My Mom is stage IV with malignant plueral effusion
I am the daughter of a true fighter. My mother has been battling this beast for 16 years. Originally diagnosed in '91...had lumpectomy...chemo + radiation. Was in remission. It came back in '95..had mastectomy...chemo+ radiation. Followed with tamoxofin (sp?) When it came back the 3rd time it had metastasized every where. There are lesions and nodules over 80% of her body between pelvis and shoulders...pelvis, ovaries, bone, spine, stomach, lungs, S I joint, sternum, and other places . Hormone therapy held it off for a while but of course it has returned with a vengeance. Her most recent complication has been Malignant Pleural Effusion. After being tapped 4 times to drain fluid, they finally did the talc procedure to her right side. She almost didn't make it out of recovery. Was sent staight to ICU. The surgeon told me in private (with a lump in his throat and his head down) that it looks like rice crispies all over her lungs. That he's sure she'll get through this surgery...but it's going to be up to the new chemo it called Xeloda or Xelodex(i'm drawing a blank) . That if chemo doesn't work that it'll most likely be time for hospice to get involved. Why isn't her oncologist communicating these things to us. I know they don't want to scare her...but she kind of wants to know. She has a lot to prepare. Though she's starting to feel a little stronger she's not even close to being out of the woods. It's just me...I'm 33 and my brother...he's going to turn 28 soon. Our father passed in '93. I'm looking for a brutally honest answer. I'm well aware that no one wants to play God by determining time left. But right now we need answers. I've done a lot of research...usually the sites and info I've found show a 3-6 month survival rate. The doctors including the oncologist are just beating around the bush at this point. I need to know so I can mentally prepare. I have 2 small children 2 yr. daughter and 10 week old son. She has a lot of business she wants and needs to take care of. She doesn't even have a living will. How should I approach this. I don't want to waste time. But, while she is feeling a little stronger I'd like to get a lot of this paper work stuff out of the way. I want her to stay as stress free as possible. I thank God that she comes from a large family. Her sisters have become more than helpful. I don't think anyone realized how quick this can turn ugly. They are just use to her bouncing back. I don't think that's that case this time around. I hope for a miracle... but I also have to be realistic. Her body is worn down. I also spoke to a friend who was a hospice nurse for many years. She claims that this is about as" final stage" as it gets. I just need to know how much time we have with her. I of course want her here forever. She's about to turn 58 on Dec. 6. She's so young. She is so in love with my daughter...but as been too sick since my son has been born...to have a chance to get to know him well. Cancer sucks. I hate it. I'm just looking for some hope.
The mental trauma you and your family going through right now must be tremendous. And you are right- your mother is most definitely a fighter. Well the agony and pain is almost unbearable, and you know that, as you have gone down the road yourself. Just because you are so strong and want a 'brutally honest' answer - your friend is right. The doctor woudnt tell you thinking that he might be making it more unbearable or traumatic. But the facts remain, and as you have yourself searched extensively, the time your mother can spend with you is limited. You should go ahead and get all the paper work etc in order as you say. There are miracles that do happen when all reason and scientific explanations fail, but you can just wish and hope for them to happen - there is, unfortunately, no way you can make one happen. So start to mentally prepare yourself, your family and closed ones and also your mother that the inevitable might just happen without ringing a bell. But till you have her with you let her enjoy and live every moment and you be there, like you have always been to support and praise and adore her. Goodluck and many blessings.
You are right in calling your mother a true fighter. She has shown a strong resistance and put up a brave fight against the cancer related problems. Hope you must have by now gathered extensive materials related to breast carcinoma.
Your mother has had a good survival period since detection of breast cancer in 1991. It sounds harsh to say that your mother is in last stages.
Hope she receives good helping hand and caring support from her family members and friends.
Hi!!! Thanks for your reply. My Mom is finally pulling through the surgery she had...she's not as short of breath. However, she can't eat due to the side effects of the oral chemo she's been taking. She can barely drink an ensure(sp?) Do you have any suggestions to help her with her appetite? It's very important that she stay hydrated and well nurished. Are there any foods you'd recommend that may appeal to her? She said everything tastes funny.
Tell mom to try this exercise for upto 5 minutes twice a day.Increase the timing slowly after 4 weeks.This will help the healing process.
Anulom Vilom - Deep Breath-in through left nostril keeping right nostril closed
then - Breath-out through right nostril keeping left nostril closed
then -Deep Breath-in through right nostril keeping left nostril closed
then - Breath-out through left nostril keeping right nostril closed
and repeat this cycle for upto 30 minutes twice a day(maximum 60 min/day).
You could ask her doctor to prescribe some appetite stimulants. Also regular exercises and yoga would help with her appetite. Involve her in other activities like gardening etc which would divert her mind, keep her busy and also work up an appetite. Also do get regular check ups done. Goodluck and hope everything turns out for the best.
At this point I'm finding out that my Mom has not even been taking her oral chemo Xeloda...it makes her really sick. She's hardly eating or drinking anything. It's just a big mess. I feel like she's giving up
Ask your doctor for a prescrition of antacids and anti nausea medication or a combination of anti reflux and anti nausea medication. This should help her. Also ask him appetite stimulants would help your mother. This after a few days will help her feel better and then you can convince her to take her medication. Be there and support her. Talk to her and tell her that she needs to be strong and fight it out like always.
She is currently taking antacids and is on anti nausea medicine. I did finally convince her to call the Dr. They decreased her meds to 2 pills twice a day instead of three. Her Sister from out of town came to stay with her for a week. So hopefully, at least while she is here, we'll be able to monitor her med. It's just scary because right now it's very important that she is taking her chemo. It's so frustrating...and I know she feels ill. But she has to take it, or she won't get any better.
Yes the most important thing right now for her is to continue taking her medication. You need to convince er repeatedly that she should have to do this for herself if not for anyone else. Family and friends coming and staying over to take care of her for short periods is a good idea. That ways she will not feel alone and her medications can also be monitored. Hope all goes well.
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