my mom doesn't want her last chemo any advice

Hi all, I have been reading your threads which quite frankly has got me through the past 4 months so firstly a big thank you to all you wonderful inspirational people, a bit a background my wonderful mom was diagnosed Feb this year with grade 2 breast cancer she was told it was also in her lymph’s 15 to be exact she very bravely underwent a left mastectomy and had her lymph nodes out as it has gone into her lymph’s she had to have a body scan as many of you are aware this was absolutely frightening however thankfully it hadn’t spread but they recommended 6 sessions of chemo as a precaution then radiation for 3 weeks then tamoxofin (please excuse my spelling) I must say my mom has been absolutely fantastic throughout and has never complained a real trouper so very proud of her however she had recently had her 5 chemo and is really suffering she is 62 and was borderline of having chemo and I think it has took it’s toll she is saying she doesn’t feel she could take another chemo I cannot advise her as I don’t feel I am in a position too as it isn’t me who has had to go through all of this so I just wondered if anyone out there could please offer me some advice I really would appreciate it if anyone could let me know what symptoms that had throughout chemo and if there is anything encouraging I could say to mom at present she has 5 gradnchildren from me & my sis and each chem session (which is a 20 min injection) we give her a specially made poster of each child she is currently feeling very unattractive as she has put on 2 stone through steroids and had lost all her hair and obviously her breast which is finally starting to get her down to me she is still perfect but do you have any ideas as to what I could do to make her feel good about herself I love her so much and am desperate to make her feel good again - thank you so much for any replies xx Lisa xx

Dear Lisa

Your mum has done brilliantly well coping with this horrible desease and the last bit is really hard. Why don’t you see if she can talk it through with her onc or chemo nurse, they can advise her if they think she should bite the bullet and go for the last one or if they feel she has covered herself well enough with the 5 she has had.

You sound like you are all helping her tremendously and I’m sure you are worried if dropping the last one is a good idea or not. It is hard watching someone you love going through such a difficult time. My daughter hates talking about it and some things remind her of last year and upset her, like the soundtrack they use on Diva TV cos I used to watch Oprah in the afternoons when I was having treatments.

The whole body image thing is hard and it gets more difficult when we feel so rough, she will start to feel better soon and once her hair starts growing back it will lift her spirits. I was lucky not to loose my breast but I know I would have been devastated even though I would know it was for good reason. Time will help and knowing you are all with her through this horrid ordeal will be helping her more than you know I promise.

Love to your Mum and keep smiling

AJxxx

Thank you so much AJ for your kind words it is so great to know there is such a huge support network for women going through this have you now finished your chemo? I just feel like I should be doing something for mom with her it is jeremy kyle not opera!!! she NEVER stays inside but this last chemo has knocked her for six and she hasn’t been out the house since the last chemo 10 days ago it’s like she is embarrassed of how she looks I keep telling her it’s short term and she will soon look wonderful again all through this experiance she has said I never think why me I just think why not me she feels that it has happened to her instead of a child getting cancer thats her way of looking at things and she is usually so positive that is why I am worried as it’s the first time she has ever complained about the cancer if you have finished your chemo how long did it take for your hair to grow back?

Thank you again for replying to me lol xx

I had chemo last year, finished in Nov. My hair didn’t start growing back until the end of rads which was Jan this year. I have had a “proper” hairstyle since about May time so 5 months although people will tell her its growing back really quickly. Unfortunately it doesn’t feel that way when you are looking at it every day.

This last chemo has obviously been a toughy for her and her self confidence will be at an all time low I expect, just keep supporting her and listening when she’s having a rant [they do help], try not to “yes but” her if you can, I know its hard cos you want to make it better but sometimes its good to just get things off your chest [parden the pun].

The end really is in sight, you just have to look abit harder at the moment. Now is the time to hold tight and march to the finish line together.

AJxxx

hi

Every chemo i’m due to get I get so low and I have to force myself tto go but once its over with I feel good that its one less to go I’ve had 4 and 8 still to go so its a long road she has come this far and she can have last one and feel good thats she has finished its tough but nessary please tell were all rooting for her go on girl you can do it kick the big C to touch for us.

joanne

Good grief Joanne, you’re having 12 chemo’s? My heart goes out to you, thats a tough time. Good luck with them, you sound like you have got the right attitude to deal with all this.

AJxxx

hi,
I stopped my chemo at 4 out of 6 due to suffering severe anxiety/panic attacks, my dx was grade 3, 12mm tumour, no nodes involved, no vascular invasion, ER+…had WLE.
My decision wasn’t taken lightly…it was discussed with 2 oncologists, BCN and GP…they were happy for me to stop at 4…but I also was asked the question…‘’ if the cancer comes back after only having 4 will you wish you’d had 6’'?..but they also said ‘’ you could have 6 and it might still come back…and then you’ll probably be thinking , why did I put myself through the last 2 ‘’?..
Its not a easy decision to make and only one your mum can make…but I would advise it be a informed decision.
With the amount of nodes involved I’d be inclined to go with number 6 if your mum can face it…if she can’t i’m sure you’ll respect her decision and tell her how proud you all are that she managed 5.
Whatever her decision I wish her all the best.

karen x

AJ

To be honest its not been that bad no sickness what so ever apart for constipation iam fine i’m on 4 epi and 8 cmf so have done the hard bit got hickman line in on tuesday and although painful defo worth it. Dont get me wrong it gets me down I just see this little old bald man looking back at me but when i slap on the make up and long sexy wig iam back with a vengence.

