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Author Topic: Found out my mother has cancer today  (Read 643 times)
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corruptrelic
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« on: January 05, 2012, 01:53:00 AM »

I just recently quit my job at a civil commitment center for sexually violent predators after 3 years of politics and headed up to North Florida for a 'real prison' interview. This past friday, my mother had a mastectomy where they removed a tumor the size of an orange. She said she didn't think it was cancer, but she'd know the full results wednesday (today). They had to remove much of the muscle tissue as well due to the tumor spreading. Took her to the ER once for throwing up blood.

Today the results came back and she was in the "5% category" and the cancer has spread to her lungs. She has to go in for another surgery, followed by 30 days of 2 hour treatments in some kind of tube, then radiation therapy.
She knew something was round around february but didn't think much of the lump, until it go so big she finally went in to the doctor this past month. That's when she found out was a tumor that had been growing.

You know.. I never really thought about this kind of stuff until it hits so close to home. My mother is 59 years old. I've only seen her 2 or 3 times a year as my job was half way across the state, but I moved back to help take care of her and had to turn down my prison employment offer. Now I have no job at all.. as I had planned on going to North Florida but in this situation I have to put family first. Once they're gone.. they're gone.. and lost time is one thing we'll never get back. Seeing great people like Steve Jobs and Andy Whitfield pass away, who had all the money in the world for treatment, I know anything is possible.

My mother's cancer is a rare type, I don't remember the spelling, but it's in the "5%" they said, which didn't help at all. Out of the 2,000 breast cancer cases they had only 40 of them were for hers and they didn't have a lot of information on it.

Has anyone else had a family member go through cancer and beat it? I guess I'm just looking for some hope.. that this is a battle that can be won. I keep thinking of good people like Andy Whitfield who died way too young, who had all the money in the world for treatment and still lost.
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Arkon
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2012, 02:06:22 AM »

My stepmother was diagnosed with breast cancer almost 18 years ago now.  She has gone through numerous surgeries from a double mastectomy to remove masses in her underarm area 6 times.  Yet today she is still around and doing well...although I use the term lightly.  She deals with constant pain, but most days she is able to live a normal life.
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Mithridates
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2012, 02:12:18 AM »

Sorry to hear about this.  People DO survive cancer, so there is certainly hope!
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hepcat
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2012, 04:41:35 AM »

Msnbc.com had a headline today touting the fact that cancer isn't nearly as grim a prognosis as it was even 5 years ago. I'm not downplaying the seriousness of your situation, just saying that hope isn't the only tool she has these days.  My thoughts are with your mom.
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2012, 04:49:54 AM »

I'm sorry for your mother's news and wish the best of luck to both of you in dealing with this.
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corruptrelic
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2012, 05:53:50 AM »

Quote from: hepcat on January 05, 2012, 04:41:35 AM

Msnbc.com had a headline today touting the fact that cancer isn't nearly as grim a prognosis as it was even 5 years ago. I'm not downplaying the seriousness of your situation, just saying that hope isn't the only tool she has these days.  My thoughts are with your mom.

I appreciate the thoughts tonight, but are they with your bunk mate as well? I haven't seen him post for a bit.

We will find out more information as we move forward, but her cancer is a rare type, and of that rare type, only 95% of it is benign while the other 5% is cancer. Just the statistics of going from very rare to being one of the five people out of 100 who actually get it.

I posted this as soon as I got the news, so was a little emotional when I posted. Andy Whitfield (Spartacus) and his battle with cancer was the first person to come to mind. 

Good story Arkon, I like seeing the positive stories and all the people who have beat it. It's very encouraging.
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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2012, 06:41:47 AM »

Sorry to hear the news.  Wishing you all the best in her recovery.

My Dad (72) has gotten by melanoma and prostate cancer.  It can be done!
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metallicorphan
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« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2012, 07:42:38 AM »

Sorry to hear the news

There are definitely people who survive Cancer,me and my sister for one(er.. two)

My sister had Cancer in her neck,she had Hodgkin's Lymphoma(AKA Hodgkin disease),she unfortunately had to go through the Radio/chemotherapy but she came out fine after it all,that was 12 years ago and she is living normally now(the scar on her neck is hardly noticeable as well)

Myself,i got Bladder Cancer in 2010(diagnosed September 2010)and had my Bladder removed early last year(a year next week in fact)and spent just 10 days in Hospital,although because i had my Bladder outright removed i didn't have to do the Radio/Chemo,my Cancer was apparently very aggressive and progressed through the walls and muscle surrounding my Bladder which is why it all had to be removed but thankfully didn't spread to my Kidneys which was the main threat/worry even though the Cancer had blocked off the Kidneys exit to the Bladder

Apart from needing a Colostomy bag now,i am living fine(maybe a little too fine),and hope to return to work within the next few months

I am 35 and my sister is now 40,but still 59 years old is still relatively young these days and hopefully should be an advantage for your mother

If your mother has the kind of Hospital staff i had then she will be in Very Good hands,they were all fantastic,they all knew what they were doing,made my stay very comfortable and the equipment they have is very effective

I wish your mother a very speedy recovery
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hepcat
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« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2012, 01:11:27 PM »

Quote from: corruptrelic on January 05, 2012, 05:53:50 AM

Quote from: hepcat on January 05, 2012, 04:41:35 AM

Msnbc.com had a headline today touting the fact that cancer isn't nearly as grim a prognosis as it was even 5 years ago. I'm not downplaying the seriousness of your situation, just saying that hope isn't the only tool she has these days.  My thoughts are with your mom.

