My Beautiful Sister (she is actually my cousin but we have always been as close as sisters) was diagnosed with this dreadful cc about 6 weeks ago (I say about because time has become disjointed and abstract since that day). My Gail is 47 years old and has always been a lynchpin of our very close extended family. Always the first there in a crises - she would give you her very last penny without having to think about it, a wonderful sense of humour, and the most empathetic person you could know.
She has had Gall stones for many years but only two 'attacks', the first about 10 years ago and then an attack about 3 months ago which landed her in hospital.
After the usual checks and scans and antibiotics we were told that there was nothing 'sinister' but she would need to have her gall bladder removed. She was admitted to hospital a couple of weeks later for this op. The surgeon advised she couldn't remove Gails gall bladder as it was enlarged and 'stuck' to her liver and that a liver surgeon had best be present, for safety reasons, during the operation, we were again assured that nothing sinister was going on. Our Gail recovered fantastically from this surgery and was home within a couple of days. She has further tests and was back in hosp a week later for another attempt. After this op we were told that they had managed to remove most of her gall bladder and had sewn the rest up - again okay. She recovered from this surgery really well and was half an hour from coming home when the surgeon appeared at her bedside looking completely shocked and announced that lab results had shown that she had gall bladder cancer, the surgeon said she was as shocked as anyone.
Our darling Gail was told she needed a liver re-section and this was arranged for the following week.We were very hopeful as we felt that the cancer couldn't be very advanced if the previous scans etc had shown no signs and the surgeon obviously hadn't seen the cancer during the previous ops.
After my Gails re-section we were told that all the lesions couldn't be removed after all and that there was spread to Gails Lymph nodes and other lesions in her abdomen,
and that the prognosis was 'not good', she would have 6 - 18 months with treatment.
My lovely Gail has refused all but the barest information. She doesn't know the prognosis but only knows that the operation was not completely successful and she has been advised to start chemo within 8 weeks.
She is still in hospital after her re-section, the initial stent she had placed didn't work and her abdomen was flooded with bile which leaked from her surgical wound, then had a replacement (metal) stent placed 10 days ago, via ERCP, which has still not completely sorted the leak, she still has a catheter from her abdomen to drain the extra bile. She is due to go for another ERCP on Monday (3 days time) to find out what has gone wrong.
She has not recovered well from the liver surgery and hated the ERCP as she wasn't sedated sufficiently and was very sick and in a lot of pain from pancreatitis after it. She is so dreading this procedure on Monday, and it's aftermath. She has requested a general Anaesthetic this time.
We are of course, as a family, completely at sea at the moment. We are taking one day at a time and first of all want our Gail to heal from her surgery and try and get strength for the battle ahead. We have been able, for the last few days, to bring her home from the hospital for a few hours each day, as she is more relaxed and comfortable here.
Our biggest worry at the moment is that our lovely Gail has pulled the shutters down on us all. She will hardly talk and blocks out the world and us by sleeping (or just closing her eyes to cut us off more often than not) and we are so worried about this.
I know she is very scared of cc and the future and I think she thinks she can't let go for fear of upsetting (particularly) her husband, parents, and children, but 'closing up' I can see, is damaging her. She is normally the most outgoing, sharing, un-closed up person you could know and that person has all but disappeared. I am so concerned for her. Have you come across this response before goldenhearts?
What could and should we do and say which may help her out of her self imposed isolation? Can you help us?
If only Love could cure