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Looking for Advise for Mom

larryb5815kw
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2003

Here's the shorten version....My mother was diagnosed w/ colon cancer back in February. Part of her colon was removed and fortunately the cancer had not spread to any of the surrounding organs. After 6 weeks of chemo/radiation, she started, and is now in the 5th month of a weekly preventive chemo program at a local hospital. Unfortunately, the chemotherapy has taken a tremendous toll on her physically. Nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, loss of weight, depression, anxiety. She's a shell of a woman she was before the treatment began. My dad, who has never been a caregiver in his life, is at his wits end with trying to get her through this. But I think she's content w/ "riding out the storm" until the treatment is complete in Dec. I don't know if we can wait that long to try to do something to give her some encouragement to keep going and to not give up, which we think she has. I just started checking the web for support groups. Any other advise fr/ the listeners?

andreae
Posts: 238
Joined: Sep 2003

Dear Larry,

You sound like a concerned and supportive son and that, in and of itself, is probably giving your mother courage to keep going. I empathize with your mom - it is very hard to keep your spirits up and maintain a fighting attitude when you're physically suffering. I managed to face most of my treatment with a positive attitude but when a draining surgery took its physical toll... Well, I felt like curling up and fading away. It was much easier to put on a happy face when I felt better. That being said, perhaps you should ask your mother if she is being completely honest with her doctors and telling them about all her side effects. There are some really good drugs out there to control diarrhea and nausea. As for the anxiety and depression, they sort of go hand in hand with physical side effects - perhaps if that could be better controlled, the anxiety and depression would subside. Also there are anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs on the market. There is some controversy surrounding Prozac, Ativan, ect. but ask the doctors if it would help. Of course, there are no medicinal substitutes for love and support, so remind your mother often of how much you love her and also remind her that the AGONY OF THE TREATMENT WILL END. It's so easy to lose sight of that when you are sick. Do things that your mother enjoys (tempt her with her favorite foods, watch her favorite t.v. show, etc.) and it is important to try and get out of the house (even if it's only for a few minutes) everyday. Listen to your mom's fears. Finally, conserving energy can be easily mistaken for giving up - your mother is battling against cancer and perhaps she needs every ounce of energy to face treatment right now. Your mom may seem like a shell of the woman she once was because she has no energy left to invest in her personality and her likes. Rest assured that once the treatments are over, your mom will begin to re-allocate her energy to things besides fighting cancer.

Good luck and be well.

-Andrea

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

Larry -

Good advice from andrea - one who's been there. For more good nuggets see the previous discussion string, "I hate this feeling". Perhaps you will find more good info there.

Like andrea said, your mom is probably just wiped, but not whipped! It's a great thing you're doing and your support will do great things for your mom.

Keeping your family in my prayers.

- SpongeBob

degaja
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2003

Hi Larry...My name is Debbie (Deb for short). I just read your letter and found out we have alot in common. My mom found out she had colon cancer in Aug. She also had a mass on her ovary which is where the cancer started. She had lost her appetite a couple of months before her surgery and refused to eat 2 mos. after surgery. We ended up putting feeding tube in and she was able to start her chemo. She is doing better but we take it one day at a time. My parents are 77 yrs. old and this is very hard on my dad. Our lives have changed completely. Even though things are better at the moment she still has 3 more months of chemo to endure. Sometimes I will just sit and cry wondering if this will be the last Christmas I will have with my mom. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know the feeding tube was a turning point for my mom. She immediately began getting stronger. We lost down to 109 lbs. and is now back up to 125 lbs. Hope things get better for you and your family, Debbie

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