Joanne

Thank you so much AJ and joanne I am going to see mom tomorrow and will pass on your good wishes (she hasn’t got a computer) I just feel that I cannot advise her to do anything as i can’t understand what she is going through it helps me to go on these forums as it shows me that there are women going through the same as her she feels very alone I am very grateful for your advice and I truely wish you both lots of luck and happiness in your life and I want to thank you both for replying to me and joanne you sound like such a strong person and I know you will get through this please be strong I am thinking of you lol to you both and well done aj for getting through this xxxx you give me inspiration xx

LOL Joanne, I always said I looked like a man when the hair had gone and when I put the slap on I looked like a man in drag!!!

I dont want to blag this thread but though this would make you laugh

I was recently on holiday and went for a boat ride to see seals on the way back the captain asked if anyone would like to steer the boat. so I volunteered and my son took pics. When i got back home I was showing my OH the pics and couldnt understand why my son had taken so many pics of a little old man till my Oh pointed out that it was me god was that a shock needless to say the big grey jumper is now in dustbin heaven lol.

Joanne

lol to you both you have made me laff first time in a long time, my mom reckons she looks like matt lucas she keeps asking my dad if she is the only gay in the village !!! she is trying to stay positive but this last time I think she has had enough the grandkids love her bald head and keep stroking it which she loves as she is worried they are scared of her I personally think she looks fantastic and am just glad she is here how did your families cope with it all I am not sure of your ages lol lisa xx

Dear Lisa

I was in exactly the same place as your Mum - Grade 2 with 15 lymph nodes affected. Waiting for the bone scans results + the liver ultrasound was one of the blackess days on record for me so I know where you are coming from. Both were clear which was great news. I’m over three years down the line and I’m keeping very well. My advice to your Mum would be to talk it over with her medical team. Having 15 lymph nodes affected is quite extensive and they will know how best to treat it. It’s a tough road but she seems to have travelled it well. She may regret it later if she doesn’t finish the course. Give her lots of encouragement and remind her there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Wishing her well.

Jeannie

Jeannie,

Thank you so much for replying to me it gives me great pleasure to read your e-mail and to know you are 3 years clear it has been such a scary time as I know you are well aware and I will show mom your e-mail tomorrow as you were in exactly the same position as her I am so happy that you have made it through - did you have the 6 chemos offered? my mom is such a wonderful lady she really is and I would just like to tell her your storey as it sounds exactly the same as hers please can you tell me what you went through thank you so much again lol lisa xx

Thank you so much for your lovely commemts and karen i truely wish you the best I know it must be so tough and I respect your wishes not to carry on I have seen how mom is and I cannot express the pain it has caused her so I respect your desision speaking to you ladies really has given me food for thought gone are the times I worry about money etc after spending this past 4 months with mom I truely undertsand the importance of things and I really want to wish you all loads of love luck and happiness xx

Hi Lisa,
My Mum (67) was diagnosed last year and was put on chemo prior to surgery as part of a trial. She had EC first and developed DVT, so had to inject herself daily with anti coagulants so ended up with her stomach covered in bruises. The chemo then switched to gemcitabine and taxol which also involved steroids and their side effects. Unfortunately she also developed sever peripheral neuropathy and it wasn’t until she passed out with the pain and they admitted her to hospital that they believed how bad it was. She wanted to stop her chemo right then as she was in agony from electric shock like feelings in her legs. The onc’s decided to reduce her 2nd dose and then reduced her 3rd dose even more. In the end they decided the risk of permanent nerve damage was to great because of the way she reacted and she didn;t have her final dose of chemo.
So, what I’m trying to say is that she should talk to her onc’s as they may feel she’s had enough chemo anyway.
Mum finished her chemo in July 07, had surgery and 6 weeks of rads and by Christmas was beginning to grow baby hair!! She now says she feels better than she’s felt for a long time (even though she has persistent numbness in some fingers and her feet). It was so hard to see her suffering, but she has come through it and is really enjoying life now.
Best wishes to you and your Mum…
Love 'n hugs,
Sarahxx

Hi Lisa

Hope you are feeling ok today and I’m glad we made you giggle last night, thats what the forums are here for to pick you up when you’re feeling down. In the words of Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias “Laughter through tears, that’s my favourite emotion”.

I hope your mum is feeling a bit stronger today, have you been in touch with the hospital about seeing someone about the last round. Don’t be afraid to ring them its what they are there for.

I am 43, married to OH for 13 years and I have got a 19 year old son and an 18 year old daughter [from 1st marriage]. My son went off to uni in the middle of my treatment last year so that was very hard but I have become very close to my daughter who has been a tower of strength for someone so young. I hate the fact that they have had to deal with this when they are at the start of there whole lives but we got through it, one day at a time. Some were good days some not so good and some just don’t bear thinking about but we did it and you will to.

My Oh works away so that was very difficult but his way of coping was to keep the money coming in so I didn’t have to worry that I was only getting SSP from my job. He didn’t say a lot at the time except whenever I had one of my big rants he would wait until I had finished, pat me on the head and say would you like a cup of tea!!

Hope you are enjoying the summer hols as much as you can.

AJxxx

Dear Lisa

My chemotherapy consisted of three lots of Epirubicin and three x two lots of CMF. Whilst I was feeling quite tired nearing the end, the CMF was less sore on me with much less side effects than the Epirubicin. I would not have considered not taking all the treatment unless, of course, it had made me so ill that I found myself in the position of not being able to cope. Everyone is diffferent. I am 100% ER+ and PR+. If your Mum is 100% ER+ and PR+ tamoxifen will be very helpful. She may even wish to discuss some of the other hormone treatments (as she will be post menopausal) with her oncologist ie. arimidex etc. Whatever she decides, she has to think that they are doing their best for her and the regime that they have suggested is the right one and will give her as much protection as is needed.

You are obviously a very caring daughter and I’m sure your Mum will find the information you give her from this site very helpful. Just knowing that she is not alone is helpful in itself.

Enjoy your week-end.

Love

Jeannie