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New to Board - Mom Colon Cancer

aroberts1974's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Everyone!

My mom, my best friend, was diagnosed with colon cancer, Stage 4 in October. It was a total shock and we have found out that there are tumors in both lungs and a lesion on her liver. She's responding well to the chemo and like previously said by another member, there is no cure, it's only to put the cancer in check. Although she's responding well to the treatment, minimal hair loss/weight loss, she's very depressed. I've tried to have her go to a cancer center for support of other patients and she said she just can't. Can anyone give me some advice on how to help her in any way I can?

Thank you so very much!!!!! :)

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi there AR1974

First, I'm so sorry that your mom has to go through this - it's never easy hearing it for the 1st time. Even harder for the loved ones, because it's a shock to everyone, nobody has any experience yet on what's coming - how to deal with it - and how to really get started. We just do what the doctors tell us to do and as time passes, we come to grips with what has happened and then begin to gather more information that we can take to our health care professionals to discuss.

Second, just let me say, that finding this board is a huge advantage for you and your Mom - the wealth of knowledge here, combined with the extensive experiences that we all have, will leap frog you exponentially on what you can do and to see that there are so many people here, who have fought/are fighting this same battle as your Mom - and having good results and living a longer life than anyone could have imagined - This can be done!

Without knowing much about you, I would initally say, that they are doing chemo to shrink or elimate as many tumors as they can - possibly in hopes of a resection of liver and/or lung?

Don't think that your Mom is inoperable (how old is she). She might be now, but alot of folks here were told they were inoperable, and through 2nd, 3rd or 4th opinions, a different face, a different approach and perspective, have led them to surgery and successful outcomes.

Now, what to do about Mom's emotional outlook right now?

She's in shock right now, and she's probably still trying to wrap her mind around the fact that she has cancer and this spread. She's read or seen, or been told, that Stage IV is a death sentence. She may be asking herself, should I fight on or just give up? She's trying to come to terms with the reality that she might pass away. And...all of those feelings are completely normal.

Look at it this way, she's going through the Grief Cycle - we all go through those stages, Denial-Anger-Sadness-Resolve. She may just need some more time to work through her feelings.

What you can do is be with her when you can, or have family, friends, etc stop by for a visit, if she is able to receive company.

Cancer Support may represent to her that there are sick people and she just might be trying to avoid that. I think that would be good if she could go...last year I went to a hospital to speak with Cancer patients about their fears and feelings - the biggest thing that she would come away from here is. "She's Not Alone..." Seeing and hearing others speaking those words could have a tremendous healing power and give her the motivation to keep going and fight harder.

The MIND is a powerful tool - the body goes where the mind wills it to - her mind has to be right to fight!

The other thing she could do would be to come to this site and talk with all of us about her fears, concerns, health program, etc.etc. The power of this board is not to be underestimated - we all care so deeply about people here. Perhaps her reading some of our stories, would also give her inspiration and give her a renewed sense of purpose.

You could even be her advocate and print out some posts that you liked - and take them to her and read them - another good idea.

Cancer can be such an isolating disease - but when one looks outside of their situation and sees so many people that are afflicted, it is an Awakening of what the big picture is. And somehow, knowing that you are not the only one, is comforting - in the fact that we're all in this TOGETHER.

I'm a Stage IV as well, colorectal, mets to liver and to lung - told I would not see another year and that if I survived surgery, cancer would surely return in 1-year. That was 2 1/2 years ago, and I'm here writing to you this morning.

I appreciate talking with you this morning and hope some of this information will be helpful to you and your Mom - you can both do this - great strides in medical technology are being reached all the time.

I'm sure the folks behind me with have all sorts of wonderful new perspectives for you as well - and they are good friends of mine - and this community is a great place to be, despite what we all face every day.

I'm going to send you best wishes and look forward to seeing more of your posts - we'll try and answer your questions, give you love and support - and help make your journey a little bit easier.

I also wanted to add - if she needs something for depression, please do not hesitate to ask her oncologist to prescribe something. If she needs something for sleep, the same thing. Right now, with all that is going on, it will be important for her to not slip off the edge and fall further into depression (some is normal, alot is not) and it's also important for her to sleep and rest as much as she can. Keeping the mind and body in fighting shape, are necessary components to fighting this cancer.

Oh, and I'm sorry - Welcome to the Board!

All the best!

herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

Here I am, just turned 51 last month, Stage IV, no hope, or so I was told and yet I see hope. Because of my liver biopsy (I have no idea what it means, I don't understand my cancer at all) it was suggested I don't even bother with chemo, go home and enjoy what's left. I'm doing the chemo, and foraging ahead. Because frankly I'm not ready to kick the bucket, no matter what they say.

aroberts1974's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2010

God has truly put wonderful people on this earth for support and love and you're definitely one of them. I will pray for you as well, what a determination and fight you have in the words you've written in support to myself and my mom. May God bless you and keep you strong!

To answer a few of your questions, my mom is 61 years young and such a loving woman. She's just amazing. In the beginning of her treatments she wasn't having as many side effects, but now she's getting nauseated and headaches a lot. She had a CAT scan on her head and neck and all is fine, Thank God. It's definitely the chemo that is giving her the side effects and nothing else. I will definitely print off everything you have written to lift her spirits and also tell her to get something to help her with her depression.

