Jump to content

Nerve Blocks


Recommended Posts


My dad was diagnosed with pc and had the Whipples op Christmas 2010 followed by chemotherapy last year. Unfortunately the cancer has returned around the pancreatic area - cells are developing gradually which is good news and his vital organs are all currently clear but the cells are near a blood vessell (which I interpret as not good).

I used the site at the time of the Whipples op and many, particularly Juliana who is well known, treasured and much missed for many who use this forum, were very helpful in providing information and support. Since then I have felt quite 'drawn' to the site and followed threads regularly even in the few months where my dad was given the all clear and I felt like one of the 'lucky ones' and didn't want to think about pc. I was hoping I wouldn't need to use it for advice again....

Since the cancer has come back (got the news a few weeks ago) my dad has been experiencing pain in his back and tummy. The oncologist suggested the first cause of acion would be a nerve block in his back through an endoscopy. He had this last week and they said it would take up to 2 weeks for it to work. He has some really bad days where he can't get out of bed. We have had quite big expectations about the nerve block in that we think if it gets rid of the back / belly pain he will feel much better even though the cancer is progressing. I alos think that although he will have 'bad day' he shouldn't be in so much pain that he can't get out of bed.

My first query to anyone who has experience of the nerve block and how effective they are?

My second query is really about timescales. When the oncologist told us the cancer had returned he didn't give us any timescales. But I know that sometimes that is dependent on the doctors preference. Part of me thinks that if the timescales were short they would tell us. And I also think they might not know as it's in the early 'secondary' stages. My mum has indicated that she would like to feel better prepared about the time they have left. I'm not sure my dad is ready for this kind of information. Is it better to ask and know, or not.

Your thoughts are much appreciated.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi C

Welcome back to the forum, although I'm sure you don't want to be here again after your dad seemed to be doing well after his whipple and chemo.

It must have been very hard for you to hear that the cancer has returned. Sorry that you've had that news recently. I'm afraid I have no experience of nerve blocks, so I can't help with your question but maybe someone else on here will be able to help you. If not, you could contact Jeni, who is the Support Manager at PCUK, by emailing support@pancreaticcancer.org.uk.

Has your dad had any other type of pain relief apart from the nerve block? There are so many different painkillers available and things like liquid morphine and morphine patches. Have the doctors ruled out a second lot of chemo? It seems wrong that your dad is left in such bad pain until the nerve block starts to work. I do hope you get some answers as to why that is. I know what it's like to have to watch a loved one go through so much awful pain, so my heart goes out to you and especially your mum.

As for timescale, let's hope that the doctors haven't said anything because they don't think it is relevant at the moment. I'm sure, like you, that if they thought time was short they would want your dad to know, so that he could get his affairs in order.

Keep positive and I hope things will improve for your dad very soon.

Best wishes



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Ellie,

His painkillers are pretty mild at the moment I think - we're going to bring forward an appointment with the oncologist soon to discuss.

The doctors said he might be able o have chemotherapy but it will depend on how he feels at the time, I think they mean if it spreads to his liver etc then he could choose to have more then. At the moment they said if the nerve block doesn't work he could have radiotherapy on his back. iot's very diffiult to get the right balance between taking each day as it comes and pre-empting what might happen to feel 'prepared' for it.

You're right, staying positive is so important.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...


I dont get on the board much since my hubby passed away, but he had two attempts at nerve blocks, neither worked, we thought it was going to but alas they didn't. I ont regurgetate my post here, but you can search my posts, we are the 'Clair and Blue' threads.

I think there are a few different ways of doing these nerve blocks, Blue's were done where they injected the nerve with alcohol to basically damage/kill the nerve. The consultant who did it thought it would work cos although Blue was sedated he 'felt' them injecting the nerve (he moved a bit) but it really is a 50:50 thing.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for responding Clair.

Hope you're doing ok. It must be difficult to revisit the website. Although I find this site so helpful and supportive it also makes me feel so sad.

The first nerve block didn't work so after 2 very difficult weeks (we weren't told it would take up to 2 weeks to work) we went to see him again last Friday - oncologist was surprised as he said the guy that did it was sure it was successful. They're going to try again this week and try a larger area. Which makes me think that the cancer has spread (although they didn't say this). They are of the view (which I kind of understand) that the scans are pointless and it's watching for symptoms that's important. He said the nerve block had an 80% chance, but I think I'm done with the statistics to be honest.

We're now using Fentanyl which I have read about on this site and liquid morphine to top up. I felt a bit more positive after the appointment last Friday that they could completely manage the pain and had high hopes for the morphine but I'm waiting for a call from my mum now as dads having a really bad day and still in pain despite the patches and liquid morphine, which fills me with absolute dread that we can't even make him comfortable, and that maybe things are progressing quicker than we thought.

Sorry, bit of a ramble, one of those 'down' days.

Anyway, I do hope you've got lots of support around you when you need it, must still be so painful. I saw you're in Anglia as are we.

take care,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using our forums you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.