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Mum diagnosed with Cancer... - Page 2

post #31 of 54
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Pat & Alix
My mom had both - a decision we made after a spot was found on her lung (same side as the breast with cancer). First she had a lumpectomy, then radiation, then chemo...gave it both barrels!

Pat, is your mother well now?
post #32 of 54
She just had a mammogram and all was clear. It's just been a year though, and this was her second time having a cancer - 11 years ago she had uterine cancer (very early stage). She's still having some fatigue issues, but overall is doing very, very well.
post #33 of 54
Thread Starter 
That is so GOOD to hear.

Good thoughts for her continued strength...
post #34 of 54
I was the one who asked what stage she was in since it matters to what degree the treatments will be needed and also as to their treatment plan for her.

In addition to what I said in my previous post above, when my sister had her radiation treatments they fitted her with a wired mesh type thing and cut holes where the radiation is going to be on her. This was instead of marking the body with markers (that DO NOT go away, they're permanent).

The mesh face mask was put over her and they poured a warm substance over her face to have the mask molded into her face shape. Then each treatment she was to put the mask on, with a hole also cut out over the nose only, and they bolted the mask to the table she lied on. This made her feel extremely nervous to have a mask over her face then to have her mask bolted to the table. It's a very uncomfortable sensation to know you're helpless and confined.

She's finished with her radiation, which caused dry eyes, skin dry and sunburned feeling, and some hair loss which she may lose more before it growing back. Though she does have hair left, she didn't go completely bald.
post #35 of 54
I'm so sorry to hear about this. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. They are coming out with so many new treatments now. I hope one of them will work well for your mother.
post #36 of 54
Originally Posted by Sooz123
Despite the medical prognosis, my belief is that it can be fought by strength of spirit... do your best to keep the fire of hope in her and never let her give up.
I completely agree. Your mother and family are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Don't worry about feeling numb right now....you will go through a million different emotions during this time, all of which are completely normal. What matters is that you love your mother and she has the support of a loving family .
post #37 of 54
My prayers are with you, your mother and your family. My mother had breast cancer. I described it as being swept up on the Cancer roller coaster. We were all numb for quite a while after the first diagnosis, then, as they got into treatment options, we were just pulled along for the ride, on a constant stream of appointments, consultations, decisions, services, and issues.

The one thing I found was that you can always ask for more information. They seem very busy at the hospital (and they are) but I found that the folks in oncology are outstandingly caring and helpful. Any questions we had, they just bent over backwards to help. And that was a great comfort to all of us.

I also found that they would tell us exactly what we needed to know - and let us lead the way in how much detailed information we wanted. They didn't sugar coat anything, but they also knew that we couldn't absorb a lot of information, and would ask when we needed to clarify stuff.

We all made sure that Mom had at least one person with her at every appointment, because she was pretty much in shock over it all, and needed someone else to remember what she had been told.

In addition to her regular doctor's appointments, and her chemo, she had a nutritionist, a pharmacist, and a therapist. All because she mentioned something in passing that was bothering her. And the nurses immediately picked up on her comments, and signed her up with whatever she needed. So be aware that there is a huge range of support service available, beyond the basic treatment.

I also signed up for peer support through another agency, so I had someone else to talk to, just about how I was feeling. They "matched" me with a peer counsellor who had been in a similar situation. That was a wonderful help too.
post #38 of 54
Hope everything goes well for your mum.

what Sammie5 said about a cancer roller-coaster. My sister was diagnosed with colon-cancer about a year and a half ago and underwent an aggressive treatment with chemo and radiation. She didn't lose all her hair, although it did thin out considerably. So far her check-ups this year have been . I hope it goes as well for your mum.

post #39 of 54
Survival rate is the measure of the number of people who develop cancer and survive over a period of time. Scientists commonly use five-year survival as the standard statistic for defining when a cancer has been successfully treated.

The five-year survival rate includes anyone who is living five years after a cancer diagnosis. This includes those who are cured, those in remission and those who still have cancer and are undergoing treatment. For example, when cervical cancer is detected early (something I can relate to!), the five-year survival rate is 92 percent, meaning that 92 percent of all cervical cancer patients live at least five years after diagnosis if the cancer is detected early.