I have made a webpage for her at caring bridge that I update frequently to help with all the phone calls she had been getting. That way she can rest and not have to answer so many questions regarding her treatments and how she's feeling. I cannot thank you enough for all your support and kind words. Truly God has sent an angel to me to help myself and family though all of this. I will also let my mom know about this website so that maybe she can talk to others like yourself for support.

Patteee's picture
Posts: 950
Joined: Jul 2009

Just a couple of suggestions- how much water/fluid is she taking in. That could be a red flag for the headaches. She also needs to think about pain killers for the head pain. Both the pain and nausea her oncologist should know about, cause there are meds to fight both.

aroberts1974's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2010

That's true, I will ask how much fluid she's taking in. She's suppose to be drinking a lot of water, but once again, being stubborn she doesn't always follow the rules. I know she has high blood pressure which has been spiking since starting chemo. So, the Dr.'s are watching her closely. She's had two CAT scans and thank God, once again, the cancer has not spread into her brain/neck. She was very sick this past week from her treatment. She has lost 6 pounds in two days. I know she needs to take her anti-nausea medicine a couple days before she has her treatment but sometimes forgets. It's so hard living so far from my parents and making sure they're doing what they're suppose to. On top of her illness, my dad has diabetes and was diagnosed with Parkinson's last year. I've tried for several years to move them closer to me, but they won't give up their lives in PA. All I can do is help as much as I can from VA and hope that God will do the rest.
Thank you so much for the idea of more fluids, I'll pass the message on. OH! She did ask her Dr. for anti depressions meds, so hopefully it will work!

geotina's picture
Posts: 2123
Joined: Oct 2009

Craig said it all so I don't have too much to add.

My hubby was diagnosed Stage IV, mets to liver and lung in March, 2009. Had his colon resection 4/2/09 and on to chemo. He is doing very well, in fact is not even home right now, he is at work, and has continued to work full time through it all. He was 60 at diagnosis.

Once you get over the shock things will settle down.

You can click on our names and read our stories.

Take care - Tina

aroberts1974's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2010

I have found my new online family, thank you all so much for the supporting words and encouragement. I will be sure to update as much as I can. I will keep you all in my prayers as well that God remains with you through all of the struggles you may endur.

Thank you again and I look forward to talking with each one of you soon!

Posts: 25
Joined: Sep 2009

I had to do this with my mom....get on her nerves about it until she finally did something...she started taking Celexia a month ago and is so much more herself to due letting go of her stubborness.

Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi AR,

I don't have much to add, but wanted to say "welcome". It is great you are there for your mom. There are a lot of great people + stories on this forum. I have found it very helpful in my journey. Take good care!

karguy's picture
Posts: 1024
Joined: Apr 2009

Welcome to the board.Craig said mostly what there is to say,and he is right,you should get your mother to talk to the doctor about medication for her depression.My brother died of pancreatic cancer 1 1/2 months before my dx of colorectal cancer,and I was depressed to the point of being suicidal,so now I'm on zoloft,and ativan,and doing alot better.Also feel free to come here to vent,complain,or just ask questions.Stage 4 cancer is not a death sentence anymore,there is a lot of stage 4 survivers here,they have been around for many years,and will be for many more.I will pray for her.

pf78248's picture
Posts: 209
Joined: Jul 2008

I am so sorry about your Mom. Cancer is an awful disease but the people on this board can be a tremendous resource to you and your Mom. My husband David is a stage 4 also. So we know how devastating the diagnosis is.

Craig gave excellent advice and I don't have much more to add, other than echo what he said and do think about some medications to help. And not just for your Mom. I started taking lexapro to keep me from going to those deep dark places, and convinced my husband's 87 year old Mom to do the same. Cancer affects the whole family and depression can prevent the good care your Mom deserves.

My husband doesn't post here but loves the information and support we get from other cancer survivors and their caregivers. Encourage her but don't be too pushy. She probably is still in shock over the news. I think it took David and I about a year to come to terms and really understand our options.

Be sure someone goes with her to all those appointments and ask questions, take notes. Learn as much as you can and when your Mom is ready, you can help her make intelligent choices.

My husband was diagnosed April 3, 2008 and was told he was inoperable after developing liver mets. Three weeks ago tomorrow he had liver resection and has a very good prognosis. So don't ever give up hope!

Best wishes to your Mom, you, and your entire family.

Priscilla in San Antonio

Aud's picture
Posts: 480
Joined: Oct 2009

welcome...my friends here have said it all. Your Mom is fortunate to have you.
When I was feeling not myself, I talked to my oncologist, who referred me to a counselor (part of the "cancer package" so to speak -- I believe about 10 sessions were included while I was receiving treatment). If needed, I could also have had medication ordered. I would encourage your Mom to talk with her oncologist about her depression, who then can refer her. Sometimes, when we "hear it from the doctor," we're more likely to act.
Good luck to your Mom.
In the Light,

sfmarie's picture
Posts: 605
Joined: Aug 2009

Welcome to this board. You will find so many great members here and their stories of courage, hope, kindness and knowledge is incredible. This is like family to me and I come here as often as I can.
Depression is to be understood given the circumstances and I know that oncologists deal with this every day. I agree that perhaps some medication to help through this difficult time is in order. As one doctor told me, that is what they are designed for.
As I have learned throughout this journey, find as much support as you can. And you have to be your own advocate.
I am happy that your mom is responding well to the treatment.
Do get second, third and even fourth opinions if you are not satisfied.
Your mom is lucky to have you. Lastly, make sure to take care of yourself.

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