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  • Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

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    Old 03-24-2005, 01:44 PM   #1
    BMF1978
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    Question Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    My mother-in-law was diagnosed last week with terminal cancer. It came as a total shock and I'm not sure how to talk to her about it or my husband. We are both 26 yrs old and we are both the babies of our families. I think that makes it a little harder. I want to talk to my husband about the fact that his mother isn't going to make it. I lost my father when I was 16 yrs. to a massive heart attack and I have delt with that, but this is going to be much different, I think.
    Any Ideas?

     
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    Old 03-24-2005, 02:29 PM   #2
    Nassau one
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    Re: Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    I am so sorry to hear your news and there is no easy way of dealing with this. Have the doctors said there is nothing they can do? Are they not recommending any treatment at all? There are quite a few people on this board who have been at Stage 4 but, of course, I do not know your mother-in-law's situation.

    I hope we can support you through this difficult time. That is what we are here for.

     
    Old 03-24-2005, 03:51 PM   #3
    BMF1978
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    Re: Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    She did have surgery to remove the tumor from her colon, but she has 30 to 40 cancerous spots on her liver. We can do chemotherapy to prolong her life. She is supposed to be recovering from the surgery and then starting chemo, but she isn't doing well. Today, her daughter had to take her to the emergency room because she is very dehydrated. She has not been able to eat or drink anything without throwing up. My sister-in-law said her skin is yellow, white tongue yellow eyes and that she is real lethargic. I just need to know how to talk to my husband about this. How to bring it up. How to address the situation at all. I want to be hopeful (and I am being so), but we do need to face the facts. The survival rate for stage 4 colon cancer is only 6% to get to 5 years.

    Any suggestions on what to say or do?

     
    Old 03-24-2005, 04:11 PM   #4
    BMF1978
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    Re: Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    Her family is planning on taking her to MD Anderson in Texas, but haven't gotten an appt. yet. They should have gotten all of her files yesterday.

     
    Old 03-24-2005, 04:29 PM   #5
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    Re: Mother-in-law stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    I hope that you'll reply again allison. I was reading more on this site trying to find other people in similar situations and I stumbled upon your name. I hope that your husband is doing well.

    I never thought of asking survivors for their stories...I guess I thought there wouldn't be many. I am encouraged though because I read about the people who wrote you who were stage III.

    Can you tell me more to give me hope?

     
    Old 03-25-2005, 06:03 AM   #6
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    Re: Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    Hi BMF

    SOrry to hear of your mum being so poorly. I sympathise with you wanting to talk to your husband about his mum. You might need to talk about things that neither of you want to hear or think of but i suppose the reality is that if you want to help your MIL then you need to be able to at least talk about the practicalities of her illness.

    I found it very hard to talk to my husband about my mum because he was facing the same illness but I still had to tell him certain things. The only way I found around it was to say up front that "I needed to talk about the way things are for mum and how it might not be easy for us to talk about it". It broke the ice but was still difficult to talk about her probable outcome as it mirrored his own.

    Alison has already asked questions about her treatment and that is a good way to talk yourselves into the subject with your husband. There are lots of questions you could make a note of and perhaps ask husband to add his own and then talk through what answers the doctors might come up with. Good and bad.

    It is hard sometimes to keep positive when you see someone you love suffer so much. The stats never seem very encouraging and are usually out of date on the net so please take heed that there are lots of stage 4 survivors on the board, including my husband who is now 2 years post diagnosis.

    good luck
    ktee

     
    Old 03-25-2005, 06:26 AM   #7
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    Re: Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    What is your husband's quality of life like? I know that chemo affects everyone differently, but I was wondering... did your husband go through chemo? If so was he able to eventually have surgery? The doctor said that she was past the point of having a transplant, but that she could go through chemo and shrink the tumors and possibly cut out the ones that won't go away.
    Do you have any advice for use as far as treatment goes? I hope you don't mind telling me what types of treatment your husband had. Please tell me if I am asking too much.
    Thank you for helping me on ideas of how to bring this up and talk to my husband about his mother's illness.

