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Mother with colon cancer

Olives2018
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2018

Hi. My mom had a colonoscopy this week and is having her CT today. I am unable to be at the appointments with her at the moment due to how far away I live. Her friend is taking  her to to all of her appointments. Her colonoscopy did find a tumor in part of her colon, as well as some polyps. My mom is in her 70s and has never had a colonoscopy until now. I thought she had been doing them routinely, but apparently not. My question is, what are some questions that I need to make sure that either she or her friend asks in these early appointments that are not obvious?? I know that she will learn a lot more in the near future, but I wondered if there is anything beyond the typical info on stage and treatment that I need to be asking. I am a healthcare provider, but my specialty is north of the neck, so while I have some resources, colon stuff is pretty new to me. I am going to see her tomorrow and look at the documents she has gotten so far this week. Her grandmother had colon cancer. I am having a hard time getting a handle on her understanding of what is coming her way, so I want to help her better understand what’s happening And what is about to happen. I think she thinks that they will just do surgery to take the cancer out, but I’m sure there is a ton more involved. I’m sure her doctor will tell her this stuff, but she likes to come to me for extra info. any advice for me? General or specific is welcome. 

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3372
Joined: Jan 2010

The CT scan will help to determine course of action.  If it shows no other organ involvement, then surgery may be next step, or chemo/radiation to shrink tumor and then surgery. Her overall general health prior to diagnosis will also impact possible options.

Has she put you on the HIPA forms to be able to have access to her medical info?  That is a must if you want to be able to speak with the doctors directly.  Even though you are a distance away, you should be able to contact them via phone.  Some will even do emails, or have a Patient Portal which can access results of diagnostic tests and doctor's notes.  An initial contact with her doctors would be a good idea so you can set up a communication vehicle.

Since there seems to be a family history of colon cancer, I hope you are getting your own colonscopy.  Even if you are not of the usual minimum age, with a family history, it can be done earlier.

Best wishes for you both.

Marie who loves kitties

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I agree with Marie. They likely won't stage the cancer until they've done the surgery, that seems to be the way it usually goes. I'm sorry your mom has been diagnosed with it.

Jan

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6715
Joined: Feb 2009

First off wait for the biopsy and go from there.  The CT scan will show, if it is cancer, a spread, if any.  Then the doctor will review the results of the scan and determine the best method of treatment.  If you have a history in your family, it could be there and can be this for your mother, but it's not for certain.  Wait until the doctor's appointment and then come back and let us know what the findings are.  I'm wishing your mother the best and we are always here to help.

Dick L's picture
Dick L
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2018

I'm also in my 70's and (apparently) like your mother, I had never had a colonostophy.  At 76 I had one and my new adventure began.  It was a bit scary at times, but I listened to and followed all of my Oncologists directions.  I went through a bunch of procedures - many types of "scan," chemo, radiation, surgery, etc.  and after about 2 years, things are looking OK.  It was not fun, but I tried very hard to keep a sense of humor throughout - laughing at myself, never others.   Met some very nice people along the way and learned to really appreciate the medical professionals who work with cancer patients on a daily basis.  

I tried to make something positive out of the experience and to help others, so I kept a journal throughout the entire process.  It is available to share and it can help offset some fear of the unknown, I just don't know how to share it on this Website without violating the terms and conditions.  So -- until I figure it out - I can tell you the jouney is not fun, but with the right attitude and a caring medical staff, you will win the battle.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5490
Joined: Jan 2013

You guys will get to meet Danker soon.  He is also in his later years - well, later than me - and doing vrey well. I'll let him tell his story. 

But age is relative to recovery. It all depends on your health post cancer and your attitude - along with all the medicals stuff - 

Tru

Twinzma
Posts: 237
Joined: Jan 2018

I try to make to all of my husbands Doctors appointments, but sometimes it's just impossible with twin 12 years olds out of school now. So when I miss them, I have him put me on speaker phone through his appointment. The Doctor does not mind at all and I am able to take notes and ask questions too just as I was there in person. You may want to have Mom do the same. 

 

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Someone should probably record the oncologist visits. Friends of ours have a daughter who had cancer at 9 years old. Their oncologist taped the appointments for them. He said that it's so emotional it's hard to remember everything. For the record, she did not have colon cancer, and she's now 25 and they're not even checking her for cancer anymore.

Jan

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