Topic: We have had no time!

My father (age 70) was just diagnosed at the end of May 2006 with phase 4 bile duct cancer, and last week was given 3 weeks to 3 months to live! 
We need time to sort all this out!  This can't be true from a man who has been healthy all his life.
He is jaundiced, has two stents draining his liver, ascites, kidney failure and now internal bleeding!
He has been too sick to receive any chomo treatment, but finally on Friday started his first treatment with 5FU with Leucovorin.
Am I kidding myself to think there is any hope to spend Christmas together?

2 (edited by ukmember Mon, 11 Sep 2006 02:40:45)

Re: We have had no time!

I don't usually comment on the treatment proposed for anyone but in this case I feel that the signs you mention - jaundice, ascities, kidney failure and internal bleeding are so severe, that the additional discomfort of chemo will only make his last few weeks/months even more painful/uncomfortable.
My husband had very similar symptoms in the last weeks of his life but he died at home surrounded by family and without pain. See my post -A good death, in the In Rememberance thread. Maybe my husband could have had another few weeks but at what cost? In the event, he was adamant that he would not go into hospital no matter what the symptoms.

I would say, accept the inevitable and concentrate on making your father as comfortable as possible. I know that in my last weeks I would rather be at home able to talk to those I love listen to music, have a friend talk to me, read to me and enjoy my time, than sitting in a hospital with chemo being pumped into me, surrounded by strangers with only more nausea sickness and fatigue to look forward to.

Your father is very weakened by this dreadful illness and his ability to withstand the chemo will also be affected. Read the blogs to see some of the terrible side effects of chemo on much yournger and stronger individuals.

I wish you and your family all the best and hope that yu make the right decisions for everyone involved.

Re: We have had no time!

Hya all, I believe the person who has cc will know what they wish to do about this awful illness. Often it takes a long time to be diagnosed and during that time they appear to have some sort of intuition that they are seriously ill. I do hope that you are able to share some good times times together in the months ahead. I wish you all good luck and will be praying for you.
However, it is marvellous that some people are managing in some way to survive for different periods of time. This hopefully is going to be the way that we as relatives,
friends and supportors of this site will be able to make other people especially in the medical profession aware of this illness and the urgent need for a quick diagnosis and much more research. all my love and prayers teresa

U.K.Member

Re: We have had no time!

HI Mira

I was sorry to read about your father , but pleased to see that the Drs now feel he is ready to have chemo despite his symptoms . As he has decided to have the  chemo treatment  you should not have to accept the inevitable as suggested , he has decided to fight on and needs all your support .
My thoughts and good wishes to you all and I hope your Father can tolerate the chemo well.
Alison

Re: We have had no time!

The human will is amazing, and I would always give it credit to overcome great obstacles.  That being said, your father's symptoms are very severe.  Instead of focusing on a date that you wish to reach, just focus on spending as much quality time with your father.  If you focus too much on the ticking clock, it will shadow your final time with him.  Just love him and support him in whatever direction he takes.

30-something caregiver

Re: We have had no time!

Thank you all for your responses and support.  I didn't realise there was this type of support out there.  I will consider all the advice given.

I am definitely going to push that my dad comes home.  But I think we will continue the chemo, since we have been so anxious to be able to start.  But tomorrow when we meet the oncologist, I will tell him to be open and frank about what we're getting into.

My dad is so frightened to come home though.  The doctors have been helpful during his past 3 week stay at the hospital - They have given him the necessary transfusions to deal with blood loss; Albumin to help reduce his ascites; and medications to deal with pain, help kidney function and reduce nausia.  He's scared that when he comes home, there will be no support to counter his symptoms.

But he does need to be with his family in the familiarity of home.  As he has come to realise at this time, the only things that really count when all is said and done, is the love of family and friends.

Re: We have had no time!

I just had to write to let you know that my husband had symptoms similar to your father around 6-7 months ago.  He was retaining so much fluid he could hardly walk (the doctor said his kidneys and liver were failing), he had internal bleeding, blood clots, and also has two stents in place to help the bile drain.  He was so sick that the oncologist told us to call hospice.  Well, I'm happy to tell you that he has recovered from these ailments--the swelling in his legs and stomach is gone, his lungs have remained clear of fluids, the internal bleeding stopped and the clots have disappeared.  His most recent CT scan shows the tumor has shrunk about 50% and no new tumor growth can be seen.  A PET scan is planned for this Friday and we'll know then if this is true.  Whatever the results, we are happy for the extra time we've been given and will never give up hoping for more.

My message is this--if your father is willing to undergo chemo, support him.   Don't give up hope and stay positive--your father still has a chance.  Chemo may help and there are always miracles to hope for.

We will add you and your father to our prayers.  Good luck!

Re: We have had no time!

Juster, that was the shot in the arm we really needed.  Thank you for sharing your story with me, the situation you are describing sounds exactly like what my father is going through.  It helps reassure us that we are making a good decision to continue the chomotherapy.  I am so happy for you and your husband and to hear of the precious time you have enjoyed.

The other comments I received earlier also helped me prepare for a conversation with the oncologist yesterday.  He has warned me that we should prepare ourselves to the idea that we may not be able to continue the chomtherapy, as my father is very weak.  He wants to drain his ascites today to see if this strengthens him.  Painkillers are also to be increased to help him gain strength. 

It is really a one-day-at-a-time illness.  Every day brings new problems and new hopes.

Thanks all