Topic: My dad
Hi! My 74 year-old dad was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma late last week. Our story is long, but when he presented with symptoms (itchy, janundice, etc) in March while wintering in Florida he also suffered a heart attack following the stent placement via an ERCP. We chartered Mayo's MedAir and took him "home" (they're from Northern Iowa).
After several ERCPs where they have replaced the stents and done the cancer tests (including stainings and brushings) at Mayo they were unable to find the reason for the stricture...until last week.
The doctors said that due to the condition of Dad's heart (he needs triple by-pass surgery) that he's not a candidate for surgery. We have an appointment with the oncologist later this month and I have so many questions!!!!
The surgeon and gastro doc at Mayo indicated that most with cholangiocarcinoma live just 18 months or so. True?
If Dad's cancer can only be found via the brushings/stainings, is it early? The MRI showed nothing in any of the organs, etc. Is it contained to just the bile duct? Have we burned thru 5 of the 18 months that Dad may have left? Where will the cancer go next? What is the balance between quality of life and extending life regarding chemo and radiation? Do the radiation seeds work in this instance?
My family and I are experiencing the feelings of shock and denial now. We've gone all these months without the docs being able to FIND the cancer to a timeline of 18 months. How can this be?
I'm grateful to find this website and a means of support. Thank you and I look forward to learning from all of you!