I was diagnosed with Stage 4, Metastised Bile Duct/Gall Bladder carcinoma on 8/28/12, just after my 65th birthday. I am a otherwise a very healthy and active person. The cancer had spread along the peritoneum causing problems with my colon, stomach, lungs, etc. The colon problem is what led to the cancer discovery by my GI doctor. Exactly where the cancer has spread is undetermined but as the doc who did the biopsy (needle in the liver) said "you have quite a mess in there". The CT's showed a lot of ascites all around the Peritoneum.
I have been through 8 cycles (cycle = 2 weeks and one off) of gemzar-cisplatin which was complete at the end of February. I am just finishing a 6 week holiday and start back with chemo tomorrow with Carboplatin replacing Cisplatin. The Cisplatin side effects necessitate the change. Neuropathy in the feet, legs, and fingers are the main problems. These started to show in the 7th cycle and my feet are pretty numb at this point. I am still walking to work and have generally been able to stay active although I had to stop some things that were too taxing. I think staying in motion is a good thing and people who know me have a difficult time believing I have cancer and am in chemotherapy.
My progress with chemo has been "amazing" in the words of my oncologist, Dr. Mohamed Bazzi of Antietam Oncology in Hagerstown, MD. I am also seeing Dr. David Cosgrove at Johns Hopkins for second opinions, who has supported the therapy plan developed by Dr. Bazzi. The CA 19-9 marker has gone from 6709 to normal (less than 37) over the course. The CT scans also show a lot of reduction to the point I can now see the Gall Bladder where initially that was just a big blob.
Dr. Bazzi arranged through one of the pharmaceutical companies for a DNA analysis but that was disappointing. The main problem being that there are very few approved gene specific therapies. It would be extremely lucky to hit one of those such as Her2, but not in my case.
The main issue right now is what to do next. I have decided to keep up with chemo as long as it is effective and I can stand it. Dr. Bazzi says that eventually the chemo will no longer do the job and we will have to find another therapy. My hope is that something becomes available between now and then.