I appreciate the thoughts tonight, but are they with your bunk mate as well? I haven't seen him post for a bit.


 icon_confused What are you talking about?
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« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2012, 03:03:23 PM »

Sorry to hear this news. I hope your mother can recover with prompt treatment.
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« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2012, 03:04:30 PM »

Quote from: hepcat on January 05, 2012, 01:11:27 PM

Quote from: corruptrelic on January 05, 2012, 05:53:50 AM

Quote from: hepcat on January 05, 2012, 04:41:35 AM

Msnbc.com had a headline today touting the fact that cancer isn't nearly as grim a prognosis as it was even 5 years ago. I'm not downplaying the seriousness of your situation, just saying that hope isn't the only tool she has these days.  My thoughts are with your mom.

I appreciate the thoughts tonight, but are they with your bunk mate as well? I haven't seen him post for a bit.


 icon_confused What are you talking about?

Apparently, your forbidden relationship with Zekester has just been outed.  icon_razz
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Roman
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« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2012, 03:14:02 PM »

My sister in law is a breast cancer survivor - so there is hope.
She had an agressive type that required the highest dose of chemo ever prescribed where she lives - Newfoundland (Canada) While the procedures were not always fun and the loss of hair and other changes were a challenge she is 2 years clean. Her cancer started in the breast and moved to her lymph system.

Her energy levels are getting back to normal - she has a great job and employer who allows for remote work connections etc.

The chemo/radiation/surgeries will suck for sure but there is an end in sight. Keep your head up - you are doing the right thing.

As an aside - the reason for the aggressive chemo treatment may have been as a result of the following:

My S-in-law had the same family doctor for most of her life - she is over 40 now. And for about 3-5 years she was told by the family doctor that the lump on her breast was of no concern. Than one day he said that he was concerned...... you know the rest of the story.
Based on what I read above it looks like your mom caught it earlier than my S-in-law and they are taking it seriously. Good!.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 03:15:51 PM by Roman » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2012, 03:24:27 PM »

My ex was diagnosed with breast cancer, she went in for a lumpectomy, followed by chemo and radiation. Hers was a tough case for the docs too cause her tumor was attached to the chest muscles. I think she just past her 5 years now so can be considered cancer free instead of in remission.

The chemo days will be tough for both her and her caregivers, but like Roman said, there's an end in sight.
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« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2012, 03:41:31 PM »

The best thing to do in all of this is to keep on top of the Doctors for information and course of action. Don't settle for "there's nothing we can do". A friend of mine helped a 70 year old woman who he hardly knew to survive after being diagnosed at 65 and told " there is nothing we can do". He got on the net did his research and found an experimental program that has helped her to survive the five years she past her death sentence. Never give up, there is hope out there.  nod
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rickfc
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« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2012, 04:36:57 PM »

Sorry to hear this, and my thoughts are with you and your family.
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Scuzz
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« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2012, 04:52:41 PM »

I know several breast cancer survivors so there is always a chance.


I forgot that I know 2 guys who have made it though prostate cancer, each taking a different way of doing it.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 06:35:40 PM by Scuzz » Logged
PeteRock
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« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2012, 04:58:32 PM »

Quote from: corruptrelic on January 05, 2012, 01:53:00 AM

Has anyone else had a family member go through cancer and beat it? I guess I'm just looking for some hope.. that this is a battle that can be won. I keep thinking of good people like Andy Whitfield who died way too young, who had all the money in the world for treatment and still lost.

Unfortunately cancer is fairly prevalent in my family.  My aunt on my mother's side was treated for a brain tumor approximately 20 years ago and continues to lead a normal and healthy life, cancer free (although we joke that she is a little crazy).  My grandmother recently fought and beat breast cancer and is currently cancer free.  My grandfather was diagnosed with asbestosis and lung cancer years ago, was given 3 to six months, and survived for two more years.  While he didn't completely beat cancer, he fought the hell out of it.

On my wife's side, her grandmother managed to survive with mesothelioma for three years beyond the six-month prediction.  And finally, a close friend of ours has fought, and defeated, testicular cancer twice since we've known him, and while treatments were hard and his condition constantly so weak he couldn't return to work during treatment, he is once again cancer-free and doing just fine.

The best you can do right now is support your mother.  Helping around the house, tending to day-to-day responsibilities, preparing meals, these can all help, but when I say "support", I mean be the strength she needs to stay positive.  This isn't going to be an easy ride, for either of you, but I've learned that those going through treatment sometimes struggle to remain positive, so they depend on those around them to help them to do so.  While this will be difficult for both of you, if you act as the support structure for your mother, there's no telling how successful she will be in fighting this.  But keep in mind she won't be able to go at it alone.

