gonna use it. Keep em coming

Porter, I totally agree with your questions and what you are feeling after resection and chemo. My husband has just finished chemo after his surgery and feels exactly the same way. He is emotionally lost without his weekly trips to City of Hope, searching for support and information about his new normal. When does taste come back? chemo brain leave? food? CT scans more often or rely on lab work when his labs were normal pre diagnosis. Odds of cc returning, etc....
Thanks for verbalizing what we have been scratching our heads over for the past few weeks.
Melinda

hey Duke...give yourself a wee bit more credit. As a former elementary school principal, I'd say that your humor was at least fifth grade!
Those dang mice must've found something comforting in that snow blower...enough to take up residence and return often, after a large meal no doubt.
Moral of the story is NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHOKE FLAPPER UNATTENDED.
And there you have it. Words to live by.
Thanks for the great story.
Melinda A

5

(9 replies, posted in Members' Cafe)

Laughter and lunch...what more could you ask for. I find that when I have few expectations, I am most often pleasantly surprised. Enjoy your time with your new found friend...no expectations. If he treats you like a queen and has a good heart, then I believe Teddy would want you to be happy.
Be well, laugh often, love freely.
Melinda

6

(9 replies, posted in Members' Cafe)

There are no coincidences in life, I believe. That, and the songs on the radio, are clearly signs from your beloved Teddy. How very special.  As one who believes in a higher power, I see evidence of Him in nature and in many things with which I come in contact each day....similarly, there is no doubt that Teddy is letting you know that he is with you, always watching over you, and guiding your day. Many may not believe this, and I wish to offend no one...just sharing my personal beliefs and excited that these signs are recognized by you.
Continued blessings, Lainy.
Melinda

7

(9 replies, posted in Members' Cafe)

That was beautiful Lainy. Thank you so much for sharing such an intimate part of your day and life. Sounds like you had a match made in heaven and I have no doubt that you will be reunited with your beloved Teddy.
God Bless,
Melinda A

Great news Lainy. You have every right to celebrate by dancing till the cows come home. You are such an inspiration to all of us on here and I couldn't be happier that you are cancer free. Here's to another 5.
Melinda A

9

(6 replies, posted in Introductions!)

Hi Michelle, Welcome to the site. You will find that the folks on here are incredibly supportive and have a wealth of information from their own experiences or from the experiences of a loved one. As Lainy said, do not get caught up in the stage that you have been given. Every one is different and you should not place yourself into any statistic based on that.
My advice to you is to research on this site and other reputable sites on the web. Keep as positive an attitude as you can...it's hugely important. Keep busy. Allow people to help you and pray for you if that is your belief. Be good to yourself. Some days will be easier than others. Don't get down on yourself if you don't feel like eating or doing much of anything. It's your life...
God Bless you Michelle. Please keep us posted.
Melinda A.

Serena, I don't think you insulted your doctors at all when talking about getting a second opinion. I think that is such a standard practice these days that doctors probably expect it. We did not opt for a second opinion because when we found out how many physicians were discussing John's case, and came to consensus that surgery was the course of action, we felt this was as if we had 46 second opinions. I think if you were to ask Dr. Selby if they have a Chinese speaking oncologist at USC, he could point you in the right direction. I know that there are some at COH, but am not sure about our specific doc. Most hospitals are so willing to go the extra mile for patients and their families...ask about family services, translation services (not over the phone) and how they can best meet your needs. I'm sure that there are many volunteers that you could get to know, some many speak Chinese. We have been at COH since April and are so impressed at how they do everything imaginable to help you in your difficult journey. Ask about it at USC, and about their tumor board. They have a wonderful program. I am sure that this will bring your mom more peace.
Melinda

