|*DISCLAIMER: This page is an unmoderated forum, and the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Patients are advised to consult their personal physicians before making any medical decisions. |
One thing I would recommend.... ask your oncologist if there is a Palliative Care doctor that works with cancer patients in your clinic that could join your 'team' of doctors. You really need a team, as oncologists like to focus on the chemo and often has less time/expertise to address other issues that come up. I recommend keeping your primary care doctor in the loop, finding a good gastroenterologist to have at hand in case you need them, and a Palliative Care doctor.
In the past Palliative Care doctors only worked with people who were no long getting treatment for their cancer and/or were in Hospice programs. But now, good cancer centers/clinics are starting to employ doctors with specialties in Palliative Care who can help you at all stages of your fight. Palliative Care doctors help treat all of the 'quality of life' problems that affect how you feel every day. These include pain, fatigue, sleep, mood, appetite, nausea/vomiting/constipation and many more. They are also a great source of support and can help you talk/think through your choices at different stages of treatment.
You want to feel as good as possible so that you can tolerate your treatment/chemo. And you want to feel as good as possible, because then you can continue to LIVE your life. What's the point of fighting if you feel like crap?
Also, studies in people with Stage 4 cancer (like you) have shown that you live longer and are happier if you have a Palliative Care doctor working with you.
But sometimes these doctors can be hard to find. If you don't have one available, then look for other sources of support if you need them..... If your mood is low, ask about the psychiatrist/counselor in the Cancer clinic. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to ask for help if you are feeling depressed... and remember that 'depression' can manifest as difficulties sleeping/fatigue/change in appetite/irritability and more. Depression is ALSO is symptom of pancreatic cancer... and is sometimes the first symptom of the disease. It must be treated just as aggressively as nausea or pain. Most cancer clinics have additional specialists in things like nutrition and pain, so keep this in mind.
Hang in there. You can do this. Ask for help.
Reply to this message | Return to Main Message List