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Topic: Mother in law recently diagnosed

Forum: Caring for Someone with Breast cancer —

A place to share your struggles and concerns about supporting and caring for a person you love diagnosed with breast cancer with others who understand.

Posted on: Jul 6, 2017 12:13AM

Eastcoaster wrote:

I'm dealing with a difficult situation and would appreciate some insights.

My mother in law recently contacted us saying she was dying of cancer. We hadn't spoken to her in years because of personal reasons. My husband immediately flew over, to find out she went to her primary care provider 6+ months ago with a lump. Her doctor referred her to the hospital for further investigation but she refused any treatment, and basically said she was just going to die. Once her tumor became so large (10+ cm I believe) and started to grow outside of her body she went to the er because she wouldn't stop bleeding. This is when my husband was called.

With a lot of talking he was able to convince her to get treatment and she had a mastectomy. She was then diagnosed with stage 3 cancer that is apparently in her lymph nodes. They want to remove a lymph node; but so far she is refusing. They also recommended a double mastectomy but she is refusing that as well. She says she will never do chemo, but told us they are looking if she will be a candidate for a hormone treatment. All the info I have about her diagnosis is what I listed above.

She says she wants to live and she's taking avemar and thinks that will be enough. I want to find a way to convince her to listen to the doctors, but I'm not sure how. Has anyone been in this situation?


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Jul 12, 2017 03:12PM - edited Jul 12, 2017 03:13PM by Icietla does NOT recommend or endorse alternative medicine.

Welcome, Eastcoaster. We are very sorry for the circumstances and concerns that have brought you here. You are very kind to try to help her. Your husband is also welcome to join our Community if he thinks it might help him or his mother. Presumably, her Doctors have informed her that the conventional treatments they recommend would give her the best prospects for survival. Do you know (or can you find out) if there are any in her social circles who have survived breast cancer, who might have some influence?

ShariP's mother's case comes to mind as one similarly situated but for there being a closer relationship between the concerned BCO member and the patient__

It is very hard, yes! -- grueling, wrenching, crushing, yes! -- and there are the depths of desperation and helplessness one feels when figuratively guiding another to the water, so to speak, and their taking the water is entirely up to them, and they refuse it after all. It is good to have Heart, but being hurt goes with having Heart. The continuing feeling of responsibility -- feeling personal responsibility for saving others from themselves -- makes it worse. Informing and urging her is all you can properly do. Then do your best to let yourselves off that hook of responsibility for what is not really up to you.

(((Hugs))) does NOT recommend or endorse alternative medicine.

My latest (Stage IVB) diagnosis is almost certainly of another distant primary type. To the best of my information and belief, I am still apparently what we call NED as to breast cancer, doubtless thanks to Letrozole. Dx 2/12/2016, ILC, Right, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/19/2016 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2016 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 4/25/2016 Prophylactic ovary removal Dx 8/2018, Stage IV
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Jul 12, 2017 06:06PM MTwoman wrote:

Eastcoaster, I agree with Icietla, watching someone we care about make confusing and sometimes life altering decisions is heart wrenching. I would add that if there are friends or other family members that she feels particularly close to and trusts, they may better understand her current thought process and be able to reach her.

That being said, my parents had a close friend who had a large pre-cancerous colon polyp removed. His physician firmly stressed how important regular follow up and colonoscopies would be in managing his risk for colon ca. This friend was so frightened of being told he had colon ca that he never went back. Until years later when he his symptoms had progressed to the point that he couldn't ignore them. At that point, he was Stage IV. Fear is a powerful motivator, sometimes with a 'deer in headlights' effect.

I do wish you luck in finding someone to help persuade your MIL. And, as Icietla suggested, we are here for you and your dear Husband.

Dx 12/10/2002, DCIS, Right, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 12/20/2002 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 12/23/2003 Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction Surgery Reconstruction (right): Saline implant Surgery Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery Mastectomy: Right

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