Topic: Mom just diagnosed

My mom was just diagnosed with cc on Oct 7th.  The cancer is stage 4, started in the bile duct and now has a 9cm tumor in the liver.  She is 67 years young.  She spent 2 weeks in the hospital to control the fevers and the pain.  She was scheduled for an ERCP to put a stent in, but didn't actually have it done as the surgeon said that there was no blockage and just did a little bit of cutting to let the bile go through.  She has no jaundice.  She was just sent home this past week-end, and is scheduled to start chemo this Friday.  Since she has been at home she has lost all of her energy.  She is supposed to get stronger, but it just isn't happening.  She sleeps constantly and when she when she is awake she tries to eat something, but her appetite is very low, mostly just chicken noodle soup, and fruit. Today she tried to eat a few pieces of chicken and some pickles and about 20 minutes later they all came back up again.  She's drinking fluids, but not as much as i think she should.  She is on tylenol with codeine every 5 to 6 hours, or else the fever comes back.  Any information on how i can get her stronger so that she can start chemo on Friday would be helpful.

Re: Mom just diagnosed

Dear Laura, welcome to our wonderful family! We are sorry to hear about your mom. First and foremost is that you might want to call her ONC and ask for something for nausea. No reason she has to be in that much discomfort when there are things she can take for it. As for nutrition my husband has a Carnation shake every morning sometimes with fruit in it and blend it like a shake. She can have one every meal if she wants and it will give her the same nutrition that a full meal would.  Did the OMC have LAB work done before the Chemo. Does he know what she is going through? Where is your Mom being treated. I hope you get the nausea under control and that my help her gain some strength back if she isn't vomiting all the time.


Re: Mom just diagnosed

Hi Lainy, thank-you for your reply.  My mom had blood work done last Thursday, while she was still in the hospital, and her liver enzymes were low enough for her to start the chemo.  Since then she has come home last Sat evening, she has been slowly getting worse, first with the increased tiredness, which i guess was to be expected and then today with the vomiting.  My mom will begin treatment at the Juravinski Cancer Center in Hamilton, Ontario.  If she progresses to get worse, i will follow up with her oncologist and let them know she is feeling this way, and hopefully we can get some anti nausea meds.  I will try the Carnation shake with the fruit to see if that can boost her nutrition.  Thanks again for your reply.

Re: Mom just diagnosed

Laura...I would also like to welcome you to our site.  I am wondering about the fever you are describing?  Is it related to an infection?  And, if so has the bacteria been cultured?  Also, some of our members have described a recurrent fever related to lack of fluid intake.  Also, is your Mom taking the tylenol/codein on an empty stomach.  I agree with you in that I would call call the physician.
Best wishes,


Re: Mom just diagnosed


Welcome to our little family here, I hope we can be helpful.

If your mom's energy is low her blood pressure should be checked. My mom could not have radiation the first time she went because her blood pressure was too low so that can affect her chemo.

Also, how high is the fever? Even if it is mild it can be worrisome in cc patients.

Also, does she have any other health problems? And since you say she was not jaundiced, how was the cancer discovered, what prompted her to go to the doctor or hospital? Was it just the fever and pain or other symptoms? Is she itching?


Re: Mom just diagnosed

Dear Laura,

I am sorry to hear about your mom.  My mom was diagnosed with CC in June this year and was treated by surgery.  Although she is fine right now, I am constantly trying to find alternative therapy or supplements to prevent cancer recurrence.  Through my research, I have come down to a few things that I believe would be useful.  My mom is on them and so are some of the people on this website.  They are coriolus versicolor (PSP or PSK), maitake mushroom and immunocal.  From what I have read in the literature, these are promising supplements which can boost the immune system and prepare the body to fight against cancer cells.  They can also reduce the sides effects from chemotherapy/radiation so that the patient can better tolerate these therapies to allow them to do their job.  Immunocal is Canadian made and can be ordered from Quebec.  Maitake mushroom is being tested in humans in Sloan Kettering.  PSK is an approved cancer adjuvant therapy in Japan.  I recently came across a paper describing a long term CC surviver in Japan.  She was initially diagnosed with stage IV CC.  She had received surgery, chemotherapy with various drugs and PSK.  As explained in the paper, it was difficult to conclusively say which treatment cured her.  Anyway, it was an encouraging paper to read.  Here is the link: … lltext.pdf

Best wishes to you and your mother,

Re: Mom just diagnosed

"Recurrent fever due to lack of fluid intake"?  Thank you, Marion.  I'll try & get more liquid into my sister.

