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Old 10-05-2011, 10:23 AM   #1
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Default Bad news

Dear cyberfriends--

I recently learned that I have Stage IV gall bladder cancer, which is not curable but sometimes responds well to chemotherapy. I had no symptoms, so this is something of a shock. I start chemo treatments on Wednesday the 11th. I don't know how my body will react, so my presence may be limited and I don't know how much posting I'll do.

I'm okay with this, not scared, not panicking, just angry <g>. My poor husband of 46 years is definitely freaked out. It's much harder on the spouse than on the sickee. I have every reason to be hopeful that the chemo will have good results and extend my life until there are better treatments.

Because gall bladder cancer is rare, there aren't chemo regimens that are accepted as "best" and there aren't many clinical trials. In a sense, everything is experimental. They say they have medications that greatly reduce chemo's unpleasant side effects and there is good pain relief if I need it. Right now I'm feeling decent and when I'm uncomfortable, Tylenol takes care of it.

Anyway, I wanted you all to know in case I sort of disappear while I'm being treated.
--Judy M.

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Old 10-05-2011, 10:43 AM   #2
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Wow! I'm so very sorry to hear this. I hope that the chemo will do the trick and not have too many side effects...do keep us posted on how you are doing when you feel up to it...

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Old 10-05-2011, 10:50 AM   #3
Andrew B.
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Judy, this is shocking news. Or course, we will all hope for the best.

In 2008 I was diagnosed with two cancers. One of the best sources of information for me was the phone counselors at the American Cancer Society. I must have called them 6 times. The information I received was not just fluff. It made a difference.

All the best

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Old 10-05-2011, 11:24 AM   #4
Bo Aakerstrom
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Hoping for a positive outcome! My wife is a cancer survivor (she had chemo and Radium back in the mid 70's) and still going strong, so I know it can work out fine.

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Old 10-05-2011, 12:37 PM   #5
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So sorry to hear your bad news, Judy. Another resource you might find helpful is Dave DeBronkart's website. As ePatient Dave, he has done a huge amount of research and has been sharing his findings with other cancer patients for a few years now.

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Old 10-05-2011, 01:06 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear your news.

I am in a similar state, with metastatic (urinary) bladder cancer. I am just completing my third chemotherapy cycle (of six planned) with cisplatin and gemzar (which is what I think they also use for your cancer), and am finding it less unpleasant than expected. I do take the anti-nausea meds faithfully; playing the stoic ended up being really unpleasant.

Progress is unpredictable. A scan last week showed that all my tumors had reduced in size. The doctor had ordered the scan because he feared things might have gotten worse, so it felt as if I was beating the system at least a bit.

Try not to disappear. I checked acor.org and didn’t find any gallbladder-specific forums or mail lists (but their server is chronically down). The www.cancer.net site has basic information, but it is helpful to trade experiences with others — even those with only somewhat similar cancers. The chemo “pod” rooms can be a comfort (you may be spending whole days there; at least that’s how it works for me). I find oncology nurses to be amazing fonts of useful information and good practical comfort.

Let me know if I can help at all. I hope your husband finds comfort.

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Old 10-05-2011, 06:03 PM   #7
Steve Rindsberg
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I'm so sorry to hear this, Judy. My wife had two different cancer diagnoses last year, so I can at least offer a bit of Husband advice. Keep him busy, let him help. And if he's able, have him with you at the many doctors' appts you'll be sitting through. That extra pair of ears at a time when you're getting barraged by information can be very helpful.

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Old 10-06-2011, 12:01 AM   #8
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Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry, Judy! That would be shocking news, indeed, with no symptoms to give you any inkling. I hope the chemo will do its job without causing you too much discomfort. Much good advice here ... it's distressing that so many here are in a position to provide it so readily.


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Old 10-06-2011, 02:46 AM   #9
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Judy - I wish you the strength to come out the other side smiling, and hope your husband can also find the strength to pick himself up and help support you.
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Old 10-07-2011, 11:23 AM   #10
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Judy, I am so very sorry to hear this. I can imagine what a shock it must have been, coming out of the blue like that with no warning. There has been a lot of good advice given here, so you know there are some resources for you.

I agree with Steve. Keep your husband busy by letting him participate in your appointments and doctors' visits. Best wishes to you. I hope you will have a positive outcome and many more years of sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us.

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