Topic: Mother stage 4, no blockage or jaundice - any others?
My mother was diagnosed last month (nov 2006), has stage IV bile duct cancer, all of her liver is involved, innumerable tumors, metastasis to lungs also. No symptoms except fatigue and tenderness of liver until about a week ago - now constantly fighting fevers, chills, nausea - horrible. We started chemo this week (Gemzar, Xeloda), just to alleviate symptoms, hoping for some respite, hoping the chemo doesn't make her quality of life worse. Not really hoping for a cure, though I know others would, but she has autoimmune hepatitis and various autoimmune issues that most doctors don't even understand and I don't believe it would help her to drag her to more doctors, tests, procedures. She's only 64, wants so badly to see my 4-yr old daughter (her only grandchild) grow up, but we're realists, and she's too fatigued and nauseous to do much. We have the best care from NYU and Sloan Kettering here in NY.
After researching for weeks, I can't find any cases where jaundice/blockage isn't an issue. Her doc just said it won't be an issue, no need for stents, but doesn't adequately explain why. Is it because it's too advanced? I thought blockage and jaundice were usually some of the first symptoms, or at least would show up by stage IV. Anyone else have a similar experience? I want to know what to expect next, and I know each individual has different experiences depending on the location and spread of cancer, but I hate the feeling of helplessness. Should I be looking for signs of liver failure? She's so swollen and bloated but they didn't say she had ascites - how do I know if she has ascites or just regular swelling from her liver? Also has good appetite when she's not nauseous. Sorry for all these questions but I just can't get enough information and I'm so frustrated. Acunpuncture worked wonders for nausea - for about 8 hours only, though!
Please let me know if anyone has similar symptoms - it seems the cancer has completely invaded her liver but her ducts are still working somehow and I don't know why her bilirubin is fine and jaundice hasn't set in.
Thanks for this website - it's the only helpful thing I've found.