Hi Marion/all, quick update: my mother starts Gem/Cis combo therapy next week.  We consulted with UCLA and UCSF oncology and both agreed that was the right treatment.  She is doing the chemo close to home (Monterey), and will meet with Dr. Ko at UCSF later int he month so he can provide additional consultation as she progresses. 

We're all very optimistic (he CA19 marker is 95, and the recurrence was visible only in 1 lymph node), and she is tough as nails... thanks again for continued support!

Hi everyone, so my mother is having trouble getting in to see Dr. Ko at UCSF - he is booked until end of April.  She really needs to start chemo sooner than that, and so I was wondering if anyone had a great oncologist to recommend in Northern California.  She lives in Monterey.  Thanks!

Thats a great way to think of it Malc!  Yes, my mom is in a good stage right now, and so we're blessed... wishing you continued good health.

Lainy, thanks for the kind welcome, and positive thoughts!  I've already spent a lot of time on this site, and it's just such a great resource - for information, and encouragement. 

The oncologist at UCLA said my mother was considered stage IV because any time it is a postsurgery recurrence, and any lymph node is involved that is automatically stage IV.  He also said that the chance that other lymph nodes are infected are 'astronomically' high, and just not yet visible.

The positive side of the story was that the visible tumor is small everything else in her MRI looked clean (stomach, liver, etc).  He also said that if she responded well to the initial chemo treatment (gemzar/cisplatin combo), he thought radiation would be a good second step...

We're getting another opinion at UCSF because it is closer to home for my mother, and I will share anything new I learn. 

Thanks again for the positive encouragement.

Hi to everyone,

My name is Alex and my mother was diagnosed with distalCC/gallbladder in Jan 2010 (16 months ago.).  She had the a resection and whipple in Jan 10 and May 2010 and did great.  Unfortunately last week after an MRI and endoscopic biopsy), it was confirmed there is a 2cm tumor on a lymph node under her liver.  Her organs all looked clean in the MRI, but with a lymph node involved we are assumed to be at stage IV and there is likely systemic spread, albeit early.

We're obviously quite scared, and if you believe what you read for good reason.  She is going to receive her oncology care at UCSF moving forward with Dr. Ko. 

I think I'll be an active member of this community now for the rest of my life, and would welcome any thoughts/ideas/opinions/advice as we start this journey. 

My greatest fear is of course with systemic metastasis, that chemo doesn't help much, so any advice there especially is so greatly appreciated.

Thanks again to all the courageous people out there willing to share their stories...

Alex in LA