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My Dear Mother has Ovarian Cancer Stage 4
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My Dear Mother has Ovarian Cancer Stage 4

To all you caring beautiful people who have answered me, my worst nightmare for my mum has come true. She is my only relative as i am an only son and we are exceptionally close, i am devastaed for what has just happened to her. We have seen a gyn/encologist. I dont mean to sound negative and what i am asking i guess is some help in how to manage her. I agree with not taking any notice of stats but to put her through surgery and extensive chemo with a small percentage really scares her and me. She is 72 yeasr old and very frightened of the chemo more than the surgery. Am i being absolutely rediculous to not consider even the surgery and let her enjoy some time with me and her grandchild rather than to take on an enormous battle only to be told furhter on she has a reoccurant diease and cannot be treated. I cannot belive how many brave wonderful amazing woman there are out there tackling this awful beast. I would hate to see her struggle through all this only to be told it has reappeared. Please help me with this.
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14 Comments
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282804_tn?1236837191
Your mother is 72 yrs old.  She is not a child and does not need to be "managed".  What do you mean by, "Am i being absolutely rediculous to not consider even the surgery..."?  It is not your decision to make, it is hers and you sound very presumptuous.   If your mother has a grandchild than your mom is not your only relative, is she?  What do you mean by not wanting her to struggle through this only to have it return? So what, just let her die now instead of later?  Your post makes no sense.
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329994_tn?1301666848
You sound very upset by your mom's diagnosis and it is understandable that you both would be upset and have a lot to consider and have to take in at once.  Talking with your mom and her doctor about all your choices - surgery, chemo will help alleviate your anxieties and she can make an informed decision.  Let us know how you all do. Prayers!
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Avatar_n_tn
The statistics are for 5 year survival. How bad is it? If they are offering surgery maybe they think they can get the bulk of the tumor out and if she responds well to chemo she could have a long remission. If chemo becomes too hard she can always stop. If she has slower growing cancer or lower grade is feeling OK and can fight that would be good also. There are women with stage 4 living a long time. It is not always stage that is most important. If you have questions ask the Drs. and take no BS. They are not superior beings. My sister wanted chemo to the end, it was not the chemo that she was afraid of, she wanted to live. Your mother needs the same attitude. They can give all kinds of drugs to reduce chemo side effects and like I said she can always stop. I will pray that God will give you and your mother strength and the wisdom to make the right decisions.
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272338_tn?1252284004
I do not want to bring you down more than you already are, but at stage IV, more than likely at some time it is going to reappear. Yes it is all very scary, but chemo has come a long way. It is nothing like it used to be. I have to say that yes to a certain extent you are being ridiculous by not considering surgery. I feel that a decision like that is up to your mom.
  You need to make a list of these same questions and take them with you the next time your mom sees her Dr. He will give you both side to each issue, and also tell you what he feels best in her particular case.
  Either direction that she choses is a battle. So I hope that she is able to make the decision that she feels is right for her.
       Chris
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408448_tn?1286887421
I can only tell you what I, myself, would do. I have stage 3b ovca. If I was told I needed more surgery and more chemo, but that it would only extend me life another month or two, I'd still do it. I am trying as hard as I can to live. Who knows? Maybe the breakthrough cure is just around the corner. I feel for you. I definitely feel for your mom. Pray hard and know that you are not alone. Marie
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354706_tn?1279474395
I read your post and deeply sympathized with you. My mum was just diagnozed with stage 4 ovarian cancer last December, a few months after my father's death from cancer.

Despite the grim outlook, my mum went ahead with the treatment. The surgery and the chemo went surprisingly well. Even at my mum's most pessimistic moment, she admitted that the treatment is not bad as she think it would be. She was prepared for a long and painful recovery from surgery but was surprised that it is actually not as bad as it was compared to the surgery she had when giving birth to me.

At the point of diagnosis, the doctor predicted that my mum had 6 months and 1 year max if 'nothing is done' or that the treatment is not working. They gave chemo a chance to work first before the surgery (the cancer is EVERYWHERE) and they were very surprised that just after 3 chemo, almost all the cancer is cleared up and when the surgery finally took place, they thought they had the wrong patient! Imagine, what would be the outcome if my mum has given up in Dec last year? Yes, the chemo and the surgery did take a lot out of my mum - she lost her hair and was tired all the time and at times, she had little appetite. But generally, the quality of life is there even with the own going treatment.

