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Mar 07, 2008 - 3 comments

Well, well, just as you are thinking that everything is fine, something hits you in the face. My mum’s OVCA treatment went so smooth that it is almost unbelievable. Just consider this – stage 4, abdominal filled with cancer spreading to liver, colon, diaphragm and spleen. As there is no hope of optimal debulking, the doctor tried chemo first. After 2 chemo, CA125 dropped from 165 to 15. CT scan revealed that most tumors were gone/shrunk. During operation after 3 chemo, very little signs of chemo and an optimal debulking. During the first 3 chemo, very little side effects except hair loss and occasional tiredness – no drop in blood count of red/white blood cells. Mum continued with her consultancy business throughout the chemo. Surgery went well – wound heal well.

Then on the 2nd day upon discharge from hospital, everything changed. My mum had depression – started to cry at every instance. This caught everyone by surprise since my mum broke down after responding to the treatment. My sister has to extend her no pay leave to look after my mum. I could hardly concentrate at work worrying. Mum getting better but still prone to depression and she refused to take remeron to stabilize her emotions for fear of addition. Oh, when bad news comes, they come in spades. The CA-125 one week after the surgery has elevated to 65. Rationally, I know that it may be a reaction to the surgery but at the back of my mind, there is this fear that the elevation is due to tumor activities. The doctor actually wanted to start the chemo this week but mum is not physically or emotionally ready. Next week is the most the doctor is willing to delay. The doctor did not want to take any chances on OVCA. Next week is not exactly the best time either for my mum emotionally as next week is the first year anniversary of my father’s passing from advanced cancer.

I have managed to contact a few support groups and they would be calling my mum. They have managed to find one OVCA survivor and I hoped she could help my mother.

Rationally, I can understand why my mum came undone at this stage. It is a testament to her mental strength that she lasted so long before breaking down. The last 6 yrs have been tough on her - and if stress is one of the factors leading to OVCA, I would say that this is probably the time where it developed. My father suffered a stroke 6 years ago, a probable result of decades of hard drinking. This is where dark family history rears its ugly head. My father’s mistress turned up at the hospital and we had a shouting match right in the middle of the wards. My father almost died at the hospital from stroke then and while he was struggling for his life – we discovered someone emptied his personal bank account. We made a police report and discovered that his mistress masqueraded as my father’s wife and together with my father’s sister and a rouge lawyer, emptied my father’s bank account. My father made a miraculous recovery although he was paralyzed at one side – and the moment he got better, his mistress and my father’ sister wheeled him out of the hospital for him to drop the case against them. Wonderful relatives.

We spent a lot of money on my father – we moved into another place with a lift landing and next to my father’s favorite coffee shop. We renovated the place so that it would be convenient for him to move about the house. We even hired a full-time maid to look after my father. All these cost money – and my father, never have a cent of saving. My sister was still schooling then. My mother and I were saddled with the financial expenses. My father, however, did not really treat my mum well, screaming at her and threatening to kill my mum – emotional blackmail. He became paranoid and wanted to see the doctors very often to check on his various ailments – I have to keep taking leave from work to take him to see the doctor. It is at this time that my ambition at my work place fizzed out – it is just too much to cope. And it is a really sad day when I realized that I did not have the passion for my work when I first started out because I just cannot keep up the demands both at home and work.

In 2006, my father was diagnosed with advanced voice box cancer. Paid a bomb for the surgery, radiation and chemo. My mum, myself and my sister took turns to bring my father to the hospital Monday to Friday for the radiation treatment at the hospital – a 45 minutes ride away from home. Amazingly, he did have a remission. My father, were again paranoid and wanted to take at least 6 cans of extra-vitamin milk to supplement his diet. I remembered that I have to drag cartons and cartons of milk home myself and I winced at the bill I have to pay for the milk weekly – there is even a time where my colleagues offered to buy the milk overseas because they were cheaper. He is also afraid of recurrence and wanted to see the doctors regularly – again I took time off from my work to accompany him to see the doctor.

Sadly, the remission only lasted a few months and he passed away shortly  in 2007, around 1 year after the diagnosis. End of sad story? Nope – my father’s sisters turned up at the funeral – guess what’s their first question – how much money my father has left behind. They then claimed that my father owed them thousands of dollars – they can go to hell. They did not even give us a single cent when my father was ill and now they claimed my father owed them money? I think I am numb at the funeral – I feel really upset at myself not being able to cry. I tried rubbing my eyes – but not a tear came. I don’t feel sad at my father’s passing but is just simply resigned to it.

I shed buckets of tears at my mum’s diagnosis – really, to me, this is really unfair. My mum can finally have some peace in live and this happened? I am an eternal optimist – but I am tired too. But I would be strong for my mum – there is always hope, isn’t it?

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194838 tn?1303428544
by silver&gold, Mar 07, 2008
yes there is always hope !! , but it seems you have had a very rough ride . As I was reading your story tears were in my eyes as I was imagining how I would cope with what you have had to deal with . It must be so hard watching your mother going through all this after such a short time of your fathers illness and passing as well as the other things that have happened . If  you are feeling depressed  then im not surprised as i surely would do too , but what a wonderful caring daughter you are , you do everything you can to help your  mum and it must be emotionally and physically draining at times . I hope things go well for your mum and i will pray for her  . You take care of yourself too .
      Best wishes to you and your mum love Angie xx

16702 tn?1234090645
by Kimchi, Mar 07, 2008
Angie, angie, angie,

Please something I have just realized and discussed with many people is that stress causes a lot of diseases.  So first you need to take care of you...Have a friend who developed skeletal something or rather, it a disease where the skin starts to retract like severe burn scars and there is no treatment...her doctor asked if she was under stress recently and yes, she was totally stressed out by her husband who was going through major midlife crisis..Her dr talked to him and blamed his wife's illness on him, told him to seek help (psyc and antidepression)...He did and backed off and her skin problem stopped spreading...That was 1 year ago...Last night I had dinner with her, asked about her scar, almost fell off when I saw it as it had spread from the front shoulder blade to the back!!! Asked her what was going on to cause her to be stressed and she confessed that her husband was back on his crisis.!!! She also told me about a woman she met that developed a tumor on her pancreas and 1 yrs later on her liver and her dr blamed it on the stress her husband had put her under...anyway long story but really makes sense...come to Bkk and take a meditation course, learn to release your stress...I am worried about you, especially after reading all that you have been through and how you feel right now.  No you are not responsible, not to blame and you are doing your best to help...But you are not a supreme are human..
As for your Mum's increase in CA125, don't put too much on these the dr said it could be due to recovery of surgery...also many other factors affect the result and also it is known to produce false results...
Take care of yourself...

41502 tn?1223517053
by msjazz, Mar 07, 2008
Is your mom in singapore? My clinic in Memphis opened a clinic there ( West Clinic). I hope your mom gets better soon. I have more depression with my recurrence than I did the first time around. However I keep going, hoping to be able to get off this chemo again for a while. Your mom is lucky to have you. My mom had heart problems ( when i was about 35.) She had open heart surgery and her carotid arteries were both 100%  blocked. The blood had rerouted thru the small vessels, but they said it was real risky. The doctors all came to look iit was so rare. My father had already passed away, so I was her caregiver. She is here this weekend trying to cook me food.(Lol) Be strong, you are doing a great job. Try to enjoy some you time if possible.   Donna

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