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Could use a little help and Lot of advice

Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2010

My mother had to have surgery for colorectal cancer. Unfortunately it metasized to her liver in about 8 different spots. The surgeon felt that there really wasn't anything to be done for her and didn't want to bring in the oncologist. We demanded to see the oncologist. I am frustrated and angry that the surgeon wasn't going to bring the oncologist in.
Things happened just to quickly. My mother for the past 3 months was complaining about being dizzy and nauseous. I begged her to see the doctor and then we got rushed to the surgeon. She had colon cancer, had the bowel resection and had what was there removed but still have that problem with the liver.
I had breast cancer. I am fortunate that I went to the dr. when I did because it was caught and treated. This with my mother is 15x more complicated and we need to know what can we do. I had an enlarged thyroid that could have killed me if I didn't press to get something done about it. This is my mother, I don't want to give up on her without least trying to do something. Please advice me, because we need help. Thanks to all that read this. jb.

Posts: 198
Joined: Nov 2009

I had a resection for rectal cancer. The cancer then came back in my liver with multiple mets. Your mom should meet with an oncologist. At the time of my diagnosis with lever mets they said that surgery was not an option. The chemo that they put me on reduced the tumors in my liver enough to do surgery in order to remove them. Last CT scan showed NED. There is hope.

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

Sorry to hear about your Mom. Do you mind if I ask a few questions?
Aside from the colon cancer, how is your Mom's health? What stage is she at? And how old is she?

It seems that the surgeon not wanting to bring in an oncologist sounds to me like either your Mom has other serious health conditions and that she may not make it through any further operations or that the surgeon is not as good as they could be. In either case, I would seek out a second opinion. Having liver mets is so common with colon cancer, it is normal to have and oncologist involved in this. Things do not seem to add up.

Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

I would definitely make sure that your mother is seen by an oncologist. I too have liver mets + they have responded to chemo very well so far. As Phil said, we don't know what your mother's overall health situation is; everyone is different, but it is really important for her case to be reviewed by an oncologist.

greybeard64's picture
Posts: 254
Joined: Mar 2010

I am just going to "amen" everyone elses advice. He is a surgeon not a specialist in regard to cancer & You can never have to much information, good luck to your mother, and of course to you.

sfmarie's picture
Posts: 605
Joined: Aug 2009

It is always good to consult with experts and gather as much information as possible. From there, you can decide what steps to take.

Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2010

My mom is 72. The only health problem she had until now was High Blood pressure. Maybe he thought because of her age she couldn't handle things. Good news though, we have an appointment with the oncologist on Friday, but I am scared as hell(pardon my French). Jackie

HollyID's picture
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

But I call BS on your surgeons thoughts. I'm so glad you're mom is going to the oncologist. They are miracle workers who can do wonders. Never give up!! Please give us an update after her appointment.

Love and Hugs

eric38's picture
Posts: 588
Joined: May 2009

I have liver mets and theres a guy that gets treatments with me that had 12 liver mets and there was never even a question about him getting treated and so far he has responded well. I don`t know what makes your mom any different other than maybe age. I am disappointed that your surgeon immediately wrote her off. The only way to make this process work as best it can is to be pro active. Leave the surgeons to the surgery and oncologists to the oncology. I say go to each specialist for their strengths and I believe there is wisdom in many counselors, so seek multiple opinions. Listen if many doctors are telling you the same thing but not until then and don`t ever give all the way up. Life is too precious to let it go without a fight.


snommintj's picture
Posts: 602
Joined: Mar 2009

The first thing I would ask is how is her liver functioning. If it's functioning fine, and her bowels are working properly, then she might have years of very good health ahead of her while still having cancer. I personally would wait to see how aggressive the liver tumors are. If they get out of hand quickly then chemo would be the way to go. If this is something she's been living with for years then I would probably maintain the status quo until it was absolutely necessary to start chemo.

Posts: 827
Joined: Jan 2010

And welcome to this group.

Just wanted to tell you that my Mother in Law was 75 when diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. She also has a nasty case of Lupus, needs new knees, etc., etc. She went through all 12 rounds of chemo with flying colors...makes me look like a wuss because I have had numerous problems and I am a young 56.