Laura - Welcome to the family.  There's such a wealth of care, information & support on this site.  I've been here for over a year now & have been worrying about my sister's recurrent fevers when she's sleeping. Your post has helped me get some more information & I really, really hope our posts will help you, too.

Please keep coming back & letting us know how you & your mum are.

Julia x

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Re: Mom just diagnosed

thank-you everyone for your comments, this forum is such a great support and resource. 
Marion - i don't believe my mom has an infection, she has these low grade fevers while she was in the hospital and they couldn't find any bacteria, so i will concentrate on her fluid intake to see if that helps.  My mom is taking the tylenol / codeine on an empty stomach, and sometimes with food.  Today we have given her gravol for the nausea and it seems to be increasing her appetite which is a great start, at least she's back to light soup and fruit.  Tomorrow she gets some blood work done, i'll keep you updated on the results.

Maggie - thank-you so much for the link to the article, it was an interesting read.  I have heard about the alternative therapies that you mentioned, do you have an links for more information?  Glad to hear that your mom is doing so well smile

Julia - nice to meet you and i'm glad that i could help answer some of your questions, through questions or my own.  Hopefully as i learn more, i'll be able to offer more.  Also glad to hear that you're sister is doing well.

talk to you all soon,

Re: Mom just diagnosed

Sorry patty, missed you when i made my last post.  Nice to meet you.
We had my mom's blood pressure checked and it was normal.  She has a low grade fever that is controlled with tylenol.

My mom had her gall bladder removed in July, almost 75 stones, a record.  She was doing ok, until the pain in her lower abdomen came back in September and then started to make her sick.  After 3 days of nausea, we took her into the hospital and that's when they made the diagnosis.

It was surprising as before the diagnosis, she was full of energy, we just thought she had a touch of the flu, but when it persisted we knew something was wrong.  We discovered after that she was having a low grade fever for about 2 weeks.

Re: Mom just diagnosed

Laura my mother was diagnosed with a tumor on her liver with metasis on october 8th.we just confirmed last thursday it is cc and she was a vibrant 74 year old 3 weeks ago.. i understand what you are going mom is not jaundice and her liver functions are good..up to yesterday she did not want to do any chemo..but she is going to give it a try... we start next week..she does have pain in her upper right side and is not moving well at all and her appetite is weak.. she is taking 10 mg of oxycontin 2 x a day and managing the breakthrough pain with lortab/ it appears to be helping her with pain... she was perscribed 7.5mg of lortab we give her 1/2's every 4  to 4.5 hours and 1 whole pill before bedtime so she sleeps... i hope this helps..

Re: Mom just diagnosed

as i stated in my earlier note my wonderful mother was just diagnosed days ago.. i'm still numb and she is in stage 4 surgury is not an option..she is going to give chemo a try but if she doesn't feel better she said she is going to stop..i also have my father who is 82 with heart and lung issues.. he is terribly upset...i have not told my mother she is in stage iv but she knows there is a not a cure and chemo can potentially help shrink the tumors ..from what i am reading it appears there is some hope and i dont want to discourage my mother it will just depress her more.. i think we all have to try and have hope ....i wish you all blessings....loving daughter

Re: Mom just diagnosed

Hi Laura,

Welcome to the site. Sorry that you had to join us all and I'm sorry to hear about your mum, but I am glad that you have joined us all as you will get a load of support and help from us all. I can't really add much to what the others have said to you, but I just wanted to welcome you here.