Serena, I am not sure if Dr. Chung at City of Hope speaks Chinese or Mandarin. I'm sure that you could find out. My question to you is why you would have an outside oncologist (one from COH) when you are thrilled with your surgeon at USC? I heard great things about Dr. Selby as well and I know that they have wonderful oncologists on board.
At City of Hope, and probably at most cancer research hospitals, each patient's case is brought before a tumor board consisting, in part, of surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, etc. Each week, they discuss the best course of action amongst the 46 doctors on the board and that is the course of treatment that is followed. City of Hope was very fortunate to have Dr. Yuman Fong, from Sloan Kettering in NY, come to Duarte to be Chair of Surgery. He is internationally renowned and advised on my husband's case which is being handled by surgeon, Dr. Singh, who also is wonderful.
Since Dr. Selby is also held in high regard, and USC also brings cases before their tumor board, would you not want part of his team to be treating your mom, instead of splitting two facilities? I am new to all this and not sure what the benefit would be other than proximity of the hospital and comfort level with a oncologist who may speak your mom's primary language. I just know that I find great peace of mind knowing that if there is a question, our oncologist can pick up the phone or run downstairs to ask his colleagues what their thoughts are.

12

(14 replies, posted in General Discussion)

Hercules, you are such an inspiration and your advise is not falling on deaf ears. My husband is almost done with chemo, after a successful resection. My first thought was that of fear, knowing that the chemo safety net was being removed. You are so right...don't wait around wondering if the cancer will come back. I will look into taking those trips that we never made, visiting the kids, traveling to the ends of the world and back. Bless you for your work with people with cc. Congratulations on your 9 years. You should indeed be shouting from the mountain tops.
God Bless,
Melinda A

13

(5 replies, posted in General Discussion)

Hi Porter, my husband had a CT scan three months after resection and scan showed both a shadow and a spot. Oncologist said he'd be surprised if they were cancerous since John was on gem/cis. Saw the surgeon and he said that the shadow was fluid from the surgery and the spot was scar tissue from where he had removed a spot on his liver. The good advice we received from the Onc, was not to worry about it intil we saw the surgeon. He was in there and had detailed notes on what he saw during surgery....when he saw the CT scan, he knew exactly where it was and that it was scar tissue. I had myself all worked up for nothing.
Melinda A

Serena, Yes we are at City of Hope. Our surgeon was Dr. Gagandeep Singh and our oncologist is Dr. Chung. We love the hospital and the aggressive treatment that they provide while still being hopeful and individual. Found out yesterday that we will be done with chemo on November 5th instead of the 25 as we originally thought. It's been six months and my husband was starting to get pretty discouraged. This small change in end dates was enough to encourage him that the end of the side effects are hopefully nearby. CT scan in November and that will become our new baseline. So thankful that we only have three more infusions left.
Best of luck,
Melinda

thanks so much Gavin. I will indeed check out your links. Your vast knowledge and help, along with the other members,  bring such peace to all of us.
Melinda A

16

(28 replies, posted in General Discussion)

Mary Beth, Nothing really to add except that I am continuing to pray for Rob, you and the family. It is so difficult as a wife and caregiver to see her husband suffering or not at top speed. Being positive is so very important and your biggest job now, I imagine as it is for me. Rob and my husband John have similar backgrounds in that both had tumors discovered incidentally and had a successful resection shortly thereafter. Hoping and praying that the chemo knocks this thing on its behind.
Just wanted to send you my positive energy and thoughts.
Melinda A

I'm so sorry to hear about your sisters diagnosis. It was very scary to hear it as well. You have come to the right place. There are many threads on this site that can tell you about hospitals and procedures from many parts of the world. Make sure that you find a hospital that has extensive experience treating cc. I'm sure that Gavin will jump in as he is in your general vicinity. We are in So. California and are being treated by Dr. Singh at City of Hope. Dr. Fong, from Sloan Kettering just took over here as Chief of Surgery. He has a very good reputation as well.
The diagnosis is overwhelming, but read through many of the threads and do searches to find specific information. Others will join in to help as well.
Just keep looking and keep fighting.
God Bless your family.
Melinda A

Serena, Just saw that you are from Walnut. Did your mom  get treatment at City of Hope?

