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A family matter... any advice?

Hi everyone,

There is a situation I feel I need to do something about - I don't feel right just sitting back and doing nothing.

The situation is in regards to my significant other's new step-father. He has "Agent Orange" cancer in several locations throughout his body. He's done chemo, radiation, etc. Drugs. At this point, all that's available to him are trials. But he's in bad enough health his doctor doesn't even want to do that. I realize this is a complex situation. I realize the above is practically no information - but I don't exactly want to ask him to sign his chart over to me. For one, I don't know that he wants help. Two - I am by no means super-qualified.

He's dealt with this cancer for nearly 2 decades. When I first met him about a year ago, he was considered "stable." He lived a relatively normal life and ate (though not enough) on a regular basis.

He had a minor bowel obstruction and surgery for it a couple months ago - decent recovery. Nothing had to be removed.

The biggest problem is that he can't eat - he throws it all up. This has been going on off and on the entire time I've known him, but he's lost a significant amount of weight in the past couple months.

He tried to see a new doctor last week an the new doctor basically turned him away because his other doctor "knew his case." Which I understand - but it seems like his current doctor isn't doing enough. OK, I get that he will die of this cancer - and who knows in how long - but he has never received education in the type of nutrition he needs to be taking in. When he can eat, he doesn't eat the right things - and after a couple discussions with him, it's quite obvious no one ever educated him about this.

Right now, anything he takes down he throws right back up. I don't accept he's "just throwing up." Shouldn't there be a reason behind this? Either obstruction? or a med he's on? or where his labs are? or something? Shouldn't someone be attempting to manage this?

If eating regularly isn't an option, shouldn't someone be discussing the possibility of PPN or TPN?

He doesn't know what's going on. His wife doesn't know what's going on. I just don't get it.

Does anyone have any advice? Is there a resource I can direct him to, or look at myself?

I know this will kill him eventually. But I feel like more can be done right now that will prolong his life (and allow him to enjoy it), and I feel like it's at a dead end right now. Like someone needs to offer him some options for managing what he has - because right now - it just seems like no one's doing that.

Thank you for any help or advice you can offer.

mama_d, BSN, RN

Specializes in tele, oncology.

Can't give any medical advice, obviously. But if I were in your situation I'd try to get him in to see a GI doc, just to cover bases. Also, some insurance companies will cover for a registered dietician consult; that may be worth looking into as well.

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

If his cancer is from Agent Orange, the VA should be involved in his care. You can ask for a second opinion or to be referred to another VA medical center.

As above poster stated, we can't provide medical advice. I feel so sorry for you all.

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