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Support of loved one

Seabiscuit
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2004

My cousin was recently diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian ca. She has ascites & is quite uncomfortable. She does not want chemo or surgery. Any advice on how to support her during this time. I don't know if there is any palliative types of surgery or treatments that can be done to help her. She is not very open to trying things or suggestions. And I'm not informed enough to know if there is anything helpful out there.

mopar
Posts: 1948
Joined: May 2003

I didn't catch what stage of OVCA your cousin has. And what are ascites? I definitely recommend this site to her if she has a computer. This forum is not only helpful but so is the chat room. There are so many of us out there who have or who are experiencing similar situations. It helps to get feedback and support. In the meantime, bless you for supporting her. Just being there is one of the biggest helps to anyone. Maybe the two of you can sit down at the computer together and research this. Then she will be equipped to approach her doctor and ask all the questions she can. Keep a journal on everything. I will caution you that sometimes too much info can be overwhelming. But between the two of you you'll come up with appropriate concerns and questions for the doctors. Don't let her give up. Don't know her age, but ANY age is worth fighting for! I will be praying for her also!
Monika

Seabiscuit
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2004

Thanks for your kind words. I don't know what stage as she isn't very open. Can they stage you if they don't do surgery? She had a Cat scan done & found that her omentum(sp?)colon had metastatasis. Also they tapped her stomach (paracentesis) & found cancer cells. I think whether true or not she feels it is so far spread that nothing will work.

BonnieR's picture
BonnieR
Posts: 1549
Joined: Jan 2004

I am so sorry to hear of cousin's cancer. What stage is she in? My aunt had surgery but didn't do chemo and wasn't here very long. I know chemo and surgery are scary but well worth the battle. Why doesn't she want treatment? I know I had ascites bad and it is very uncomfortable, actually caused my bowels and kidneys to stop working, had to be hospitalized for almost 2 weeks. Not a fun road she has ahead of her. Keep us posted and hopefully after she talks and thinks some more she'll decide the fight is worth it. Take Care you are in our prayers. Bonnie

Seabiscuit
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2004

Thanks for your reply. I don't know what stage she is in. She went to her oncologist yesterday & I'm not sure what happenned. My sister talked to her afterwards, & it seems that she is not going to do chemo or surgery. We love her a lot & I of course want her to fight. I feel though that she has made up her mind & will shut me out if I pressure her. I want to support her either way whatever her decision is. I've gently tried to encourage that maybe it isn't as bad as she thinks but without success (as well as many others). Thank you again for your prayers.

BonnieR's picture
BonnieR
Posts: 1549
Joined: Jan 2004

Maybe print this to give to her. I had 2 very large tumors on each ovary they were 8x7x10cm. One of the wrapped all the way around my appendix, I had a very large tumor on my spleen which had herniated into my colon, I had cancer in my liver, in my upper abdomen, yes our bodies fill with ascites and yes it is full of cancer cells, the omentum is usually full of cancer - and mine was and they remove it. I tell you before my husband and I saw the Dr we kept thinking maybe it's not as bad as they say and to our surprise it was worse than we could have imagined. Some say they didn't expect to see me again, some say it is a miracle that I am here. I believe there are many miracles waiting for us to allow them to happen... I pray the miracle happens for her. My ca125 counts were 2000 ... and yes I may get the cancer again but the time with my loved ones has been worth the try. I know from watching my aunt chose not to go for treatment and seeing how fast she went and with so much suffering that choice is hard also.

Sorry this got so long and sorry I started preaching! I just know how hopeless one can feel and yet am an example of what hope there is.

pshnyc's picture
pshnyc
Posts: 45
Joined: Feb 2003

Only you can know what is the best way to talk to and approach your cousin. And decisions about treatment vs no treatment are very personal. I can only share my feelings about it and perhaps something will resonate.

When I was dx with ovca I felt sorry for myself for one day and then I was like a pit bull to get better. I will celebrate 3 years cancer free next week and it has been worth every ounce of pain, hair loss, surgery, probing and prodding. I would have done anything for one more day with my husband and family. I'm gonna leave this world kicking and screaming and if someone I loved was giving up, I'd drag their butts kicking and screaming, too!

I hope I haven't offended you, but I have always been a doer and a fixer -- nothing's too tough to tackle. Life is too precious not to want to stay in it -- we're all here for such a short time as it is.

Good luck and best wishes,

Pamela

groundeffect
Posts: 651
Joined: Mar 2003

Your cousin's diagnosis must have come from finding cancer cells in the ascites, but there's no way of accurately staging cancers without it being removed and examined. I would suggest seeing if you could get her to go to a support group and talk to someone to understand that, even if she has an advanced stage, it's possible to keep living a good life for a long time! Everyone in the support group I go to had higher stages, and I look to them for inspiration-some have had repeated treatments, and are optimistic about the future. It's made me feel a lot better and confident about having a good future.

bobbedee
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2004

I am sorry to hear of your cousin's diagnosis. I was diagnosed with OVCA in November of 2003. I did 2 surgeries and am near the end of my chemo. Tell your cousin that she MUST, SIMPLY MUST, seek treatment! It is worth it. Things looked very dark for me in November, but the doctors say now that I am in remission-the cancer was in my intestines. Tell your cousin we are all afraid, but the love of life is greater than fear! Good luck and keep me posted!

Seabiscuit
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2004

I'm afraid she is set on her decision. She is aware there is a chance she might be cured. But she isn't willing to do it. I cannot promise her she will have a positive outcome and she knows that. I think she is so against surgery & chemo because she hates hospitals. Also her husband died at a young age. She doesn't have any children. Her brother died also at a young age. Her poor mother! She is also very religious & I believe she is hoping to see them in heaven. She doesn't have the will to fight that it would take to tolerate the treatments. Many people have tried to convince her (including a friend who is a doctor). Thank you though for your responses.

gorget
Posts: 23
Joined: Feb 2004

You are truly a special person to be so concerned and caring for your cousin. As many of us know, the decision to undergo surgery and chemo is very difficult - as is the decision to do nothing. Both paths are littered with hazards and pitfills, waiting to trip us on our way.
Your cousin has made a decision - a tough one at that - and now needs you and the others who love her to support her in that decision.
There is a great book out there "The Etiquette of Illness" by Susan Halpern. It discusses illness from both the patient and the loved one's point of view (Ms. Halpern having been through chemo herself, as well as being a therapist). It is truly enlightening. Another book is "On Death and Dying" by Marion Kubler-Ross. I recommend it because it goes through the five stages (from anger to acceptance) that everyone goes through in many of life's situations - not just during illness. It is a classic book, and very insightful as well.
Your cousin needs your support in whatever decision she makes. Perhaps the loving support of those who truly care for her will remind her that it's too soon to leave them. You'll never know until you try.
Good luck - I hope she changes her mind, but I can understand her feelings entirely.
Be well.

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