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My father-in-law Trajan is a 59 yr old who immigrated to this country from
Yugoslavia in 1977. He has worked hard his whole life and had planned to
enjoy retirement. In January 2001, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Surgery was performed to remove the rt lung, and luckily the cancer was
completely contained. No chemo or radiation followed. In June 2002 he was
experiencing severe heartburn and bloating. Underwent a ultrasound to look
at the gallbladder but ultrasound was normal. Only remarkable finding was a
lot of gas. On July 24th, 2002 was admitted to the hospital with severe
bloating. We spent 36 long hours waiting for an answer. Then the worst news
possible, stage IVA pancreatic cancer. They found a 5cm tumor in the tail of
the pancreas, and additional tumors in omentum and mezzentary (exterior fatty
'blanket' of the abdomen). There also appeared to be a 'positive' lymph node
in the remaining lung. He was immediately ruled out for a whipple procedure
because he is compromised (one lung). Underwent a biopsy to determine the
source of the cancer, and found out it was a secondary malignacy (not mets
from the lung cancer). We started Gemzar at the end of August, but within a
week we were back in the hospital to have the stent put in. His common bile
duct was blocked. It was touch and go for about 24 hours. We have just
completed the first round of chemo and will go for a CT next week. His pain
is completely manageable and we've had little problems with pain. His
appetite has suffered and we are trying to improve his nutritional status.
He still suffers from terrible heartburn and his stomach motility has slowed
down tremendously. We have tried the pancreatic enzyemes, protonix, reglan,
nexium and now prevacid. His pain is managed by oxycontin and oxycodone.
Oncologist has been blunt, and at initial appointment we were told there
was nothing she could do to 'save' his life. He was give between 2 and 12
months to live, although she said it could be more or less. Primary doctor
has been wonderful, completely supportive and made herself available to us
for all problems.
We are currently trying to decide if we should continue with chemotherapy
and will make a final decision once the CT scan results are in. The Gemzar
has caused only minor side effects, fatigue and loss of appetite.
My father-in-law's attitude fluxuates daily. We have just started paxil
for depression. The pain medication was causing his moods to swing. It has
been very difficult to explain and at times translate all of this to him. In
my father-in-law's language there is not even a word for pancreas. He is at
times angry that this cancer was 'missed' or not caught sooner, and he feels
cheated that he has been diagnosed with cancer twice. Other times, he is
angry and in denial. We do our best to get through each day.
My father-in-law has a son and daughter and four beautiful grandchildren.
We are doing our best to continue to create memories as a family. You hear
so often to appreciate life while it lasts. This couldn't be a truer case.
Don't live your life with regrets, spend each moment loving your family, your
Posted 10/11/2002 07:43 am by Jennifer
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