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This is my Mom's bio. My Mom is 75 years old and was diagnosed in Dec. '02
with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. My Mom had always been healthy except
for rheumatoid arthritis which she has had for the past 10 years and which
she has taken pretty heavy medications for.
My father was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the lungs in Jan. '00 and
passed away in Oct. '01. My Mom had enormous stress taking care of my DAd as
she so willingly did. When my Dad was sick and after he died my Mom was
losing weight (as of now she has lost about 45 lbs.) which we all attributed
to the stress and loss of my Dad. They were so close and did everything
together. She also seemed to have no energy but this we attributed to the
loss of my Dad and her rheumatoid arthritis.
In Dec. she started to feel very nauseous and had the chills and I also
noticed she looked a little yellow (or was I just imagining it??). Well, I
had to leave for a few days out of town for work and when I returned home she
still was not feeling well and she thought she may have a bladder infection.
She was having rust colored urine and light colored stools. I went to pick
her up the next day to have a lab test to check for bladder infection at the
suggestion of her physician whom I had called. WELL, she was definitely
YELLOW now....no question about it. I brought her to the E.R. quite frankly
against her will. At first they thought maybe she had picked up hepatitis
somehow. But after they did a CT scan it showed a mass blocking her biliary
duct which was causing the jauncice. She had no adrenal or liver mass and
kidneys looked satisfactory. She had no abdominal paraaortic adenopathy or
ascites and no pelvic mass or lymphadenopathy.
What I think is kind of strange is that she had blood work done just 2 wks
prior because of her meds she is on for the rheumatoid arthritis and nothing
Well, anyway the next day they put a temporary stent in which helped the
jaundice. And they scoped and took a biopsy. We had results of the
adenocarcinoma the next day. Diagnosis was 'invasive poorly differentiated
adenocarcinoma'. She had a 3mm mass in the head of the pancreas. It had
invaded the small bowel.
Her G.I. doctor really felt surgery was not an option for her because of her
age and because she had already lost so much weight. I don't
know.......maybe we should have gotten a second opinion. Although, we did
talk with an oncologist and he also felt surgery would not be appropriate.
My Mom wanted no chemo and I had to respect her decision. After seeing what
my Dad went through with the chemo for his lung cancer and how it didn't do
much for him except decrease the quality of his life she made the no chemo.
One month after the temp. stent she began to get nauseous and jaundice again
so she went back to have a permanent stent put in. Our question on this was
'why didn't they put a permanent one in the first place.' Now I know why and
that is because they have to be measured for size and ordered and then a
sales rep. goes into surgery with the docter and tells them how to do it or
such. It amazes me how all that can be done with that scope.
Anyway, as far as pain goes, she has not had much pain except slight pain in
her back. She also has an excellent appetite although doesn't like to eat
alot because it seems to go right through her. She has alot of bowel
movements which is really tiring her out at night when she is trying to get
her sleep. She said it isn't like diarhhea but sometimes she can't make it
to the bathroom because it comes on so quick. After questioning people on
this site it sounds like she may need to be taking some pancreatic enzymes.
We are checking with the docs on that.
Anyway, it had been about four months since her diagnosis and not much
happening with her except for the bowel movement problem and she also is very
tired and quite weak. Oh, she also has been getting some foot and ankle
swelling the past week. And she has had some very low BP readings....like
84/46......scary huh. Although, the BP goes up a little with the more
swelling of the feet. We have a hospice nurse that comes in once a week to
check on her. I do what I can for her as she is not ready for outside help.
I guess it is good for her to keep doing as much as she can around the house.
I don't like her going up and down the stairs but she says she is careful
and I guess as long as she feels she can do it; its ok. I am so grateful she
has no pain and I pray she will continue without it. My Mom is a wonderful
lady and we can only take it day by day and enjoy what we can in each moment.
She has taken this all so well, but I know she misses my Dad terribly. Even
though she loves all her children and grandchildren very much I know she is
looking forward to seeing my Dad again in Heaven.
Posted 04/24/2003 09:40 pm by lynn
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