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  • in reply to: My husband Kevin has cholangiocarcinoma he is 44. #48973
    rick-kamp
    Member

    My husband was diagnosed at the same time, he is 33. We have a 3 yr old and 16 month old. I also had to take over running our 2 businesses and our finances. I would much rather be a stay at home mom, but life more often than not doesn’t turn out the way we plan :-) You can do it! Do you have a support system? If so RELY on them! It will be the only way to keep your sanity. Do not be afraid to ask for help and accept it when offered.
    Also we go to Mayo clinic in Rochester, MN. I HIGHLY recommend them. We looked into treatment closer to home (MI) but the doctors here held out NO HOPE for us, while the Dr’s at Mayo are doing everything they can to extend and keep a high quality of life for my husband. Hope is a very important attitude to have and you need to surround yourself with people and Dr’s who believe that he can beat this thing.

    in reply to: Bad bad news from Mayo #47396
    rick-kamp
    Member

    Thank you all for the good wishes and to Kathy for posting the link to my caringbridge for an advanced update. It looks like the swelling that was seen on the CT scan is most likely not a growth of the cancer and there is no mechanical blockages anywhere. So that is good news. My tumor marker is still high, but it is the lowest it has been since – well it is the lowest we have ever seen it.

    So that is all very encouraging. I am still dealing with some ascites and there are mixed feelings on whether or not it is cancer related and how to treat it. I certainly hope that it will resolve soon and that it is not a sign of advancing peritoneal cancers. There are mixed opinions on all of that.

    Thank you again for all of your support. I continue to wish you the best in your own struggles.

    Rick

    in reply to: Devoncat no more #46208
    rick-kamp
    Member

    She will be sorely missed by many. Rest in peace, Kris. My sympathies to Hans and all of her family and friends.

    Rick

    in reply to: Teddy is at PEACE #45227
    rick-kamp
    Member

    Lainy,

    My deepest sympathies to you and your family. I pray that God will comfort all of you at this time.

    Sincerely,

    Rick

    in reply to: Mayo Clinic visit…..a big disappointment #44250
    rick-kamp
    Member

    Hi Marions – unfortunately, no, my symptoms have not really subsided much yet. I was hoping with the new chemo regiment that would help, but it now seems like my stents might be clogged because my bilirubin jumped and chemo was cancelled yesterday until that is figured out. I’ll post more on that in a differnent post in awhile. I’m not feeling so great today so just kind of taking things easy.

    Rick

    in reply to: Mayo Clinic visit…..a big disappointment #44248
    rick-kamp
    Member

    Linda,

    I’ve met with Dr. Rubin a few times and I understand how you feel about him. He gives you the hard truth, but it is hard to read between the lines. Especially if you haven’t had any tests done at Mayo. He really likes the tests to be done there. Since I am a Mayo patient, I think he may have been a little bit more accomodating since he could order tests if needed, see my history in their system, and talk to my other physicians. But I certainly do understand how you feel about him. I think he is a very talented Dr. but at the same time I feel like I want to tell him off for not taking charge in the case.

    Perhaps he just needs a little bit of a nicer bedside manner.

    in reply to: Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis – CC Screening? #43358
    rick-kamp
    Member

    zed,

    As both a PSC and a CCA patient, I would say that no screening is too much. The risks are very high. At the very least, you should have the bi-annual bloodwork done as well as periodic MRCP’s and anything else you can think of. If the bloodwork isn’t accurate, is it possible that it will be accurate if cancer were present? It’s a hard decision to make, but I would say the more effort you put into screening the better. If I had proper screening I may have been able to qualify for curative treatment, so this is something I feel very strongly about.

    Good luck to you.

    Rick

    in reply to: Do you have Pink Ribbon Fatigue? #43180
    rick-kamp
    Member

    I cannot agree more with some of the above. Granted every cuase needs a voice – it just frustrates me to no end that our voice is so weak and every time I see a pick ribbon it just bothers me to think that breast cancer is the absolute worst.

    Rick

    in reply to: My chemo experience Gezmar/Cisplatin #38261
    rick-kamp
    Member

    Kathy,

    I’ve been following this posting so thank you for keeping it up. I start Gem/Cis today. Leaving in about 20 mintues to be exact. I am of course very uneasy about it hearing about the harsh side effects but I am hoping for the very best. THanks for your previous works here. I’ll try to add where I can see fit.

    Wish me the best of luck!

    Rick

    in reply to: New treatment plan #40165
    rick-kamp
    Member

    Just a quick update here as we are ready to head out. Things aren’t going very well. Ascites is getting worse. I’m not able to enjoy the trip as much as I’d like. And my wife is getting frustrated with me as the ascites is both bothering me and causing some amonia buildup which in turn is causing a little bit of confusion.

    I wasn’t sure when I booked this trip if it would be one of our last big trips together as husband and wife so I was praying very hard that it would be a good one. So far, it hasn’t been super great. Only a day left – I hope it gets better fast!

    Rick

    in reply to: Kristin is gone #42725
    rick-kamp
    Member

    So sorry to hear about Kristin. It is strange how this can happen so fast and unexpectedly in some instances! My heart goes out to you Kevin and I wish there was something I could say or do.

