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Chemo Encouragment Needed .... Chemo Encouragment Needed ....

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Unread 10-29-2006, 06:19 AM
Chemo Encouragment Needed ....

Hello Ladies!

I found this site very useful when my mother was diagnosed with endometrial cancer and had to undergo a hysterectomy. We thought we would get through it with just the hysterectomy (and perhaps some radiation), but her surgeon found an unexpected surprise. Her bowel was draped on top of the uterus and the cancer metastasized onto the bowel. Thankful, the lymph nodes were clear, but because the cancer had left the confines of the uterus, the cancer was diagnosed as a Stage 4 and we are treating it aggressively, even though it is a small cluster of cancer cells.

Here’s were I need you help. My mom is 80 and the woman is my HERO! She had her hysterectomy on September 14, 2006 and got herself out of bed the next day and has been doing remarkable well every since. She had her first round chemo (1 out of 3) last month and she is gearing up for another round in 10 days. Her doctor is taking the sandwich approach to treatment – chemo, radiation and then more chemo if the CAT scan warrants it.

Like some of the other woman posting on this forum, her first few days after the Taxol/Carbo cocktail were good, and then days 4-6 were really tough. She just had her 10 day blood work and all her counts were FABULOUS! But she is starting to doubt that she can do it – she thinks she is too old and I have tried to tell her that women half her age have the same side effects, fatigue and bone aches. She was in good health before she was diagnosed with the endometrial cancer and all her doctors are amazed that she is 80. But the chemo is really getting her down. I would appreciate any helpful insight or words of wisdom from others who have walked this path. I know she can beat it because she had breast cancer 10 years ago and kicked those cancer cells in the rump.

She is not very Net savvy, but I was hoping to print off the replies and give them to her so on those days when she has doubts and can’t get out of bed, she can whip them out and read some uplifting words from others who have been there.

Thank you ladies and have a blessed day!
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Unread 10-29-2006, 07:04 AM
Chemo Encouragment Needed ....

I also -- though much younger and for different reasons (multiple cancer) had the "sandwich" approach -- two chemos, followed by external and then internal radiation, and then four chemos.

In your mom's case, it is probably a good idea to do it this way, because they didn't want to wait for her to heal, start and finish radiation before doing chemo (the usual way). You can start chemo before you heal completely from surgery, but because the radiation hits near the incision, you pretty much have to be healed up before beginning radiation (am assuming she had full abdominal surgery).

I also, like you mentioned, did fine the first couple days after chemo, days 3-5 were bad for me. So she seems pretty normal, if not a superwoman given her age, as to her reaction to chemo.

I don't know if you want to tell her this next part,because it's not a "given," but she may find the radiation actually harder than the chemo. Given your explanation of the cancer spread, they will probably be radiating a large area, so she will experience stomach problems. Just tell her to keep crackers, ginger snaps, etc. on hand, eat small, bland meals, and get plenty of rest. It might help, especially given her age, if you meet with a nutritionist at your cancer center. The only thing I can foresee is that she may have definite problems with eating due to her age and extent of illness.

Tell her its okay to feel "down" as she gets treatment, or feel that it's never going to end -- at any age. You might want to check into getting her some mild, temoporary anti-depressants.

But she has much going for her, in particular, she was in good health beforehand. I always found it ironic that the doctor told me, "well the bad news is you have three different kinds of cancer, but the good news is you are relatively healthy aside from that so we are going to be very aggressive in your treatment!!!"

She is, again, pretty normal if not superwoman, in how she is handling her chemo!!! Tell her I'll be thinking about her. Please keep us uptodate.
Unread 10-29-2006, 08:06 AM
Chemo Encouragment Needed ....

s to you and your Mom

What a wonderful daughter for being so supportive of your mother. I was just amazed when I read your story of how well your mother did post-op and thus far thru treatment. I was almost half her age at diagnosis and it is tough but defintely doable.

