THE JOHNS HOPKINS MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS
Pancreas Cancer Web
I'm writing for my husband of 33 years. Tom is 56. He was diagnosed with
Stage IV PA with liver mets, and mets to lymph nodes in June, 2006. He had
no early symptoms. Mild stomach ache, occasional back pain. He started
losing weight rapidly in March & April. Our family doctor started running
tests the end of April. His blood work came back fine, all the tests came
back fine, until he had a Cat Scan. I'll never forget the day we went to the
doctors office and he told us that he had PA and we should see an oncologist
right away. The first liver biopsy came back inconclusive, all these tests
seemed to be taking too much time. His Onc. admitted him to the hospital to
get answers faster.
They did a pancreas biopsy and it revealed andeocarcinoma. It was still so
unbelievable and Tom was so sick. I remember thinking then the end was near
and so did he. It was just a mild setback. They gave him Reglan and Megace
to get him eating again and within a few days his appetite came back, he
gained a couple of lbs. and his Onc. was ready to get him started on
Gemzar/Cistplatin. Chemo was such a scary thought for both of us. He had
Cistplatin every week and Gemzar two weeks on and one week off. He handled
it very well. No nausea, no hair loss, just very tired all the time. He had
a small amount of pain in his back around to his side, but Vicodin took it
right away and he usually only took 1 or 2 pills a day.
We had a good summer. Tried to do everything he could handle. We are active
4-H leaders and he stayed busy at our county fair. He just became more
jaundiced all the time though. His Bilireuben kept going up. He finished
his gemzar cycles the end of Aug. and the Onc. ordered a cat scan. To our
dismay, the Pancreas tumor grew 1cm and more tumors popped up in the liver
while on Gemzar. He also became very jaundiced in the past 3 weeks. The Onc.
was not ready to give up. We took a week off chemo and she made us an appt.
at The Barbara Karmanos Cancer Ctr. in Detroit, MI. I remember thinking
maybe this was our answer. Labor Day weekend we went on a 4 day vacation to
a favorite spot of ours. He was sick though and spent most of the time in
the room. She had him try some enzynes and we think they didn't agree with
him. It was still nice being on the beach and just enjoying each other and
not running to chemo treatments.
We had the appt. Tues at Karmanos. Again to our dismay, the Oncologist at
Karmanos told us there was nothing they could do for us.
His bilireuben was 5.5 and his liver funciton was not good enough for Tom to
entered into any Clinical Trials. We were really disappointed.
We knew there are no cures, we knew we were in for a fight, but then to be
told we had nothing to fight with, was just too much.
We went back to Tom's regular Oncologist the next morning pretty depressed,
but she was not ready to give up. She said we could try 5FU with Leucorvorin
to boost it. Tom was ready to try anything, even if it killed him, he still
wanted to keep fighting. So he started the 5FU the second week of Sept. and
has had the 48hr. treatment everyother week since. He has some diarrhea, but
that is his only symptom. His bilireuben has gone down to 3.1, still too
high, but much better. All the jaundice he had has gone from his eyes and
He can't eat just anything, but he can eat enough to maintain weight. He
hasn't lost any weight since June. He's diabetic, was before, the insulin he
takes keeps it pretty much under control. His Aug. CA19-9 was 122, his Sept.
one was 119. Tomorrow, Oct. 24th we'll find out his months markers. He'll
have 1 more cycle of 5FU then another cat scan will be ordered. I dread that
Cat Scan. I just hope it's better than the last one. I feel like the
months are going so fast, never sure how much time he has left. He can't
work his regular job, but manages to keep busy. He and his brothers farm
1500 acres along with his dad and our son. So...he can only do what he can
do. For meds, he's still on the Reglan & Megace when he needs it. Prylosec
and has Vicodin for pain. He hasn't had a Vicodin in 3 weeks though. I keep
hoping this lack of pain and jaundice are good signs. We just take each day
as it comes and pray a lot. Our best to all of you that are fighting this
dreaded disease. We will update soon. Take Care and Prayers to you. Tom
Posted 10/23/2006 07:29 pm by Marie, Mich
E-mail Address: email@example.com
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