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My mum's dying........

sottovoce
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2013

My Mum was diagnosed with Stage IIIA gastroesophageal juction cancer mid Oct 2012 and is being treated the same as a gastric/stomach cancer. She had her entire stomach removed late October 2012 and it took her a month before she was discharged from hospital. We thought we'd almost lost her then as recovery from surgery was originally expected to be within 7-10 days but there were complications. She is 74 years of age, never had any medical illness except for a worn knee, and was suppose to started chemo recently but was put on hold as her wound from surgery is still healing. We are awaiting results from some tests done to see if she is ready to commence in the following week.

The oncologist will be prescribing Xeloda + Oxaliplatin. I have researched the internet inclouding this forum and hear there are quite extensive nausea effects with Oxaliplatin and hear some pateitns have been prescribed Zofran or Compazine as anti-nausea medication. I also hear Sancuso patches could be useful but plan to ask these questions in the next appointment.

One of my biggest challenge is that I am located overseas with my wife and kids with plans to return in a few weeks for a 'visit'. It is tough. I was back for about a month during her procedure and plan to return as often as I can. I am still feeling the after effects of my initial shock and sadness. I hear things get tough if it spreads; usually to the liver. Relapse is looking at 80% at this stage according to the oncologist with a possible reduction to 60% post Chemo.

Can anyone please share or advise what else I can do to help especially when she is going through Chemo? I plan to buy some Biotene toothpaste which helps with dry mouth, and some good moisturing cream.

Regards,

WY

jen2012
Posts: 1229
Joined: Aug 2012

Sorry to hear about your mom.

My husband has stage 4 rectal cancer and his chemo includes oxaliplatin.  He gets zofran before his treatment, but hasn't needed it at all besides.  He has not had any stomach issues.  He gets the neuropathy and cold sensitivity, but nothing that he can't deal with.  Lots of people on zeloda/oxi on the colorrectal board if you want to post or read there for suggestions.   I hope your mother does well with her treatment.

She may need some gloves, even thin gloves if she is in a warmer area.  The cream and toothpaste are good ideas - though my husband hasn't needed either.   Also remind her to drink lots of water , that will probably have to be room temperature due to the cold sensitivity.

sottovoce
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2013

Thank you jen2012. I am sorry to hear about your husband too, and hope he goes well with the treatment. I will visit the colorrectal board as suggested.

Our main concern at the moment is for her wounds to heal. The gastrectomy to which was suppose to be straight forward procedure turned out pretty bad (the surgoen's words were 'everything that could have gone wrong did'). She is still feeling the effects of her collapsed lung, and we will know at today's appointment on whether the healing is progressing in the right direction in order to commence chemo.

Thanks for the note about cold sensitivity especially when she doesn't normally take well to cold weather.

 

sottovoce
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2013

Thank you jen2012. I am sorry to hear about your husband too, and hope he goes well with the treatment. I will visit the colorrectal board as suggested.

Our main concern at the moment is for her wounds to heal. The gastrectomy to which was suppose to be straight forward procedure turned out pretty bad (the surgoen's words were 'everything that could have gone wrong did'). She is still feeling the effects of her collapsed lung, and we will know at today's appointment on whether the healing is progressing in the right direction in order to commence chemo.

Thanks for the note about cold sensitivity especially when she doesn't normally take well to cold weather.

 

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1617
Joined: Aug 2009

My husband experienced most of the things Jen described. Cold bothered him the most. I do want to comment on your title. My husband's dx was stage 4 colon cancer. The literature at that time indicated that survival was about 22 months. He made it for 6 years. He went through many treatments, but insisted that he wasn't dying from cancer. He was living with it. None of us has an expiration date stamped on us. Enjoy the time you have now. It may be a much longer time than you expect. It is never long enough, but just don't waste it. Take care, Fay

sottovoce
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2013

Thanks for the words of encouragement Fay. I am sorry to hear about your loss.

I am probably feeling the effects of having someone close to me being seriously ill for the first time, plus having seen her gone through a tough period of 'recovery' after her op. I am treasuring everyday I have with her although I am far away, and have been keeping in touch over the phone until my next trip in about a month's time. 

My mum did say it would be a blessing if she can make it for the next 4-5 years. Chemo is suppose to reduce the chance of relapse from 80% to 60%, and I am hoping it will just do that.

 

sottovoce
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2013

Mum's wound from her opening during her gastractomy is still not healing as well as it should. The oncologist decided to delay Oxaliplatin and started her on 2 weeks of Xeloda 2 weeks ago. The first week on Xeloda was hard. She felt nausea and uncomfortable and couldn't swallow the tabs. She stopped the tablets midway in her first week.

Aparantly it is now back to the specialist for another scope next week to see what the trouble is and how her oesophagus is healing. The surgeon mentioned he will use the scope to also enlarge her oesophagus at the same time if needed. There is also another review scheduled with the oncologist.

Getting really worried right now. I am far away and there is nothing I can do but to keep her in my prayers. 

nempark
Posts: 595
Joined: Apr 2010

I was away myself when my mom got sick and couldn't be there for her except for short visits.  I know how you are feeling and I pray that she gets some relief.  Try not to be too hard on yourself.  This is all part of life, fortunately, we have more happiness than sadness.  I pray that God give you the strength and wisdom to endure mom's illness.  Be well.

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