It sounds like your mom is totally normal for this stage in her treatment/recovery. I am in my 2nd reoccurrence for ovarian ca and so far since July of 04 have had a total of 15 chemos and am scheduled for an additional 6 for a total of 21. I also continue to work full time during all of my treatment.

it is mind over matter. As long as your mom is in good health and her Dr's think she is strong enough to get thru this, then GO FOR IT! Maybe some positive energy/thinking books or material might help your mom get in the right frame of mind to continue treatment.

Keep in mind that we ALL go thru the thoughts your mother is going thru. Usually the day before my chemo, I think to myself that I'm not going to do this anymore, I don't want to feel yucky for 3-4 days, etc. But then, I talk with or look at my 7 year old grandaughter and I remember why I am keeping up this fight, and off to chemo I go.

Encourage your mom to focus on something that gives her a reason (like my grandaughter) to continue this battle. She'll come thru with flying colors.

Again, you are a great daughter for being so concerned for your mom. She's lucky to have you.

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Unread 10-29-2006, 08:40 AM
Chemo Encouragment Needed ....

All things are relative. Please ask your mom to try to think of someting in her past that is now behind her and during the course of it she never thought she would finish or perhaps felt like quitting. Good examples could be childbirth, a marathon, wating in line at the DMV ; there are a multitude of examples. This experience is kind of the same thing. Once it is over, you are glad you did it even though you know you might have felt like quitting. She is experiencing emotions that are very normal; fighting cancer is not for the weak at heart.

Please tell her go, go, go!!! We are all rooting for her and she CAN do it. My husband has grandparents who are 96 and 97 and life is pretty good for them..she got many more good years.

Keep us posted.

Unread 10-29-2006, 10:00 AM
Chemo Encouragment Needed ....

to you & mom! What a great team..the dynamic duo in the flesh!

She sounds like a remarkable women...and you, a remarkable daughter. Good luck to you both. soon, you wil be looking back on this experience and will be saying, "wow! Did I reallly do that?! I kicked cancer's butt! I AM amazing!"
Unread 10-29-2006, 10:30 AM
Chemo Encouragment Needed ....

All I can say is I'm 31 and the chemo made ME want to quit! It made me feel like I couldn't do it, and I wondered how everyone got through it.

But after the typical "3-5 days", I felt tons better. I think taking the short-term approach helps a lot. If I start to see this as many months of treatment I get overwhelmed. One day at a time, one treatment at a time. Baby steps, the little engine that could...

Your mom is an inspiration to me! She should know that her courage and fierce determination is a guiding force for the younger generations!

We're cheering for you!
Unread 10-29-2006, 10:34 AM
Chemo Encouragment Needed ....

Does anyone else remember that cartoon? The Little Engine That Could???

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Go for it!!!
Unread 10-29-2006, 11:48 AM
Chemo Encouragment Needed ....


..yep! "I think I can, I think I can, I KNOW I can " was my chemo mantra!

Unread 10-29-2006, 02:41 PM
Chemo Encouragment Needed ....

Hi Zilla,
I met this terrific lady at my first chemo last year. We were both on taxil/carbo at the same time. She was 83 and I turned 50. She grew much weaker with the effects of t/c than I and also endured more neuropathy than I, though I had that pretty severely as well. I so admired her faith and persistence through the entire treatment. She is still cancer free while I am going through topetecan for my second bout with the dreaded c. Her caregiver has watched her diet carefully and helped her keep her weight up. She is an amazing person.

Support and encourage your mom. She'll make it through. You are a great assistance. There IS an end to this and she will soooooon be there.
Unread 10-29-2006, 02:52 PM
Chemo Encouragment Needed ....

I think it's just amazing that your mother "just got up out of bed the day after surgery and has been doing remarkably well ever since". That certainly tells me that she is one tough cookie. Sounds like her side effects are going pretty much like the rest of us. Chances are she will be riding an emotional roller coaster for a while, but fortunately, there are a lot more good days than there are bad ones. SHE CAN DO THIS! Please keep us posted on her progress.
Sending healing thoughts your way. 's

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