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My 84 year old Mother has been diagnosed with anal cancer.

Smyrk
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2011

My Mom was diagnosed with anal cancer (squamous) in mid December.  She started chemo and radiation on January 18th.  She says the Dr's say she is between stage 2 and 3.  She had one week of chemo (the kind you carry with you in a pouch) and her second week is set to start on February 15th.  She seemed to tolerate the first round of chemo pretty well.  Some mild nausea but the meds they prescribed seemed to take care of that.  She has some mouth sores.  Rinsing with baking soda and salt in water has helped and she doesn't seem to be too bothered by them.  Monday, 1/31 is her 10th radiation treatment.  She has been 100% incontinent of bladder for years as a result of two strokes that she had 15 years ago and for the last two months she has also had bowel incontinence.  Because of the incontinence, she wears depends and a large pad and waterproof incontinence underpants all the time.  So she started this process with a red bottom.  She is on Coumadin and she has Factor V Leiden which is a fairly common blood disorder that effects the clotting of the blood.  She was told that blood issues can complicate chemotherapy.  She lives independently and she is with it cognitively.  I have been able to take 8 or 9 weeks of Family Medical Leave to stay with her and help her through treatment.  
I'm worried about a lot of things.  She's just a little peanut so I hope she doesn't lose too much weight.  Right now she's eating and drinking very well but I know the worst is yet to come.  I know that in the coming weeks that she will probably become burned by the radiation and with her urinary incontinence I'm worried about how painful a constant dribble of urine will be for her.  Right now she "airs out" her bottom for about an hour a day and that has helped her skin somewhat.  She tires very easily and that seems to increase with each radiation treatment.  She's such a frail little lady who is 84 and I want to do everything that I can to help her through this in the best way possible.

z's picture
z
Posts: 1251
Joined: May 2009

Hello and welcome, Your mom has been through a lot. I think that the drs wouldn't put her through this treatment if they didn't think it was safe for her. She must be one strong little lady. Is she able to have sitz baths to sooth the area? The radiologist should recommend a cream or ointment to use after having radiation, never before because it will cause more burning. I used bag balm (used on cow utters). I would take a bath, go get zapped and come home and put that on. It was very helpful. Also pain medication. Your a good daughter to be there for her, and I hope she will have minimal issues. Lori

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2854
Joined: Jan 2010

Dear Smyrk--

I'm sorry to hear of your mom's diagnosis. Thank goodness she has you to help her through this. As her caregiver, you will need some support yourself, so please come here as often as needed. We are here to help both of you. I wish your mother all the best.

Gulamin
Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2010

As just having finished treatment myself, this forum is the best support one could ask for. Your mom will get through this given all she has been through. I also recommend sitzbath. Aveeno Oatmeal sitzbath did the trick for me. I did it 2-3 times a day and did a whole bath... just feels good to be warm and nurtured. She is lucky to have you. My mom was with me to care for me, cook good meals etc. We are here all the way through!

Smyrk
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2011

I feel very supported by this community. Thank you so much. I read the posts to my Mom and I know they are comforting to her. Today she saw both her Radiologist and her Oncologist. She's doing good in the radiation department, the burning hasn't kicked in yet. Today was her 10th radiation treatment....1/3 of the way there. Her Oncologist is also a Hematologist which is good because she has a blood disorder and she is on Coumadin. Her blood levels were off and her platelets were very low (they were 20). I don't know much about this but the Dr. seemed quite concerned. She is getting a blood transfusion and a platelet transfusion early tomorrow morning. This is the second blood transfusion she has needed and the first time she has needed a platelet transfusion. She seems to be taking is all in stride. I think after living for 84 years she has learned how to take things one day at a time. Thank you again for your support!

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2854
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks for the update on your mom. It sounds like she's doing pretty well, despite the issues with her blood. I certainly hope that will continue to be the case. Please keep us posted!

alis7910
Posts: 80
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi:
Sounds like your mother is one strong woman! What helped me the most with the burning after the radiation treatments was 99% aloe vera gel and nupacaine ointment which numbs the are of pain. I wish you both the very best; keep us posted on her progress.

sissy310
Posts: 300
Joined: May 2010

Hello Smyrk - just putting in a few words of my own in here. I'm sorry that your mom has to go through this, she has gone through enough. She sounds like a very strong woman and is very lucky she has you there to supp1ort and care for her. Come in here whenever you or she needs support and caring words. This group is the best. I'm six months out from treatment and many many days I was in here filling up with the support and caring and love and advise everyone had to give. It really helps. Keep us posted and I will also keep you and your mom in my thoughts and prayers. Marilyne

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