Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 06:00 AM
I had to get paramedics to get my mother into hospital on Monday. She was very sick & w a vile cough and huge nausea. Transpires she had lost 23kgs in the prev FIVE weeks. On Monday, I was with the Radiographer behind screen as took chest x-ray and I saw lung tumour before him - it was so huge/dense he actaully thought it was an implant from reconstructive surgery (my Mother - who is 70 - had breast cancer c.8 years ago). I had to tell him she had only needed minimal surgery and radiotherapy, and def NO implant. Snow storm on other side chest just automatically confirmed that what I was seeing was def malignent not benign as had obv spread. In the - relentless - 3 days since Monday, I have pushed and pushed and pushed for all her tests be done quickly. Is now clear that the lung tumour is a SECONDARY bloody cancer and they suspect breast recurrence is primary cause (she had complained to her doctor re breast pain but he had done nothing, and yes, when all this is over I will deal with him but right NOW my focus is my i: my mum; ii: how quickly I need get my sister back from Oz). CT scan also showed 'abnormalities' on brain'.
I am not stupid and know that a breast cancer which has spread to lung and brain is def a stage 4; ditto that those 3 together seem to indicate a prognosis of possibly as little as 4 weeks, but Docs won't confirm (which I understand given protocol etc so am not pissed at them) until biopsy back. HOWEVER - without frightening my sister (who does now know mum is diagnosed with lung cancer but not the rest yet as I can't see point in terrifying her until I have better insight into what she needs do next) - I do NEED know urgently whether I need tell her get on a plane right now (which obv have to if is 4 weeks/any very short time), or wait.
If ANYONE can please share their experiences re timescales when dealing with BC metasised to lung AND brain, I would be HUGELY appreciative. And please, I am just in major coping mode now so not yet remotely emotional, I just need a context and parameters so can make informed decision re what to say to my sister - what I mean is, please be as frank as you can as I can deal with it (it's the opposite I can't deal with right now TBH, i.e. the ambiguity and not knowing when call my sis). And yes, I do know all of you will say ultimately I do have to wait for clear doctor led prognosis and you are right. But that doesn't change fact of the 3 cancers she has right now and their likely prognosis, hence asking you all for your - honest - experiences/views.
Thank you so much in advance, and my very best wishes to all of you and what you may be dealing with. XXXXLog in to post a reply
Posts 1 - 12 (12 total)
Aug 16, 2012 06:13 AM Travelingpants2 wrote:
once again, everyone is different, and no one can really say, thats really all that has to be said.
It just sucks that ANYONE has to deal with it.
Aug 16, 2012 07:30 AM DaughterofHER2 wrote:
Hi my mum was diagnosed yesterday with brain and lung mets and there are multiple throughout both sides of both organs! 30kgs lost in 10wks and nil
Appetite and vomiting. Seen radio today and he gave a rough 6-12 mths and told us seizures and loss of limb movements are sure signs it's progressing! I am not saying don't call your sister but I would wait for medical
Confirmation before you do and hound them if you have too! I wish you and your mum and family the best and I hear you with the coping mode because I am in it too all the best
Aug 16, 2012 10:48 AM LuvRVing wrote:
This really sucks for all of you, for sure. I am so sorry that this has happened to your mom. No one really know "how long" we all have, and a lot would depend on whether or not you mom could tolerate some form of chemo, even a gentler one. If she can withstand some treatment and it's at least somewhat effective, it could buy her some quality time. You need to get the facts from her doctor and consult with a good oncologist about what her options might be.
Sending hugs and positive thoughts.
Aug 16, 2012 11:34 AM apple wrote:
You are perfectly capable (i imagine) when to determine that your mother needs palliative or hospice care. you don't need no doctors or their fees. On the other hand.. many many patients respond well to treatment. Wish i could be of more help and wish you peace and luck.
Aug 16, 2012 11:59 AM SPAMgirl wrote:
Would your sister be able to make 2 trips. I know the closer it gets, the more expensive it becomes. How far away does your sister live? Is Oz, KS?
When is your Mom's next doctor's appointment or scan?
