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Sister just diagnosed/help

PYoung
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2009

I really don't know where to start. Of course, this is so new to our family. Just two weeks ago, my 36 year old sister's OBGYN broke the news to my sister that they found tumors in her throat while she was under anesthesia during a hysterectomy some six weeks ago. He didn't feel she was mentally stable enough to handle the news then so he waited until her follow up appt to break the news to her just about two weeks ago. Since then, she has been undergoing blood work which indicated all of her red blood cells are destroyed and it has been confirmed that tumors exist on her voice box. Just today she was prescribed six chemo patches which last for a total of six weeks. She is constantly throwing up. She's on a very strict diet. No meat, no cooked vegetables, no caffeine. She can only have protein, fruits, raw vegetables, lots of peanut butter, etc. Her 13 year old daughter is absolutely devastated. My 70 year old mother is asking why God didn't give this to her instead. It's absolutely awful. My sister called me today to ask me to sit down with my niece and try and talk to her about all of this since I'm the strongest emotional member of our family. What they don't realize is away from them I'm as fragile as they are. But I did as she asked and I was able to get through the discussion with my frail niece without crying and tried to show her that strength is what she needed to show her mother now. But I also didn't want to teach her that shadowing her emotions was the right thing either. I also believe that we all need a time to shed our tears. I have no idea what is the right thing to do in this situation. My family has seen heartattacks, strokes, and the like but never cancer. Please, can anyone please help me? Each time my sister talks about this she cries. My mother cries, everyone cries and I'm trying to hold it all together. What do I do? I'm trying now to find locations through the ACS to give Angel a wig when she looses her hair. That's another real problem for her. All of us girls have very long, full blonde hair. It's going to be devastating when Angel begins to lose her hair with the chemo treatment. And the patches appear to be affecting her quickly so it doesn't look like it's going to take very much time to see the effects of it. How long does it take to get a wig? I've got to do what I can to minimize as much of the trauma as I can for her. Thank you so much for whatever advice you can offer. God bless each of you and your family members that are going through cancer and the effects of it. I never knew how much it can turn ones life upside down until I actually began to go through it and I'm only a sister. God bless!

kitten0385's picture
kitten0385
Posts: 278
Joined: Apr 2009

You have found a wonderful site with some wonderful individuals that can share their personal stories with cancer right now; I believe it is sufficient to say that you, your mother, your nice, and most definitely your sister are mortified with the recent diagnosis of cancer, share some rejoice in knowing that she has been diagnosed. There is a small miracle in the fact that she was diagnosed during a hysterectomy. Having the diagnosis means your sister can get on with fighting this disease. You have said that she was diagnosed with tumors in her throat. So, is this throat cancer, esophageal cancer? Since she is already undergoing a chemotherapy regimen I would assume this is known information. I know there are other forums on this website for those specific types of cancer as well....but, no matter what kind it is you are highly welcomed into this group of ours that is fighting or have survived esophageal cancer. I am going through recurrence right now, and am actually in the hospital at the moment due to a colon blockage, possibly from a new tumor or scar tissue from my esophagectomy surgery. Anyway, enough about me at this point, this is about you and your sister. Know that crying and being emotional is a very normal response to an initial diagnosis. Also know, that there is a point when the cancer will have to be lived with. I always say that "life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." Your sister must learn to dance through this horrible storm she is encountering. I know it is hard, but it can be done, and cancer can be fought! Also know, if there is any discomfort with the oncologists or medical team involved that a second opinion, and even a third is warranted. Being comfortable with the care being provided should be top priority. As for the wig, I suggest going to a local salon that deals with wigs. It is also best to do this before your sister loses all of her hair so they can match her normal hair as closely as possible. i went to a local salon for my wig and they matched it very well, and it took about a week to get in once I ordered it, and then once in the ladies can cut and style it to match your sister's look as closely as possible. My wig cost me $250. Only being 24 years old, it was important to me that I have a nice wig. I also have a lot of cute hats and scarves. I just started my new chemo regimen for my recurrence about 3 weeks ago, and my hair is coming out in chunks now...it is still short from my first round of chemo from my original diagnosis. The hair will start to grow back shortly after stopping treatments, but may grow back a different texture, and possibly even a different color, each person is different. With everything going on, and your sister being in the fight of her life, hair loss is one of the minimal side effects. Trust me, I know it is traumatic, but easily lived with. Please, feel free to vent here any time, and I'm sure you'll get many more responses. I wish you the best.

Cathy

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