The overall five-year survival rate measures everyone who has ever been diagnosed with a particular cancer equally. Mind you, this can lead to distorted stats. (It's be better if the stat came from people with similar age, demographics, etc but I digress).

It is just a stat that has been used by oncologists and scientists for the better half of the 20th and this century in determining cancer survival but it's not without its pitfalls. Tupically, if a person lives past five years with the disease and it is in remission, s/he is considered cured. Five years does not reflect the advances in cancer research - so really, they should not be seen as a predictor in an individual situation but as an overall stat.

Gawd, I hope this does not confuse you!!

you are correct about Vancouver tho there are good docs in Winnipeg. You can't convince her to stay in Vancouver? or would she be happier in Winnipeg?
post #40 of 54
Originally Posted by Loveysmummy
Hi all,
I generally don't post these sort of notices.
But today, I learned that my mum has been diagnosed with cancer in her lungs, adrenal glands, and lymph nodes.

She is in Vancouver at the moment and is coming back here to start treatment next week. She is still in the hospital at this point.

All of this week, we have been awaiting some sort of news as they have been doing numerous tests.
There are no tests left to be done.

I don't know the prognosis of this type of disease and have never faced it. My heart goes out to all of you who have had to face this horrible thing.

Does anyone have any advice or insights on this sort of cancer?

I am beside myself but oddly after hearing this news today, I feel ABSOLUTELY NUMB.

IS this normal?

Tx for any wishes and good thoughts.

Cin I lost my Mom to cancer 7 year ago BUT she was not diagnosed till she was too far along! ALL I can say is PRAY! No matter what else you do PRAY and BELEIVE she will be OK! Also spend a much time with her as you are able! No matter if or not she makes it, be with her! You will NEVER be sorry!

Also there are places to ask for Prayers, on the internet. Why not search for them and put your Mom's name on them for many to Pray for! I wish you the best! Tell her to WIN this battle for MY Mom who did not!
post #41 of 54
Cin, I've been in this position, and really understand your feeling of being "numb". Your mom will be in my thoughts.
post #42 of 54
Originally Posted by Loveysmummy

She isn't staying in Vancouver though. SHe is originally from Winnipeg and she has decided she wants to come back here for treatment (even though I hear they have better doctors there so this had me worried). I told her I would come there today! But she didn't want me to....She doesn't even want me to come help sort her stuff out to pack up..
My Mom chose to stay close to home for her treatment, although I wanted her to go to a large city with a teaching hospital so she could get the best care. But as a nurse, she wanted to be treated by a doctor she knew, and she ended up getting very good care. If your Mom wants to come to Winnipeg, she should do it. Maybe her doctor in Vancouver can give her a referral to a good oncologist (cancer doc) in Winnipeg.

Be sure she brings copies of all the tests that have been run so far. Mom's docs often wanted to compare earlier scans to later scans.
Originally Posted by Loveysmummy

I just feel helpless not knowing what KIND of cancer it is actually or as someone asked here "what stage its in" ...I am afraid I have no idea. I will know more next week when I can hopefully talk to the doctors here..Thanks for all of your support in that.
I will stick by her like glue and bother the doc with a thousand questions.
You will know soon enough. And you will find you still have a million questions!
Originally Posted by Loveysmummy
I urge those of you who are going through this and don't know alot of information yet not to attempt to gather information from the internet as you often see alot of clinical, depressing statistics that you can't possibly understand and may make things seem worse...
I agree 100%! Wait until you know what you are looking for, Cindy!

Originally Posted by Loveysmummy
Although, what someone said here about attitude is right I think. I did read an online essay by a Harvard Prof. who was diagnosed with a fatal kind of cancer where his prognosis was only 8 months. He researched the disease thoroughly and said that he would beat this thing mainly on attitude alone, as in "I WON'T GIVE UP". And I think it was years later and he is still alive.

Thanks to all who said that NUMB was "normal"
I feel that I can scream and yell on my own time and when my mum is around, that this attitude may be more helpful. I really want to give her the impression that we will get over this.
Do be strong and brave for your Mom. But also share your feelings with her honestly. Let her know she is free to grieve this diagnosis with you. But do remind her there is hope!

Originally Posted by Loveysmummy
Thanks again all, I will keep you updated as the week goes on.. I may not learn more about the specifics until next week. I am afraid to ask but its something I have to do...

