I took my healthy 69 y.o.wife to ER on 15 Aug with abdominal pain and bloating. They drained 4 litres of milky ascites. She was given a total abdominal hysterectomy on 24 Aug, diagnosed with ovarian cancer IIIC and was 85% debulked. However, her surgical wound re-opened and she was re-operated on 30 Aug by the same surgeon using ribbon stiches. Those stitches were so tight that they caused necrosis. The dead tissue was removed but left a very deep hole so she has since had twice daily home visits from a nurse to dress the wound. Her abdomen looks like she was in the chain-saw massacre.
We transferred to a university hospital gyno-oncology unit where they were shocked by her wound and said chemo would have to be delayed until the wound is at least closed. Today, they told us that should be by the end of next week. They drained another 5.5 litres of ascites last week and that had the same appearance as urine.
If we were in the US, we would now be involved in litigation for surgical negligence but that aside, the main concern is the effect that the delayed chemo might have on her chances of survival. Has anyone here had a similar experience and gone into prolonged remission?
Last edited by TopGeek; 10-21-2010 at 02:46 PM.
FYI my wife started chemo last Friday, Had three days of feeling awful but has picked up and is even eating better. We know she has a tough 6 months ahead but seems to be regaining her zest for life already. Let's hope it lasts.
As no-one else seems able to comment on this thread, I will continue the story for the benefit of anyone else in a similar situation.
My wife had another full abdominal surgery after three cycles of carboplatin+taxol and the surgeon subsequently said that her remaining tumours were inoperable. She would, therefore, be entirely dependent on the effectiveness of the remaining three chemo cycles. They were completed mid-March and she had a CT scan three weeks after that. The Gyn-Onc then said she was happy to report that the tumours had shrunk significantly and were likely to shrink still further. We now enter the 'wait and see' stage, which means waiting to see how long it takes for the cancer to become active again. That will determine what further treatment to use.
It's certainly not much fun living with a time bomb but it seems that this is a disease with an indeterminate pattern of behaviour.
In the meantime, my wife feels perfectly well and is able to continue with her usual activities.
The following user gives a hug of support to TopGeek: Kali333 (04-24-2011)
Sorry no one's responded.
This board seems to mostly have to do with cervical, rather than ovarian, cancer. It seems mostly populated by younger women, who probably don't know much about ovarian cancer and have no advice to give.
I'm so sorry to hear about you and your wife's situation. It must be very hard, especially living abroad (you're Americans living in Europe, right?).
I'm glad to hear she's tolerating chemo well, and that it seems to be working.
That must be an incredible relief to you.
Ovarian cancer has been on my mind lately, because I'm pregnant and was recently diagnosed with a "complex cyst" on my ovary. After doing my own research, I learned that these cysts can be malignant 15-20% of the time.
Because of my pregnancy, the doctor cannot remove it at this time. He's just going to monitor it. If it grows a lot, he may remove it when I'm in my second trimester, as that's the safest time during pregnancy to do surgery like that.
Anyway, ovarian cancer is very terrifying, and I'm really sorry that it's cast its shadow on your life. I hope your wife's treatment will be effective, and that she'll have a complete remission of this disease, and that the two of you will enjoy many more happy years together.
Thanks for your response Kali333 and for your kind remarks.
We're actually Brits living in mainland Europe for many years now. Ovarian cancer is indeed a scary process but my wife is handling the situation very well.
We're keeping our fingers crossed.
I was sorry to read that your wife is going through this ordeal.
It is indeed great news that your wife is responding well to current treatment. There are many different types of chemo treatments right now for ovarian cancer so if she does become resistant to one type, they can always try another. It is better if she shows a positive response, however, because each additional chemo treatment can be tough on the body.
I assume that your wife had the intraperitoneal chemo treatment when she was first diagnosed ? This would have been a treatment that is injected directly into the pelvic area. A friend of mine was diagnosed with OvC about three years ago and she also had the debulking, hysterectomy, omentectomy, oopherectomy operation and five rounds of the intraperitoneal chemo (in addition to six regularly injected treatments prior to the surgery ... Cisplatin, I believe but am not sure). She was disease free for three whole years until her CA-125 started to climb again and it was found that she had a recurrence. She recently had to have surgery again to remove another tumour and is now on chemo to shrink what is left. The chemo is quite trying but my friend is a very strong woman in her sixties and I know she can get through it.
