What's My Mom's best option?

Filia Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Ovarian Cancer #1
Dear Message Board Readers:

My 78-year old mother has been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer--she seems to be in a stage III situation, with tumors the size of oranges (11 centimeters) growing in each ovary, lots of fluid (distended stomach, ferocious discomfort although no pain), possible bowel obstruction. My mom isn't in wonderful health to begin with--she had Guillem-Barre syndrome (viral nerve sheaf damage) in the 1970s, and developed Multiple Sclerosis in the 1980s.

As of this writing, my mom's seen two excellent gynecologic oncologists who have given her different advice--the first wants to operate Friday, pull as much out as possible, and then would probably follow-up with IP-chemo; the second belives an IV of neoadjuvant therapy--a combination of Carboplatin and paclitaxel would be best, followed by surgery probably at the end of the summer. And so my sister and I are uncertain how to advise her wondering:

(a) which course offers the best chance of recovery?

(b) in the absence of full recovery, which course offers my mom the best quality-of-life comfort during whatever time she may have remaining?

My sister and I would be most grateful for any feeback readers might be kind enough to offer.

Many, many thanks,



  • Cindy54
    Cindy54 Member Posts: 452
    Hi Filia. I don't contribute much to this board any more, but I still follow it and the ladies who were kind enough to welcome me just about 2 years ago.
    I can't really tell you what to do, but I can share my story. In 2005, after many, many trips to the hospital, my Mom was diagnosed with late stage ovarian. One doctor told me two weeks, another said two months. My Mom was then 88, fiesty to live and willing to try anything. She had a wonderful doctor who came to chat with her and explained all that was going on. I let her make the decision to undergo surgery. On the last Friday night in June of that year, she spent a little over 7 hours in surgery. The gyno came out when it was done and told me she wanted to close Mom back up, but the onco doctor said to keep going, that my Mom wanted the surgery to go through. They did the hysterectomy, removed the omentum, part of her liver, and resected her bowel. She ended up with a colostomy. But she made it through the surgery. The doctor found all the cancer that he could and removed it. Due to my Mom being as weak as she was because of other health issues that year...a blood clot and seizures, he decided not to do any type of chemo because she would not be able to tolerate it. It was quite a recovery process. Mom turned 89 in the hospital. She went home and I took care of her for 18 more months until her heart just gave out in December of 2006, at the age of 90. We had that much more time together than anyone thought at the beginning of her diagnosis. She did manage to navigate on a walker, so she was not bedridden. And up until 4 days before she passed away, she was doing her leg exercises, in hopes of getting strong enough to keep walking.
    Don't let age, or health issues be the deciding factor in your Mom's decision. Sure, they need to be taken into the most serious consideration. But you three girls need to sit down and talk this out. My Mom always said, where there's life, there's hope. She said if you get the chance to try something that will let you live a little longer, go for it. Ask lots of questions and write things down. Maybe some of the ladies here will have some suggestions. The biggest thing I can offer is not to give up. If you have doctors that are willing to try and help your Mom enjoy some more time with you and your sister, go with that if you can. My prayers are with you along with a hug,

    **A special note to all the ladies here**
    I still follow all of you and wish you the very best. I have met a lot of nice ladies on the breast cancer board as well. AND, in just 5 more treatments, my radiation will be done. Tiring, you bet! But I am glad to have got through this and hope for the best. To all the ladies who have been kind enough to share with me, I thank you. God Bless.
  • floridajo
    floridajo Member Posts: 480
    First let me welcome you to the board,wish it could have been under different circumstances. Your mom is very lucky to have what seems to be two very good Oncs. I think if I had to choose I would choose the chemo,then surgery followed by more chemo IV. My reasons are this...chemo done before the surgery could remove alot of the cancer,so that could mean less cutting on your Mom,promoting a faster recovery time. Also IP is extremely hard to handle even for us younger women so that is also something to think about. I'm not gonna wear kid gloves here on you,either way your Mom is gonna have a tough time the next 6 months or so, but I also believe she can make it,especially if she has the desire to fight. I have worked in nursing homes and your Mom is what I would consider to be a young woman still!!! There is another OVCA discussion board on the John Hopkins site, there are alot of ladies like you there fighting for their moms and you'll get alot of support as well as info. Not that this site isn't fabulous,it is..I just think there is more ladies like you on the John Hopkins site...and let me apologize if I have insulted anyone here. Good luck ..keep us posted please!!! (((hugz)))~~~Joanne
  • saundra
    saundra Member Posts: 1,370 Member
    Dear Filia, I am 69 and am in my 13th month of Stage IV and on a low dose maintenance of Taxol every 4 weeks. I had four chemo treamtments of carboplatin and taxol first that shrunk my many tumors by half and dropped my CA125 marker from 2988 to 35. Then I went to a major teaching hospital, Baylor in Dallas for my surgery. This was a major debulking with the removal of all female organs, two tumors on the colon, the spleen and omentum plus radio frequency ablation of three large liver tumors. I was in the hospital 8 days. Three weeks later I started 5 more chemos (three weeks apart) and then was declared "no evidence of disease" that could be detected by CT scan, physical exam and CA125 of 5. I then started the maintenance lower dose of taxol every 4 weeks to wipe up remaining cells that might be lingering and may prolong my time in remission, my choice. I intend to fight this monster as long as I have the strength. That is my choice. I was in good health to start with and fight to maintain it. My children support my decision, as does my husband. All of my chemo has been given thru a shoulder portal (placed under the skin into a neck vein, therefore IV. I had numerous tumors throughout the abdomen. I have been blessed to have had the optimum results every step of the way so far. You can email me by clicking on the envelope under my post with any other questions you might have. ((Hugs)) and you are in my prayers during this difficult time. Saundra