I will be watching for updates. Ongoing prayers for your Mom, Cindy, and for Journey and Yasmine's Moms!
post #43 of 54
Cin, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your Mum and family. Be strong for her, but don't forget to look after you, too.
post #44 of 54
Thread Starter 
Thanks all once again, and no cyberkitten, that made things alot easier to understand..
I am trying to realize that each case is individual as I have been told and that yes, it depends on the stage, demographics, etc...so I am trying not to be too depressed by the stats.

I just feel so exhausted the last couple of days, both mentally and physically and that isn't like me at all..

Another sad thing is that my daughter (12) was having a summer vacation with her when she had to go into the hospital after a week of having fun with her there..She has been a little trooper not whining about having to go to the hospital every day...Her Dad and I decided to fly her home whenever my mum gave the word (she said not to at first) but she is now coming home today...

We haven't told her yet and I ABSOLUTELY dread it as she is so close to her Nanny..
I don't know what to say to her or how much info. to impart (her best friend just lost her grandmother to cancer --but this was after being diagnosed 20 years ago)...

If anyone has any suggestions in how or what I should tell her, I would love to hear them..

Tx again all!

Hugs to all of you
post #45 of 54

I don't have kids so take this with a grain of salt.

I would start out with the basics of what you know. She already knows that something is going on. Kids are too observant. Then find out what she wants to know. Be optimistic but honest. Also, try to figure out what she's thinking so that she isn't filling in blanks and blaming herself for anything.

Maybe she can start a journal to record how she's feeling. Another thing I've heard about is a thought jar. She records any thoughts or issues she is feeling and at a time of the day, the two of you can go over them and address them.

Also, see if there is anything she would like to do for her Nanny to help cheer her up. Maybe write poems or drawings, etc.

Good luck and let me know how you're doing, Cin.

post #46 of 54
Hope this is not too long!! I agree with the above and would add:

When cancer strikes a family, children sense that something is wrong, even if they don't know what it is. Talking it over with them, in words they can understand, is always better than hiding it. If you keep things from them, children think that things are worse than they really are.

When a child's life is touched by cancer, it can cause a great deal of emotional trauma – mostly because any kind of serious illness is scary to a child. Fortunately, as a parent, you can help your child overcome many of his or her fears by simply explaining the situation in a calm, reassuring way.
  • Tell them about the illness. Although cancer is complicated, there are appropriate ways of discussing it with children of any age. "Nanny is very sick, so she has to go to the hospital to get well again," is usually enough for very young children; for older children, a more detailed explanation is better. The more they can know, the less helpless and afraid they will feel.
  • Practice your explanation beforehand. It will be a great help to your child if you can be as calm and objective as possible when you discuss cancer, especially if you are the one who is ill. You should practice the conversation with your spouse or a friend, so that you can focus on your child's fears and put aside your own for the time being.
  • Avoid blame. The younger children are, the more they think the world revolves around them, and the more likely they are to feel responsible for a parent or sibling's illness. Assure them by saying that nothing they or anyone else did caused the cancer.
  • Explain to them that cancer is not contagious. Most children first experience sickness when they get a cold, measles, or some other childhood disease that might have been fairly contagious. It is important that you explain to them that cancer is not contagious. They will probably already be afraid that someone else in the family will get it. Assure them that this is not true.
  • Try to balance optimism with pessimism. Telling your child that someone will be "all better" will only make him or her more confused and upset if it is not true. On the other hand, being very pessimistic can scare them needlessly. It is usually best to try to offer a realistic but hopeful assessment of the situation.
  • Take your children's feelings seriously. It is common for children to have many different reactions when they learn that a parent or sibling has cancer. These can include anger, sadness, guilt, fear, confusion, and even frustration. All of these responses are normal. Let them know that it is OK for them to have lots of different feelings and that you have many of them, too.
  • Answer questions honestly. Discussing cancer with a child can be difficult, especially when there are so many questions that adults or even doctors cannot answer. It is best for you to be as honest as you can with your child, and not be afraid to say, "I don't know" if you don't. For children, the amount of information you give them is usually less important than making them feel comfortable with what you say.
  • Help children understand treatment. Children often fear the unknown. They can think that a situation is worse than it really is. Explain the treatment process in a way that is appropriate for their age, but don't forget, it is easy for a child to imagine something like chemotherapy or radiation therapy as bad because it can cause hair loss, nausea, and other unpleasant side effects.
  • Prepare your children for the effects of treatment. Cancer and cancer treatment can often dramatically affect someone's appearance. Physical changes such as hair or weight loss can sometimes frighten them, or make them think a person has changed or is different. It is best to explain this to them beforehand so they are prepared. For example, you can say, "When Nanny was sick in the hospital, she lost weight, and her hair fell out – but don't worry, it will grow back. She is still the same Nanny on the inside."
  • Let children help but don't burden them with responsibility. It is important to let children know that they can help their parent feel better; it will make them feel less helpless if you let them run an errand, fetch a glass of orange juice, or perform some other task that is appropriate for their age. But be careful not to burden them with too much. The stress of having someone ill in the family can be great. They will need lots of time to just play, relax, and be children.
  • Regardless of your child's age, when discussing death, remember three things:
  1. Try to use very clear, specific terms. Being vague will only confuse your child.
  2. Do not use terms like "sleeping forever" or "put to sleep," because children will think sleeping is like death, or be afraid that if they sleep, they might die.
  3. Finally, be patient. It will take a long time for a child to fully understand, and to accept, any type of loss. They certainly will not understand the first time you try to tell them.
Here is a web site that may help:

