Pancreas Cancer Web


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 children.

Posted 10/11/2002 07:43 am by Jennifer
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