Topic: Close friend newly diagnosed
My very close friend was just diagnosed with distal CC. I know he is not a sibling or blood relative, but I really care about him as they are way too close to us.
Anyway he had been itchy for a month. Initial diagnosis showed mild jaundice, but Hepatitis tests turned out negative. The bilirubin level was 3 when he got tested. The doctor discovered a bile duct blockage. A metal stent was inserted and a biopsy performed less than two weeks ago. We were horrified when the biopsy results came back. He has been diagnosed with distal cholangiocarcinoma. His staging will be done this week at MSK.
Naturally, there are some things I do not know as I am uncomfortable asking him.
We are anxiously waiting for the staging. Because
(i) his only symptom was (rather severe) itching but no other symptoms,
(ii) as the initial CT scan showed a clean pancreas,
(iii) he is rather young (mid 40s),
(iv) the bilirubin was not all that high,
we're hoping that the cancer hasn't metastasized or lymph affected.
We're expecting that the Whipple procedure to be done later this month. What are we going to expect? Having read a lot of the literature on CC, I understand that he is in for a traumatic and painful experience.
I have not dealt with this kind of situation before. In what possible way can I help him (other than the usual household chores, car lifts, etc.)? Would he feel comfortable if I discussed his cancer? Or should I ignore all and act as if nothing happened, chat, watch movies, etc., to cheer him up? Any Do's and Don'ts?
Any suggestions, tips welcome.
Thanks in advance.