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(3 replies, posted in In Remembrance)

Unfortunately I've lost my dear gran to this awful cancer. A mere 4 weeks after she was diagnosed. I'm still in shock at how fast she deteriorated in front of our eyes. She went from being a healthy active 87 year old to a frail, ill looking lady. She passed away on April 29th 2007 ... its almost been 2 weeks and I'm still not understanding how it happened so quickly. For a little while, it seemed she was stable - the edema and ascites went away but then the vomiting started. Everytime she would eat she would vomit, then it was everytime she drank something she would vomit. The doctors had told us that the tumor had grown so quickly it was squishing her ducts even with the metal stents. There was absolutely nothing we could do other than watch and wait....

I am very grateful that she did not suffer a long time, she was full of life and I couldn't imagine watching her for years lying in a bed. Maybe it was a gift from god to take her without too much pain...


Thank you everyone for your stories, support and encouragement.

Serena

hello everyone

I'm writing to let you know that it appears my gran is on her last few breaths. The Dr.s have told us to prepare ourselves because my gran's body is shutting down very quickly. The ascites and edema have virtually disappeared but now it appears there is an obstruction in the draining of the liver and there isn't anything the Dr.s can do about it. They say its the tumor that is pressing on the existing metal stents so there is nothing that will change that.

Since Sunday evening she has stopped eating solids. Since Tuesday afternoon she has stopped drinking fluids and as of a few hours ago she has stopped going pee. From the other posts these 3 signs are key indicators that the end is near.

I'm still having a great deal of time accepting this because (1) She is still so alert! Her body is weak but her mind is strong (2) Its too sudden - she was diagnosed end of March and its only end of April!!!

I just wanted to post my thoughts...

Serena

Thanks Joyce! I can always count on this site for support and encouragement, I'm glad I stumbled upon it.

Gran's condition hasn't improved this week...I guess that was to be expected. Her ascites and edema have gone down considerably with the 'water pill' (furosemide). Thats a good sign...but unfortunately along with that her weight has dropped 6lbs in the last week alone. She looks even more frail now without the bulging abdomen! She has also cut back on her food intake, she is still drinking plenty of fluids and peeing regularly, but her solid food has been practically cut in half. I don't think that is a good sign?!?!

Another concerning thing we noticed today was that she complained of pain in her upper right abdomen for the first time. The morphine the Dr. prescribed definitely helped but it was alarming because up until now, my gran has only complained of a tightening feeling in her abdomen, never pain...

And yet another concern...black and white spots on her tongue that were a little painful. I just noticed them today when my gran asked me to see what's on her tongue. There are very small and only a few but definitely something I was immediately concerned about. Anybody else experience this??

We have community health nurses that come by the house every couple days but they are starting to sound like broken records every time we mention a new symptom to them - "prepare yourselves, things are going downhill" or "that is a response to the body shutting itself down"

Maybe its just me, I can't accept that her body is shutting down especially since her mind is so active and alert! She was sitting up reading a paper today as if she didn't have a care in the world!!!!


- Confused

Hi everyone -

Its been about a week since I last posted my introduction. My grandmother has been recently diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma. As I have already mentioned the only treatment plan for her was palliative care. The oncologist did place 2 metal stents to drain the bile duct and liver duct to alleviate jaundice and make her more comfortable.

She has been at home for about 1 1/2 weeks now. She is taking 1mL of morphine 3 times a day to control the pain in her abdomen and furosemide to assist with the ascites. We have tried some herbal treatments like milk thistile, neem water, aloe vera juice but its too early to tell if that is helping in any way.

Since yesterday we have noticed a few things happening that doesn't look good. The edema in her legs and feet has gone down but we have noticed that her skin is becoming jaundiced again, her skin is extremely itchy and there are spider veins all over her legs and feet.

One dr we spoke with said the itchiness is a side effect from the morphine and the jaundice may be because the stent is becoming blocked.

We spoke with her original oncologist and he explained to us that it appears my grandmother's liver is failing. The only recommendation he had was to keep her comfortable at this point.

I didn't expect this to be happening so soon. I'm not clear on what this means...how long does a person have once their liver starts failing?

I have seen some posts about CAAT as an alternative treatment...would it be too late to try this since her liver isn't functioning properly?

Any help is much appreciated

Serena

Hi all -

Has anyone out there heard of or had any experience with using neem leaves as an ayurvedic treatment option?

I may be pulling at straws now but thought maybe I should explore the idea further?

As I've posted in the Intros section - my grandmother was recently diagnosed with advanced stage bile duct cancer that has metastasized to gall bladder, lining of the liver and possibly the bladder. The only treatment plan offered by the oncologist was palliative care.

Since surgery, chemo and radiation are not options, I thought I would look at some alternative treatments.

Thanks

Serena

Hello everyone

I've been reading through the posts on this site for a couple days now and felt I should post my story as well...(its a long story and its only been 2 weeks since she was first diagnosed...)

Up until about a month ago, my 87 year old grandmother was 'healthy as a horse'! She came down with what seemed like the common flu bug mid-March. She experienced pain in her upper right abdomen, high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and very slight yellowing of the skin. This went on for about a week before her symptoms reduced in severity.

Her family physician booked her for an ultrasound and thats when it was discovered she had a large mass on her gallbladder. She was then scheduled for a CT Scan which revealed the mass was in fact a malignant tumor and also that she had gall stones. The Dr. confirmed she would need surgery and referred her to a specialist in Vancouver BC Canada. My grandmother lives on Vancouver Island in a small town that doesn't have many specialists so she had to travel a few hours via car and then ferry to the mainland.

She had an ERCP procedure performed to insert a stent in the bile duct. After this procedure things started improving and it looked like we were ready to take her back home...unfortunately that wasn't the case. Within 3 days, my grandmother was rushed to hospital with high fever, low blood pressure, shivering and pain in her abdomen. Another ERCP procedure was performed and an additional stent was placed to drain her liver as that was also becoming blocked. Along with this last procedure, my grandmother was also admitted to the hospital because of a serious infection (don't know what type, wasn't told). She was in hospital for 4 days and was discharged earlier today.

While in hospital my grandmother was seen by an oncologist. He explained to us that her cancer is at an advanced stage and there wasn't any treatment available to her at this time other than palliative care. He explained further that surgery was too risky due to her age and the fact that the cancer has spread to nearby organs so the complications from the surgery outweigh the benefits. Currently he said the cancer is in her gall bladder, bile duct, lining of the liver and possibly her bladder.

In the 4 days my grandmother was in hospital, the specialist gave us a time line of about 6 months, by the time she was discharged he told us maybe 2 weeks!!!!

I can definitely see her health has deteriorated but she is still very much alert though her body is very weak. I just can't see how the Dr. can be so sure of her survival time line.

I'm still not convinced there isn't anything we can do, I'm considering getting a 2nd opinion but hesitating at the same time wondering if they will be able to tell us something different. She is older so I'm wondering if the Dr. is basing his decision on her age. I know age is a major factor in determining treatment options but we've told him that she is very active for her age.

I have accepted the fact that this type of cancer at an advanced stage cannot be cured but I'm looking for some info on treatments that can maybe slow down the spread. I would definitely like her to have quality of life rather than quantity but it seems that her mind is willing to fight this but doesn't have the strength to do it.

Thanks so much for reading my story...

Serena