     
    Old 03-25-2005, 07:09 AM   #8
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    Re: Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    I think we have more questions! Such as, how old is your mother-in-law, how generally fit is she, etc? My husband was 65 when he was diagnosed with Stage 111, with 11 out of 18 lymph nodes involved. He was otherwise quite fit at the time as he played tennis every weekend for several hours.

    He had surgery, during which there were a couple of complications, resulting in his having to have a catheter in for nearly a year. He also had DVT, probably as a result or our travelling to the UK from here (thousands of miles!) for radiotherapy. He was admitted three times in the UK for complications from the catheter and a blockage. Although he was not administered the most advanced chemo ( he was on 5Fu/ Leukovorin) his treatments left him tired and with diarrhoea, especially when he was receiving radiotherapy at the same time. He underwent eight months of chemo. During the whole time from diagnosis to the end of treatment, he lost 40 pounds in weight. Two months after chemo treatment finished, he had surgery on his prostate, to reduce the size, not for any malignancy.

    I say all this to say, that although his liver was not involved, he had a rough time. Yet, he only had four months off work. He went back to work while he was having chemo. He gradually put back on most of the weight he lost, is doing very well now, eating too much and apart from too frequent visits to the bathroom, is pretty much back to normal. There were times when I wondered if he would make it and I know Ktee had similar experiences with her husband, but when I look at him now (mine not Ktee's!!) I wonder at how well he has done.

    That is why I said how important it is to ask questions. There is so much they can do these days and research is very important. I am a pain with the doctors as I interfere too much! But I am determined to do the best for my husband.

    Never feel you may ask too many questions on this board....we love to share!! We become very close and worry for each other. Maybe getting your husband to read some of our posts may help to bridge the gap in communication.

     
    Old 03-25-2005, 07:32 AM   #9
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    Re: Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    Ok here is everything i know about my mother-in-law:

    She is a survivor of breast cancer
    she is 52 or 53
    I wouldn't say she exercises, but she does do a lot of gardening and she has about 8 beagles she cares for.

    My husband and I live about 500 miles from her now, but we are moving home next month (I got a lucky transfer and he will be looking for a new job).
    Needless to say, it is very hard for us not to be there to help. Since we just found out about this, I don't know much at all about the cancer or treatments. I am trying to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can.

    I think that asking my husband if he wants to read the site is a wonderful idea. It is really helping me just to talk about her and read what other people are going through.

    I am afraid because I don't think she really wants to go through with treatment. I think (this is just from hearing what she has told other family members) she doesn't have much hope at all. I guess she is going through stages of dealing with this. I just hope she can get well enough and that we are able to get her an appt at MD Anderson. Maybe then, she will get a really good doctor that will give her a lot of hope that she can recover.

    I want his mother to do what she wants to do with her recovery because I think she is the most important thing right now and not us so if she doesn't want to go through all the treatments we shouldn't make her.

     
    Old 03-25-2005, 07:34 AM   #10
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    Re: Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    Oh yeah I forgot to add that she has 30 to 40 spots on her liver (that is why the doctor said a transplant is not an option)

     
    Old 03-25-2005, 07:44 AM   #11
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    Re: Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    I agree totally with your last statement but it is still good for you to be fully informed so that you can make sure she is aware of all her options. I remember when my mother was diagnosed with liver/lung cancer, she was given three months to live and she died almost to the day they predicted. Maybe, there was nothing they could do but I often wonder if she had been given any hope, she may have survived. That was many years ago and there are many more treatments available now.

    There is no doubt that this is going to be a tough time for all of you. Your mother-in-law is lucky to have such loving supporters.

     
    Old 03-25-2005, 07:59 AM   #12
    BMF1978
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    Re: Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    I was just thinking after reading your last reply... I don't think she has much hope at all right now and that is why she doesn't really want to go on. I know that one of the doctors, when she was in the hospital where she was diagnosed, didn't give her much hope at all and that is where these feelings are coming from.

