Pancreas Cancer Web


My Dad was diagnosed with pc in late August, 1998. Dad was 70 years old,and very active in spite of a 10 year history of angina and 2 years of non-insulin dependent diabtes. He walked 2 miles a day, golfed frequently, and was active in a myriad of community organizations and his church. He had complained of feeling tired, not having his usual energy for several months. In July he developed back pain, thought he had arthritis. The doc ordered x-rays, then a CT which showed a 4 cm tumor and mets to lungs, liver, and lymph nodes. A needle biopsy confirmed adenocarcinoma. Although the doc was not optimisitc that chemo would help, it was important to Dad to try and fight the disease. He started on Gemzar in early September. During the first round (treatment 1 x week for 3 weeks) Dad experienced severe nausea, vomting, dehydration, and fatigue. He aslo developed pneumonia. His veins reacted badly to the chemo - so they added benedryl IV to his treatment - which made him very sleepy. Dad also had problems with pain medications, hallucinated on morphine. This improved when he switched to Durcogesic patches with Dilaudid for breakthrough pain. He felt better during the week off between rounds, and we all began to be hopeful. Dad again became very dehydrated after the first treatment of round 2, requiring IV fluids. He went ahead with the second treatment on schedule. Two days later his blood pressure began to fall. The Visiting nurse sent him to the clinic for fluids - this time it didn't help. After 8 hours of hydration he was hospitalized in partial renal failure, we didn't know if he would live through the night. Dad stabilized, with additional IV treatment and blood trasfusions. After 3 days we brought him home on with Hospice care. Dad was bed bound when he left the hospital and still requireing IV fluids, but he gained some strength and was able to ambulate a bit with a walker, ride through the house in his wheelchair, and nap in his recliner. My mother was Dad's primary caregiver, with lots of support from my 2 sisters, brother, my husband, and me. We took turns staying with them, making sure someone was always with Mom and Dad at night. Family friends rallied and helped take shifts, brought meals, and ran errands. With their support and all of us working together we were able to keep Dad at home. He died 16 days later, surrounded by his family. Our last few weeks together were incredible, full of love and laughter along with the pain. As much as I hate pc and miss my father, I will always be greatful for the gifts of this time together.

Posted 01/15/1999 03:35 pm by LizG
E-mail Address:

Return to Main Message List

No replies on file.

*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.

Pancreas Home | Surgical | Medical | Basic Sci | Docs | Registry | FAQ | Appts | Chat

Feedback | Pathology Home | Oncology Center Home
Copyright © 2022 The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
Last Modified: 11/11/2002 10:50 am