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Topic: Very stubborn cancer patient (mother)

Forum: Family and Family Planning Matters —

A comforting place to discuss planning a family, fertility concerns, parenting children, or relationship issues with partners, siblings, or parents following a diagnosis.

Posted on: Mar 10, 2019 04:48PM

Kkmay wrote:

Hi!

The diagnosis below is for my mother. Her mass is huge and she waited way too long to inspect it because she has an extreme phobia of doctors and hospitals. She has started chemotherpy and (as most cancer patients) she has low immunity. She socialize with people, go to wedding and parties on the days she feels ok. She hasn’t changed her diet so much. I have been making extensive research on what food/supplements that can benefit cancer patients. However, she rarely follows my advice. She had extreme fatigue and almost zero WBC I had to pull her to the hospital literally. Her careless attitude is killing me and causing me a lot of stress. I really want my mother to be cured. I love her to death but her careless attitude is killing me. Any ideas on how to deal with her ?

Dx 1/22/2019, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 2/17/2019 AC + T (Taxol)
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Mar 10, 2019 05:03PM Shellsatthebeach wrote:

The answer you may not want to hear is your mother is old enough to make her own decisions, bad or good. I wouldn't really worry about her diet while she is getting chemo. Most doctors will tell you to eat things that you can keep down or sound appealing. Also, neulasta helps with getting your white blood count to a place where a cancer patient does not need to isolate themselves. Lastly, many doctors will also warn cancer patients about taking supplements during chemo because it can interact with the treatment. Hope this helps.

Dx 3/2017, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+, HER2- Surgery 8/28/2017 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy: Left Dx 9/15/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 6/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 9/24/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Radiation Therapy 10/17/2017 Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Targeted Therapy Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxotere)
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Mar 10, 2019 05:14PM Kkmay wrote:

Hi there!

It is almost a week since her neulasta and her WBC is almost zero! Do you have any idea when will it kick in

Dx 1/22/2019, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 2/17/2019 AC + T (Taxol)
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Mar 10, 2019 05:26PM Shellsatthebeach wrote:

Wow, I'm surprised her count is so low after the shot. That is something you or she would want to mention to the doctor. The best thing she can do is rest as much as possible if she is feeling fatigue.

Dx 3/2017, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+, HER2- Surgery 8/28/2017 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy: Left Dx 9/15/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 6/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 9/24/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Radiation Therapy 10/17/2017 Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Targeted Therapy Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxotere)
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Mar 10, 2019 05:31PM beeline wrote:

kkmay, that’s about exactly how long it takes. If you have the patient handout with the injection it shows a chart of how it rises day by day. Day 7 post chemo is the lowest point (nadir) and then it starts to rise. I’ve tried to include a screen grab.


As far as your mother being stubborn, I hate to say there is probably not much you can do except express your support and concern. She is the cancer patient and will have to find her own way through. If it is any comfort, I worked through chemo, went to school events, etc. I also rested when I needed to, but didn’t want to feel like a sick person all the time or let cancer rob me of my life while I’m still here. Your mom may feel the same way. Good luck to you both.

American in NZ. Dx’d at 42. Had to stop Taxol after #6 due to neuropathy. Randomised to control group in MonarcheE trial 😩 Dx 7/17/2018, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 8/2/2018 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Dx 8/21/2018, DCIS/IDC/Paget's, Right, 2cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 10/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 9/18/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy 2/12/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 2/25/2019 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Mar 10, 2019 06:05PM - edited Mar 10, 2019 06:06PM by Nancy2581

The same thing happened to me after my first chemo infusion. My WBC dropped to almost zero. This was a week after neulasta, but then it kicked in and my WBC was way the heck up there. The day my WBC was so low they gave me fluids. Doctor asked if I wanted to be hospitalized. Um no thank you. It never happened again, but my chemo regimen got switched. The first infusion was Adriamycin, Cytoxan and Taxotere. After that it was AC every 3 weeks for 3 infusions and then weekly taxol. I handled that much better. Good luck to your mom. Just try to be as supportive as you can be with your mom. She really needs that.

