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Mom newly diagnosed and undergoing chemo


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My Mother, aged 74 was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer after finding a shadow on her chest x-ray for pneumonia in March, 2007. She has a CT scan, bone scan and biospsy to confirm. So far the metastasis is just to the liver. She is undergoing chemotherapy with Gemzar every 14 days. She has received Procrit and Luenasta for decreased RBC and WBC's. Her platelets have fluctuated but not low enough to prevent therapy. She has very few side effects from the chemo, just some cramping and mild nausea and vomiting just a couple times. She has stopped losing weight and eats regardless of her appetite. She is 5 foot 4 and weighs about 120 pounds. She is quite thin and frail, but has a great spirit. She did just have a rough couple days with perigastric pain that was relieved with Vicodin.

What I am looking for is what we might expect. I understand that even with the Gemzar her life expectancy is about 6 months, but was looking for any recent stories of people's survival rates. I am the primary caregiver and she asks me lots of questions. I am also a nurse, but an Obstetrical nurse. :D I have looked extensively online and found this forum. I think what I"m looking for is nayone that could give me an idea of what I might expect for her. Thanks

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  • 1 month later...

hi janet

i'm sorry to hear about your mum. My mother had a whipples op 3 yrs ago and a course of gem.She had 2 good years but now the cancer is back in the pancreas and has they think started to spread to the lungs.We are waiting for scan results to confirm this.In may last year she was given 4-6 months and had a further 8 treatments of gem and cisplatin.It was 2 weeks on then rest for a week. That was 12 months ago and although it ahs been a rollercoaster she is still going.We have had a bad couple of weeks with pain but i'm hoping we will get that sorted. When mum was first diagnosed like you i wanted to know how long but my mum is a fighter and i really think this makes a difference. The gem can be hard mum had a lot of diorreah but didn't lose her hair or have much problem with sickness.She did struggle with tiredness and didn't feel very hungry so struggled to eat. I hope this helps a little.Good luck to you both

Claude x

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thank-you for your response. My Mom is also a fighter. She has been on chemo for three months and is doing remarkably well! Diarrhea issues and occassional pain, but looking better everyday. She just had a rescan done and the tumor size has decreased. She has a very positive attitude, but still is anxious. I am away for a month so keeping in touch is important. She relies upon me for support and to go with her to her chemo and bloodwork. She wouldn't want me to change my plans, but she would like me to stay home. I'm afraid if I don't continue with my life and plans it would be a mistake, but I also feel I should be with her as much as she needs me. Stuck between a rock and a hard place!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear Janet,

What can I say I am so sorry for your pain. i Have just lost my dad to this disease, but believe me fighting is the way to go. My dads cancer was so advance it was end stage and I never thought of it that way. He went to ork after every chemo session, we ate out, celebrated each other, and really just LIVED. I always had a bag full of hope for us all and although I lost my Dad before I thought I would, we had QUALITY and that was because of hope and pulling together.

lots of love to u all


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