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Thread: Mother Recently Diagnoses....concerned daughter

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Mother Recently Diagnoses....concerned daughter

    Hi there,

    I recently visited this site and registered in hopes for some information from those who have experienced cervical cancer.

    My mother was recently diagnosed with cervical cancer. They did not give a stage however we were told it was directly around the cervix (so Im assuming stage 1 a/b). After the MRI and CAT scan they noted that one of her lymph nodes was enlarged so they assumed it was part of the cancer but did not biopsy it. They proceeded to tell her she will be going for radiation 5x a week for 6 weeks. as well as chemotherapy 1x a week for the 6 weeks. She is to start treatments next week.

    For those who have experienced....what is the efficacy of this treatment? How was yourself or loved on affected.....


    Thank you so much for any help and information

  2. #2
    Moderator Top User jorola's Avatar
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    Hi there,

    I am sorry to hear about your mother's diagnosis.

    While I do not have personal experience myself there are other members here who do have the experience. Sometimes this area of the forum can be a little quiet so please be sure to check back often for responses.

    What I can tell you is that the effectiveness of radiation and/or chemo will depend once her stage is confirmed. I am assuming no surgery? Generally side effective from chemo are nausea (although the meds that are available now are very effective to combat this), weakness and tiredness. Radiation side effects will depend on whether it is internal or external treatment.

    I will let others here comment more on the above. Welcome to the forum. Please know there are excellent people here to listen and support you and your mom through this.

    Jodie
    Wife to husband with squamous lung cancer stage 3 b
    dx - April 20/14
    tx started May 20/14 - radiation and chemo
    June 23 - chemo finished
    June 24 - tumor 1/3 the original size
    July 4 - radiation finished
    July 8 - PET scan shows tumor almost gone, lymph nodes back to normal
    Married July 19/14
    Sept 9/14 - repeat can shows tumor continues to shrink more, no new spots. New coughing and pain due to chest infection or side effect of radiation.
    Sept 19/14 - not infection but pneumonitis, place on dex for 4 weeks
    Oct 22/14 - now off of dex and facing even more symptoms of withdrawal
    Dec 16/14 - pretty much nothing left but a scar
    April 7/15 - ditto scan and screw you stats
    Oct 6/15 - more scarring but still cancer still gone
    Feb 2016 -scan the same
    Aug 2016 - more of the same
    Aug 2017 - and ditto

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jorola View Post
    Hi there,

    I am sorry to hear about your mother's diagnosis.

    While I do not have personal experience myself there are other members here who do have the experience. Sometimes this area of the forum can be a little quiet so please be sure to check back often for responses.

    What I can tell you is that the effectiveness of radiation and/or chemo will depend once her stage is confirmed. I am assuming no surgery? Generally side effective from chemo are nausea (although the meds that are available now are very effective to combat this), weakness and tiredness. Radiation side effects will depend on whether it is internal or external treatment.

    I will let others here comment more on the above. Welcome to the forum. Please know there are excellent people here to listen and support you and your mom through this.

    Jodie

    Thank you for the reply, Jodie. I do believe she is state 1b2. I did quite a lot of research and I feel much more comfortable knowing what is happening biologically. She finished her first week of radiation and chemo (1tx) today. She will have to continue for 4-5 more weeks. I think she is getting a PET scan this week to ensure it hasn't traveled to her liver. (as they saw some spots earlier in her MRI). I appreciate you responding and reassuring me of the side effects.


    Hannah

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    It's easy not to trust

    Quote Originally Posted by hns37043 View Post
    Thank you for the reply, Jodie. I do believe she is state 1b2. I did quite a lot of research and I feel much more comfortable knowing what is happening biologically. She finished her first week of radiation and chemo (1tx) today. She will have to continue for 4-5 more weeks. I think she is getting a PET scan this week to ensure it hasn't traveled to her liver. (as they saw some spots earlier in her MRI). I appreciate you responding and reassuring me of the side effects.


    Hannah
    I know that with so many horror stories in the media , it's sometimes hard to trust the doctors that their way is the best way.
    So this is why I'm writing

    I was diagnosed with very advanced cervical cancer at 32, in 1994. A look back at my children's ultrasounds showed that the cancer had been there in all three pregnancies, but either overlooked or not followed up. So by the time they found it, I was maybe somehow still alive after living with it for over a decade. Theories abound as to why that was - that perhaps pregnancy hormones kept it in check somehow. But in 1994, with three daughters aged 5,8,and 11, I was sent from the country hospital to Sydney for surgery and treatment because I was 'too far gone" to be dealt with by the doctors where I lived. I had had an abnormal pap smear with my second daughter's pregnancy and told to abort her and have treatment - as the treatment would cause me to miscarry anyway. I did not do this, changed doctors and had the cancerous cells frozen off after my daughter was born - at which stage the CIN 3 cells were downgraded to CIN2. Six months on and in subsequent smears I had normal readings, no cells.
    So the cancer was, it seems, hiding higher up all along. It had spread through my fallopian tubes, lymph nodes and ducts and uterus. So a radical hysterectomy later I was told they had done their best, but there was still cancer in the margins. Cis Platinum chemo and seven weeks of radiation later, I was sent home with a "will check in a month... two months" etc.
    You mention the liver - they thought mine had spread to my liver due to a few "bumps" noted by the radiographer. They wouldn't operate if there was liver involvement but nobody had followed this up so I had to have a very painful hepatic angiogram without anaesthetic just before my surgery - which came up clear, so they proceeded.

    So side effects included lymphodema in both legs which didn't show up until about three years later. I had issues with it while I was doing as I was told and wearing compression stockings. Now I sort of just ignore it - I do exercise, mostly gardening, swimming and stairs, I'm careful not to do things which might injure my legs as they heal very slowly. Small price really. I had some hearing loss from the platinum and some tinnitus which is now only occasional and mostly after being where there is prolonged loud noise. I have no tears - again a side effect of the platinum, which I use gel drops for. The radiation will cause a lot of digestive issues which I have finally got under control by following a low carb diet and not eating any fried foods. The chemo will affect her sense of taste if she has to have it - but this goes away over time - it's a bad metallic taste.

    But the main thing is that you don't ever dwell on the cancer. You put it into the "necessary to deal with" basket, but just get on with your life. The fatty deposits that chemo may cause in the liver can mean you get fatigued easily... so you learn to rest when you're tired.... you can't push it. Hopefully you won't need chemo, but it's not as bad as people make out if you have to do it. Radiation will make you tired, mainly becasue your body can't properly absorb nutrients afterwards - but it gets better with time. It's important to eat as well as you can, and cut out all rubbish from your diet.

    I had my girls to look after, and their lives to look forward to. I'm very lucky to still be here. DON'T listen to statistics! I was told I had a 40% chance of living five years and that I would probably get cancer somewhere else from the treatment. I was told I would get intestinal adhesions from the radiation that would require surgery.... which I did get , but did not require surgery for. They have resolved on their own. You deal with what comes and keep on living. You look to the next event - for me it's been things like finishing my teaching degree, seeing my kids graduate from highschool, then uni. And then graduations and marriages and grandkids. You do all those things you want to do but never got around to - for me that's sailing, carpentry, bonsai and painting. You stop putting off the things you want to do. Things that you probably wouldn't have bothered to get around to quite so fast if cancer hadn't made you realise that you do, eventually, have a "use-by" date.

    If you want to help your Mum.... get her to make a list of all those things... things she wants to do, and help her make that happen.

    All the best to you both - and feel free to message me anytime. Kate

 

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