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sister in law- stage 4- update & questions...

Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2010

I posted "New to boards, Need direction, Stage IV, Long post" at the beginning of March (on March 2nd I believe), and would like to ask a few more questions, and also say thank you ladies and gents for the amazing input, insight and response. I appreciate it!

We took my sister in law to MD Anderson, ER two weekends ago as she was having trouble breathing. Long story short, they ended up draining her left lung which was 60% full. They could not drain her right lung, but it does have fluid in it- just less. She skipped out on chemo for 4 weeks, while looking into alternative treatment and basically they told her that this was a result of her avoiding MDA.

They sent her home after a week in the hospital. We took her back to the ER this past Sunday night when she had blood/clots in her urine.

I know more now than I did when I first posted. I do know that the cancer has spread. They tested the fluid in her lung and it is filled with cancer (sorry, I don't know the correct terminology).

She is my very best friend, and my husband's sister. She has not been open about what the doctors have told her throughout the entire process so we're respecting her wishes and not asking her questions, etc. She told my husband (her younger brother) that it's doing what colon cancer does- spreading, and she is not a candidate for surgery at all. Also, her platelets are in the teens and she is having issues with some chemo meds because they don't want her leukemia to come back (she is currently in remission, this coming May will be her 5 year leukemia remission mark). They are trying to get her to wait until May, because she will then be will be eligible for new drugs or something. They do not want her leukemia to come back, because according to what she's saying she would then have a matter of weeks.

Basically this is what we want to know. Is the fluid in her lungs, and blood in her urine normal? Does that mean that her organs are shutting down? I've looked everywhere on the internet, and we don't want to ask her what they've said, because she doesn't openly discuss it with anyone. She is a single mom and my in-laws are taking care of her right now. She has let everyone know that to survive, and be a fighter- she doesn't want to talk about it and dwell on it. We're trying to respect that, but it's so hard not knowing what's going on. We know that they've told her things, and given her a time frame but we don't know where to look or what to expect.

Advice, suggestions, help or direction would be much appreciated.

msccolon's picture
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

but you really need to respect her wishes. She wishes to keep the information to herself, and your speculating can only make things worse. There are many things that could or couldn't be going on. I know I have chosen to keep some information to myself, and I feel I have a right to that. I love my family and friends, but this is a personal thing. She is doing what she needs to do to get through, as you stated, so let her do.

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

I think you shouldn't let her give up and you do all the research you can. If it was my sister or friend I would do everything possible to know more, to know all.......maybe she is not that type of person who asks questions, who researches, maybe she is just afraid, maybe she doesn't want to be a burden. My sister Sylvia would do nothing but she would want to live, my sister Virginia would be researching asking questions and on this board.

Feed her the information you find and what she does with it is her choice but at least make her aware of your findings.....I applaud you!

geotina's picture
Posts: 2121
Joined: Oct 2009

My hubby has Stage IV colon cancer, I can only speak for ourselves, sometimes he just gets sick and tired of being sick and tired and does not want to go on and on talking about it. For some reason she does not want to share. If she does share, when she is ready to stop talking let her stop talking.

On to your questions, Fluid in the lungs, generally speaking, some people do get it but for the most part no, I would not think that is "normal". Does she have metastasis in her lungs? If so, then fluid may be a part of it. My hubby has metastasis in the lungs but he does not have a fluid problem.

Blood in urine - I really don't know, especially since she has experienced another cancer. I would think, my opinion only, if there is blood in the urine then something is going on with the bladder or kidney. Does she have metastasis to the bladder. Another on the board did have bloood in urine but, he also has metastasis to the bladder.

Did "skipping out on chemo" hurt her, I'm not sure on that one. Chemo is not something you can do one day, skip out on it for a while while you shop around for something else, then come back to it, while on active treatment for what appears to be Stage IV. Discontinuing chemo while in active treatment can certainly give the cancer the open door to spread, just my opinion.

Give her the space she needs and wants. This is her disease. Encourage her to let you in on what is going on but if she chooses not to, then please back down. Call her up and if she is able to take her out for a nice lunch and dinner and don't say the word cancer.

Take care - Tina

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