Your mom is lucky to have you as a daughter.
I will be having a pelvic exenteration this week, on the 14th. I have a recurrence of ovarian cancer that has not responded to several different chemos and radiation.
I have to say that I am quite nervous about it all. In the city where I am living, I saw 3 surgeons that refused to perform this surgery on me. They basically told me that I should go in for palliative care and prescribed several types of morphines for the pain.
We (my dear husband and support system) found a surgeon in another province (I live in Canada) who is willing to do the surgery. It is a long and serious operation. As it was explained to me there are two types of pelvic exenterations: posterior and total exenteration.
My tumour has grown into the pelvic walls which is why no surgeon would perform the surgery -they say that if the cancer has spread they abort the surgery. But this surgeon, I was told, is very 'aggressive' and has agreed to perform it, of course, he told me, that in my case, it will not be a cure but will help to relieve pain and this awful bleeding I have had for the past two years. He'll try to remove as much of the cancer as he can....
I will definitely need a colostomy (poop bag) and, obviusly, am not looking forward to that. If he will have to do a full exenteration (remove bladder & vagina too) than I'd need another bag (for pee) ... he'll only know when he's in what needs to be done.
Please tell your mom that she's not alone ... I'm doing it this week. If I can do this ...any one can. I'm also wondering why she opted out of chemo ...I did the same when I was first diagnosed in 2004. I had the first surgery and no chemo ... I recurred 9 months later. Every one has their own reasons, I'm sure. I know my reason was fright and denial. I didn't believe that I, a 41 year old healthy, fit woman who has never been sick could have cancer. And I didn't want poison in my blood making me sicker and losing my hair. Today, I am willing to do anything to live....
I know I'll have many problems to deal with after this surgery ... I still don't know how I'll 'live' with this bag (or bags), how I'll see myself as a woman (may need vaginal reconstruction) and if I will still have cancer in me, then why did I go through all this? I know my husband tells me everyday how he doesn't care about bags and loves me no matter what. And I know that surgery will hopefully give me extra time.
One of the original surgeons found out I'm having the surgery done elsewhere and she told my oncologist that the surgery will not be good for me .... so I still have my dark thoughts about it all. But I trust this new surgeon and I know that my time is limited if I just do nothing.
Support is #1 at this time. My own family has been lacking in that department but my husband and his family, along with friends and the women on this site have been my life line. All you can do for your mom now is be there for her, listen to her fears, reassure her that she is a strong woman and needs to fight this, that she is not alone.
I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.