Nancy

2.8 cm tumor with LVI Dx 6/11/2014, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 6/24/2014 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 7/21/2014 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy 1/27/2015 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 1/28/2015 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 12/17/2017 Femara (letrozole)
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Mar 10, 2019 06:58PM Meow13 wrote:

Your Mom should eat whatever she can tolerate while going through chemo. Diet and exercise are important for good health but she needs to get through her treatment and not have additional stress put on her.

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Mar 10, 2019 07:49PM wanderweg wrote:

beeline - I've never seen that chart, so thanks. My WBC was always back to normal but then again, it wasn't checked until the day of the next chemo three weeks later.

kkmay - I just ate whatever I could tolerate during chemo, which was mostly super bland foods. Lots of plain pasta and that sort of thing. Especially for the first week or so after each round. Chemo is brutal - your mom may be handling it the best way she knows how. And, whether or not she is making the best decisions for her health she does have the right to be the one making the decisions. I'd encourage you to just be supportive while she's going through this very difficult treatment.

weakly ER+, TNBC on oncotype Dx 5/10/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 6/10/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 8/6/2018 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Chemotherapy 8/31/2018 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 12/1/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Mar 10, 2019 08:00PM beeline wrote:

Wanderweg, my husband gave me the shots at home so we had all the prescribing info. Also, I was super paranoid about infection so all but memorised the chart

American in NZ. Dx’d at 42. Had to stop Taxol after #6 due to neuropathy. Randomised to control group in MonarcheE trial 😩 Dx 7/17/2018, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 8/2/2018 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Dx 8/21/2018, DCIS/IDC/Paget's, Right, 2cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 10/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 9/18/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy 2/12/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 2/25/2019 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Mar 11, 2019 02:11AM Cowgirl13 wrote:

Kkmay, I am sorry to say this but you could be really stressing out your mother and this on top of her cancer diagnosis. I couldn't have had anyone tell me what to do or get in my face about what I should be doing. Please treat her kindly.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the Devil says: 'Oh crap! She's up! Dx 5/28/2009, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 6/16/2009 Chemotherapy 8/3/2009 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/21/2009 Hormonal Therapy 2/22/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Mar 11, 2019 07:06AM Salamandra wrote:

Hi kkmay,

If she has phobia of doctors, then I'm betting it's taking pretty much everything she's got to follow through with the diagnosis and treatment plan. Remember, she has to do this her way, not the way you would do it if it were you. That's just impossible, as much as we might like to make it so.

Can you try to focus on giving her big love and props for doing the hard stuff that she's doing? It doesn't sound careless to me, it sounds like she's managing something that probably hits a ton of her anxiety points, and doing it pretty well, just not perfectly.

Researching supplements and stuff, that may feel helpful for you to feel a greater sense of control. But if it's not her thing, then just remember that you really are doing it for you and not for her, and try not to let it get in the way of having the best times you can with her.

Keep monitoring her for emergency situations but otherwise try to focus on supporting her doing things her way. No matter what happens or how things turn out, I promise you, you will both feel better about the process and you won't regret it.

It can be very hard to watch someone we love make decisions we wouldn't make. Take care of yourself too, but get support on this from us, or your friends, and try to just give support to your mom and love her.


Dx at 39. 1.8cm. Oncotype 9. Dx 9/19/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 10/18/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 12/3/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Mar 11, 2019 07:13AM Kkmay wrote:

Thanks everyone for responding!

I will try to be as suppotive as possible for my mother. As for the neulasta, beeline this chart is such a relief (her WBC is 0.33 ) which is very close to the chart! I’m expecting the count to raise in the next few days (fingers crossed)

Dx 1/22/2019, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 2/17/2019 AC + T (Taxol)
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Mar 11, 2019 08:03AM santabarbarian wrote:

If you want to gently encourage good diet without bugging her, you could make some lovely soups or stews she would like, or bone broth, and bring them to her, and freeze them in one-portion sizes... that's very supportive and not preachy and would be a huge help when she is tired and grabbing for something quick.

pCR after neoadjuvant chemo Dx 7/13/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 8/12/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/27/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/10/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Mar 11, 2019 08:47AM ElaineTherese wrote:

I second santabarbarian's suggestion about soups/stews. Staying hydrated can be a chore. I got really sick of water pretty quickly, and turned to things like soup and decaf tea. And, one-portion sizes is also a great idea. So many soups are two servings, and you have to refrigerate the second one.

