Pancreas Cancer Web

LALLON (update)

Well, since the last bio, a lot has happened. Dad had another needle biopsy, an ERCP, both inconclusive, then another CT scan after we got him appointments at Georgetown University Hospital. He saw a medical oncologist, radiologic oncologist and surgical oncologist and was scheduled for a whipple on August 9, 2002. He had a stent placed, but it clogged almost immediately. His bilirubin counts got up to the twenties. He quit eating and drinking and the itching nearly drove him crazy. His prostate also enlarged and we took him to the ER where they drained two liters of urine and placed a catheter. But he was slipping away and eating nothing and drinking almost nothing, so we were able to get him hospitalized early to at least be well-hydrated for the surgery. Surgery went well, but ICU was a nightmare. They couldn't find a bed for him, and when my mom saw him, he was so out of it, it totally freaked her out. He was better in the morning, but the meds just made him crazy. Once they took him off Ativan and morphine, he settled and starting the long process of recovery. It took a long time for him to start eating, so they placed him on TPN. Even when he wanted to start eating, he was draining too much and they wouldn't let him. Finally, they started tube feedings into his intestines, and while he didn't gain any weight, he finally stopped losing. It was probably two-three weeks before he could even get up and walk. He did not have a lot of pain, but was very unhappy and stayed very weak. When he was finally released from the hospital on Labor Day weekend, he want to a rehab facility for a month. He had a lot of trouble eating, but finally got to eating decently, and walking and getting up without trouble. He went home to Asheville NC at the beginning of October. It was a difficult journey for him, but I rented a big car and took him home while my mom drove their Toyota from Manassas VA. Once he got home, he got much better very quickly. But he never did post-surgery chemo/radiation. He was just not strong enough to handle it. At the end of November, his CT scan showed an enlarged head of the pancreas, which we were told was recurrence of the tumor and there were metastases to the liver. At the end of December, he started Gemzar, three weeks on, one week off. His CT scan in February came back clear and his CA 19-9 had dropped from 17000 to 11800. He started his third and fourth rounds of Gemzar and after the third, his CA 19-9 had risen very slightly to just over 12000. Doc says to do fourth round and check CT scan, which is where we are now. Dad takes Marinol; Oxycontin; did Megace for a while, but has stopped that; Zofran on a continual basis, fish oil capsules, and Celebrex. He gets out most days to walk and eats maybe 1000 calories a day. He receives night feedings in his j-tube still. He's been getting 1200 calories at night, but now that he's up to 168 (normal weight of 162, which he hasn't seen since last June), they're dropping back on the night time calories. He's fairly upbeat most days, but has always refused to try an antidepressant. We're optimistic, though realistic. We're trying to get him on Virulizin, but it hasn't been available since he started chemo. It's been a roller coaster, never knowing what the aches and pains are caused by, always wondering it cancer cells are roaming around his body attacking other organs, not knowing if he'll be here next month. But we've come much closer together as a family, have had lots of time together and are making wonderful memories. This has been an amazing experience that I would never wish on anyone.

Posted 03/25/2003 08:33 am by Lallon
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