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Lost my mother 8 days ago

Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2012

October 5th will never be looked upon the same by me and others in my family. The worst part is that we were given this false hope for months now, and the reason for it is we believed my mom was suffering from something else.

Since June, my mom complained of pain on her side. She started to get medical advice when the pain wouldn't subsidize and she was first told that it was gallstones. She had more tests done and it was determined it wasn't that but possibly some intestinal blockage. We went to see a gastroenterologist who performed an endoscopy and determined there was nothing wrong with her stomach, but he couldn't perform a colonoscopy because there was a mass there; a mass that was growing a bit since June. He suggested we go to a local hospital and enter the ER so they could see what was wrong. There, they performed a CAT scan and told us that my mom had fibroids and an overdeveloped uterine muscle. They told us this could be treated with medication or surgery. My mom went to see her gynecologist who told her that it was an overdeveloped uterine muscle and that surgery was needed.

The surgery date, however, kept getting postponed because my mother became anemic: she wasn't eating much at that point because the pain was getting worse; so bad that she couldn't even sleep normally: she would spend nights either just sitting in an armchair, standing hunched over something, or taking little walks around the house. She had to travel to the hospital for a week to get an IV with iron to help her blood improve. Meanwhile, she was taking small bites here and there of iron rich foods: liver and onions, leafy greens, was taking iron supplements as well. It was around this time where she started getting water in her legs and there were fluids collecting around her abdomen. They were worried about her heart and they performed EKGs and echocardiograms and determined there was nothing wrong with her heart. She was given water pills but they did not help her.

It wasn't until she saw another doctor that he determined she should go to the ER and stay in the hospital so they could check everything. My mom went to the hospital on October, 2nd. It wasn't until the second day there that the doctors couldn't rule out cancer. I just thought they were taking precautionary steps and making sure everything was alright with my mother; I still believed it was nothing more than an overdeveloped uterine muscle. On Thursday, they preformed another CAT scan and withdrew fluids from her abdomen to see if it was carcinogenic.

In the early hours of Friday, we received a phone call from the hospital that my mom's heart stopped and they were successful in reviving her. Her mass was pressing against her kidneys and the toxins entered her bloodstream. As her proxy, they asked if I agreed to dialysis and I did. We left to the hospital but unfortunately, her heart stopped again and they were unsuccessful in trying to revive her again. My mother, Janina, was only 65.

It wasn't until yesterday, picking up the death certificate, that we were informed that the mass inside my mother was a tumor that was growing in her pelvic area and this it was malignant.

We feel so...deceived. We were so optimistic about things because we really believed it was just her uterine muscle, that all she would need is surgery. This revelation came out of nowhere. Instead of thinking about surgery, we should have been talking about chemotherapy, radiation therapy...anything else. Now, we are without our backbone, our bedrock, without a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a great human being.

This loss was a tremendous blow to our body, mind, and spirit.

grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

I'm sorry for your loss. I know you have heard that way too often, but I am sorry. I'm sorry, too, that your mother may not have had the correct or best medical care. Sadly, this,happens way more often that it should. My husband had serious bleeding, and we were told that his first colonoscopy after that was clear. A month or so later he again had bleeding, I asked that we be referred to someone else. The second doctor did find cancer, order surgery, and found that the cancer had spread. Finding the cancer a month earlier probably wouldn't have mattered. Possibly the colonoscopy done five years earlier also missed the cancer, but we will never know. I made the decision not spend my time and energy worrying about that. Doctors do make mistakes. As someone once pointed out to me 90% of the doctors didn't graduate in the top 10% of their class. I felt that our family doctor was not negligent. I was also told by the doctor that did find the cancer that because my husband's colon was extra if long he almost missed the cancer, too. Your situation may be very different. You may feel that negligence is involved. If so, you might want to report it too your state medical board. Realize, too, that anger is a part of the grieving process. You are grieving and rightly so. Talk with your family and see if they want to take some kind of action. Nothing will bring your mother back, but nothing will take away your mother's love or good memories either. Take care, Fay

Posts: 1862
Joined: Aug 2010

In so many ways were classic for ovarian cancer: is that where they found the mass?

I'm so sorry for your loss and for what your mom went through. Ovarian cancer runs in my family so I know there is a limit to what they might have been able to do but surely there was something.

This is a very difficult time for you, I know.

Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2012

grandmafay, Noellesmom, thank you for the kind words. A part of me has accepted that she has crossed over...but there is a part of me that wants me to see her sitting in our armchair either watching TV or just relaxing, or sitting in her little stool in the kitchen where she either prayed or just looked out the window to look at the little garden she grew and was proud of.

The only information we received was from the funeral home, where they informed us that it was a malignant tumor in her pelvic area. We still want all her medical records from this year when she went to her medical clinic as well as reports from the hospital.

I did Google "ovarian cancer leg swelling" and the first link that popped up was WebMD: an article from 2004 which states the symptoms, and - sadly - my mom suffered most of those symptoms, with the exception being problem urinating. Although, she did have problems urinating the day before she died. They even placed a catheter in her and it wasn't retrieving much urine.

Cancer, in general, has been a culprit for a lot of my relatives on both sides of the family.

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