DX IDC June 28, 2014, 5 cm., 1 node tested positive (fine needle biopsy); 0/20 after neoadjuvant chemo + ALND; Grade 3; ER+ PR+ HER2+ Neoadjuvant chemotherapy starting 7/23/14 ACX 4, Taxol X 12, Perjeta X 4; Herceptin: one year Chemotherapy 7/23/2014 AC Targeted Therapy 9/17/2014 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 9/17/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 9/17/2014 Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 1/12/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Hormonal Therapy 2/25/2015 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin) Radiation Therapy 3/9/2015 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Mar 11, 2019 09:47AM MelissaDallas wrote:

kkmay, please also know there are are no magic diets or supplements - there are plenty of women on this board who were thin, vegetarian or otherwise healthy diet, runner, supplement takers who still got cancer. I know you want to feel some control over a scary situation, but please resist the urge to "fix" your mom.

LCIS, extensive sclerosing adenosis, TAH/BSO & partial omentectomy for mucinous borderline ovarian tumor.
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Mar 11, 2019 10:05AM Runrcrb wrote:

as others have said, you can’t control your mother. You can control your response to your mother’s actions. That’s really the best thing you can do for both of you. Regarding WBC - of it’s too low they won’t give her chemo. That is the reason she’ll have a CBC panel done before her chemo is made for her. I worked, traveled, and cared for a sick husband throughout chemo.


Dx 6/27/2016, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 4/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 6/27/2016, ILC/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 4/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/22/2016 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 10/31/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 2/9/2017 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 4/23/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane) Surgery 12/13/2017 Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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Mar 11, 2019 12:27PM santabarbarian wrote:

When people say "healthy people get cancer" that is true -- I am someone who paid attention to food and was very fit-- but it is equally true that FEWER healthy people get cancer. And even I had much higher glucose and much lower vitamin D status than I would ever have guessed!! Some genetic and epigenetic conditions can cause metabolic syndromes or poor absorption even with good habits.

Cancer is very associated with inflammation (diet related) and metabolic conditions (diet related). I agree re not pushing massive changes on a sick person but lets not pretend it does not matter. Your food is your fuel. America started having an explosion of cancer when our diet became convenience foods, empty carbs, processed & preservative laden, etc.

pCR after neoadjuvant chemo Dx 7/13/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 8/12/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/27/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/10/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Mar 13, 2019 06:24PM ParakeetsRule wrote:

What is your evidence for an "explosion" of cancer from eating junk food? According to the American Cancer Society, death rates from all types of cancer have dropped almost 30% since 1991. Plus "the 5-year relative survival rate for all cancers combined has increased substantially since the early 1960s, from 39% to 70% among whites and from 27% to 63% among blacks."

Dx at 36 after several years of being told it was nothing. Lymph node biopsy was also positive. Dx 3/21/2017, IDC, Left, Grade 2, ER+/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 5/14/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/12/2017 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 1/14/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Mar 13, 2019 06:50PM BrinkOfEternity wrote:

kkmay - I’ve been on both sides so I understand the stress you are going through. Now on the other side I can understand my mom a bit better.

First thing I realized is all this diet/exercise advice may or may *not* make a difference in the outcome, so oftentimes they can be hard to adopt. All studies just say it helps a certain %, not everyone who did this became cancer-free and lived happily ever after.

Second thing is when I wanted my mom to get aggressive treatment, I was really imposing my desire for her to stay with me. Deep down I felt if she really loved me she would fight her hardest against this beast. I realize now that should not be a burden imposed on any cancer patient. The best thing is to support your mom in however way she chooses to fight this, and remind her that you love her.

