Stage IV Uncertainty


Today, my dad starts chemotherapy.

Three weeks ago, he was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic pancreatic cancer. The days that have followed since then have been filled with uncertainty – how far has the cancer spread, how difficult will the treatment be, how will my dad hold up, given his health history.  Many tests and scans later, it seems as though the cancer has only spread from the pancreas to the liver, so it may be that it was caught “early”, which is only nominally good news. Metastatic cancer is still metastatic cancer. And pancreatic cancer is a disease with poor outcomes, even when discovered early.

So, with all that, today, my dad starts chemo. What we know for sure is that the plan is to have 12 rounds of Folfirinox. He will receive this chemo through a port every 14 days (this is the same schedule I was on). The challenge with chemotherapy is keeping up your energy level, being able to eat and drink and sleep. It takes a huge toll on your body, and your brain. Because my dad witnessed this with both my mom’s battle with breast cancer and my last battle with Hodgkin’s disease, I have a sense that he understands what is coming. He seems generally upbeat and ready for this step to start, even with all the ups and downs of already needing to have his port replaced and the massive array of tests that he has gone through.

All of this started just a few weeks ago.

There has been uncertainty up to this point.

And there is uncertainty going forward.

We are at Stage IV uncertainty.

Please watch this blog for updates on my dad. I have invited him to add his own message here as well. I will also be adding, for our friends in Bangor, a link to a ‘help’ page that my mom is putting together, if you’d like to help with rides, meals, grocery shopping, lawn mowing, etc. All of that will be greatly appreciated. In the meantime, please know that your thoughts and prayers are appreciated and cherished.

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5 thoughts on “Stage IV Uncertainty

  1. I am so very sad to hear this, Andy. I have had many friends with pancreatic cancer and share the sadness that the outcomes are generally not great though just had a friend who lived well with it for over five years. I’ll get the Prayer Ladies on it right away. Much love to you all.

  2. You are so inspiring Andy and I hope you draw strength during this difficult time from all of us out there who love you! You are on my mind daily and I am keeping your dad and your family in my thoughts all the time. See you in less than two weeks.. xo.

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