Stomach cancer at 34: About to start chemo and nervous
Hello im Juan and was told December 14 that I have gastric Adenocarcinoma, i am 34 years old and starting chemo withing the next week or so. My oncologist says the treatment will be intense. I'm very nervous about treatment but i also would like to get cured of this.. anyone here has or has had a similar experience?
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Hello Juan well sorry to hear about your stomach cancer I also had gastric adenocarcinoma diagnosed in March of 2022 I had 4 rounds of chemo FLOT than a pet scan and my surgeon said chemo really was killing my tumor so he had me do 4 more rounds of chemo FLOT total of 8 I had side affects such as hair loss of course,nausea and nerapathy in my hands and feet than had my surgery which was a total gastrectomy full stomach removal in August it's only been 5 months but I am cancer free so it's all worth it listen to your oncologist keep up on fluids and eating well and try and stay active and a positive attitude it really helps. Before surgery I weighed 190lbs today I am 156lbs and holding my surgeon told be I could loose about 30lbs he was pretty close. I could go on I look at the Mayo Connect every day so I will look forward to your post to see how you are doing take care stay strong. Dave
Hi @juand, I'd like to add my welcome along with @davidday1965.
I can imagine that you're nervous about chemotherapy, especially if the oncologist says it's going to be intense. Just remember that everyone is different. I'm also tagging fellow stomach cancer patients and caregivers like @twocents @kbcutiepie @nrocpop @lastbelle so they can share their tips on what helped get through chemo.
Juan, have you started chemo now? How are you doing?
Sadly, I have cared for two stomach cancer patients already. My husband got relief from Zofran and from rest. He had some very rough chemo as they were going for a cure with him. Sometimes, going to the chemo center for an infusion of fluids gave him some relief. He did have some side effects like neuropathy and hair loss that are much better now. He was diagnosed in January 2021. My husband also had to get chemo-radiation. I don’t know if you have to get that or not. He got that after the chemo.
My mother got palliative chemo. She had diffuse gastric cancer. The anti-nausea medicines actually made her worse, I am sorry to say. We found a combination of other things she would do before chemo that seemed to help her (even though no one recommended this approach). For her, some Dramamine and sea bands before the chemo seemed to lessen her symptoms. She also tried hard candy type things like Queasy drops and ginger chews. At first she liked them but then seemed to associate them with chemo and did not like them any more.
Please respond to me if I can be of any help or reassurance. My husband had to get a total gastrectomy and is still fighting the fight. His brother had the same thing in Venezuela. My husband was found to have Lynch syndrome from a genetic test and warned his siblings. His brother’s cancer was found at an earlier stage and he is doing very well after his chemo and gastrectomy.
If you have to get a gastrectomy, I can tell you more about that if you like.
Sometimes, especially if your chemo drug is platinum based, it can cause nausea.
I would strongly recommend a anti-nausea medication called Emend.
It worked wonders for me after I had a not to great experience after my 1st chemo.
I was told about Emend by a fellow cancer patient and I strongly recommend it.
You are young so I’m going to say you should do very well with your cancer treatments. I wish you the best during your journey and also suggest joining your type cancer group. It’s truly a great comfort and you learn so much.
I have stage three gastric cancer, diagnosed about a year ago. Cancer was inoperable because of size and location. I completed 8 chemotherapy rounds. All side effects were tolerable- mostly fatigue and loss of appetite. Scan showed so much improvement that cancer is now operable, and in remission. I am almost finished with 24 weeks of maintenance chemotherapy, which has also been tolerable. Additional side effects are neuropathy in hands and feet, for which I am on a supplemental vitamin program and exercise program prescribed by a physical therapist. I live alone and have no relatives nearby. I drive and do all the activities of daily living, except for housecleaning and yard care. I'm still following strict Covid prevention procedures. I'm 87.
I wrote all of this detail to encourage you. Not everyone has the treatment side effects we all dread. If you experience any, I urge you to talk with your oncologist to see if you can do anything to ease the problem, and then give it a good try. For example, exercise doesn't help everyone, but I am very faithful both in hating it and doing it. I suspect that's why I have been able to live at home and walk without an assistive device. Lots of people have gotten through chemotherapy, so you can too! I am praying for you and every patient on this site. Peace!
My husband was diagnosed with stomach cancer back in 1997. He had his stomach removed at Mayo Clinic by Doctor Claude Dechamps, an amazing surgeon. He was offered chemo and radiation but decided not to do it. He lived 23 years, he passed away in 2020 from prostrate cancer as his stomach cancer never came back! During the 23 years we didn't sit and wait for the cancer to come back but did what we could everyday. My husband's Mayo Clinic doctors told us many times we had the right attitude that helped him to survive that long. Best wishes to all of you who are struggling with this!♥️
@juand, how are you doing? Have you started chemo?