I myself have never had OvC but a few years ago had an ovarian cyst which grew over an 18 month period and eventually had to be removed through surgery (it was benign, thank goodness). I worried constantly about the possibility of ovarian cancer and by an unfortunate coincidence, my friend was diagnosed with the disease I had been worried about. We formed a wonderful friendship and now I am trying to support her as much as I can through this last recurrence of the disease.
Unfortunately, ovarian cancer has a tendency to recur, mainly because it is initially discovered so late (we still don't have any kind of screening test for ovarian cancer but there are a couple in the works). However, there are a host of new treatments that are being looked at at the moment, the most recent and promising of which is the use of an enzyme that is found in a specific type of shrew's saliva (if you can imagine). This enzyme has been found to be toxic to ovarian cancer cells and was found by complete accident. I know that a pharmaceutical company has recently purchased the rights to this research and a cure is most likely in the works. In the meantime, they are continually finding new chemo treatments that can combat any resistant ovarian cancer cells (ie. resistant to standard treatment).
Just because your wife is in treatment it does not mean that you have to remain in a wait and see mode all of the time. Live your lives and enjoy them to the fullest. Find ways to combat those side effects (there are excellent anti nausea drugs out there these days ... Ondasetron, Granisetron etc..) and then do what you love to do. No disease, not even cancer, should be able to keep you from living properly. Your wife sounds like a very strong woman (like my friend) and with our help they will be able to get through their treatments and back to a normal life again.
My wife had her last (6th) carboplatin/taxol treatment mid-March and a CT-scan three weeks later. The scan showed that her remaining tumours had shrunk 'considerably' and the gyno-oncologist said the result was better than expected. She anticipated that the tumours would continue to shrink still further. The CA125 had dropped to 12 (from a peak of 2600) and that was 'very encouraging'. She emphasised that the cancer will return at some unpredictable time in the future and suggested the next appointment in four months time (mid-July).
In the meantime, I had been reading about Vitamin D3 and some very encouraging reports about its beneficial effects in the prevention and 'cure' of ovarian cancer. My wife started taking 5000IUs of D3 in olive oil (capsules) morning and evening, in April and has had no side-effects. In fact, she now feels very well.
We went for that second consultation this week and asked for a D3 and CA125 test. Even the consultant was surprised to find that the CA125 result was 11.
Now whilst we are delighted with the way things have gone so far, we know that the threat of recurrence is always there.
My wife has been very brave and I hope that her story will help to encourage others who are facing this frightening diagnosis.
Last edited by TopGeek; 07-24-2011 at 09:24 AM.
Apologies, estria, for not responding to your post earlier - I had not seen it until I came on today.
I agree with all you said and we did indeed take an early holiday this year (in Cyprus). The results of the hospital visit this week (see above) are also very pleasing.
I see that Canadian researchers are also working on a substance that looks remarkably promising for many types of cancer, including ovarian. This substance is called Dichloroacetate (DCA) and it is currently undergoing trials around the world. So far, it seems to have a very high cure rate. If the trials are successful, it will revolutionise the treatment of cancer.
Last edited by TopGeek; 07-23-2011 at 09:21 AM.
I am very glad to hear about your wife's incredible progress. This is indeed wonderful news.
My friend is also doing well on her treatment and her CA-125 is down to 11 (I am so happy for her .. thank goodness she is responding well). She is also managing to control the nausea and side effects by taking some of the recommended drugs and this also helps immensely as she can live her life again.
Like you, I also noticed a number of new treatments in the works for this disease, including a promising new treatment using viruses from childhood diseases such as the mumps and measles. Evidently these types of viruses can be fought off by the body (especially if the individual has already been exposed or inoculated and thereby has immunity) but cancer cells have a big problem doing the same. They first discovered this when a boy with leukemia came down with the measles and he mysteriously went into remission from his leukemia. They have since been working with these viruses for a variety of cancers including ovarian. This treatment is actually quite far along in the process so we should be seeing something very soon.
There is definitely A LOT of hope in the near future for fighting off this disease.
That's interesting estria. I have also been looking at various treatments and have been stunned to see the way commercial interests influence the research. Unless there is a patentable aspect to the potential product, it seems that the large pharmaceutical companies not only refuse to fund the research but that they might actively put obstacles in the way.
One interesting programme, conducted by a Canadian laboratory concerns the use of sodium dichloroacetate (DCA) which has shown great promise in trials. It triggers apoptosis (cell suicide) in cancer cells. However, this is an existing substance that cannot be patented and ongoing trials are dependent on university hospital collaboration. Unfortunately, that usually means trials will only be caried out on patients who have failed all existing medication.
It's a tough call.