Feb 16, 2013 - 11:32 pm
My family got very bad news today and I'm so incredibly frustrated by the doctors, I'm hoping that you all can help direct me with some possible next steps. My mom was diagnosed with Stage IIIC (Grade 3) uterine cancer one year ago. We knew this was bad but she is relatively young (a very fit 67), in great shape and had a fantastic, positive attitude. She had a full hysterectomy (3 out of 19 lymph nodes were cancerous), completed 6 rounds of chemo last summer (and sailed through with very few side effects), followed by 28 rounds of external radiation (much harder on her system than the chemo, from day 1). Before the radiation, they did a scan and found another cancerous lymph node, which they surgically removed prior to beginning radiation. It's been a tough year but she's been quite a trooper and has been determined to fight it with all she's got.
Since completing radiation (around Thanksgiving), she's been dealing with an on-and-off pain in her lower right side. She's gone to several doctors over the past month, including her internist, a colon specialist and her radiologist, and all have said, "hmm... don't know... just keep taking your probiotics." The radiologist actually commented, "I'm not sure what it is but I do know cancer and this is definitely not cancer."
Two days ago her pain worsened so she went to the ER. A CT scan revealed something around her appendix and she was initially diagnosed with appendicitis, before an on call surgeon decided to wait and consult with my mom's other doctors the next day. Long story short, they attempted an exploratory surgery today to figure out what it was, and it appears to be a cancerous mass around her appendix. They also noticed a few spots on her liver. They took biopsies but didn't remove the mass because the cancer surgeon wasn't there.
Now what?!! I'm so frustrated by the doctors and by the fact that they went ahead and did what turned into a major surgery today without a cancer surgeon there who might've been able to try to remove what they found. Because it's a holiday weekend, we're in a 4-day limbo before getting a chance to consult with the oncologists and so now I'm trying to figure out what we should even ask once we do have that chance. Is it likely that they'd go back in soon to surgically remove the mass on her appendix, or will they have to wait a certain amount of time before they risk that?
What kind of treatment options does she have to help control these metastases to her liver (and possibly elsewhere)? I've heard hormone therapies mentioned on this forum but don't know much about them- are there certain hormone therapies that we should ask about? Or other chemotherapies that she should try? (She did 6 rounds of carboplatin/paclitaxel). I don't want to bombard her body with destructive therapies (she's already down to 98 lbs from the radiation) but I know that she wants to do what she can to fight this thing.
Any suggestions of what I should look into and/or ask the doctors about would be much appreciated.