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Old 06-02-2005, 04:43 PM   #1
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Unhappy very fast type brain cancer...need support

Hi. Just venting here. Last Saturday, my aunt had to go to the ER with symptoms of a stroke. To make a long story short, she has cancer on her brain. It is properly called "gliablastoma multiforme". She is 71 and had very little warning of this diagnosis, although for a couple of weeks, she had been feeling weak and slightly disoriented. The doctor gives her 6 weeks to live without treatment and 3-6 months with radiation and chemo. My mother and I are her primary caregivers, since she has no husband or children. She lives with her 90 year old mother who also needs assistance. Has anyone here been acquainted with this type cancer, and what was your experience? According to her doctor, if she had come in to be examined 3 weeks earlier, it might have been undetectable even then. Now it is taking her life. Any comments???

 
Old 06-02-2005, 10:53 PM   #2
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Re: very fast type brain cancer...need support

Glioblastoma multiforme is one of the more common brain tumors in adults and the most difficult to treat. It has no defined shape and spreads its "fingers" throughout the brain. Depending on its location they can try to resect as much as possible of it via an open craniotomy (open up her skull). That is usually followed up with chemotheraphy and radiation. People have survived this type of brain cancer. I have read of many who are doing great now with a few side effects. Due to her age she may not opt for such a major surgery like a craniotomy and may focus on quality of life. A few treatments of radiation may help her if she is experiencing alot of pain. This is ultimately her decision where she will have to weigh the benefits and risks. Your aunt has my prayers. Good luck to you.

 
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Old 06-03-2005, 10:52 PM   #3
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Re: very fast type brain cancer...need support

My mother had this type of cancer and passed away from this at age 60 almost 15 years ago. It is viciously fast, and the glioblastoma cells are like little trees...hard to remove all of the pieces. My mom had a craniotomy...then a year later had recurrence of the tumor. She then had radiation therapy through catheters inserted into the tumor itself for 3 or 4 days. Chemotherapy, as I understand it, does not work as well on brain tumors as other kinds because of the blood brain barrier..... it's a safeguard your body has against foreign substances getting into your brain from your bloodstream.

My Mom had about 2 years from time of diagnosis to her death. I would imagine huge advances in technology have happened since then, though. I will be thinking of your aunt and your family.

 
Old 06-05-2005, 05:01 PM   #4
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Re: very fast type brain cancer...need support

Ebullin, Please accept my condolences on your Aunt - this type of cancer I have knowledge of - unfortunately. My dad passed away 4 years ago with it - from the time of diagnosis until he passed was exactly 29 days. It was so surprising for all of us. He was 70 years old - never been sick a day in his life - and then this happened. I think the entire family was in shock because it happened so quickly. Anyway - his neurologist told us at the time that there was very little he could do for my dad. That this type of cancer was extremely aggressive. We investigated going to Houston, TX but we realized early on that the cancer was growing at a phenomonal rate. We opted for quality time instead of trying to prolong the inevitable. It was a tough decision. It truly is one of the most aggressive cancers. I have always thought that my dad got it from being on his cell phone 24/7 - but the doctors would just shrug when I suggested things like that - they said it was possible but they haven't been able to prove it (yet).

My prayers are with your Aunt and your family. Take Care....Scarlett

 
Old 06-05-2005, 07:42 PM   #5
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Re: very fast type brain cancer...need support

Hello,
First of all, My deepest sympathy to your aunt and your whole family. I do have personal knowledge of this type of cancer. My mother had it. She passed away almost nine yrs ago at the age of 61. From the time of diagnosis to her passing was four months. I hope you consider all options and what is best for your family. My prayers are with you. if you ever want to talk contact me at [ please carefully review the posting rules - no emails ]

Best wishes to you and your family...





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Old 06-06-2005, 03:21 AM   #6
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Re: very fast type brain cancer...need support

Scarlett, thanks to you and the others who have replied. It is helpful to me to hear of others whose lives have been affected by this horrible plight. Just a note to you....my aunt has never used a cell phone in her life. Wouldn't know how to even dial out on one. So I doubt that is the cause of it. And like your dad, she hadn't been to a doctor in Lord knows how many years. Just happened all at once. Again, thanks for your comments. I have one more question for you.....Did your dad actually suffer alot of pain with this? My aunt's doctor said she probably wouldn't, but I would like to know from someone who has experienced this situation. Thanks for taking time for me.

 
Old 06-06-2005, 06:24 AM   #7
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Re: very fast type brain cancer...need support

Ebullin - To be honest - No, my dad didn't suffer with a lot of pain. As a matter of fact, he just went to sleep and didn't wake up. Up until the last few days he had moments where you knew he knew you and knew what you were saying - he would squeeze my hand letting me know that he knew I was there. The doctor would tell me it was just reflex (and it may have been) but I didn't/don't believe it. Anyway, I have to say it was a peaceful ending and not any suffering - just sleep. Hope this helps. You and your aunt are in my prayers.....Scarlett

 
Old 06-09-2005, 07:11 AM   #8
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Re: very fast type brain cancer...need support

Me again. I have another question for anyone familiar with the cancer my aunt has (gliablastoma multiforme). Did your loved one retain his/her mental capabilities until the end? My aunt's mind still seems to be very clear, and 2 of the 6 weeks the doctor said she had left have already expired. Until her sickness, she had always been the quiet type. Now she talks constantly, making good sense, but talking alot. She does tend to repeat things. Any other information would be helpful. I am still learning about this type cancer. Thanks and God bless.