Best wishes to you and your family.  I have more experience with cancer than I'd like to acknowledge (not myself, but in family and friends), and the one thing I've learned is that emotional support goes farther than you can imagine.

You have to be the strong one and that emotional support your mother will need.  Statistics are merely that: numbers based upon averages.  They give an estimate, but estimates are often inaccurate and certainly not the be-all-end-all.  Just more reason to prove them wrong.  Best of luck.
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« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2012, 05:19:41 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on January 05, 2012, 04:58:32 PM

The best you can do right now is support your mother.  Helping around the house, tending to day-to-day responsibilities, preparing meals, these can all help, but when I say "support", I mean be the strength she needs to stay positive.  This isn't going to be an easy ride, for either of you, but I've learned that those going through treatment sometimes struggle to remain positive, so they depend on those around them to help them to do so.  While this will be difficult for both of you, if you act as the support structure for your mother, there's no telling how successful she will be in fighting this.  But keep in mind she won't be able to go at it alone.

Best wishes to you and your family.  I have more experience with cancer than I'd like to acknowledge (not myself, but in family and friends), and the one thing I've learned is that emotional support goes farther than you can imagine.

You have to be the strong one and that emotional support your mother will need.  Statistics are merely that: numbers based upon averages.  They give an estimate, but estimates are often inaccurate and certainly not the be-all-end-all.  Just more reason to prove them wrong.  Best of luck.

Make sure that you have your own support network.  If you can't find it in your friends and family, look for a caregiver's support group.  While friends and family might by sympathetic, they're not going to be able to relate to all the difficulties and may minimize them.  A caregiver's group will have common stories, trials, and emotional support.

Don't sacrifice your mental well being in order to preserve hers.  There will be times that you need to get out of the way and have some time away from the situation to either handle it in a support group or do something to take care of yourself.
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« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2012, 05:38:08 PM »

Quote from: Isgrimnur on January 05, 2012, 05:19:41 PM

Make sure that you have your own support network.  If you can't find it in your friends and family, look for a caregiver's support group.  While friends and family might by sympathetic, they're not going to be able to relate to all the difficulties and may minimize them.  A caregiver's group will have common stories, trials, and emotional support.

Don't sacrifice your mental well being in order to preserve hers.  There will be times that you need to get out of the way and have some time away from the situation to either handle it in a support group or do something to take care of yourself.

I agree with Grim completely.  I seem to have neglected to address your needs while focusing only on your mother's.  Your own well being is obviously important as well.  And while somewhat "virtual", you have a support network here as well.  It certainly does not replace the potential need of a specialized group in person, but it's at least something.
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« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2012, 07:28:00 PM »

My Oma (Grandmother) died of breast cancer. It was 1972, IIRC, and 4 years before I was born. She actually beat it over a decade earlier, but when it came back she *knew* something was wrong, but her doctor didn't believe her.

Best of luck.

Also, I think Hep was being totally serious in his comments, which is why I think your "bunk mate" comment was ... awkward? You should be careful about that, you might get other people jealous of Zeke (right, CK?). Tongue
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« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2012, 01:20:05 AM »

So sorry to hear that corruptrelic - in addition to all the great advice so far, I'd recommend getting in touch with an online support group.  I found the mailing lists on ACOR.org to be invaluable when going through my own cancer treatment and recovery (testicular).  Especially with edge cases such as your mom's, these online communities can help put you in contact with others who may have experience with that particular kind of cancer.  The average oncologist doesn't have experience with the rarer forms of cancer, unfortunately.  

For example, mine said he had only seen a handful of testicular cases in his career - I mean, it's rare, but it's not *that* rare.  So I relied heavily on the testicular cancer ACOR mailing list for advice, and they helped put me in touch with the doctor who discovered the chemo protocol that flipped the survival rate from 5% to 95%.  That was *huge* in terms of helping me put my mind at ease that my treatment was going the right direction.

For what it's worth, my mother in law was diagnosed with breast cancer 20 years ago, and is still going strong without ever having a recurrence.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 01:27:19 AM by Laner » Logged
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« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2012, 03:11:50 AM »

My dad and both of my uncles, none of which are blood relatives, all got dramatically different forms of cancer within a limited span of time several years ago. Two of the three are still with us, and my uncle that is gone managed a few good years with his family before he relapsed. The funny thing is my dad beat the cancer then nearly died earlier this year when he developed a systemic streptococcal infection through a cut on his elbow. It happened so fast you wouldn't believe. Enjoy every day, you never know what waits around the corner.
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corruptrelic
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« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2012, 01:07:34 PM »

Wow, some awesome stories here! Lots of encouragement, appreciate that.  icon_biggrin

My mother is going to oxygen treatments for the next 30 days and the doctor commented yesterday that she's showing improvement with the dying skin, but they still have to do one more surgery as the cancer spread to the lungs.
After that she starts radiation therapy.

As far as HepC's bunk mate comment I was actually referring to CeeKay, but now it's Zeke? Looks like he's going through partners as fast as a BBW at an all you can eat chinese buffet.
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« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2012, 05:45:01 PM »

At least you're keeping a sense of humor during this time.  That's a good sign.
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