I know you are scared. Take a deep breath and have all the questions you can think of on a notepad and write down the answers so you can review them later. My Sis does the steno job for me because I can't remember diddley squat anymore.

Wishing the best for your Mom and family. Please come back and let us know how the oncologist visit goes.


PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

72 is not old at all and she sounds like she's in good health. Glad you have that appointment Jackie. Do you have someone else to go with you to take notes and/or do you have a list of questions? What I find helps me is if I can' not get someone to go with me on important visits, I bring a mp3 player that I have that can also record audio and I record the visits so I can play them back to clean up any confusion I may have. In the beginning I'd be like a deer in the headlights and not remember everything. Now it's old hat but I still bring the recorder.

christinecarl's picture
Posts: 545
Joined: Sep 2009

Surgeons can be very cold, all they think about is cutting and if that can't solve the problem they think, well you are f*cked. I am glad she is seeing the Onc. they are like your cancer cheerleaders. Good luck to you all, and please keep us updated.

JR's picture
Posts: 140
Joined: May 2009

Why would a surgeon recommend to not see an Onc. What harm could possibly be done by seeing an Onc ? I'm glad to hear that you are not taking that advise. I hope the best for you and your mom. Please let us know how the appointment goes. Good luck.


Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2010

The appointment with the oncologist went well. To be honest, he was upset with my mom's pcp that he sent her to the surgeon and not directly to him. After examining my mother he felt that the only symptom she really had was the anemia. He said that she could have started chemo (that is the surprising and good part) sooner. He said that she was going to start chemo, my father broke down and cried and I almost passed out(again). Two weeks ago we were told just to make her comfortable and to watch her die and it sickened me to the utmost degree.
Her surgery scar has to heal before he will begin chemo. She will have a pet scan on the 31st. And she is scheduled to get her port on April 6th. He is hoping to start chemo somewhere between April 15-30.
He didn't say which one now but will when she goes for her next appt. He did say that she would be given chemo at the office and then given a pump for two days after.
He said he cannot guarantee a cure right now. Which is fine by me because frankly I just wanted to give my mother a fighting chance. He is willing and my family is grateful.
We are also very grateful for the support that all of you have given us. If it wasn't for the advice that you all gave me, well I don't even want to think about that now.
I am going to pray and hope for the best. I am realistic but I do not want to give up.
I will keep you informed about how she makes out and I probably will be back with more questions.
Thank you once again. Jackie

geotina's picture
Posts: 2120
Joined: Oct 2009

Sounds like you have a plan of attack in the works, that is good. Click on our names and read our stories to your mom. A diagnosis of Stage IV is definitely not a death sentence, is it good, well not really, but if all goes well your mom will be around for a very long time.

Once you find out the drugs she will be getting let us know and you can read about everyones experiences, good and bad, and that will take the anxiety level way down for all involved. You will learn what is a normal reaction and what is not. Everyone is different in how they handle chemo.

Look at my George, he is 61, Stage IV, and still continues to work full time like many others on the board. His quality of life is excellent, he is feeling well, and chemo has worked very well.

Take care and get some rest. Wishing you nothingn but the best.


Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

I am glad your Mom went to the oncologist + that the visit went so well. Now your Mom has a "fighting plan". It is much easier to deal with this disease when you feel there is a plan in place! Please give your Mom my good wishes as she recovers from surgery + then begins her chemo.

abrub's picture
Posts: 2131
Joined: Mar 2010

I had a consult with a discouraging dr at the start, too. Fortunately, I went for several consults, and found drs who had ideas and approaches for treating my Stage 4 ca.

If I'd listened to dr #1, I would be dead now (he told me that.) Instead, I went to others, who listened and discussed options. Together, we picked a treatment plan that made the most sense for me, the approach of my (absolute wonderful) colorectal surgical oncologist.

3 years later, I'm in remission, doing great, and have been told that "this cancer won't kill me" tho it will probably come back. I'm fully active, living a normal life.

Yes, you're scared about the visit to the onc. No, treatment won't be easy. But for cancer, you must see oncologists, and sometimes several of those.

72 is young. Hang in there - we're here for you.

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