Topic: 4 Months post surgery and chemo fun

First off, my apologies for taking so long to update. It's been quite the ride, as you all well know!

To recap so far, my 78 year old Dad underwent surgery on Feb. 3rd with the GREAT Dr. Hemming in San Diego. 3/4 of his liver was removed, along with the gall bladder and bile ducts. Intestines, bowels, and anything else in the immediate area was rerouted, resected, and generally messed with. He stayed in the hospital for a couple of weeks, and home health care for a few more. A lot of complications arose from a rogue infection he picked up in the hospital.

We met with our oncologist and decided to proceed with chemo. Even though my Dad had clean margins, Dr. Hemming told us that if this crap returns there's nothing left to operate on. So.....a beautiful clean PET scan and wonderful blood work gave us the go ahead. Our oncologist sent my Dad's tumor to a geneticist to figure out the best course of action. In his words, " We want to give you a better chance of no re-occurance, not kill you". They came back with 5FU, Oxaliplatin, and avastin. Decided to hold off on the Avastin because of the side effects. His first infusion went okay....have to say the port was a Godsend! For the first 48 hours his only side effect was hiccups. We discovered that pineapple juice helps tremendously...who knew??
By day 7 my Dad was feeling like he was run over by a Mac truck. He hurt everywhere and lay in his bed for 3 days. The weight that he had so painstakingly gained back went away. By day 11 he was feeling okay, but his next infusion was only 3 days away. His bloodwork came back kinda iffy, but they decided to go ahead with his next treatment. Here come the hiccups!
Day 4 hits, and my Dad is so tired he can't function. This prompts an ER run, where we stayed for 7 hours. They requested a return the next day for more bloodwork, which we did. Day 6 arrives bearing a temp..BAD news. The rapid rise sent us back to the ER. More bloodwork, and we learned some new terms.
Neutropenia and  absolute neutrophil count (ANC) were the terms being tossed about. He was admitted to the hospital. Bring on the antibiotics!
An ANC of under 500 is considered critical. At admission my Dad's was a whoppin 33, and continued to drop to a paltry 4. Neupogen was administered. My Dad slept, and kept on sleeping for 2 more days.

So here we are. We brought him home yesterday when his numbers rose to acceptable levels. He's pretty darn tired still. We have an appointment with the oncologist Monday. He's scheduled to resume chemo next Friday, but there's just no way that is going to happen. SOMEthing needs to change, because he can't go through this every 2 weeks. He's back down to 140 (they want him around 170) and boy is he angry! Right now he says that if it comes back, oh well....he doesn't want to go through life like this! I totally get it.....chemo has not been nice to him. We will talk to his Doc, see if we can change things up so he doesn't end up in the hospital every 2 weeks.

I just have to say.....I am constantly amazed and in awe of the people I see in the infusion center. These people are the sickest you can be, yet still have time for a quiet smile. Such dignity and grace....I am just stunned by your spirits. I pray for a cure and good health for all of you

Re: 4 Months post surgery and chemo fun

Hello Cinnamin.....Indeed it has been quite a while since we have last heard from you.  Congratulations on the successful resection albeit the not so nice pleasantries associated with a radical surgery such as this one. 
I am sorry to hear about your Dad's reaction to the chemotherapy.  I do not blame him for not wanting to go that route again.  And, he won't have to.  Your Dad can always decline any further adjuvant therapy or, the oncologist may prescribe another type of chemo something less troublesome to his system. 
First though, I am wishing for your Dad to regain his strengths, rid himself of the fatigue and that the 30 pounds of weight will come back quickly. He has been through so much and deserves a break.
All my best wishes are coming your way,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: 4 Months post surgery and chemo fun

Thanks, Marion. My Dad is certainly a trooper! We completely agree that he needs a break from chemo. His body needs some serious healing. During this recent hospital stay, the Oncologist told us that roughly 8% of people cannot tolerate chemo and have this extreme reaction like he did. They believe he falls in this group. Tomorrow we go in to talk about this.......will be interesting to see what they have to say! Regardless, I know we are not keeping that infusion appointment this Friday.

Will update after tomorrow!

Re: 4 Months post surgery and chemo fun

Cinnamin.
Glad your dad is home and congrats on a successful surgery. Thanks for sharing about the pineapple juice and hiccups. I am sure it will help others.

I am sorry your dad has had such a reaction to chemo. He is right, that is no way to move forward. Perhaps a different combo will be better or he can just decide no more. There are other ways to fight this beast...the best being enjoying life.

Kris

Cancer is a word, not a sentence.

36 year old patient with buckets of hope

Re: 4 Months post surgery and chemo fun

Had our appointment today. Great news, his ANC is WAY up! We decided to proceed with chemo, just take out the oxaliplatin. Going to wait for 2-3 weeks so my Dad can recover a bit. If he still has issues, we have more options. Dr. Fanta, our oncologist, made my Dad feel good about continuing treatment....which is awesome! He was ready to throw the towel in and say NO MAS. We the family want to give him the best possible chance, but it is ultimately HIS decision.

What a journey.......thanks again for taking it with us smile

Re: 4 Months post surgery and chemo fun

Cinnamin... Thanks for sharing the great news with us.  Good luck with the follow-up treatments.  I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Best wishes,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: 4 Months post surgery and chemo fun

Hi Cinnamin, that is pretty good news. You are a true and loving family full of fighters and that is great. Wishing you great success and a calmer outcome on the second cycle.

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: 4 Months post surgery and chemo fun

Cinnamin,

Wonderful news that your Dad is feeling better about decisions and his treatment.  I remember after my surgery, my onc. wanted me to wait at least 8 weeks for recovery from the surgery before starting chemo.

Thanks for the good news!  Let's pray for continued good news.

Linda Z.

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
it's about learning how to dance in the rain."