Topic: Newly diagnosed
My mother was recently diagnosed with CC. SHe is 79 years young, takes no meds and looks like she is 60. This diagnosis has completely turned our worlds upside down. In May, she went to dinner with her friends and woke up in the middle of the night vomiting. SHe thought it was a virus. It happened two more times over the next three weeks. Her doctor ordered a blood test to reveal that her liver enzymes were elevated. She had an MRI which revealed a 2.5x2 cm mass partially blocking her bile duct. The GP said it was probably cancer and that she had maybe a year to live. My Mom lives in Florida alone (my Dad died 5 years ago from lung cancer) so I had her fly up to me in Philadelphia because I felt that she would have better treatment here. We went to Jefferson Hospital where we had more CTs, blood tests. The GI told her chemotherapy would only extend her life 2 months and that she should have photodynamic therapy to alleviate her symptoms. He also wanted to do an ERCP and put in a stent. After much research, I got her appointments at Hopkins and MSKCC (of course they were on the same day as they only see patients on Tuesdays). We decided on MSKCC probably because I grew up in NY and it was familiar and we have friends in NYC. We saw Dr. Jarnagin who told my mom that her tumor was nonresectable at this time because it was encased around the portal vein and hepatic artery. He wanted to try chemo to try to shrink back the tumor and perhaps operate. SHe had a liver biopsy on Monday to identify the tumor and she sees an oncologist (Dr. Lowery) next week.
Jarnagin sees no reason to put in a stent because she is not jaundiced. Mom as lost weight (13 lbs) over the last 2+ months and she is very limited in the foods her stomach can tolerate. She belches frequently. She recently told me she sometimes gets dizzy when standing or walking up stairs.
It's so hard to see such a transformation in mother physically and mentally. SHe went from an extremely active person to someone who is often tired. It's also really hard as I am an only child and my mom's life is in Florida where she has tons of friends. Here in Philly she knows no one except my friends and my kids. She feels like a burden in our house and she has taken over one of my kids rooms. She and I both know that the care is here and that she will need my help once chemo starts.
I pray that the chemo works and she can have surgery and resume her life. I am not very hopeful that will ever happen. I am glad that I found this site and I feel for all of you that have to endure this terrible illness. My dad died three months after diagnosis. The only good part is that he did not suffer. He was in tremendous pain as it had spread to his bones. I am so afraid of losing my mom. We are incredibly close and I can't imagine my life without her.
Thanks for letting me ramble.