post #47 of 54
Originally Posted by CyberKitten

When cancer strikes a family, children sense that something is wrong, even if they don't know what it is. Talking it over with them, in words they can understand, is always better than hiding it. If you keep things from them, children think that things are worse than they really are.

Wow, that was amazing Cyberkitten.

I have to totally agree. When I was 14 and my mom got cancer, no one told me anything. I KNEW something was up, and finally I found some cancer pamphlets on the coffee table. I confronted my mom with them and she finally admitted she had cancer. I remember the thing I was most curious and angry about at that moment was that she didn't tell me! I kept asking her, why didn't you tell me, why didn't you tell me?

I think the worst part about being a teenager in general was that I had so many questions about everything in the world, and no one to ask, no one to give me answers.......

I also remember after my mom's transplant while she was still in the hospital a hospital counselor came to talk to me. That was probably the best day of my teenage life. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off me. I was finally paid attention to and my feelings mattered.

Just my thoughts.......
post #48 of 54

I am really sorry to hear about your mothers diagnosis, and I do wish her well with her treatment. The next few months will be hard for all of you, but at least now she is in good hands. My dad had cancer 3 years ago (bladder & prostate) after a few lengthly operations and heavy treatment he is now doing fine thankfully. I do understand the feelings that you are going through atm, so if you ever need to talk, please pm me.

Take care, and get well vibes for your mum!

Gilly x
post #49 of 54
Thread Starter 
Thanks all
Cyberkitten: thanks so much for those great tips.. I really appreciate them and will keep in mind each point (and have printed it out beforehand) to talk to her...

They really are very close..
Journey: I so feel for you..Its hard when adults think they are doing "their best" when keeping children in the dark. I felt the same as you when my parents divorced and I was very angry then..

This is why I want to be up front but not burden her with too much that will confuse her..Her dad and I have decided not to tell her for a couple days. We are going to talk to her on Tuesday.
I just want her to have a rest from worrying about Nanny for a couple days and have the chance to have a good time with friends and family and to settle in here before she is told.
She just got back at noon and we had a great afternoon together so this was a nice escape

And thanks, Gilly, your kind words are appreciated.

I love TCS for its invaluable support system

Cheers to all....
I will keep you updated
post #50 of 54
Im so sad to hear about your mom--Ive been going through something similar the past few weeks. My sister started having seizures over the holiday weekend and when they did a cat scan they found a tumor the size of a small tangerine in her brain. When they removed it, it was found to be a aggressive malignant kind of cancer called glioblastoma multiforme. After two emergency surgeries she is doing well but is now completely blind. Radiation and six months of chemo are lined up for her, and we are also on the cancer roller-coaster as well. We never though we would be a cancer/blindness family and dealing with a new set of challenges and vocabulary is really daunting.

