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Caregiver, Support Provider and Researcher for my Sister

S4L
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2011

Hello Everyone,
I am new to this Board and am seeking any advice I can find. 50 year old sister diagnosed with Colon Cancer Stage III in 2009. She had surgery and 5 months of standard Chemo. She was cancer free in 2010, or so we thought. CT Scan in early December showed 3 small legions in lungs (they were malignant and the colon cancer had spread). She had robotic surgery in early Feb to remove two from her right lung. Surgeon left other small to see how it would respond to chemo. We were still consulting with doctors on best course of treatment, but discovered from her PET/CT scan last week that 2 new legions have appeared in her left lungs and a new one in the right. They also see some gray matter in her liver. We have a consultation with a specialist tomorrow. I am so scared. I can imagine life without my sister. She is a wife and living mother of two. Her son is a freshmen in college. She is the oldest sister and our other siblings and parents depend on her and now she is depending on ME. I'm trying to be strong and show no fear. I have faith and believe that God can heal her, but I do get scared sometimes. Does anyone know of cases of Stage IV Colon Cancer - metasasized to lungs and liver surviving? I appreciate any information/advice that you can provide. God Bless,

Lola

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3355
Joined: Jan 2010

I am glad you found us and we will do all we can here to help you understand about the medical things and help with the emotional things as well.

Your questions "Does anyone know of cases of Stage IV Colon Cancer - metasasized to lungs and liver surviving?". The answer is YES. There are folks here and on the long term survivors board who are doing just that. You need to understand though that there is a difference between surviving and being cured. There are a number of folks here who are in treatment for cancer as a chronic disease, who manage to live very well.

I am sure others with more experience than I will be replying to your post. In the mean time, take a deep breath. You are not alone. There are folks here who can help you understand what is going on and share their own experiences.

God Bless you for being your sister's advocate and caregiver.

Marie who loves kitties

johnnybegood's picture
johnnybegood
Posts: 1122
Joined: Oct 2008

this is the place to be.we would love for your sis to jump on board.i have just been dx with recurrence to liver and lung.just got my port in (again) and i am starting chemo next week.i was originally dx in sept.2008 with colorectal cancer.this site has helped me so much.stick around i would love to go thru this with your sister.it seems to help when someone you know is going thru the same things you are .hang in there we all lean on eachother....Godbless...johnnybegood

S4L
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2011

Dear johnnybegood,
Sorry to hear that your have to go through this again. I can't say that I understand what you are going through, but know that love ones are in this battle with you. Thanks for your encouraging words. We will definitely lean on each other as we move forward. God Bless,
Lola

S4L
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2011

Marie,
Thanks so much for your encouraging words. I feel better today after our consultation with the new doctor. He layed out a plan of action of chemo to shrink the tumors and prayerfully my sister can have surgery later to remove the tumors. He also mention long term maintain, which is similar to what you described as treatment for cancer as a chronic disease. I appreciate your insight and know that I will probably have more questions in the future. Hope you have a blessed weekend.
Lola

here4lfe
Posts: 306
Joined: Jan 2010

S4L,

This is what has worked for me so far (my wife is stage 4 with liver mets, PET scan next week to see why her CEA is up (again))

I educated myself so I can be my wife's advocate. She has enough to deal with. I go to her oncology appointments and ask questions about everything (medicines, alternative treatments, side-effects, whatever).

I stopped reading the statistics! What's the use? Today is today and she's standing RIGHT THERE -)

I keep track of what is working, what are her indicators of success or failure, and the trends in her CEA (it is an excellent marker so-far). And hold her hand, rub her sore feet, whatever it takes to be a Corporal in her battle.

Best

S4L
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2011

Thanks here4lfe,
I planned to do the same. I hope that your wife's battle through this cancer journey goes smoothly. Continue to be strong and supportive for your wife, and I will do the same for my sister. God Bless,
Lola

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Lola,

It's normal to be frightened -- it's scary stuff! But it sounds like she is in good hands and her medical team has a good plan.

I was diagnosed with Stage III rectal cancer over 8 years ago. Two years later, I had a lung met. Since then, I have had several more relapses -- and I am currently having treatment. But, I have had nice long stretches where I was "NED" (no evidence of disease), I've tolerate the treatments pretty well, and have a good quality of life. I am one of those who will probably never be "cured", and will probably be on and off some sort of treatment forever. I use the chronic disease model. I've been able to see my kids grow up (10 and 12 when I was diagnosed -- 18 and 20 now -- yea!!). And lots of other wonderful things! So, there is hope!

Warmest wishes and love to you and your sister

Tara

S4L
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2011

Hey Tara,
I appreciate your insight in helping me understand what to expect. I hope that my sister can approach this with same attitude that you have. She believes that God is going to heal her completely. I am a spiritual person and believe that miracles do happen. Her healing may be that she will have to manage the cancer as a chronic disease, but it will not kill her. I hope that you continue to get stronger and enjoy everyday with your children. God Bless,
Lola

AnneCan
Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

Welcome; I think you will find this a supportive + helpful crowd. I think it is wonderful that you are helping your sister.

S4L
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2011

Thanks AnneCan,
People have been very supportive and encouraging.
God Bless,
Lola

okthen's picture
okthen
Posts: 232
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi Lola...just wanted to extend my thoughts and prayers for you and your sister. This can all be so hard...the ups and downs. Please know that you will have a ton of support here. I am sure you have been welcomed by many of the veteren posters, they are wonderful people!
I am in the same role as you, my husband is the fighter, I come here often with specific questions re his treatment, but also just for a "hug" or two. I'm wishing you and your family all the miracles and success with this fight in the world.
Chriss

geotina's picture
geotina
Posts: 2121
Joined: Oct 2009

Welcome to the board. My husband has Stage IV colorctal cancer, mets to the liver and lungs when diagnosed in March, 2009. As a Stage IV, this disease has its ups and downs but with the procedures and medications today, people do survive. Can Stage IV be cured, sometimes yes, sometimes no, it is something she will be dealing with for a very long time. My hubby has never been a candidate for surgery but for the initial colectomy. Try and think of your sister as now having a chronic disease, you treat it, get it stabilized and if it acts up, well, you treat it again. You will find many Stage IV's on the board that have been on this journey for several years. All is not lost, so don't go there.

You say the doctor did not remove one of the lung mets, many times it is in a position and size that makes removal very difficult.

Since your sister went through chemo in 2009, she now knows what to expect. What kind of chemo did she have?

When you get the new chemo protocol come back and let us know and the members will give you their experiences with the drugs she will be getting so you are prepared for the side effects that lay ahead.

Best wishes - Tina

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

Glad you came here. It's a sweet place to be when you need support and information.

I was also diagnosed with stage III colon cancer but am currently in remission. There are many people here who are stage IV who are very lively. :) If mine comes back, I expect no less. :) Please, have your sister come in here. I don't know what I would have done without my "family" here. :)

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