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Aunt Recently Diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer

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szk32
szk32 Member Posts: 1

Hi everyone,

This is my first time posting. I really appreciate this forum and I love the support it provides. I'm also sure you all know more about this topic than me so I'd really like any information anyone can provide. My aunt (who was diagnosed) doesn't speak English well. We're a close knit family and I'm trying to do anything I can to understand and learn because there's so much out there and it's kind of daunting. She didn't really believe she has it, and I think she still may not really believe it. She didn't want to start chemo because she was scared of her hair falling out, but we convinced her it's what is best.

My aunt was diagnosed with triple positive stage IV breast cancer in late December. Doctor said it's in the bones, liver, and lungs. It took a while for us to get to her first round because of all of the scans, tests, changing doctors, etc. She had her first round of chemo about two weeks ago. It went okay, I think. Pills managed the nausea and she just felt some fatigue but she was strong enough to walk around and get some fresh air.

Today her hair started to come out more. She hides her emotions, but we know she's sad about it. We asked if she wanted a wig or hats/ scarves and she chose the scarves. I just want to know if there's anything else we can do? Is there something that can help lifespan that I don't know of? Is there something I can do to help with the emotions of losing her hair? Is there food she can eat that can help overall? Is there an extra vitamin or something that she can take that would be helpful? With COVID and everything, she doesn't go out since we want to be careful. We got her some stuff to do at home and she has her sister with her, but it can be boring being home all of the time. And with boredom you start to think, and thinking can just lead us to sad places and I don't want that to happen. I just want to know everything that can help because right now we're all feeling like everything is out of our control and we're religious people but I'm honestly just scared and I hate that she's going through this.

I'm sorry for all of the questions and I'm sorry for this being so long. Thank you for anything anyone can provide.

Comments

  • FGodmother
    FGodmother Member Posts: 32
    edited March 2021
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    szbk,

    I can tell you are a very carIng niece for your aunt. She is lucky to have you.

    However, your aunt’s doctor should be the one addressing these types of questions. Are you going to her appointments to translate for her? Does she know you are talking about her on these forums? Was she stage IV de novo, or was she treated for breast cancer previously?

    Each person who has cancer is unique. There may be a few similarities, but your aunt’s doctor is the best person to answer questions on her specific situation.


    hugs,

    Fairy Godmother


  • olma61
    olma61 Member Posts: 1,027
    edited April 2021
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    About her hair - there really are some beautiful wigs available and if you’re in the USA some insurance will pay for a really good wig aka a medical wig. I actually love my wigs and still wear them even though my hair is back.

    Getting up every day, getting dressed and putting on makeup even if I was staying home made me feel better about how I looked. I know, we are not all the same but this is what helped me.

    At my cancer center, the closest wig shop that worked with insurance patients used to come on site twice a month. The hospital also offered the Look Good, Feel Better program which now has online workshops. This is especially for cancer patients. Link:

    https://lookgoodfeelbetter.org/virtual-workshops/

    Those workshops are available in Spanish as well as English, if she needs a different language, you might find something comparable on YouTube or even Instagram


    It’s best not to take vitamins or supplements during chemo unless your doctor approves. I agree that she should ask. Often the oncologist will recommend calcium and vitamin D3 for the bone Mets, but do have her ask the doctor.

    As for food, general healthy eating is always good. Fruits vegetables sensible portions, etc. As long as she isn’t nauseous and able to eat.

    If there are services for nutritionist and other counseling at her cancer center, she can take advantage of that as well. Again, it depends on your location.

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
    edited April 2021
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    Szbk I don't know if your Aunt's oncologist team offers this or not, but some have a nutritionist on staff who can assist with determining supportive dietary needs. Or a nutritionist may be available through the hospital setting. My nutritionist recommended basically the Mediterranean Diet. Lots of vegetables, fruits, and clean proteins. But I thought it was important to understand how much protein and fats I needed for my particular body so she gave me protein, fat and carb goals to reach.

    As far as supplements go - please work through the MO on this. Many supplements, especially herbal ones, can interfere with treatment regimens and it can get very complex. You can wind up doing a lot more harm than good with that.