Of course, to proceed on with an aggressive treatment regime is a gamble too. It may work for my mum but not your mother. But with the advancement in medicine and ways to manage the side-effects, I would still say that the chance is 'greater' where your mum would have a reasonable quality of life even with the on-going treatment. For my mum, even if the cancer do recur (touch) after the treatment, at least it would have prolonged the time she had with us compared to without treatment.

As for my father who passed away last year, the aggressive cancer treatment regime still gives him a good quality of life and had prolonged the time we had with him - if he had not done so, he would have left us one month after the initial diagnosis. He passed away peacefully - the night before he passed away, he watched his favorite TV program, had a can of his favorite beer before going to bed. He never woke up after going to bed.

Remember - an aggressive cancer treatment does not necessary means that the quality of life would be greatly diminished. Ask your doctor for his opinion. When my father was first diagnozed with 4th stage voicebox cancer, the doctor assured us that even with the cancer treatment, his quality of life would be still great. After the recurrence, the doctor told us that to continue treatment, it would diminished his quality of life greatly (they would need to remove his tongue and he would never be able to eat, drink and talk again). Only at this point of time, my father has decided to stop his cancer treatment.

I apologize to you if my post is too graphic. But I hoped sincerely you do understand the message I am trying to get across is to tell you not to give up hope too quickly. Understand from the doctor the implications of the treatment on your mother's quality of life. Whether your mum wants to start on the treatment or to 'leave it at that', you must, must, must watch out the signs of depression. From my perspective, my mum's struggle with depression is worse when compared to the cancer treatment.

I have kept a record of my mum's struggle at my journal in medhelp and my blog http://pinklilyflower.blogspot.com
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello....when I was told I probably have ovarian cancer, before my surgery, I just wanted to get it out of there and then do whatever I needed to do to get rid of it all together.  I can't imagine your mom will feel any differently.  Even if she decides to have no chemo at least having the surgery and debulking will probably extend her life.  The chemo is not fun, but as has been said before, it is doable.   I have three sons and I know they were confused as you are....they were scared and didn't know what to do.  The oldest one came home and stayed during my time with chemo.....he just needed to be here and I admit I was  glad he was.    Ultimately the decisions are your mom's and it is your job to support her....I know that will come when the time arrives.  This is a really tough time for you and your mom right now.....slow down some, talk a lot, listen even more, and don't allow "fear" to win.....you guys have a real battle ahead and you need to stand strong.  Ask questions of your medical team so there are no surprises....it is imperative you have a gyn/oncologist perform the surgery and help chart a battle plan.  
Don't allow anyone to brow beat you because you are in a state of shock and are confused......continue asking questions so you can help your mom get through this.  Keep asking until you are satisfied with your state of understanding.  
We will be here for both you and your mom......please do keep us posted.  I will watch and listen for your voice.
Peace.
dian
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Avatar_f_tn
BRAVO for your post!  You put a smile on my face....thank you!
Peace.
dian
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Avatar_n_tn
To do nothing seems insane.  Why?  Because there is hope of recovery or longer life.
My wife was dx stage IV in September, with a primary ovarian tumor and a
large malignant pleural effusion and a patially collapsed lung.  Her CA 125 was
about 3800.  As of two days ago her CA125 is about 40 and she is completing
today her 6th chemo treatment.  Her breathing is fine and the fluid is down.
She takes the kids to music lessons, she prepares most of the meals.
Life is not totally normal, but she does amazingly well.  

So she did surgery, chemo (and at home a nutritional therapy called gerson therapy, starting from the first day after her diagnosis.)
She has eliminated 98% of her cancer through this combined approach.
Will she succeed, no one knows for sure.  Half with her condition are gone
within months and the majority are gone within a year.  Do we expect to do better.  
Yes, we expect a full recovery, and we work for it juice by juice, special soup by special soup, green salad by green salad, this vegetable dish and then that---day by day,
brown rice or potato, no salt, no oil (except flax oil in dressing for salad).
No processed foods, no meat, no wheat, no dairy, no sugar, etc.

There is an old saying God helps those who help themselves.  That is why we do
the modified gerson therapy at home, with our own hands and heart poured into it,
in addition to the conventional treatments.  We have personally spoken with two women
with stage IV who used this type of combined approach and one is out 12 years w/o recurrence and the other about 5 years without recurrence.  So it can be done and that is our plan.

And I will share with you Norbert's prayer:

"Whenever I lift my mind and heart to God miracles happen within me.
Whenever I open my mind and heart to wisdom and love, I am transformed.
Amen, Alleluia"

So get positive, get together a program of action and do the work.  
You will become closer and stronger as a family and each day will be a gem.

