Topic: another one just diagnosed

Hi all, my name is Barb and I too have just been diagnosed with CC.  Well, actually they haven't decided if it's CC or Pancreatic, the liver guy says CC, the oncologist agrees but also says that there are a lot more treatments out there for Pancreatic so it won't hurt to explore everything.  My main tumor mass is a "gamish" of stuff that doesn't seem to match anything, lucky me.  The mets in my liver is extensive, many many little tumors, which makes theraspheres an unlikely prospect, but my liver guy is trying.  I also have extensive lymph node involvement.  Funny thing is that I just had my gall bladder out last November, not a sign!  I was diagnosed a week ago, came to the ER on the 8th with vertigo and nausea of all things, I just thought I needed to tank up on IV's and I would be fine.  Those were the only symptom, I can't even claim weight loss, well, not until the last couple of weeks.  Even when my lft's came back all out of whack everyone thought it was just an errant stone that got stuck in the bile duct.  The panic came when the CT results came back, and then my tumor markers came back in the 700's (normal is 18-22), and then the final blow was the liver biopsy results.  So now I am here with this rare (excuse me, I prefer the term "designer") cancer, inoperable, incurable.  I start Gemzar on Monday, I just had my portacath inserted on Thursday.  I am also on Tarceva, it has shown promising results for pancreatic cancer patients, and as my oncologist said, it couldn't hurt, and it might help.

This whole thing just sucks.  I am 52 as of yesterday, a single mom of a 10 year old son whom I adopted just 5 years ago from Guatemala.  How unfair life has been for my little guy, he had a horrible life until I adopted him, he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and now, with all his other issues his mom might die......  We had the "big talk" the other night, "Mom, are you going to die?"  I couldn't give him the BS of "yes, we will all die soon", the whole thing was so heart breaking.  I am truly blessed that we moved back to Ohio from California 4 years ago and am surrounded by family, my sister is his guardian and lives right down the street.  But as he said, "Mom, I don't want Aunt Peggy, I want you!" 

Anyway, I didn't mean to go on and on like this, I have found the last few days that I have become very weepy, mostly when I think of my son, or the wonderful things people have done for me.  Last night we had a ladies only birthday party at a winetasting, and I boohooed every time I opened a present, of course it didn't help that people were giving me stuff like musical snow globes engraved with "Angel of Hope" or that 30 people are coming over tomorrow to put up a fence in my yard so I don't have to worry about walking my dogs when they need to go out. 

Again, my apologies for rambling, and I am so glad to have found this forum!

Re: another one just diagnosed

Oh Barb, what a horrible blow, and I do so feel for you and for your little guy! Right now you must be in shock and it's understandable to be depressed. But don't give up hope - there are many people on this board who have tried many different treatments - each individual responds differently, and you never know what might work for you.

Best of luck to you  - you have your youth on your side too, you know, and that helps immensely in battling this disease.

Re: another one just diagnosed

Hi Barb,
Yes, they say this cancer is not "curable". But there are people who have lived with this for many years and are still going strong. And I am not too sure this is not curable...what I mean is that my bestfriend who is a padiatric oncologist and one of my biggest cheerleaders points out that some of her patients who had incurable cancer have been in remission for years with no signs of anything.

You sound like you have a large support group around you and that is wonderful. Dont worry about your crying, it is natural but you might want to see someone for a bit to "get your head around it" as the British say. I was seeing someone for a couple of months after i was diagnosed and it helped so much. Maybe your som might want to see someone as well.

Take care.

Cancer is a word, not a sentence.

36 year old patient with buckets of hope

Re: another one just diagnosed

thank you Kris and Joyce.  I am already seeing someone, however it was for my menopause driven depression, woo hoo, all this and menopause too!  I have an appt with him this week, he doesn't even know about this latest bit of news yet.  My son also has a great psychologist, I am very fortunate.

I have been completely overwhelmed today, my brother and sister in law were painting the guest room (something I had been planning to do until I was otherwise occupied), I had hired a cleaning lady (had planned on doing that because besides working full time and being a single mom I was also pursuing my doctoral studies full time, that's on the back burner) and she was cleaning my house, and the entire neighborhood was out in my yard putting up a fence so I wouldn't have to walk the dogs so much!  I am overwhelmed by the unbelievable kindness, but also overwhelmed period.  I am usually the one that is organizing this stuff, I ended up getting overheated and losing my lunch from both ends!  I hate not being in control! 

And Joyce, thanks for the comment about having youth on my side, my neices and nephews can't believe how old I am! 

Tomorrow is my first day of chemo, I am very nervous, any tips?

Re: another one just diagnosed

Hey Barb,
You must be some kind of wonderful person to have everyone doing such incredibly thoughtful things for you! It makes ME weepy just hearing about it! And of COURSE you're young! I'm not too far behind you, so don't say it's old.

My only tip for chemo is: make sure they give you some good anti-nausea prescription drugs. My mother had three or four prescriptions and some would work great right after chemo, some worked at other times, she just mixed and matched. You may be lucky and not get nausea, but when it hits it's usually 2 days after treatment, because they give you anti-nausea stuff in your IV with the chemo and its effects last for a bit. And when my mother was nervous for her first chemo they put some kind of anti-anxiety drug into the mix (it may have been Ativan) - it calmed her immensely.

Good luck and let us know how it goes. You sound like you have had so much going on, it's no wonder you feel overwhelmed.


Re: another one just diagnosed

thanks Joyce, geez, here I thought my biggest problems this year were going to be my returning to school and having to give my son "the talk".  A month ago he told me, with eyebrows animatedly moving and down, "you know what we learn about in 5th grade, don't you mom?"  yikes!  I had enough trauma buying his first athletic "cup"!

Re: another one just diagnosed

That's hysterical! I have a 4 yr old girl myself and I don't know what I"d do with a boy-- though they all come with their own sets of problems, I know.

One good thing that comes from these life-changing events is that it gives us a much better perspective, doesn't it? Worrying about a stain on the furniture or a fender-bender just doesn't seem worth it! Then again, I would probably still worry if I had to give my daughter "the talk"!!

I remember not long after my mother's diagnosis I was in the post office and the line was kinda long and people started getting real ugly and threatening the poor tellers and I just said, "Hey, we have to wait 20 minutes on line at the post office and some people are dying and in pain and half the world is starving and tortured and doesn't have two cents to rub together. Get some perspective!!!! "

What you're going through is a whole lot more important than a long line at the post office - that's what I'm trying to say.

I'm glad you have a therapist and your son does too - you need every bit of support you can get!

Re: another one just diagnosed

well, just passed through my first day of chemo and I still have my lunch and my hair!  smile I had Gemzar yesterday afternoon and although there are some rough spots, headache, queazyness, all in all not as bad as it could have far so good!
I know it's only the first time, but I am taking things one day at a time.

Re: another one just diagnosed

Good for you! Hope it continues going well! By the way, hair loss isn't a big factor with Gemzar like it is with some other chemos, I hear. There's one amazing guy on this board, JeffG, who has had different chemo regimens for 5 years or so, and he just started losing his hair from Taxotere. So maybe you can keep your tresses.