I hope you are doing well. If your diagnosis is similar to mine (stage III adenocarcinoma); your journey had just begun and you will have to make some life-style adjustments for the future, even when you are cancer free.
I assumed your first post was Jan 2023 so you probably already had 2-3 chemo treatments by now and find that chemo treatment is not as scary as you first thought. However, chemo treatment is only the beginning. Its purpose is to kill as much of the cancer cells as possible so that surgery can get rid of the rest; in the best case, perhaps surgery is not needed at all.
To help prepare you for the next phase of your treatment if chemo alone is insufficient, I want to share with you my own experience.
I was treated at Mayo, Arizona. I had 8 courses of chemo with FLOT, then a total gastrectomy, which means the entire stomach was removed. The surgeon had told me exactly what would be done to me and the risks involved so I felt very comfortable about the procedure. The surgery, I believed, was over 6 hours long. These days, the technology is getting so good that they did not have to open me up. They only poked a few holes on my abdomen to remove the stomach and rewired my plumbing. This technique reduced risks and speed up recovery. I can tell you that I did not feel a thing during the operation, kudos to the anesthesiologists at Mayo. after the operation, I had all kinds of tubes coming out of my body: a tube in my nose and a bladder on my side to drain the blood inside my body; an IV for medications and fluid; an urinary catheter for the urine. I probably looked worst than I felt. The doctors checked up on me daily and nurses monitored my vitals around the clock and provided me with timely medications and tended to my comfort the whole week I was there. I had blood drawn every 6 hours. A dietician also visited me to discuss my dietary requirements after the surgery. The initial few weeks was mostly liquid diet (protein drinks) then slowly progress to solid food. Overall, I had the best care I can hope for.
Since I had my stomach removed, I have to take vitamin B-12 shots monthly, for life. Also, I could no longer eat the same quantity of food as I did. Some food that I often ate can actually caused me to vomit. I lost a little over 50 lbs since the operation and is now under weight. Even now, two plus years after the operation. I can only consumed a very small amount of food, 2-3 oz of meat and 2-3 oz of vegetable, in one siting. It also took longer for me to eat as I had to chew my food very well and chop it down to small pieces. Since I don't feel hungry anymore, I forgot that I had to eat at least 6 times a day as told by my dietician. Consequently, I find myself underweight. I will ratify this soonest.
Another, perhaps more troubling side effect for me, is peripheral neuropathy in both my hands and feet. I had seen the neurologist and he determined it was caused by the chemo drugs. I was aware of this side effect during the chemo treatments but did not expect it to last this long. As it turns out, it is very tough to treat nerve damages. The healing process is very slow. There isn't a drug you can take to make it go away or to speed up its recovery. Only time will determine whether you will recover, or not. The only thing he could do is to prescribe an ointment to lessen the pain.
Another issue that I want you to be aware is the increased risk of large kidney stone formation. Without a stomach to absorb oxalate, my oxalate level spiked after the surgery which caused large kidney stone formations that got stuck in the ureter. I can tell you that kind of pain once experienced, you will never forget, nor do you want to experience it gain. My urologist had the stones removed via another operation. To prevent the large kidney stone formation to happen again, I have to take vitamin B6 for life and will be meeting with a dietician to work out a diet plan.
Now, this is just my experience and your condition may be different. I hope this information provide you with a little more understanding of what might come next and better prepared for it.
The upside is that cancer is not as scary as it once was. Treatment is getting more effective due to the research being done on the subject so the survival rate is improving. One thing I learned from this experience is that my view on life has changed quite a bit and for the better. Facing your own mortality have a tendency to help focus on what is important in your life. I also think that by having an optimistic outlook in life also help both your recovery and the people around you. So chins up, feel the warmth of the sun, and enjoy what life dishes out.
Hello I am a 57 year old male and I am 6 months post a total gastrectomy due to stomach cancer all in all I am doing very well according to my oncologist I have the typical nerapathy and watering eyes I do some band exercises every day just wondering if there are better ways to gain my muscle back or if ever will I get about 90 to 120g of protein a day my average weight prior was 209 I now way 157lbs thank you in advance for any advice.
It is very likely that you are not getting enough calories, especially if you are exercising every day to gain muscle. Have you tried adding protein drinks/protein powders to your diet?