We knew it was coming but it still came as a shock. My wife’s liver cancer is not responding to treatment, the tumors have grown yet again and her oncologist has run out of types of chemotherapy to try. We were told when the secondary cancer in her liver was discovered almost 12 moths ago that the outlook was grim, but as long as treatment continues you still have some hope. Last Monday, my wife asked the question she has never wanted to ask before: how long? Three months was her oncologist’s estimate. Three months! What do you do? My wife is an incredible woman: that afternoon she told our children. She thought it best for them to know now rather than for them to learn it from the palliative care team at the family meeting they want to have with us all next Monday. My daughter sort of knew; my son who has been in denial exploded with tears and anger (he punched a hole in wall!). God it was awful. The medical profession and organizations like the cancer council have done a really good job at convincing us and the wider public that cancer can be cured, that you can survive. It was a great slogan ‘cancer is a word not a sentence’. The trouble is some words can be a sentence. I am now in the process of arranging to take 6 months off work.
6 Comments
Frequent Contributor
Hi John, Sorry to hear this. Is there any clinical trial that your wife can participate? How about second opinion? I know only a bit about brain cancer as my partner has it. We were told 3 months ago that standard treatment didn't work and he hadn't had much chance - 2-3 months if we do nothing. However, there are a few chemo he can try. We've decided to go with a clinical trial after we seek a second opinion. In the worst case scenario, we can still try other chemo if the trial drug doesn't work but it doesn't work the other way around. Wish you and your wife all the best.
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Super Contributor
So sorry to read this . Some do survive cancer for a long time ,some are cured but for many we know that is not the case. It is never easy but for some like you and your wife it it devastating. I hope the palliative team give you all what you need to get through this.
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New Contributor
I think your wife is very brave to have asked this question. We are at the same point with my mother-in-law. In her case she simply can't handle any more chemo and is content not to have any more. But none of us have been able to get the words out in any of our appointments, even though the question is there preying on our minds all the time. So in some ways, your wife's courage is a blessing to me too. Although obviously every patient is different, your sharing this part of your journey gives me some kind of framework to apply to us. I know we have to work up the courage to ask this, maybe at the next appointment with palliative care....Thank you for the example of courage you and your wife are. I hope all goes smoothly for you to take the time off work.
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Contributor
When the Folfox was discontinued to give my wife a break from the Oxaliplatin and the fear of increasing peripheral neuropathy, she was put on Folfiri, the CEA went up from 8 to an upward trend. The Folfiri had no effect, back to the Oxaliplatin we went, the upward trend continued. My wife being a GP knew it was not good. It was never good, from the day of DX 2 years prior it was palliative and now here we were, close to the end. I of course was in denial. Her liver was compromised partly because of the lesions and partly due to the chemo. When the fluid retention started in dec last, I took her to hospital and the CT wasnt good. My lovely wife asked the question to the oncologist if it would be long, he said no, it wasnt, just a few days. A couple of days later,I was holding her hand, telling her I loved her when she took her last breath, and the light left her lovely blue eyes. She was 58. My wife didnt suffer, the IV morphine took care of that. How in hells name did we end up here,I had no answers. What I did know is that I would have swapped places with her on this journey from hell, in a heartbeat. It is a time for which there are no words to describe JohnK, without doubt the most terrible time in our lives. I will tell you to be strong, I cannot, I cry every day and Im 64. Love your wife dearly, where there is still life there is hope. Wombat4
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Contributor
Hi johnk- I am sorry! Just enjoy every moment- a great idea to take time off work..... Just love and be loved......I borrowed that from someone, but it works for me. My husband is back in hospital for unexplained internal bleeding.......we have asked that question but have no answer as his cancer is so rare. But remember to take care of yourself too.....and your kids who are obviously hurting. Peace and hugs heading your way tonight..... PA
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Contributor
Hi JohnK, If you read my replies on this page you, you will know what 2 types treatment regimes my wife was on. They stopped working eventually. At a meeting with the oncologist late last year, he said he had run out of options, except there was an " old fashioned " chemo that could be tried. My wife who had had chemo every 2 weeks for 2 years accepted the fact that the disease was progressing rapidly and nothing was going to halt it, so she declined, and chemo was stopped. When we were told of the 3rd chemo, I did some research on it, I do not remember the name, but that could be obtained. It was a chemo that was first used in the 1930s, a German scientist did the research and started to use it. It is extracted from the mushroom plant. It was offered to us, so it must still be available and still used. Wombat4
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