Love how we refer to each other as Melinda A and B. I have a niece named Melinda too and we call her Melinda B! Didn't know that there were that many of us around.
Thanks for your input. John has decided to stay the course and complete chemo. Hoping that his fog doesn't get too much worse by Thanksgiving and hope that whatever comes after chemo will be something that he can handle emotionally. You guys are right, what's the alternative? I've decided that we will just do a lot of day trips to keep his mind occupied and off of the side effects. Hopefully the 100 degree temperatures in So Cal will subside in a few weeks and we can get out and about a bit more.
Be well,
Melinda A

Hi Serena, glad to hear that your mom was a candidate for resection and that they got clear margins. This was the case for my husband as well who had his surgery in May. He decided to go ahead with the chemo for 6 months. He receives two drugs referred to as gem/cis. I'm not going to lie, FOR HIM, the chemo has been tough just recently...particularly with no appetite and chemo brain/fogginess. Last week, after 4 months, he was thinking of stopping the chemo, but decided that he has gone this far, he can handle the last 6 infusions. People on here will tell you that everyone responds differently and that is absolutely true. Some people have little or minor side effects. They will also say that there are no wrong decisions, it is very personal. That is also true. Only your mom and you can/should make the decision to go with the adjuvant chemo. That being said, there are meds for nausea and appetite. Marinol also helped him some.
Good luck with the decision. I know it is a difficult one. I didn't give you much additional info, other than what we decided and what we are dealing with. Whatever choice you make will be the right one for you. We decided to made a decision and not look back.
Best of luck to you both.
Melinda

Thanks Cathy, Julie and Duke...you're right about the roller coaster effect, perfectionists getting hit hard, and the ever present opportunity to attend the day's pity party. The caregivers get invited to these parties too I think. John does take appetite and nausea meds but Megace was not an option since he is on blood thinners. He started a new anti-depressant and I have seen some encouraging changes. Just gotta keep moving forward and as you said before, Julie, the alternative is far worse than a lapse of a word or concept.
Thanks all for taking the time to encourage and share your stories. Sometimes, it just gets a bit overwhelming. We'll get to Thanksgiving and we will be celebrating his last dose of gem/cis, I'm sure.
Be well,
Melinda A

Iowagirl, I had read some of your earlier posts when I was searching for a similar story as my husband's. Your response is exactly what I was looking for. I guess I was using the terms "chemo brain" and "fogginess" interchangeably and you do make the distinction. I think what my hubby finds most disconcerting is the fogginess, sad feelings, overwhelming emotions at times. Of course, word retrieval is problematic and worrisome to him, but not the same as the whole foggy feeling. If he sticks with the chemo, and has a similar recovery as you, then hopefully around Christmas he would feel like donning the red suit once again.
Thank you so much for your response. I know it is "your story" and not indicative of all chemo patients, but helpful to hear it.
So happy to hear that you are getting back to your normal perky self.  Best wished for additional recovery and beating the CC beast.
Melinda

Hello all, Once again, I am looking to your vast knowledge and asking, if in your experience, does the chemo brain subside after gem/cis is completed? I know that everyone responds differently, but looking for generalizations that I can use to help my husband who is four months into chemo and is thinking of stopping it because of his fogginess. His appetite, like everyone else is shot. He takes Zophran (sp) and Marinol with little success and he is just getting so discouraged. He has always been so sharp, being a principal at a school for severely retarded students for 37 years, multi-tasking and caring for those entrusted to him...but now, he can not handle the chemo brain.
Does this generally subside after the chemo is over? How long until he is back to thinking clearly? Or does it not completely resolve itself? Again, I know that people are all different but am hoping to be able to help him with his decision to forgo the last 6 treatments which put him done the day before Thanksgiving.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Melinda A

24

(175 replies, posted in General Discussion)

Sending positive thoughts and energy to you both.

25

(175 replies, posted in General Discussion)

Tom, I think you and Ben have touched the hearts of many people fighting the good fight, or supporting those who are currently faced with the cc challenge. Enjoy every minute of your stay at home. Your decision took a lot of courage but I think it was definitely the right one. Peace...love...hope.
Melinda