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Mother's Treatments

barbara_ldl
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2007

My mom was diagnosed with Uterine Cancer in early January. The cancer was at Stage 3C. She had a total hysterectomy mid January. Most lymph nodes are affected, including pelvic and aortic. Tests showed 'activity' in the chest cavity as well, however her Dr. is not going to biopsy anything right now as he hopes radiation treatments and chemotherapy will take care of it. My mom is supposed to have 22-25 radiation treatments, however after 13 she was given 2 days off in order to regain strength. She is extremely tired, wore out, sick, nauseous, and has extreme diarrhea. Is it normal for a break in radiation due to her weakness? Anyone have any idea what chemo will be like, as in how often, side effects, etc.? Will she be able to handle it if Radiation is proving to be this hard on her? How common is it for Uterine Cancer to develop into a an advanced stage, shouldn't her regular Dr. have caught it earlier as she was going in for bleeding and pain? Thanks for your time and input!

tlva
Posts: 56
Joined: Nov 2005

Well, God bless you and your mother. Sounds like she's really having a tough time. My cancer was a Stage 2B, Grade 1 and I had 25 external radiation treatments and 3 internal Brachytherapy treatments almost 2 years ago.

I didn't have to take any breaks, but did get tired toward the end of treatment and did have the diarrhea with the internal treatments. It did go away after I finished.

Is your mother eating well? They recommend staying with the high calories during treatment because radiation kills good and bad cells and her body is also still trying to heal form the surgery. It really puts a high demand and stress on the physical as well as the emotional to do all of these things together. I found ice cream to be quite enjoyable...I'm paying for it now...but get her whatever she wants and plenty of it. It's a great comfort food, digests easily and has the calories and protien she needs to get through this stage. Smoothies are great also, milkshakes, anything that doesn't require a lot of fuss. She probably doesn't have much of an appetite from the stress of all of this, let alone the treatment.

They have made such progress with the chemo and the new injections that they give to help ward off potential side effects are very helpful. I think one is Neulasta? Ask her doctors for all the help she can get. My sister is a breast cancer survivor and they gave her Ativan before her chemo to relieve the anxiety which helps stave off the nausea so that she could stay on track with the treatments.

As far as her doctor goes, there is no test for uterine cancer like the pap smear for cervical cancer. Most often it is diagnosed only after a woman has symptoms like abnormal bleeding and pain. At least those symptoms helped her diagnosis and she has a chance to do something about it. Hind sight is just 20/20 and won't change a thing. I kept wondering if I had missed something. Mine came up after my annual pap showed that I was shedding endometrial cells.Only 1 in 10 women with that type of pap will actually have endometrial cancer...I was the one. I was not having any symptoms...I was 46 at the time. Thank God I didn't skip that appointment!

Do some research at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center site and maybe that will help you form some more questions for her doctors. Take notes...it's too hard to try to remember everything from the appointments.
You'll be in my thoughts and prayers...God bless and I hope this helps! Write back if you need me...I'll check in.

groundeffect
Posts: 651
Joined: Mar 2003

Sorry to hear that your mom had such advanced uterine cancer. I didn't have radiation, so I'm glad tlva stepped in with some words.

To reflect on your question about bleeding and pain and diagnosis, I had symptoms for months before dx, including heavy bleeding, but because the ultrasound had shown uterine fibroids, that was attibuted to them. I was given a double shot of DepoProvera to help stem the bleeding, but within a month I ended up in the emergency room with a pulmonary embolism, caused by deep vein thrombosis. That's when my gyn came to the hospital and did a mini-biopsy that found uterine cancer. When I had a hysterectomy, ovarian cancer was found, also, but mercifully both were low-stage (uterine 1b, ovarian 1c). The embolism/DVT was a symptom of lower-body cancer(s)-the body starts hyper-coagulating to try to heal cancer lesions, and veins can be clogged with it. I'm now approaching my fifth anniversary of my surgery, and seem to be getting healthier all of the time.

You don't mention what age your mom is, but I can tell you from experience that bleeding and pain is taken as somewhat normal for menopausal women; I had trouble with my periods for most of my life, and was still having them, so I didn't think twice about my situation, especially in light of the fibroids. Fibroids are very common, and are not considered indicative of cancer, either.

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