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    katiecb shared an experience

    Drug or Chemo Therapy (Chemotherapy): My mom has done almost 2 years of chemo for her pancreatic cancer. She has been put in hospital for dehydration after the last two chemo's. They have a plan to avoid this next time, hopefully it works

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    katiecb shared an experience

    Celebration (PT Scans): The PT scans show no signs of cancer, which means it has shrunk, but she is still talking chemo every 3 weeks.
    Side effects: thrush in her mouth, hair loss has stopped (she still has hair, its just thin, no weight loss)

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    katiecb asked a questionPancreatic Cancer

    How long did chemo last?

    4 answers
    • pancrease54's Avatar
      pancrease54

      Sounds normal to me. Doctors many times discover that a second or third round of lesser known kinds of chemo get great results. I am certain your Mom has been told "Everybody is different" I did 6 months of 24/7 3 weeks on/one week off.(5FU) They tried to kill me but it worked. 2 days before the end of my last month I called my onc to tell him I was near death. Doc said to lay the phone down and pull the needle out of the port in my chest. When I picked back up Doc said it was good I called, I could have spent Christmas in the hospital. Not an exact science.
      Best of luck, sounds good!

      over 3 years ago
    • JMS's Avatar
      JMS

      Dear katiecb - your question is interesting to me because a coupleof days ago, I put one out there that's very similar. So, at least let me tell you what my doctors have said to me about your question. I don't know what your Mom is taking, but I'm now on Folfirinox (which is a combination of 4 chemo drugs). It's much stronger than the Gemzar I was previously on and takes much longer for the infusions. I now have 6+ hours of infusions at the hospital every other week, then go home with a slow-drip bag for the next 48 hours. I'm much more dizzy, exhausted, and feel considerably more nausea than previously. Also have issues with putting food or drink in my mouth (very painful, especially cold things) and cannot pick up or hold anything cold as my fingers begin to hurt as though I'm being stabbed.
      On the issue of how long the treatment period will last, my local doctor indicated I'd stay on this until the drugs didn't work or I could no longer tolerate them, whichever comes first. He might then switch me to a combination of Abraxane and Gemzar as a trial. My Johns Hopkins doctor has indicated much the same thing, with one exception: if my tumor markers come way down after the first 6 months, and my CT scan is clear, she'd consider taking me off chemo for a while to give me a chance to recoup., Then if the numbers start to go back up, she'd start me up again for another 6 months. There are no clinical studies on this - it appears. Also, since use of Folfirinox is fairly new for pancreatic cancer patients, the longest anyone has been using it is around 2 years, so this too does not provide much useful information. You might want to ask the second opinion doctor about on/off strategies and if he/she knows of any studies that indicate how long a patient might be able to put up with this chemo regimen (and what is the longest time his/her patient has been able to remain on the drug)?
      Hope this helps a bit at least. JMS

      over 3 years ago
    • JMS's Avatar
      JMS

      katiecb - let me at least give you the information I do have. I don't know which chemo drug your mom is on (Folfirinox or the Abraxane/Gemzar combination), but I can share with you what I learned at the Pancreatic Cancer Network advocacy day events held recently in Washington DC. There was a break-out session focused on new treatments and developments. The doctors touched on new techniques (such as the T-cells), but there wasn't much that was going to come out very soon. However, I asked them the question about how long was it reasonable to expect a Folfirinox patient to be able to remain on the drug and was it recommended to take a periodic break to allow the patient to regroup and build back up a bit (in other words, is there a point where the drugs designed to kill the cancer end up killing the patient as well because of the cumulative levels of toxicity building up over time). Both doctors agreed that it was a matter of quality of life and should the patient want to "take a holiday" (their words), there's no reason why that can't be done and, in fact, this type of approach is relatively common. For me, I'm having considerable difficulties from the side effects (I have a 6 1/2 hour infusion every 2 weeks, then a take home slow drip for another 48 hours) and cannot imagine how I might be able to manage staying on this regimen in perpetuity. So, I intend to take the periodic holidays as a means of pushing out the time period over which I can tolerate the drugs (and hopefully, at some point, some more effective and curative drugs will come along before it's too late).
      Perhaps your mother might ask about the periodic holiday approach at her second opinion appointment in July. Hope this is at least a bit helpful. JMS

      over 3 years ago
  • katiecb's Avatar

    katiecb wrote on Gizzy04's wall

    Hello, my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in October of 2012. She is currently going through chemo. If you want information on what she did or options out there, or just need someone to talk to, myself and others on this site are great. I joined the site for support and felt very welcomed! I'm sorry to hear of your diagnosis, but there are treatments available.

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    katiecb shared an experience

    Drug or Chemo Therapy (Chemotherapy): Mom has been doing really well on chemo. She went from chemo every 2 weeks and now every 3 weeks. She has only been sick once and that was last week. She is handling everything well and the side effects are minimal

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    katiecb wrote on kiki1875's wall

    Kiki, I'm in a similiar situation with my mother. I found out she is in stage 4 pancreatic cancer. It is difficult to go through a time like this. We all need someone to talk to. Let's use each other as a resource as our parents go through this long journey.
    -Katie