Weakly ER+ so practically TNBC, getting neoadjuvant chemo (Abraxane) with immunotherapy (Keytruda), then surgery, then more chemo (AC) Dx 7/26/2018, DCIS/IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 9/3/2018 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Surgery 12/27/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 2/3/2019 AC Surgery 4/26/2019 Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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Mar 13, 2019 06:51PM ElaineTherese wrote:

ParakeetsRule is right. If anything, there was an explosion of cancer after WWI, as the army had issued cigarette rations to its solidiers and got many Americans hooked on nicotine.

DX IDC June 28, 2014, 5 cm., 1 node tested positive (fine needle biopsy); 0/20 after neoadjuvant chemo + ALND; Grade 3; ER+ PR+ HER2+ Neoadjuvant chemotherapy starting 7/23/14 ACX 4, Taxol X 12, Perjeta X 4; Herceptin: one year Chemotherapy 7/23/2014 AC Targeted Therapy 9/17/2014 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 9/17/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 9/17/2014 Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 1/12/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Hormonal Therapy 2/25/2015 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin) Radiation Therapy 3/9/2015 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Mar 13, 2019 07:12PM MelissaDallas wrote:

The incidence of breast cancer has changed very little in many, many decades, and most of what little increase there is is attributable to very small cancers a DCIS being diagnosed now when they wouldn’t have been caught before.

LCIS, extensive sclerosing adenosis, TAH/BSO & partial omentectomy for mucinous borderline ovarian tumor.
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Mar 13, 2019 07:27PM santabarbarian wrote:

Parakeet,

Better diagnosis and treatment explain your point-- which does nothing to exonerate diet as a factor in promoting cancer.

Cancer is in many ways a metabolic disease. In developing societies that turn from a whole foods diet to a typical western processed-foods & coca cola diet, rising rates of diabetes and cancer soon follow. In people with insulin resistance, cancer is both more common and more lethal. Processed meats are one of the worst carcinogenic foods. Go ahead and eat whatever you want but the Integrative Oncologist I consulted was very clear on the stats: the lowest rates of cancer and the lowest rates of recurrence correlate with low-fat, low animal product (nearly vegan or pescatarian) diet, and 3-6 hours of exercise per week. He told me to eliminate sugar, alcohol, and white flour. Those are all "junk" ingredients.

pCR after neoadjuvant chemo Dx 7/13/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 8/12/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/27/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/10/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Mar 13, 2019 08:36PM Meow13 wrote:

santabarbarian, how do explain all of the health excellent diet, excellent exercise, no family history people like me that got cancer?

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Mar 13, 2019 08:54PM santabarbarian wrote:

I am one of those people too. No family history and excellent health habits, lean, exerciser. But there are other carcinogens and both genetic and epigenetic issues that contribute to cancer (as I acknowledged in my first post in this thread). Maybe your underlying good health and mine helped us tolerate treatment and do well, also.

Good diet is not a guarantee of no problems. Bad diet is not a guarantee of problems. But correlations do exist and the better odds are with the whole foods, largely vegetable, low animal fat diet.

You can die in a seatbelt too. But that's not a reason not to wear them...

pCR after neoadjuvant chemo Dx 7/13/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 8/12/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/27/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/10/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Mar 13, 2019 10:30PM Polly413 wrote:

When I went through dose dense A/C chemo, the Neulasta shot did not bring up my WBC by a week later when I went in for my CBC. My count was so low I was put on antibiotics. The next week when I went in for chemo, the CBC showed high enough numbers to get the treatment but I was advised not to go out in public. I never received antibiotics again but my count was very, very low the first week each cycle and barely rose the second week -- but I never missed a chemo treatment. According to my chemo nurses and the oncologist, my CBC numbers, while not unheard of, were unusually low. So it does happen that not all patients respond as desired to the Neulasta. When I went through Taxol, my numbers were better even though I did not take Neulasta then. I still stayed home because it was flu season. Good luck to your mother. Polly

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