TomLand's Journey with Pancreatic Cancer

Patient: Pancreatic Cancer

Patient Info: Currently in active treatment (initial surgery, receiving chemo rounds/radiation), Diagnosed: over 5 years ago, Male, Age: 66, Stage IV

  1. 1
    • TomLand
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Doing Gemzar, standard of care.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  2. 2
    • TomLand
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    TomLand's Avatar

    Clinical Trial

    Randomized into standard of care only. Do 7 weeks of Gemzar, then a week off. Normal treatment is 3 on, 1 off.

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  3. 3
    • TomLand
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    TomLand's Avatar

    Decision Point

    My first real decision point was at 4 weeks nto the first series of chemo when the 19-9 indicator came in about 5% over the initial level. At that time I decided that was insignificant and stayed with the chemo program.

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  4. 4
    • TomLand
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    TomLand's Avatar

    Decision Point

    My second decision point was at the end of the first 7 treatment chemo series. The CT scan following completion indicated shrinkage in all tumors. The PET scan indicated the 7 tumors on my liver were now at liver background levels, no longer metabolizing at the cancer rate. The metabolic rate of the two tumors on my pancreas had also slowed but not as much. That made the expected difficult decision quite easy - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. As of 12/31/11 I have completed two of the next series of Genzar chemo treatments.

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  5. 5
    • TomLand
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    TomLand's Avatar

    Cancer is shrinking

    Celebration

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

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  6. 6
    • TomLand
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    TomLand's Avatar

    Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)

    Side Effects

    While Gemzar is not known for a lot of side effects I had some fever, shortness of breath, fatigue and nausea when I first started a- lasting about 3 to 4 weeks. As I have progressed I have experienced fewer of the 'expected' side effects. I have not lost my hair (what I had to start with) or been very ill from the treatments. The anti-nausea drug administered immediately prior to the Gamzar plays heck with my blood sugar levels for a few days after each treatment. I have been a type 2 diabetic for about 15 years prior to cancer diagnosis. What has become the biggest impact in my day to day life is quite unexpected for Gemzar - neuropathy. It has been worse in my feet than in my hands but the hands have become more involved recently to the point typing this is painful. I was never troubled by neuropathy from the diabetes.

    1 Comment
  7. 7
    • TomLand
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    TomLand's Avatar

    Side Effects

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    1 Comment
  8. 8
    • TomLand
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    TomLand's Avatar

    Celebration

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    1 Comment
  9. 9
    • TomLand
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    TomLand's Avatar

    Decision Point

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    2 Comments
  10. 10
    • TomLand
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
    TomLand's Avatar

    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    Well - finished the third series of chemo anyway. It is an open-ended treatment, basically as long as I can stand it and it is working I keep doing it. But finishing a series is an accomplishment. That is 19 treatments complete. I do scans next week and then follow up with the Doc to see if it is still working. I think it is so will probably start series #4 then.

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  11. 11
    • TomLand
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
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    Cancer has spread/Metastasized

    Oh No

    Scans at the end of my 3rd series of Gemzar treatment show it has lost effectiveness. New tumors showed up in bones mostly, vertebrae, hips and ribs to the extent one rib has fractured. This has brought on intense pain in my back and great difficulty just getting around.

    1 Comment
  12. 12
    • TomLand
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
    TomLand's Avatar

    Decision Point

    Following failure of the Gemzar treatment we discussed several options. I was all set up to try the Folfirinox treatment, another type of chemo that is proven effective with my type cancer. It also has much stronger side effects. The next morning the Doc called with some new alternatives. One is only available at Sloan-Kettering at the moment but sounds like it has good promise. Doc expects it to be available locally in the next 4 to 6 months. If it continues to show good promise I may switch to it when available locally. The third good choice is another study similar to the previous one only it is a blind study - I will not know if I have the test drug or not. The base drug is Capecitabine. This is FDA approved for colon and breast cancer but not for pancreatic - what I have. I know I will receive that drug. It is in pill form and is noted as having small side effects. This has been used some for Pancreatic cancer with good effects. The variable drug is Ruxolitinib, a new drug that is not approved by FDA for any treatment. It also is in pill form with few side effects expected. I decided on the third choice which allows me to stay at home as well as has good promise to kill the tumors.

    1 Comment