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stage 4 diagnosis w/i a week of a heart attack...

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2006

I'm new here and hoping for..well, I guess just a sounding board.
My mom, 75, went into the hospital three weeks ago. We've been on a wild ride since then.
As background, my mom was jogging two miles a day a month ago, eats healthy as can be, never smoked and never drank (seriously, never even had a glass of wine.)
Three weeks ago, she went into the hospital with shortness of breath and she was diagnosed at first with pnemonia but then cancer of unknown origins. After a week she was released and started feeling a bit better from the pnemonia.
After a few days of being out of the hospital, she had shoulder pains so back into the hospital. She had a heart attack.
While in the hospital, I insisted they give her a PET scan so we could stage the cancer and get on with treatment.
Much to our shock she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer with tumors in both lung lobes. She's now out of the hospital and recovering at home. She's extremely weak but very resolute in fighting.
Her doctors tell us she needs to heal from the heart attack before she starts and chemo or radiation. She wants to do the cancer treatments.
Does anyone have any experience with heart attacks after a cancer diagnosis? We have been "given" any where from weeks to months. Nothing more than that.
I feel like our doctors have given up. They're telling us we need to find a local hospice.
Currently, my mom is very weak. very slowly getting stronger. But she is determined.

Anonymous user (not verified)

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Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2006

Dear Amy/Angela:

Please don't give up hope. My 80 yr old mother was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer 3 years ago. The drs would never give us a life expectancy but one did say she had no more than 3 years. Well, it's been over that and she's still hanging on. We were surprised at the diagnosis as Mom had a hysterectomy in the '60s. We found out later the dr had left half of one ovary behind. Thus, the cancer. Mom had symptoms 4 years ago but never told anyone. Luckily she worked for a drs office who noticed Mom's declining health. She has suffered the loss of my older brother to cancer last year, numerous mini strokes, swelling of brain, falling, failing vision etc. Yet still she manages to walk to the dining room in her retirement complex every morning despite the fact that she should be using a wheelchair or walker. She does have hospice as her cancer is terminal but they only visit 2-3 times a week. We found that chemo actually weakened her heart which is why the drs may want your Mom to recover from the heart attack first.

Everyone who knows Mom swears she has more lives than a cat as they were many times we were told she was dying. But Mom bounced back every time. She recently made a 600 mile one way trip to visit me in June.

I hope that things go well for your family and Mom. You might be surprised what she's capable of. Be sure to talk with her and ask what her wishes are. Mom has a DNR but this was her decision. This seemed to still let her keep a sense of independence when she was allowed to make the decisions of whether or not to have more surgeries, do another round of chemo etc.

I wish you all the best. Make sure you have supportive people around you. You'll need them


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