You are concerned about how to tell your daughter--I think you have gotten some good advice. The whole "I somehow caused this" thing is NOT limited to kids! I am 28, my sister is 30 and I am struggling with that as well. My sister and I were not close, and I couldnt help but think "maybe if we were closer and better sisters, this would not have happened." Every family member might have some kind of internal drama like that. I know my mom thinks that she should have connected the dots earlier, and my dad just feels helpless--like the world he created for his family wasnt secure enough.

(FYI--blood is thicker than water, and the hospital bed conversations and unconditional love on both our parts has been redemptive and we are closer and tighter than I had ever let myself dream we might be.)

Just be prepared, because as you get deeper into this you will realize that everyone has something to work through. Be prepared to be tired and fatigued beyond belief. When friends and family ask "can I do something?" say YES! Ask them to bring prepared foods, sit in the hospital with your mother, clean your house/do laundry--just in general take care of things so that you can get rest and concentrate on being with your mother.

And that numbness can be a great help. If your mind would let you really experience the scariness of the situation all the time, you would just never stop crying, and that wouldnt be a help to anyone!

Our family is only three weeks into this, and Sarah is just now in the rehab floor, learning how to walk and move by herself--but there is a long road ahead. Please feel free to PM me anytime--I am new at this stuff too.

Much love and prayers to you,
post #51 of 54
Thread Starter 
Oh Hannah, my eyes are welling up at work as I read this.
My heart goes out to you and your sister and family...She is still so young.
I say to myself often "but my mum is only 63!".
I guess Cancer is not ageist by any means but we all think illness only happens to the old.

I also think its funny how sickness and tragedy in a family can bring a family so much closer together.. My sister who is generally known to be a bit of a drama queen has been very stoic and strong...I am not doing the best right now in talking to my family.
In fact, I prefer not to talk about it at all the past 2 days with family and friends and have guiltily avoided my siblings phone calls..I just needed a rest from it and I feel weak for that.
I will be back on the horse today and will call them all and see where we are all at in this..

Thanks for the words.
Our situations do sound so similar in that we are both so new to this.

I am so glad to hear that your sister is learning to walk again. That sounds like real progress. Do they give you some kind of guideline as to when she will be home?

I may take you up on your pm offer
post #52 of 54
No cancer is not ageist, by any means! The docs are great, and the people on this site who are cancer docs are also great--but it is so hard to learn the vocabulary, spoken and unspoken, that they are using. Like when they say "a brain issue" or "an event" they really meant "a lesion on the brain that we didnt expect" or "a seizure that we can't explain."

Sarah is walking now, with a sighted lead person. She can take a shower by herself in a special chair--I call it her "pee in the shower chair" because it looks like an open toilet. We are all jealous! She can feed herself, if you put the food in front of her, all cut up (try feeding yourself with your eyes shut! Its hard!). The basic spark of her personality is the same, but she is much softer and more tender. She has NO short term memory. She is much the same, only very different--as Im sure you are experiencing with your mum.

Don't beat yourself up for needing a break from it. When your world suddenly turns on its ear, its impossible to adapt without missing a beat. You've done great so far and I'll know you'll be there for your mom. If you need some time to recover from the news yourself--just take it. It is a shocker, for sure. Im still in shock and denial.

Definitely PM me any time. We can get through the newness of it together.
Love to you and your family
post #53 of 54
oh! I didnt answer you before! The docs are starting her radiation next week as an in-patient. Then they are asking her to decide whether she just wants enough rehab to get home quickly and do at-home rehab or if she wants to stay in and get high-functioning in the hospital. So, 2-8 weeks before she can come home. We've practically turned her hospital room into a living room!
post #54 of 54
Something else to think about. Cancer is a tough subject for people to talk about, so sometimes they just won't say anything. And they really don't know what to do to help. So if you can take the lead, that helps out a lot. For example, if someone says, let me know if I can do anything to help, or says, I wish I could help, you can suggest specific things. Like, go for a visit, bring over food for dinner, take turns driving, whatever takes the pressure off you.

And if you feel like talking about the treatment, or just how tired you are from all of this, then go ahead and tell people. They won't know whether to ask, so you need to tell them.

I had a friend give me wonderful advice years ago when they were dealing with a baby with cancer. She said, just ask, how are you doing. And if we feel like talking about it, we wll. And if we can't talk, then we will just say, fine, or whatever. Just follow our lead.

That was great advice, and you could tell your close friends the same thing, because they won't know what to say, or what to do.
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