F*** You, Cancer! Catch all

I spoke to my mom a few hours ago and the results are finally back, my grandma has pancreatic cancer. It has been a two month journey just to get to this point and it has been so tiring.
It started with my mom noticing that grandma was looking a bit yellow and had been losing some weight. Grandma was sure it was just because she had been so busy helping her sister, she hadn't been eating and drinking as she should. My mom, who has been working in the medical field for longer than I've been alive, had a hunch it was more than just that and talked her into speaking to her doctor. After a handful of tests and scans and more appointments, they said her bilirubin levels were getting pretty dang high and also she has a quarter size mass on her pancreas. So off she went for a biliary stent and also biopsy of the mass.
That Saturday, August 31st, my mom calls me to tell me that grandma is unresponsive and is currently at the hospital. Jaundice is in full effect, she has dropped probably about 40 pounds in a month, and as the doctor said, "I've never seen bilirubin so high before." That was a difficult night. She responded relatively well after a few days of treatment, enough to be (mostly) coherent and eat a little, but things were/are obviously still grim. She remained in the hospital until a few days ago, because there was nothing more they could do for her. Her liver and kidneys are on the brink of failure, chemo would not really do anything, she is in no condition for surgery. The oncologist my mom spoke with said she likely will not see the new year, and the best option we have is to let her go home and consider hospice.
We are not surprised that it is cancer, we kind of expected it honestly, but god this all sucks. She has survived cancer before, but at her age and her current state, I'm not hopeful she'll win round two. So that's where we're at right now. Figuring out how much it's going to cost for us to drive up next week and get a hotel for 3 or 4 days, and what we need to do to help her and also my mom, who has been dealing with most of this situation herself.

I'm sorry to hear, St. Hillary. Wishing her as much comfort as possible in the days to come.

Well said, Boog.

*hugs to all*

So sorry to hear Hillary, best to your family.

I'm working from home with my son the next couple of weeks as we're into a little stretch of newer chemo meds and injections with his treatment while the missus gets the other kids where they need to be and picks up hours herself. It's a war against nausea, low counts/weakness, and feeling down in the dumps that he's not in school with his friends, but at least we're fighting it at home and not in the hospital right now.

Pro-tip for anyone else fighting the war and needing another weapon for nausea: Marinol (a THC product that gives the munchies and punches nausea in the face but doesn't get you all that high) has worked wonders for him. I highly, highly recommend it. Twice a day AM/PM and it flattens your nausea peaks/valleys considerably.

We had another LP/spinal treatment Monday. He's been put to sleep so many times I've lost count, but you never, ever get used to the moment when your kid goes limp in your arms and you have to leave them on the bed. It breaks you all over again each and every time. They always draw a CNS sample when they do this too. Since relapse we always agonize, lose sleep, etc. until we get the call (usually Wednesday the week of) that it was clear.

He was supposed to ring the bell in September for end-of-treatment, and we're just beginning again. Almost daily I emotionally flip-flop between lowering the wall and being all-in for every second of his life and running away just to preserve what little sanity I've got left and desperately protect myself should this all unravel.

f*ck. Leukemia.

Wizard, I'm so sorry you and your baby are dealing with this right now. Much love and support to you all. f*ck leukemia indeed!

Hil, my sympathies as well. That is never an easy choice and your mom is lucky to have you.

St. Hillary, so sorry to hear about your grandma. I lost mine to cancer last year, and my father-in-law in May of this year. Many prayers for strength headed your way.

Wizard...f*ck leukemia. I can't even imagine what you're going through with this happening to your child. I'd be a 24/7 rage monster if it was my daughter.

My own continuing adventures with cancer have moved on to a new chapter. I was on IV chemo (5fu+iranotecan) since October of last year. Since then the tumor has grown and spread. Blood marker went from 12 to 26, then last week suddenly jumped to 70. My oncologist has taken me off the IV chemo and put me on an oral medication (Stivarga). About halfway through the first round (three weeks on and one week off) and the side effects are much milder, but I almost worry that means it's not doing anything. The downside is this stuff only very rarely reduces the size of tumors. They said really the best we can hope for is that it stops growth completely, but more likely it will just slow it down.
*Sigh*

f*ck all cancer.

bighoppa wrote:

the side effects are much milder, but I almost worry that means it's not doing anything

God we've wrestled with this so much in the last 3 years. Our doctor knows it endlessly tortures us and joked that she wanted to print us t-shirts that said "Toxicity != Efficacy" just so we'd be able to chill ourselves out more at home.

It's so ironic hating the fact that your kid feels awful but at the same time having the odd reassuring feeling that it must all be "working" because of the fact...same goes for being ecstatic when he's feeling good enough for school or playing outside but also worried it's not working at that moment and bad cells are furiously dividing.

Best of luck man, I hope the new drug's the jolt your body needs to shut the tumor factory off.

Yes, F Cancer!

The lesson here is to not wait to live life. My mother lost her battle with cancer last week at the age of 65. A year ago you wouldn't know anything was wrong. My parents were married for 46 years and were just getting ready to retire and finally do something with all their lifetime of saving.

Mindcloud wrote:

Yes, F Cancer!

The lesson here is to not wait to live life. My mother lost her battle with cancer last week at the age of 65. A year ago you wouldn't know anything was wrong. My parents were married for 46 years and were just getting ready to retire and finally do something with all their lifetime of saving.

Yup, cancer took my dad at 55... he never retired, just spent his last few years on LTD (long term disability), and his last few months in hospital. I don’t have, even remotely, the same lifetime exposures to “less than healthy” stuff, but my current plan is to retire at 55 (ie: ASAP).

f*ck cancer

WizardM0de wrote:

He was supposed to ring the bell in September for end-of-treatment, and we're just beginning again. Almost daily I emotionally flip-flop between lowering the wall and being all-in for every second of his life and running away just to preserve what little sanity I've got left and desperately protect myself should this all unravel.

I am hoping the best for you and yours.

bighoppa wrote:

They said really the best we can hope for is that it stops growth completely, but more likely it will just slow it down.

Sorry to hear about all of this, bighoppa. I hope the best outcome is what you end up with, buddy.

Mindcloud wrote:

The lesson here is to not wait to live life. My mother lost her battle with cancer last week at the age of 65. A year ago you wouldn't know anything was wrong. My parents were married for 46 years and were just getting ready to retire and finally do something with all their lifetime of saving.

I'm sorry for your loss, Mindcloud. I hope she was able to enjoy the company of her family and friends to the last.

I hate cancer. A lot of friends of mine, especially those with a healthy lifestyle, died from it.

Far too much activity in my least favorite thread. Wishing strength and peace to all dealing with this a$$hole of a disease.