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Very upset about doctor's comments, would welcome input

DaughterNo1's picture
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2009

I'm going a little nuts this week and welcome any input about my mom's situation. I'll try to be brief: My 78 yr old mother was diagnosed with UPSC in 2008 and over next 2 years:

* had total hysterectomy, received 6 wks radiation, carbo/taxol and brachytherapy.
* Had small metastatic liver tumor removed
* 6 more weeks of chemo
* Had quadruple bypass!
* Had operation to remove small lung met
* Then 6 months of Doxil chemo.

Doxil didn't work; latest PET and MRI show small spots on each lung, metatstic lesion on T4 spine (not in spinal canal or tissue). Next week we will meet with her oncologist to discuss new treatment plan. My mother is fit, has no symptoms, looks and acts much younger than her age, leads a normal life.

Her primary cardiologist and gyn. oncologist are excellent doctors at Cedars Sinai in LA but since she lives 3 hours away, mom has a secondary general practitoner (not an oncologist) in her home town. Yesterday this GP told my mom she had seen the PET scan and said "it doesn't look good". She upset my mother with some more negative comments about the chemo being bad for her heart, and "if they tell you that you'll live longer than 6 months, maybe you should have some more work done on your heart"....

We feel there is still hope and believe they may still be able to manage or curb the spread of my mom's cancer. But after those comments, my mom feels like she should start planning her funeral. I am very upset at the GP since she has never even consulted with mom's oncologist.

I suppose my main question is: Does my mom's situaton sound hopeless? We know the reality of this disease but isn't it possible that a new type of chemo could halt or reduce the cancer? If anyone else relates, I would be most grateful for any comments.

Thank you

jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

I'm so sorry your mom had to endure such rude comments from her doc. She's in a very fragile condition and why anyone would throw out such negative comments is beside me. Just know, many docs have no good bedside manners...and this might be in your case. We at times overlook this treatment, knowing they're great docs. Docs are taught how to do their jobs, not necessarily how to treat people the proper way.

No your mom's situation doesn't sound hopeless. I'm a very optimistic person so I tend to always look at the glass 1/2 full vs. 1/2 empty in most every aspect of my life. Since being diagnosed 2 years ago I'm always amazed at the people who were diagnosed with a very severe, aggressive cancer stage 4 who were givin a very short period of time to live. Today they are living a so-called "normal" life. None of us know our destiny but the man upstairs and if we feel we can endure that's half the battle.

I don't look at statistics nor talk about my demise...just try to be positive and do what I can to continue on with life. Also there are so many new advancements with cancer, tomorrow a new drug could hit our pharmacy shelves with a cure. Many others on this site are on their 2nd or 3rd round of new chemo drugs and they are doing better. So there's always hope, and never give up, keep trying and searching for new avenues for your mom.

Best to you,

((( hugs )))

Tresia23's picture
Posts: 77
Joined: Dec 2010

Hi, I understand how upset you and your mom must feel. The GP had no right to discuss the results of the PET scan with you both if she has never consulted the oncologist. The reason why we have specialists is that they have an intimate knowledge of specific diseases. The GP would do well to communicate regularly with your mom's cardiologist and oncologist about how she can provide optimal support to your mom.
As far as her cancer progress, I think we always regard our parents as invincible and find it difficult to see them dealing with serious illness. On your mother's side, she sounds like a lady who has looked after her health and keeping fit still. Both of you can look at this as a blessing. You said she has no symptoms. This is pretty good for a lady of 80.
One more comment. If the GP is thinking she should have 'more work done on your heart' as you quoted, then perhaps she is also optimistic that your mom has a way to go with her living. All the best to both of you

DaughterNo1's picture
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2009

thank you for the kind and enouraging comments. My mom's cardiologist has advised her that she may need a stint in the future, but since she is symptom free, he fells it is unnecssary right now.

I am mainly concerned about how her recent PET and subsequent MRI look to others as I may be in denial about the severity of her condition. Her CA-125 has never gone over 50. I have read so many posts about women who have widespread metastatic disease and are continuning treatment, many times sucessfully reducing or at least stopping the spread for a while.

Guess I'll just have to be patient until next week when we meet with her oncologist.

take care

Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2010

Combined input from your mom's doctors should have been done first it seems before one dr. spoke without seeing how best to approach your mom with any news. Perhaps this can be asked for now so this type of situation will not occur again.
I have already set into motion certain events...for my future...I didn't think I was giving up hope..just taking care of things so that I can spend all my time working on survival. I am cancer free, yet have put my stuff in order because it calms me for not having my children or husband dealing with that... it provided me control at times in an out of my control situations... Never give up hope...talk to all the doctors in your mom's health circle and come to agreement on what your mom wishes to handle all news, options, treatments, etc. She is patient &if those are her requests she feels best for her... you both can ask for that during her care. You are a great daughter to be your mom's advocate...nothing means more to me to have that person in my life working for my care like you are for your mom.

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