With kindest best wishes to you.

Ben


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438514_tn?1305737740
My mom was diagnosised in Dec with Stage I that recurred in her bowels less than 8 weeks after.  She had 2 surgeries and is in her second treatment of chemo.  The chemo for her has been easily tolerated and ultimately it is her decision.  I know it seems overwhelming, but there are many times that the majority of the tumor can be removed and respond very well to the chemo treatments.  Please do additional research and I believe that you will see that this is worth the fight.

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Avatar_f_tn
Sit down and have a heart to heart talk with your mom, I can feel from your post that she is your world. Make the gyn/onc spend time answering each and every one of your questions. The chemo is alot more tolerable than what it used to be years ago. I, and this is just my opinion ( I have stage 3c ovca) I will do chemo, I will do surgery, I will do whatever it takes,not just for myself but for my family also. I can imagine that you both are hurt and confused by all of this sudden ugly news. Spend time with your mom, love her, and encourage her to go forward. Watch carefully for depression, this is very depressing news to receive. It is my belief that she should go forward, if she finds the chemo intolerable she can always quit, but if not given a chance, neither of you will ever know. I am not trying to be harsh, and my heart goes out to both of you. When I was told that I had ovca 3c I was just sickened and depressed. I worried about my family. You and your mom are in my prayers. Please listen to what Dian said, she has a better way with words than I do. Ask questions, write down all of your questions on a piece of paper to take with you so you dont forget what to ask, and make the dr take the time to answer each and every one of them.
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306594_tn?1285212221
Hi there, look I know exactly how you feel, my mum is stage 4 and was operated on back in 2005 as well, chemo worked successfully for about 2 years then the cancer came back again so she had another operation 5 months ago, the surgeon couldn't get all the cancer so she has been on chemo again for the past 5 months and is due to finish next month, so far her CA125 is down to 8 and the oncologist is thrilled that she is at that level for a stage4, my mother is 69 years old.

I hope she decides to fight this because a cure or life time management could be just around the corner,  have you asked your mother what she wants to do, it's her body. There are so many different chemo's to try, some are better than others, my mother had dreadful side effects from Caelyx yet other ladies don't suffer as bad, mum is on Gemzar now and is feeling better and she didn't lose her hair either, it just thinned out a bit. Does your mum have a positive attitude to this? my mother does and refuses to give in to this hideous disease, she meditates every morning and does visualisation techniques, the oncologist could put you in touch with support groups and the oncology section of the hospital would be able to help with books and information. Mum has also had relief from nausea with 2 sessions of japanese acupuncture.

The doctors are coming up with new drugs all the time and there is a trial underway at the moment, click here for more info.
http://www.ovaturetrial.com/patients/index.html?gclid=CO2xguL_s5ICFQY3gwodMgq9RQ

Just tell your mum to fight this, the longer she does the better her chances are. They told my mum she had 6 months to 2 years to live back in 2005 and now we are into the 3rd year with a low CA125 result so she is doing better than we thought and I know her positive attitude accounts for alot. I hope your mum's operation is a success and I'm sure she will find a chemo that is right for her,  let us know how she gets on, all the best. Carolyn
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447161_tn?1262926684
Hi,
whatever course of treatment your Mum decides on, she is blessed to have such a caring and supportive son.  You have come to the right place to be as well informed as you can for her, because these ladies sure know what they are talking about.
Peace and love to you.

Kim
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Avatar_m_tn
Don't panic! My mom has lived 5 years with stage 4 until her recent reoccurence--one mass they took out, no metastasis.. The chemo is only a few days each month, only the first day is bad, and ginger was very helppful for dealing with the nausea ( on day 1)
People kept comlimenting her on the wig as it REALLY looked better than the original hairstyle...well now she had one reoccurrence, and is fuming mad about it. We will handle this. Take it step bby step and put your mom on an extremely healthy diet (see my other post) to boost her immune system. Apparently a lot of people are surprised my mom lived this long, but we adopted this approach from people we know, however, then she slouched with everything since she considered herself "healed".  Mom also did (but soon dropped) mystle therapy, because my co-worker  managed to shrink her tumor with diet change and mytle therapy, whatever did the job, after her reoccurence. They have now isolated the effective component and it's available as a med. We did everythign my co-worker did and of course I read my way through plenty of studies and books to understand the causse and effect of everythign that is available. For chemo we found abook very helpful that was written by a nurse and helps you deal with side effects of treatment.Your mom can do all of this too, and I tell you what my co-worker told me: She can live with this, too. And she is lucky to have such a supportive son!
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