It's been quite a long time since I've been on this site and thought I'd give an update on my brother, who was diagnosed with with Stage IV CC last June. First of all, I want to thank Helen and Gavin again for providing my brother with contact info for a doctor who was willing to step in and help out if he had a problem during his trip to the UK. He was able to make contact and felt so much better knowing that he had a "Plan B" in place. Fortunately, he didn't need to use it!
In January, he began a 30 session radiation treatment. He debated whether to do it as the doctors at Mayo had said he wasn't a candidate, but after chemo, his doctors here felt that the tumors had shrunk and that it might be effective. It really took a toll on him, though. It was much tougher than the chemo was and he really hasn't felt good ever since he started the radiation treatments. He finished up his radiation treatment at the end of February. He took a brief break from the medical community, but then in March/April he came down with pneumonia, and a CT scan showed a metastasis to his spine, which needed to be treated with 5 sessions of radiation. He was supposed to get a reprieve from the medical community after that, but he started to suffer from ascites, developed a hernia from all the coughing during the pneumonia, etc. Two weeks ago, they discovered that he was anemic during a routine blood test, and that meant a blood transfusion that took 11 hours. More ascites, another CT scan and a PET scan in which his abdomen "lit up" and the doctor said that he had microscopic cancer cells floating around his abdominal cavity. He planned on taking a trip to Vegas this week with his sons and a group of friends and went to the doctor on Monday to have him check out his persistent cough. His lungs were ok, but blood tests showed that his hemoglobin had dropped to 4 and his platelet count was 2,000! (less than two weeks earlier, it had been around 140,000!!) So, he was taken immediately to the hospital and placed in intensive care. He had a reaction to the transfusions and developed a fever of 104 and couldn't stop shaking. After his platelets came up enough, he had an endoscopy done, which showed esophageal varices and a bleeding ulcer in his stomach. They now think that he has developed an immune thrombocytopenia. Understandably so, he has started to question "quality of life" issues. We are having a family meeting tomorrow with his chemo doctor, and the hospitalist, who is also a hospice doctor.
Lainy, you mentioned earlier that you had a list of what to expect during the last stages of CC. Could you please send it to me so that we know what to expect. I know that others have asked questions on this site about how you know when you're near the end. I guess that is where we are now. How do we know? What should we expect? etc. Any feedback from those of you who have gone through this journey would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!