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mzlisaj's picture
mzlisaj
Posts: 12
Joined: May 2013

On April 22, 2013 I took my mom to ER.  She had been having random stomach pain & vomiting for a few weeks.  It wasnt constant or even daily.  She made it sound like it was nothing to be concerned about.  She lives here with me and my daughter.  I am her only child.  The day I took her in was because my daughter was out of school and was here with her all day.  When I got home she told me that she had been vomiting all day.  So that was enough, we went to ER.  We assumed this was a virus and that we would get antibiotics and be back home.  Not quite.  After her ultrasound, the Dr ordered a CT scan.  After he had the results, he came and told us he wanted to admit her for observation.  He saw some "abnormalities" with her liver and wanted to do more tests as an inpatient.

The next day they biopsy her liver and order a colonoscopy and GI series done.  While she is having those tests, the dr comes in her room, where I am waiting alone for her return.  He introduces himself and asks if I have any questions.  I asked him what the biopsy showed, he stated he didnt gave the results yet.  So, I ask him if the abnormality benign and that is when he told he, no, she has cancer.  I was stunned.  My life flashed before my eyes, ironic, right? Not really, because she has been here for me my whole life.  So, I asked him if she knows yet and he said no, he would be back later to tell her.  He never came back that day, so I had to act like I knew nothing.  The next day we found out, that it was not only cancer, but stage IV and not only was it in her liver, but also her pancreas, adrenal gland & bile duct.  However, they still didnt know the source or origin.  So since then she has had her bones, brain, lungs, and breast all scanned.  They have biopsied her breast and they believe that is the culprit but they will know more after her PET scan next week.  

They have decided to go on and start chemo this week (Thursday) because its been almost a month since her diagnosis and want to see if treatment will at least shrink the mass in her liver.  She is trying to be strong for me and I am trying to be strong for her but this has been the absolute hardest month of my entire life.  I love hearing/reading survivor stories when cancer loses.  Please send positive thoughts our way as we begin this journey.

Deborah J Cornwall's picture
Deborah J Cornwall
Posts: 32
Joined: Feb 2013

mzlisaj, I'm so sorry for the shock you've experienced. I'm wishing you the best and just wanted you to know that whatever happens, you need to remember that you're doing the best you can. Your role, as a caregiver, is to do just that. You won't be able yourself to change the outcome, but you will be able to demonstrate to your mother how much you love her by doing everything possible to increase her comfort. That means being an active advocate with the medical team, making sure they are explaining everything clearly and to your satisfaction, but also that they are taking active steps for palliative care. Palliative care isn't end-of-life care--it's care to improve her comfort, reduce nausea, control pain, and reduce anxiety. Above all, make sure that you feel confident that she's got a capable team and that they are showing appropriate sensitivity to the emotional aspects of your whole family's situation.

Finally, don't forget to take care of yourself. You're probably feeling torn right now between your mom and your daughter, and there's not much time or energy left for you. I'd urge you to make sure you take even a few minutes for yourself every day, whether it's taking a walk, or reading a book, or soaking in a bubble bath. If you crash, you'll be of no use to anyone.

Good luck.

mzlisaj's picture
mzlisaj
Posts: 12
Joined: May 2013

I appreciate your kind words and thank you for replying.

Noellesmom
Posts: 1302
Joined: Aug 2010

MZ, I am sorry for the shock of finding out about your mom's illness and the subsequent decisions that must be made in dealing with the cancer beast.

I don't know all the particulars of your mom's prognosis but I can tell you my husband had advanced throat cancer, took chemo and radiation, and three years later he is cancer free.  It was not easy and there was permanent nerve damage and pain he lives with daily.  All in all, for a 55 year old man who had a really awful cancer, he is doing well - much better than they anticipated.

I will say a prayer for your mom and for quality of life as she starts treatment.

mzlisaj's picture
mzlisaj
Posts: 12
Joined: May 2013

I LOVE survivor stories, thanks so much for sharing yours.

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