Hi there, hoping someone can help me to understand what is going on. My mother was diagnosed with Stage IVB uterine cancer in May 2011; she is now experiencing a 2nd recurrence, in addition to the initial diagnosis. She has been through two separate rounds of Carbo/Taxol. On second dose during second round, she had an allergic reaction to the Carbo, so finished the remainder of the go-round on Taxol only. Six months later, CA-125 number rose, and scan showed she needs chemo again. Now doc is recommending Doxil/Cisplatin combo.
Here is what I am concerned about. Her quality of life has really suffered. She still works here and there but spends most of her time at home in bed. She has at times uncontrollable diarrhea that started after the last round of chemo, which makes it very difficult for her to travel, get thru the day without an accident. Physically she is in a lot of pain, even with pain meds. From everything I've read, this new regimen statistically (yes, I can understand and interpret stats and I'm aware of their limitations) may only increase her lifespan a few months at best. She does not want to know how long she has left, and her doctor will not return my phone calls, even with a signed HIPAA release (I would like to be able to ask him questions without her present, for fear of upsetting her). This is why I have to ask online. I understand the benefit of denial when it comes to being a cancer patient, however, for me, as her only child, the fear of the unknown is far worse. I need to know what to expect. Let me be clear that I understand completely that this is not an exact science and that any answers are just guesses at this point. I also won't share with her what I learn. I respect her right not to want to know.
So my questions are - is it at the point where she needs to be evaluating quality of life over more chemo, given the chemo has taken such a toll on her? When does hospice typically get called in? With a second recurrence, and 3 years into this, what is a realistic life expectancy? I guess what I'm worried about is that chemo is going to take away her enjoyment of the rest of her life. I respect and support whatever she wants to do, but secretly, I do worry. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.