February 8, 2011 at 10:12 pm #47542hollandgMember
I would also like to welcome you to this wonderful site, were members share their experiences freely for the benefiit of all. I had a whipples in May 2010 – I spent 3 weeks in hospital following the operation and 3 months at home recovering before returning to work in August. I feel completely normal. A whipples is a serious operation but your friend is quite young at 40 (I’m 50) and hopefully will recover quickly.
People react differently when they hear the diagnosis but I believe you will soon know from your friend’s reaction how best to approach the situation. I absolutely hated people having pity for me or pretending there was nothing wrong. Where possible I encouraged open dialogue.
Please come back often and tell us how things are going for you.
Take care……………..GerryFebruary 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm #47547jathy1125Participant
Dear SDAS-Sorry you had to find this site, but it will be well of information and support for you. I am a cc survivor and like most cc patients I was very healthy and only 52 when I became very itchy. My diagnose was sooo unexpected. I was very lucky because I just happenned to end up in the care of a knowledgable doctor. I was immediately put in a clinical trial involving a liver transplant.
You need to ask lots of questions (even if you think they are redundant), take lots of notes and get second-third opinions until you find one you are comfortable with. Please use this site there is so much expierence and love here, we are always here to help and vent.
Sending lots of prayers_CathyFebruary 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm #47546lainyParticipant
Dear SDAS I wish to welcome you and your friend to our wonderful family. My husband had a Whipple 5 1/2 years ago. It is the largest surgery to the body but not life threatening. You can find out about the actual surgery by Googling Whipple. The recovery can take a month to months. My husband was sitting up the night of the day he had surgery and in the beginning he was sleeping a lot. Teddy’s only symptom for 2 weeks was itching that kept getting worse and then he also jaundiced. That week he was tested and the next week he was scheduled for surgery. His Pancreas was not involved however, the head of the Pancreas had to be removed to get to where the CC was. Teddy was 73 then and he also had clean margins. As to talking about it, some people like to talk as we did, it relieved a lot of stress for us. You might just ask your friend if he wants to talk and if he says no at least you have opened the door and when he is ready he will talk. All you can really do is to be there for him and when he is ready perhaps some grocery shopping and some meals. Will he have anyone helping him? Good luck and please keep us posted.February 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm #47545gavinModerator
Welcome to the site. Sorry that you had to find us all and I’m sorry to hear about your friend. As Marion said, you are indeed a very caring friend to look to find out more info about CC and I know how mich your friend will appreciate the support that you will give him from here. And the more information you find out the better informed you will be about everything, so please feel free to ask a ton of questions and we will al do what we can to help in answering them. But please remember that we are not doctors or anything that like so can only answer from a patients or carers perspective and from what we have learned along the way.
I have no experience of the Whipples procedure as my dad did not have surgery of any kind, his CC was deemed inoperable from diagnosis. But many of our members here have experience of the whipple and I know that they will share their thoughts and experiences with you. Also, we have a great search function here on the wbsite and if you use it and type in whipples then many discussions will come up from our members for you to read.
My dads CC did not show up at all until he had symptoms similar to your friend, his eyes and skin turned yello and he got the horrendous itching as well. He then spent over 3 weeks in the hospital getting all the tests before CC was diagnosed. He also had a metal stent inserted and this helped get his billirubin down and that also helped clear up the itching.
Like you, I had never dealt with this situation before my dad was diagnosed and also had never even heard of CC. The best thing that I could say to you in helping with your friend is just to be there for him. If he wants to talk then listen to him but I wouldn’t push anything right now. No doubt this will have come as a massive shock to your friend and he will probably be struggling to deal with it right now. But once the shock of it all wears off then the fightback can begin once a treatment plan is in place and your friend will appreciate you being there beside him. That is great that you will be able to help out with chores, lifts etc, but what I would do right now is just be there for your friend and see how he wants to handle things right now.
And please feel free to come back here as much as you want.
My best wishes to you and your friend,
GavinFebruary 8, 2011 at 6:52 am #47544marionsModerator
Hello sdas….and welcome to our site. The questions you are asking are indicative of a caring friend.
There are, who have undergone whipple surgeries and we have reports ranging anywhere from “feeling like being hit by a truck” to “it wasn’t all that bad.” These surgeries are quite invasive to the body and generally the recuperation varies from a couple weeks to a few months. Your friend is quite young therefore; he may have an easier time with the process of getting better. The first few days are the most difficult, but every day thereafter things most likely will become easier.
There is a universal feeling of feeling helpless when someone we love has cancer. These are a few tips I have taken to heart:
Sometimes the best way to communicate with someone is to just listen.
This is a way of showing that you are there for them. It may be one of the most valuable things you can do. And it’s important to be supportive to whatever your friend wants to say.
Many things will evolve as you go. Being there for your friend is the most valuable gift you can make to him.
Others may soon come along and share some of their thoughts with you.
All my best wishes,
MarionFebruary 8, 2011 at 4:34 am #4738sdasMember
My very close friend was just diagnosed with distal CC. I know he is not a sibling or blood relative, but I really care about him as they are way too close to us.
Anyway he had been itchy for a month. Initial diagnosis showed mild jaundice, but Hepatitis tests turned out negative. The bilirubin level was 3 when he got tested. The doctor discovered a bile duct blockage. A metal stent was inserted and a biopsy performed less than two weeks ago. We were horrified when the biopsy results came back. He has been diagnosed with distal cholangiocarcinoma. His staging will be done this week at MSK.
Naturally, there are some things I do not know as I am uncomfortable asking him.
We are anxiously waiting for the staging. Because
(i) his only symptom was (rather severe) itching but no other symptoms,
(ii) as the initial CT scan showed a clean pancreas,
(iii) he is rather young (mid 40s),
(iv) the bilirubin was not all that high,
we’re hoping that the cancer hasn’t metastasized or lymph affected.
We’re expecting that the Whipple procedure to be done later this month. What are we going to expect? Having read a lot of the literature on CC, I understand that he is in for a traumatic and painful experience.
I have not dealt with this kind of situation before. In what possible way can I help him (other than the usual household chores, car lifts, etc.)? Would he feel comfortable if I discussed his cancer? Or should I ignore all and act as if nothing happened, chat, watch movies, etc., to cheer him up? Any Do’s and Don’ts?
Any suggestions, tips welcome.
Thanks in advance.
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