My dad also had a lot of issues with nausea and I hope that you can get some help for your mum with this. As Lainy says, there are a lot of things that can be done for this and my dad went through a variety of meds and different combinations of meds in trying to get to grips with this. Another thing that may be of use to your mum here with regards to nutrition is Ensure drinks and this is something that my dad also took.

Please feel free to ask any questions that you will have and we will all help if we can. And please keep us updated and let us know how your mum is doing.

My best wishes to you and your mum,


Any advice or comments I give are based on personal experiences and knowledge and are my opinions only, they are not to be substituted for professional medical advice. Please seek professional advice from a qualified doctor or medical professional.

Re: Mom just diagnosed

Dear Laura,

Here are the links for coriolus versicolor and maitake mushroom.  This is where I started my research.  As mentioned in these websites, there are many brands and not all of them are standardized.  In general, I think Japanese source is more reliable.

As for Immunocal, here are two published papers related to cancer:

Anticancer Res. 1995 Nov-Dec;15(6B):2643-9.

The use of a whey protein concentrate in the treatment of patients with metastatic carcinoma: a phase I-II clinical study.
Kennedy RS, Konok GP, Bounous G, Baruchel S, Lee TD.

Department of Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Glutathione (GSH) concentration is high in most tumour cells and this may be an important factor in resistance to chemotherapy. Previous in-vitro and animal experiments have shown a differential response of tumour versus normal cells to various cysteine delivery systems. More specifically, an in-vitro assay showed that at concentrations that induce GSH synthesis in normal human cells, a specially prepared whey protein concentrate, Immunocal, caused GSH depletion and inhibition of proliferation in human breast cancer cells. On the basis of this information five patients with metastatic carcinoma of the breast, one of the pancreas and one of the liver were fed 30 grams of this whey protein concentrate daily for six months. In six patients the blood lymphocyte GSH levels were substantially above normal at the outset, reflecting high tumour GSH levels. Two patients (#1, #3) exhibited signs of tumour regression, normalization of haemoglobin and peripheral lymphocyte counts and a sustained drop of lymphocyte GSH levels towards normal. Two patients (#2, #7) showed stabilisation of the tumour, increased haemoglobin levels. In three patients (#4, #5, #6,) the disease progressed with a trend toward higher lymphocyte GSH levels. These results indicate that whey protein concentrate might deplete tumour cells of GSH and render them more vulnerable to chemotherapy.

Anticancer Res. 2000 Nov-Dec;20(6C):4785-92.

Whey protein concentrate (WPC) and glutathione modulation in cancer treatment.
Bounous G.

Research & Development Department, Immunotec Research Ltd., 292 Adrien-Patenaude, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, Canada, J7V 5V5.

The glutathione (GSH) antioxidant system is foremost among the cellular protective mechanisms. Depletion of this small molecule is a common consequence of increased formation of reactive oxygen species during increased cellular activities. This phenomenon can occur in the lymphocytes during the development of the immune response and in the muscular cells during strenuous exercise. It is not surprising that so much research has been done, and is still being done on this small tripeptide molecule. Whey protein concentrate has been shown to represent an effective and safe cysteine donor for GSH replenishment during GSH depletion in immune deficiency states. Cysteine is the crucial limiting amino acid for intracellular GSH synthesis. Animal experiments showed that the concentrates of whey proteins also exhibit anti-carcinogenesis and anticancer activity. They do this via their effect on increasing GSH concentration in relevant tissues, and may have anti-tumor effect on low volume of tumor via stimulation of immunity through the GSH pathway. It is considered that oxygen radical generation is frequently a critical step in carcinogenesis, hence the effect of GSH on free radicals as well as carcinogen detoxification, could be important in inhibiting carcinogenesis induced by a number of different mechanisms. Case reports are presented which strongly suggest an anti-tumor effect of a whey protein dietary supplement in some urogenital cancers. This non toxic dietary intervention, which is not based on the principles of current cancer chemotherapy, will hopefully attract the attention of laboratory and clinical oncologists.