    I believe that ours minds can do a lot of damage as well as a lot of good for us.

    Last night she was waiting to get a room in the hospital and I guess they got in by now, but I haven't heard from my sister-in-law yet. I'm hoping she was just really dehydrated, but I'm also afraid it could be the cancer doing something else.

     
    Old 03-25-2005, 02:13 PM   #13
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    Re: Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    Being a survivor of Breast Cancer has probably given her a defeated attitude as well. It is NOT easy to go thru the ups and downs of chemo and radiation and surgery. I'm glad to hear you say that only she can make the choice whether to continue with treatment, or quietly retreat. She of all people knows too well about chemo and her prognosis, despite the negative physician's attitude. I think she would probably tell you that fighting breast cancer was the hardest thing she had to do, and probably doesn't know whether she can do this too.

    You can gently tell her that you can't even imagine what she might be thinking... having fought breast cancer and all. It's important for you to let her know that you are there for her, for her son, and her family through all this, regardless of her decision. I think you are on the right path, and you will figure out when and what to say to your husband. Does he feel as you do? That it's her decision how much to fight, whether to fight. If he's on the same page, that will certainly make things easier. But I do think it's important for you to reach out to her... I doubt that anyone has in the manner I stated above. I'm sure it would mean the world to her to know you are there to support her and her decision regardless.

    Please keep in touch. God Bless.
    Regards,
    CancerDad

     
    Old 03-26-2005, 04:51 AM   #14
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    Re: Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    Thanks so much for replying...everyone. Please continue.

    I did talk to my husband about her condition last night over dinner and we had a really good talk.

    I am beginning to understand what I have read from other people... that this is a roller coaster of emotions. Last night around 9pm his sister called and said his mother is in bad shape. Her liver has gotten worse in the short time since her surgery to remove the tumor in the colon. Now the doctors say she has a week to a month to live. Wow! That is a really big change. We thought we had a year to 5 according to how chemo went.

    We all wanted to be able to take her to MD Anderson for treatment, but I don't think that's going to be possible anymore. I have only mentioned the idea of asking my mother-in-law what she wants to do as far as treatment or no treatment goes to my sister-in-law (who is down there with her and dealing with the doctors and everything) I did talk to my husband about it last night, but I think he is in denial right now and wants her to get any treatment she can to survive.

    I was thinking about asking his sister to talk to their mother about not doing treatment and going peacefully maybe with the assistance of hospice or something, but I don't want to make anybody mad because I think she still wants her mother to get treatment also.

    So my question is: Should I bring this up at all? She isn't my mother, you know, and I guess I would get mad if someone said that to me when my mother is dying. Should I just lay low with my opinions and be supportive of whatever they decide to do? The thing is that when we were home to see her last while she was in the hospital, I heard his mother tell her ********'s wife (also her best friend) that she wanted God to take her right then.

    I don't think anyone else heard her say that, but this is the reason I think they should ask her what she wants to do and if she just wants to die without having to go through chemo, which probably won't do any good now, then they should let her do that.

    By the way. When his sister called last night she already said the doctors wanted to start chemo on Monday.

    What do you guys think I should do?

     
    Old 03-26-2005, 05:46 AM   #15
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    Re: Mother-in-law diagnosed last week with stage 4 colon/metastes liver cancer.

    After reading what HellsKitchen, Ruth and Dianne wrote about "having someone die from cancer" I realize that my husbands mother is going through the same characteristics that their loved ones did before they died...

    not eating, not drinking, turning yellow, breathing funny, etc.

    So I am wondering if anyone can tell me more about hospice like:
    how do you contact them?
    how does it work?
    does ins. cover it usually?
    will they come to her home?

    Any info will be great because I want to know as much as I can if you guys think I should bring it up to the family.

    Personally, I would do it if it was my mother, but she's not and I don't know what the family will think about it.

     
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