Advance apologies for the long-winded message.
I've been reading messages posted on the board for the past few months and they've been a great comfort to me in very dark times. My mother (who is 71) was diagnosed with mCRC in October 2007. She had a few hepatic mets (the largest was probably around 3cm) as well as peritoneal deposits and 4/10 lymph nodes involved. Although we didn't know it at the time, she also had one or two lung mets. She underwent a right hemicolectomy and wore a colostomy bag for a few months, at which time the hemicolectomy was reversed. She has gone through several sessions of chemo: six months of Folfiri/Avastin; four months of Xeloda (Avastin was discontinued halfway through the Xeloda because she developed a clot in her jugular vein); and, starting last October, Folfox4. Her most recent PET-CT showed continued activity in her liver and lung mets but, according to her oncologist, no new mets. I started her on a course of supplements prescribed by a naturopath in Atlanta GA (lots of fish oil, Vitamin D, antioxidants like CoQ10...)
Then, ten days ago, she was hospitalized after a failed colonoscopy and failed barium enema. There was an obstruction in her intestines (she had been in pain for months, but this pain usually went away after a course of antibiotics and disinfectants, and her oncologist was not concerned since she was on chemo and CT scans didn't show anything new). Surgeons opened her up, drained a large quantity of ascites out, and closed her up again, diagnosing peritoneal carcinomatosis and frozen abdomen. Strangely, she was still passing stool, and has continued to do so. She was put on a liquid diet for a few days but is still in a bit of pain. She is also suffering terribly from the drains placed in her side to drain the fluid (serum etc.) from her abdomen. The oncologist says she has to recover from surgery and at that time he plans to start her on Vectibix.
Ever since she was diagnosed, I have been communicating with surgical oncologists and radiologists in the US and Germany (we live in Egypt). Last summer we traveled to France and Switzerland because I had hoped someone would operate on her liver and lung mets. Unanimously, doctors have praised her oncologist's strategy and talked about an "advanced case" and an "unfortunate disease." At this point, I am starting to wonder how much longer my mother has left. I am four months pregnant and would have loved her to see her grandchild, but I don't know if this is going to happen and it's killing me. I feel so bad that she is suffering when I am not even able to tell her convincingly that she is going to get over this particular bad patch. I am also very frightened of the coming period. From what I have read, and I'm sorry to bring this up, dying of CRC is excruciating. I don't want her to be in pain and I need advice. Anything you can tell me would be appreciated.