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Dad has liver cancer-6 to 8 months-inoperable-incurable...what do we do now?

Dad has liver cancer-6 to 8 months-inoperable-incurable...what do we do now?

Posted by Dadndaughter on Jan 12, 2021 9:31 am

Just found out yesterday that my 72(73 on Saturday) year old Dad has a 7cm(biggest one of a few) lesion on his liver and Dr said it was inoperable and incurable. Has grown from 5.5cm from Nov-Jan. This is after having rectal cancer 2 years ago which caused his rectum to be removed and he has been on a ostomy bag since. Then having part of his lower lung lobe removed because the cancer had traveled there the next year.
She offered us 3 options
1. start with chemo(which may or may not shrink lesion, but has been on chemo previously for rectal cancer and made him very sick)
2. monitor and try chemo later
3. as he is not feeling any symptoms, live out your time until such time that we need to make you more comfortable
A timeframe of 6-8months to 1 year was given.
Not sure where to turn. What are the next steps? What do we need to plan for? Where do we start? Is there any nutrition he can follow to make things "easier"? Is CBD something we should look into? What needs to be done to prepare for the inevitable? How do we know when things start failing?
Thanks for any advice...

Re: Dad has liver cancer-6 to 8 months-inoperable-incurable...what do we do now?

Posted by Trillium on Jan 12, 2021 12:41 pm

Hello  Dadndaughter‍ - Sorry to hear that your dad has come to this with his cancer. This guide from CCS may offer some answers.
https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/living-with-cancer/advanced-cancer/?region=qc

In this advanced group here you will meet others who are on a similar journey.
https://cancerconnection.ca/groups/home/75

WestCoastSailor‍  and Essjay‍  and Cynthia Mac‍  may be able to answer some of your questions.

Warm hug
Trillium

Re: Dad has liver cancer-6 to 8 months-inoperable-incurable...what do we do now?

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jan 12, 2021 2:50 pm

Hi, Dadndaughter‍ , I'm so sorry you've landed here in this "club." I was part of another dad 'n daughter team until I lost my dad last summer to metastatic lung cancer.

Your dad's treatment choices are his to make. When my Dad was given the option of chemo "at his age" (which was 78 at the time), I said to him, "Dad, this is your body, and your choice. If I was pregnant, I'm sure you'd say the same to me." Dad chose the chemo, and that gave me another 18 months or so to spend with him.

There are a lot of things that your dad might want to consider, and you can pass those along to him, if it will help him make his decision
- how is his overall health - if he's active (likes to play golf, putter in his garage, whatever), he might want to opt for the chemo, because he might have the physical stamina for it
- how is his mental health - is he up for this round? Is he tired and ready to move on?
- what does he feel about "such time that we need to make you more comfortable"? My mom was very pragmatic about death and dying, but I know Dad was kind of scared of it. 

8 months to a year isn't a great amount of time, and you will need that time yourself to adjust to the new reality facing you, regardless of what your dad decides to do.

I think one of the first steps, regardless of what he chooses to do for treatment, is to make sure his affairs are in order. Having up to date powers of attorney for care and directions for care to his physicians will make matters so much easier for you or your mom/ step mom if your dad gets to a point where he cannot make his own decisions, as my dad did. This is part of several hard conversations about what he wants toward the end. Some people want to be at home if at all possible, some want hospice care, and some actually want to be in hospital (but the pandemic has changed that one!) My parents even had set out which funeral home they wanted, and had purchased their plot and tombstone. Again, these are hard conversations, but they can really pave the way for a smooth transition when the time comes (and each of us will have our time come.)

I would also recommend that if your dad has a financial advisor, he have a good chat with that person. My dad set his finances up so that there was a minimum of estate tax to be paid. He may want to update the title of the house to protect his spouse or a dependent child.

CBD oil isn't for everyone, and it's most commonly used for pain. It didn't work for my dad, but some people get relief from it.

If your dad chooses chemo, nutrition requirements will mostly be to hydrate well, especially around treatment days, and follow the advice of his doctors. My Dad was told to cut out certain antioxidants (turmeric, vitamin C) and prescribed him other supplements to help with his treatment (vitamin B12 and folic acid). Other than that, Dad ate whatever he wanted, which was mostly steak and potatoes.

For now, I think your Dad will be able to communicate when things start failing. My dad started to have issues a couple months before he died when his mind "started to go." I was afraid that he'd developed brain metastasis, but no, it was just his body's way of helping him move on.

Again, I'm sorry that you have to walk this walk, even though it's inevitable that most of us will do so at some point. If there's anything else I can offer or if you have any other questions, please come back and ask. 
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Dad has liver cancer-6 to 8 months-inoperable-incurable...what do we do now?

Posted by Dadndaughter on Jan 12, 2021 4:04 pm

Thank you Cynthia. Is a crappy club to become a member of, but reading through your experience makes sense. Thank you for sharing this with me/us. And I am sorry about your Dad. Would give you a hug if I could... 🤗

Re: Dad has liver cancer-6 to 8 months-inoperable-incurable...what do we do now?

Posted by Lianne_Moderator on Jan 12, 2021 6:53 pm

Hello Dadndaughter‍ 

Welcome to the community. You have already had some great responses from Trillium‍  and  Cynthia Mac‍  . I too was part of a dad and daughter duo and lost my dad to cancer 27 years ago. I have also had my own diagnosis. Cynthia's list of things to consider is great when deciding what path your dad wants to take.

I wanted to share this link with you as well. Canadian Virtual hospice website has lots of information for navigating these types of decisions and other factors when in this situation.
https://www.virtualhospice.ca/en_US/Main+Site+Navigation/Home.aspx

I am sure you will hear from others on the site as well. Continue to reach out as you need here. We are listening

Lianne

Re: Dad has liver cancer-6 to 8 months-inoperable-incurable...what do we do now?

Posted by Dadndaughter on Jan 13, 2021 11:00 am

Thank you Lianne.

Is definitely overwhelming right now...