Aug 16, 2012 02:18 PM Just_Sue wrote:
As a daughter who has had critically ill parents, I would want to know what was going on sooner rather than later. She may want or need to wait to buy her plane ticket until the tests are done, treatment proposed and a more realistic outlook of prognosis is given.
So my two cents is to tell your sister what the current situation is and keep her posted as it changes. You can offer each other support, even if she isn't there in person. Things move so agonizingly slow and quickly at the same time. She should have all the time she can to process what is happening.
I hope things go better than you are expecting for your Mom. That they find a treatment that works for her and gives both you and her more time.
All the best.
Aug 16, 2012 02:39 PM Chickadee wrote:
I'm not sure how you arrived at 4 weeks or that your mothers situation is grave. Did the Drs suggest it was that serious? I believe you have suffered a severe shock and need a bit of time to digest he diagnosis.
I tend to think at this point your mother and her Drs are only beginning to fight. Find out what their plan is and then you'll see your way forward clearer.
Aug 16, 2012 02:55 PM CoolBreeze wrote:
Oz is Australia.
I don't know where you got that four weeks from. There are women here who have been living with brain mets and lung mets for years.
I know you are upset but I suggest that you calm down and wait for all the test results and see what the doctor says. You can't read scans, and I don't see anywhere that the doctor told you that she definitively had cancer. How do you know she doesn't have pneumonia? All of us with cancer know that when they look inside us, they find all sorts of anomolies that are not cancer but look like it on scans. It's very common.
Anyway, if it does turn out that your mother has lung and brain mets, then they will give her a plan of treatment. They can give her a chemotherapy and she might respond to it instantly or she might respond but slowly, or she might not respond at all. That's why nobody can give you a timeline. If she refused treatment, than maybe your doctors can tell you their best guess of how long she can live. But if she does treatment, they can't because there is no way to know.
Anyway, once you know more, you can call your sister and explain what is going on and what the doctors tell you, and she can decide if she wants to come home or not. I would wait until you know for certain what you are dealing with though.
Good luck with your mother!
Aug 18, 2012 04:03 PM IamTitanium wrote:
Firstly, THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR REPLIES MY LOVELY BRAVE (& SUPPORTIVE!) LADIES
Secondly, apols one reply to all but (as I'm guessing you're all prob familiar with given you know this vile game) I literally have no time to write individual ones.
Thirdly, responses to the above -
*Mayo Clinic is clear that advanced IV lung cancer WITH breast AND brain AND no treatment AND at her age has a prognosis of as little as 4 weeks; ditto the LiveStrong site. Clearly it could be longer and I hope it is but I had/have to be realistic here and look at both 'best' and worst case time-scales of what is very obviously now an end game - but I'm still hoping it's a long - very long!! - end game:)
*Sadly, I can read scans but upside of that is can also read X-Rays so was able tell radiologist immediately that he was not looking at a silicone implant on one side with the snow spots other side of the main broncha as the only issue, but that what he thought was an implant (as so perfectly spherical and that size) was, in fact, a tumour. And reason I'm glad about that is I know it sped things up.
*Wish you were right and I was 'in shock', but I'm not. Yet. Weirdly, have also been in work mode and pushing all week as if some kind of 'normal' project management gig (which glad about as it has def helped my mum, and helped us get info WAY quicker via me pushing tests through than if I had not been like this). And yep, know when that hits plus all other reality hits, it's not gonna be pretty
*Yes, Oz is Austrailia, and we are in UK.
My sister DOES know about the lung tumour (as Oncologist has confirmed it), but it's the others she doesn't know, simply as whilst I know I know, I will now wait for MDT meeting on Tues (which I didn't yet know date of when posted) when they confirm all and prognosis. My mum has made it clear she will not have chemo and docs clear can't/won't operate on lung.
Thank you again for your wide and varied posts, it's been great to have a broader context of views to weigh this up in vis my sis in Oz (Austrailia!) and the decision I've come to is I will wait until that Tues meeting, esp given it's now only 3 days away.
Love and titanium to you all with both my thanks and my very, very best wishes. Xxxxxxx