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Looking after a loved one with cancer? This is a safe and supportive place to share your worries and emotions. Please remember when posting that this group is for Carers only.

Alarming weight loss and Pain Relief

Posted by

Hi everyone, 

New here and would appreciate others husband has been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer with mets on his liver about 4 wks ago.

It came as a shock as although looking back he was very symptomatic for months....but as he is a type 2 diabetic we put his various symptoms to his sensitivity of metformin and the fact he was working 12hr shifts (ie tummy and bowel upsets and extreme fatigue). But then he started with right side upper abdominal pain which came and went, so we went to GP who suspected gallstones and admitted him to hospital there and then.  Long story short and u/s and CT scans and an endoscopy later we had the diagnosis of Terminal Carcinoma of the Caecum with mets on Liver. With a prognosis of months at most a year with chemo.

We have spent the last 4 weeks trying to come to terms.  Sorted insurances, wills etc. Its been a horrendous shock to everyone.My biggest concern is that in those 4 weeks he has gone downhill at the rate of knots.   The weight loss  is downright scary over 2 stone so far and still dropping off him.   Trying to get him to eat and drink is one massive battle...he tries bless him but he says hes just not hungry or feels full after a few mouthfuls or downright nauseous.  I am beside myself with worry he looks like a bag of bones, he was never big to start with.   Tried all the obvious, liquid foods like soups etc and fortified drinks....but he is very fussy.

My other concern is pain relief....he is in constant pain.  At first he was on a combination of oramorph and codeine...but got very constipated which compounded his pain levels.  GP then took him off the codeine and we tried Butec transdermal joy at all with them.   Presently he is on 15gm Morphine prolonged release tablets every 12hrs.  This is knocking him out...hes like a zombie and has waking dreams ....i still have to medicate him with oramorph and paracetamol for breakthrough pain.  It breaks my heart to see him with no quality of life and in so much pain all the time.   Can anyone tell me if this is how it is going to be? Does he have to accept the pain?.

Hes having a liver biopsy one has told us why, hes been told that they cant remove the primary bowel cancer....but maybe he can get chemo.    We just feel that we've been left to get on with it. 

Posted by

Hi and welcome to the community though sorry to hear about your husband.

Eating and drinking is something that comes up quite often on here and can often lead to tensions, Pain relief too can be a dificult thing to get right and sometimes a short stay in either a hospital or hospice can help to find a good balance between coping with the pain and the knockout effects.

Do ask when you go for the biopsy when you might find out the results and if they know what the next stage is, hopefully with some chemo they will be able to at least reduce some of the more serious symptoms; we all recognise the difficulties of the waiting game.



Posted by

Dear Gemfreak07, I'm so sorry to read of your husbands diagnosis and prognosis. I feel your heartbreak over your husbands pain, loss of appetite, feelings of nausea and general lack of quality of life. I had a terrible time with my husband over a year ago in which he was given 3 months after finishing his chemo however he started a different treatment which thankfully has brought him to a current period of stability, he was given the incurable diagnosis when first diagnosed with cancer. I recall and will never forget times of my husband been in unbearable pain and having to dose him up with pain relief and rock and stroke him to sleep- so so awful. It was at this time that our Macmillan nurse was a godsend. He managed to get the pain relief issues sorted, the bowel issues I.e. constipation from then pain meds and got steroids prescribed which worked wonders for my husband in regards to increasing appetite. This coincided with a week later him starting a new treatment which gave him a good reduction in his tumours so obviously this also has reduced his pain significantly. In regards to feeling like been left to get on with it (we also felt like this) don't accept this, contact your cancer specialist nurse and ask them to refer you to Macmillan and or hospice for home support if you have not already been referred as the help we have had through our Macmillan nurse has been brilliant and we know who to reach out to when we need this support again in the future. I do hope that something is sorted out in regards to your husbands pain. Take care x