 
Old 06-09-2005, 07:29 AM   #9
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Re: very fast type brain cancer...need support

Ebullin - to answer your question - NO, my dad didn't. He could understand some but then he'd get frustrated because he couldn't get his hands to do what he wanted or he couldn't say the word he wanted. The last week he just slept. But keep in mind he had this illness long before we, the kids, were aware of it. My mom did a lot of covering up for him so we aren't sure how much she realized or if she went into straight denial since they had been married for over 50 years. She did comment afterwards about some of his bizaare behavior - like taking naps 2 hours after he awoke from a full nights sleep - not finishing tasks or finding him sitting up at night not realizing that he wasn't in bed - and repeating himself constantly - just to name a few of the things she mentioned. Most of these behaviors might be attributed to the aging process which I think that's what she was thinking. They (the doctors) did ask if he had shown any aggressive behavior because that, too, is associated with this disease. He didn't show anything like that. I guess it all depends on where the tumor is located in the brain as to what type of behavior(s) will happen. Hope this helps - still praying for you and your family. Take Care...Scarlett

 
Old 06-09-2005, 09:15 AM   #10
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Re: very fast type brain cancer...need support

Thanks Scarlett. Your input is appreciated, but even moreso the prayers. We are coping with this one day at a time. I spoke with my mother this morning (she is my aunt's main caregiver), and she said she can tell a difference since yesterday in the way my aunt can move herself, as far as getting from the bed to a chair. She is more limited in her movement. And she is starting to sleep more. Slept through a strong thunderstorm yesterday evening! I am having second thoughts about her having treatments. The radiation starts Monday and the chemo the week after Father's Day....if she makes it that long. I just want the "quality" of her life to be the best, however long that may be. She doesn't need the side effects of treatment, compounded with the other impairments she has. But I think she believes she'll get better with the treatments, and I can't crush her hopes. That would send her in a downward spiral, I'm afraid. If her attitude remains as well as it is now, I can't ask for more..............You know, I have been holding in the tears and the sense of loss we'll be experiencing. I am just taking this one day at a time, and trying to be upbeat and hold onto my faith. But right now, I sure could use a shoulder to cry on........

 
Old 06-09-2005, 09:27 AM   #11
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Re: very fast type brain cancer...need support

Ebullin - I know how hard this disease is on everyone....I ache for you and your family. It's a difficult journey to say the least. I will share with you that my dad took 1 radiation treatment and then told us no on the treatment. The neurologist told us it was the best decision because his cancer was so advanced. Your aunt may make the same decision when the time is right for her. And some days - crying is the only way to get through it. Consider yourself hugged and I'm here if you just want to cry, vent, ask questions - whatever. Take care....Scarlett

 
Old 06-09-2005, 06:37 PM   #12
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Re: very fast type brain cancer...need support

Hi Scarlett. Thanks for being faithful to write. I was busy today, getting a new wheel chair, cane, and even a birthday gift for my aunt. Her b-day is tomorrow and she'll be 72. We have always had b-day parties for our family members, but this time she doesn't want that (too many people at one time). So we are going to space out our visits over the next 2 days. My mom finally gets a break and gets to go home Saturday. My other aunt who lives a good distance from here will be able to stay with her then. We are going to try to take advantage of things being as well as they are and make this b-day special since it will most likely be the last one for her. MAN!!!! That hurts!!!! But "one day at a time"....that's what I'm living by right now. We have a family reunion on the 26th of this month that our family has gone to as long as I can remember. She is wanting to go......

Guess I'll go for now. At least we've made it through another day and one more we can cross off the calendar. Hope yours is a peaceful night. Write again if you care to. Thanks for being there.

 
Old 06-09-2005, 08:54 PM   #13
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Re: very fast type brain cancer...need support

Hi Ebullin - It's good that ya'll are keeping the b-day party small. My dad would get really frustrated if there were more than 4 or 5 people in the room with him because he couldn't keep up with all the activity. Make sure you give your mom extra hugs - this is bound to be taking a toll on her, too. Hope you and your aunt have a great day!!!! Many prayers are being said for you, your aunt and your family. Take Care...Scarlett

 
Old 06-14-2005, 05:35 PM   #14
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Re: very fast type brain cancer...need support

Hi Scarlett, me again. Just an update here. My aunt's condition is about the same, excpet she is less mobile, making it harder to move her. My mother is still taking care of her nearly all the time. Tomorrow, I take her to the hospital for a CT scan and they will mark her head for radiation. We have decided to skip the chemo because of the adverse side effects, and we may decide after the first radiation treatment to forego that too. We want my aunt to live her last days in as much comfort as possible. The doctor said the treatments would only prolong her life for a short time anyway. So we think that a comfortable 3 weeks is better than a miserable 3 months. Do you or anyone else reading this feel that way? Keep in mind she is 72 years old. We want what's best for her, not necessarily for us. Please continue to keep us in your prayers (EVERYBODY), and reply if you want to. Thanks.

 
Old 06-14-2005, 05:52 PM   #15
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Re: very fast type brain cancer...need support

Ebullin - That's what we decided on my dad - well, really - he decided. He took 1 radiation treatment and came back from it and said NO! We knew he meant it. My dad was 70 years old and I guess he knew the end result would be the same no matter what. It's not an easy situation no matter what you do. Still praying for you and your family. Take Care....Scarlett

 
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