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Mom Diagnosed with Stage 3 Stomach Cancer 2 weeks ago :(

montclair
Posts: 11
Joined: May 2010

My 55 year old mom was diagnosed with stage 3 adenocarcinoma/signet cell carcinoma. About 2 months ago she started having severe sharp stomach pains and nausea/vomiting. She went to a local general practitioner who thought it was just a stomach ulcer and prescribed anti-biotics and pepcid and was scheduled to have an endoscopy after 1 month from the start of her symptoms although the the doctors office told us that insurance wouldnt pay for the procedure and they kept cancelling her upper endoscopy procedure. My mom wasnt even able to get through to this horrible doctor when she was in severe pain and his office would just tell her to go to the emergency room. Finally about 2 and a half weeks ago I came home from Medical school and saw for myself how sick my mom truly was she would wake up in the middle of the night crying in pain and trying to vomit. I am so angry that my parents didnt not tell me how sick my mom was otherwise I would have left med school right when she started feeling sick 2months ago but they thought it was just a stomach ulcer just like the horrible general doctor she pleaded with countless times to help her relieve her pain. To make a long story short as soon as I got back home from med school I scheduled an upper endoscopy with a different doctor within a few days and that was when the true nightmare began for me and my family. The Gastroenterologist called me into his office after my moms endoscopy and told me that it looked like stomach cancer and that he was 90% sure it was cancer but couldnt tell me 100% until he got back the biopsy result, her endoscopy was on a Friday and I had to wait all weeknd until the following Monday for the dreaded phone call from the Doctor tell me that the biopsy came back positive for Stomach cancer. The next day she was scheduled for a Cat Scan which came back clear for all her other organs beside her stomach which helped me feel a little better for a few days hoping that it was only localized to her stomach as the CAT scan suggested no spread to any other organs. The gastroenterologist referred me to a GI oncologist Surgeon (Dr. McCain) at Hackensack University Medical center in New Jersey, and I looked him up online and he seems to be a top surgeon in his field and also did his residency at Sloan Kettering in NYC. He told me it looked like my mom had stage 3 stomach cancer and that it would be best to do a partial or total gastrectomy, after he saw my mom I spoke to him in the hallway away from my mom and told him that I was medical student and asked him if a cure was possible, he told me that doctors dont like to say cure but instead use the word remission, and that he has patients that have lived up to 5 years and even has a patient 8 years post total gasctrectomy is still alive and ok. My mom had her total gastrectomy 1 week ago and she is still in the hospital very weak but has started to eat some soft food today and to drink liquids. Today the surgeon told me that at least 5-7 of her lymph nodes were positive for a mix of signet ring cell.adenocarcinoma, but he'll know exactly how many lymphs are positive tommorrow. My life and my families has become a never ending nightmare since her diagnosis. I have been staying with her in the hospital 24hours non-stop sinc her surgery a week ago and only going home to shower. I have been researching online constantly and have stopped looking at the stats because they make me feel even worse and start to lose it when I think about what might happen to my beautiful mom. Some websites say a cure is still possible in stage 3 in some cases and I pray to god my mom chemotherapy goes well and am hoping for a miracle even though I my family is absolutely terrified about the future and I know if god forbid if I was to lose my mom I will never be able to live a normal life without her, I cannot live without her. My moms surgeon told me that they would use the clinical trial therapy know as the "Magic Trial" on my mom and that it was made up of a triple combo of ECF. Does anyone in this forum know anything about this chemo triple combo? I am also looking into Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC. Anyone have any suggestions? I am praying for the best and a cure although I know the odds are against us and I hope I will be able to keep myself sane in order to help my mom and hopefully save her I feel that life for me and my family is over and will never be normal again.. :(((((

liveinhope
Posts: 83
Joined: Mar 2010

Hi ,I am a caregiver for my 31 year old son with the same illness,also a pediatrician.Please hang in there for your Mom.Don,t let her illness change the way you look at her lovely face.You are doing so much for her.There is always hope.Don't let the statistics take that away from you.Why shouldn't she among the survivors?
Lots of love and good cheer Nisha

montclair
Posts: 11
Joined: May 2010

Hello Nisha:
Thank You for your kind words. I was hoping you could give me some advice about what may be the best possible route for post-total gastrectomy chemo treatment for my mom. I am so stressed out since all the responsibility for my mom's medical treatment decisions has been put on me since Im the med student in the family who is supposed to know whats best for my mom. My family and I are praying for a miracle possible cure even though I know that stats are horrible especially for mixed signet ring/adenocarcinoma. I am trying my best to have a positive attitude in front of my mom and to keep a clear head and hope that I find her the best possible treatment to hopefully save my mom's life, I know that every patient is different and responds differently to chemo, since my mom is Stage 3 I am hoping she still has a chance for a cure. The oncologist that she will be seeing at Hackensack University Medical center in about a week and a half supposedly uses the Magic trial triple combo ECF is this what your son has been treated with or is the any other chemo combo that may work better. I am planning to also make an apt for a 2nd opinion at Sloan Kettering in NYC. I pray to god that I find the best possible treatment for my mom and dont make any mistakes. Ok Dr. Nisha whenever your free I would greatly appreciate your input. My email address is: ilirgashimd@hotmail.com

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1561
Joined: Nov 2009

I was a caregiver for my dad, who recently passed away from ec with mets to his liver. The tumor was just above his stomach, at the end of his esophagus. On a positive note, Sloan in NYC is an excellent place. I took my dad to UVA, since we live in Va. You are doing all of the right things. Remember Cancer is a disease, not a life sentence. Everyone is different. Do not listen to statistics. If you feel uncomfortable with the first dx, seek a second one. You know this being in the medical field. My dad's first dx gave him 6 mos. His 2nd dx from UVA treated him and he lived 16 mos. Mom has to have a positive attitude. She has to be willing to fight. She has to have a strong faith. The individuals mind set plays a major roll in survival. You can also go to the caregivers discussion board. That too will be very helpful to you. Keep in touch. We will be praying for all of you.
Tina

montclair
Posts: 11
Joined: May 2010

Thanks for the kind words of support. I am trying to be strong for my mom even though I am absolutely terrified about the future, and pray for a miracle for my mom. She will be starting the chemo combo of Epirubicin, Cisplatin, and 5FU(Flurouracil) in about a month and we are praying the chemo works and gets rid of the cancer left over in some of her lymph nodes. Thanks again for all your support!

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1561
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Montclair
You do need to remain strong for your mom. Give all of your fears up to God. "Come to me all that trevail and are heavy laden....and I will comfort you." That chemo that she will be getting is very strong. It should do quite a number on that cancer! Prepare ahead of time for the side effects. Make sure you have a supply of anti nausea meds. Make sure she takes them daily regardless if she is nauses or not. Do not wait for it to happen, if you do it is too late. Continue you to pray. There is power in prayer! Keep in touch.
Tina

sfyh
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2010

I will be praying for you. My mom has a similar story. She is in Stage IV and was diagnosed in March 2010. I considered going to Sloan for a second opinion, but her insurance does not cover it. Thankfully, she got recommended a good oncologist who we trust. He did a fellowship at Sloan. I have not received a clear prognosis (how much more time doctor?), but those discouraging stats online has painted me a harsh picture of reality.

Keep us updated. Please do share with us your experiences with getting a second opinion. My thoughts are with you.

chumley
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2010

be positive and look for any support groups that the doctors or hospital offer. I know it is difficult, but be strong and be positive, you can get through this with your mom and family.

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