    I am currently in the Bahama’s on our dream trip to Atlantis, but my wife has told me that I scared her yesterday and sort of ruined the trip due to some as I have had some unexplainded dellusionalism. It is really strange. I found myself preparing for things that I know now did not need to be done. It really scared her. And – I have a new buildup of ascites which is scary for me and I realize that this could be causing the symptoms such as buildup of amonia – But I never thought it could happen this fast!

    Sorry – I didn’t mean to hyjack your thread. I’ll create a new one.

    You and Kristin are in our prayers. You are very special peole here and Kistrin will be missed by many people. If there is anything practical that we could do to help, pleaes let us know!!

    RIck

    in reply to: New treatment plan #40162
    rick-kamp
    Member

    I have had some time to reflect more upon the news from this latest trip to Mayo. Overall, I have to say that I’m a little bit upset yet. I can’t seem to shake the bad news of advancing cancer in the peritoneum and the slight buildup of ascites. Although I did have some ascites at my original diagnosis a year ago, it quickly went away with chemo. Now I am back at the same point and it really frightens me that it has returned. Normally ascites is a poor prognostic sign and often indicates that the end is nearing. I can’t seem to shake that, even though I know that the upcoming Gem/Cis chemo treatment might help bring it back under control. I hope. I pray. I plead!

    So, I guess this is a rant of a post. I can only wait and see what happens after chemo starts back up but it sure would be nice to have some more evidence now. I leave for our much anticipated vacation to Atlantis on Thursday and I want desperately to enjoy my time there with my wife so I really need to kick this depressed mood to the curb. I lost a few good days to it already I’ll be damned if I let it tarnish a vacation of a lifetime. My wife deserves so much more than that.

    I wish I could learn better from so many of you here who have battled adversity and still have been able to enjoy yourselves and your special times. Maybe my funk is going to be short lived and I just haven’t had enough time to process it all, who knows. Blah!

    Thanks for letting me rant on. If any of you have positive experiences with ascites resolving itself or with chemo, please forward that to me. I could use some positive stories!

    Rick

    in reply to: Teddy Update #42593
    rick-kamp
    Member

    Lainy,

    You are such a great caregiver to T, and a great friend to us here. I wish that this was a better season in your lives, but I am continually amazed at how well you both seem to be handling things. I can only hope that as my time nears I will handle things as well as the two of you have and that my wife will be able to have the peace that you seem to have now. You both continue to be in my prayers for this phase in your lives and although I don’t know exactly what to pray for, I just ask that all of your needs are met and that you find the peace and comfort that you deserve right now.

    Thank you for keeping us up to date.

    Rick

    in reply to: New treatment plan #40157
    rick-kamp
    Member

    Now I have some more hard evidence of how the treatment has worked for me. The primary tumor in the liver is showing signs of necrosis. It has stayed about the same size, but it is less defined on imaging and not as dense. All of this adds up to a successful theraspheres treatment. Apparently, it will take several more months for all of the results of treatment to be visible but as of now it looks like it is inducing tumor death. I am hoping that it will kill of the whole thing or at least most of it and we should know that after my next scan in 3 months.

    Now on to the other news of my appointments at Mayo this week. I had a stent change and that went well. My billirubin was creeping up a little bit because the stents were getting blocked and it should now resolve itself. The not so good news is that the Oncologist that I met with here believes that the cancer in the peritoneum is growing/spreading. Not a lot, but it is gaining steam. There was some evidence of this on the CT scan and some of it he is using other evidence to draw the conclusion. I was not thrilled to hear this.

    My chemo regiment of Xeloda is going to get changed out. It was causing too much diarrhea, dehydration, etc. and combine that with the fact that the peritoneal cancer might be advancing and it is time for a treatment change. They are recommending Gemzar/Cisplatin. I was on Gemzar/Oxaliplatin last year and developped a reaction to the Oxali so I had to discontinue it, but it was working. I’ve heard that the Cisplatin is quite a harsh drug (more harsh than Oxali) so I am not looking forward to this new regiment. I am hopeful that it will be effective as it is for so many others but I am really dreading getting started with it. Right now I’m able to work a bit and feel a little bit productive and I’m concerned that starting this therapy is going to rob that from me. But nonetheless I will be getting started with it after I return from the vacation my wife and I are taking next week. If any of you have any experiences you wish to share about Gem/Cis, please feel free!!

    The last piece of news from my visit to Mayo is that I also have a little bit of ascites buildup next to my liver/gallbladder. It isn’t a significant amount, but it is there. I’m really concerned about this because it backs up the theory of peritoneal cancer growth and I really don’t want to deal with it. So I hope that it will resolve on its’ own – or at least it will resolve with chemo or diuretics.

    Rick

    in reply to: Question about New Procedure – Sir-spheres #41704
    rick-kamp
    Member

    Diane,

    I had radioembolization at Mayo, but I had the Therasperes instead of Sir-spheres. They use both, but they are extremely similar. You can pull up my thread and read my experience. I’m about 2 months post procedure now. There were some difficulties with it, but I’m still hopefull it was effective. I will know when I have my followup scan in a few weeks.

    I had insurance pre-approve the treatment which was a tricky process. I still went in to the procedure not know exactly what would be my portion of the expense. The total treatment, including planning angiogram, the spheres, and the treatment itself plus all of the other testing was around $95,000.00 at Mayo. It was not cheap. But luckily insurance did pay for most of it for me.

    Best of luck to you.

    Rick

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 135 total)