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Topic: Questions about my mother's symptoms

Forum: Stage IV/Metastatic Breast Cancer ONLY —

Please respect that this forum is for members with stage IV/metastatic breast cancer only. There is a separate forum for caregivers and friends: Caring for Someone with Stage 4 or Mets.

Metastatic breast cancer (MBC; also called stage IV) is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, most commonly the bones, liver, brain, or lungs. Metastatic breast cancer can be treated but not cured. Metastatic disease is NOT hopeless. There are a wide variety of treatment options for metastatic breast cancer, and new medicines are being tested every day. More and more people are living life to the fullest while being treated for metastatic breast cancer.

Note: Please contact your doctor for any specific concerns about symptoms you are experiencing or your course of treatment.

Learn more about living with MBC.

Intro medically reviewed by: Brian Wojciechowski, M.D.
Last review date: November 22, 2020

Posted on: Jul 5, 2007 11:18AM

Douglass wrote:

I posted once before and you all were very helpful. My mother has bc that had gone to the liver. A recent scan,end of May, also showed 2 very small spots on each lung. The doctor said they were too small to biopsy. She was diagnosed a year ago.

The past few weeks have been very difficult. She has been depressed and says she doesn't think she has long to live. On Tuesday, she went to get chemo, Abraxane, and was not given it because her stomach was filled with fluid and she was very weak. The doctor had her get the fluid drained that day,3 1/4 litres in all. She immediately felt 100% better. (She then said she will be around for awhile now.) Wed. she had a blood transfusion and today she is getting a CT scan. She will get chemo next week. This will be only the 2nd time for this current drug. Today before she went to get the CT scan, she noticed that her stomach was getting bigger again. I am so worried. I don't know if this is 'normal'. Does this mean we are coming to the end of things? Is it the beiginning of the end? I keep reading your posts and it seems as if everyone has survived a long while and continue to have a good quality of life so I am inclined to think she still has a long time to be with us. I guess I just need to hear from people who are going this daily.
Charlene Log in to post a reply

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Jul 5, 2007 01:19PM Mary5 wrote:

I sorry to hear about your mom and I will pray for the both of you as you travel this road. I cannot give you any words of wisdom, but I know someone on the board will be able to respond to your needs and questions. Your post lets us all know how much you love your mom. She is blessed. Mary
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Jul 5, 2007 01:26PM katie11 wrote:

Hi Charlene,

Unfortunately, I have no experience of the symptoms you describe, but I am sure someone will be along soon with some advice for you. People are living longer and better with mets these days so I am hoping that this will be the case for your mother, too.

Thinking of you!

Katie xx
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst! Dx 7/15/2006, ILC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 5, 2007 01:41PM wallan wrote:

It sounds like your mom has ascites which is a condition where cells excrete fluid. Probably the cancer cells I bet. I can just imagine how awful she feels when her belly is full of fluid!!
anyways, I knew of someone who had ovarian cancer and had ascites. She still did chemo. For 2 years or something. She did eventually die of her cancer. But it was ovarian cancer. Not breast cancer.
I think there is great hope for your mom. Chemo drugs do wonders on breast cancer these days.

HUGS to you both
Wendy A
Dx 3/29/2004, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 2/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/31/2004 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 5/31/2004 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 11/30/2004 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Dx 1/25/2017, LCIS/DCIS/ILC/IDC/IDC: Mucinous/IDC: Cribriform, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/7/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 5, 2007 06:19PM LuAnnH wrote:

I have known several women that had ascites in the abdomen. Unfortunately those women have since passed. I do not know for sure if it is the beginning of the end or not. Alot depends on how your mom responds to chemo and how well her liver is functioning. As long as her liver functions are good she can handle chemo and it can help get the fluid buildup under control. I do know that once you have a fluid buildup like that it is very easy for the cancer to do it again. If you get the acsites in the lung area there are procedures they can do to prevent it from happening again. Not sure if they can do that for the abdomen also. Hopefully your mom will be able to take her chemo and get this problem under control.

LuAnn -- Dx 7/2/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jul 5, 2007 06:36PM Douglass wrote:

Thank you for the replies. My sister has a call into the doctor so hopefully we can get some answers( good or bad) soon. I tell you this is so hard but it helps to come on this site.
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Jul 5, 2007 08:08PM bevnurse wrote:

Hi Charlene,
My mother had endometrial cancer and when is spread to her other organs she began having the fluid build up (ascites) that you are describing. She had several taps to remove the fluid and then they finally put in a shunt, There was a "button" that she had to push a couple of times a day to keep the fluid moving but it was a relief not to have to go for the taps every couple of days. Mind you this was 20 years ago so I am sure they have better equipment now.

I hope you get some answers soon from the Dr.

Hugs to you all,
Beverly Dx 11/11/2004, IDC, 4cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 1/8 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 5, 2007 10:43PM joanne1428 wrote:

I would try very hard to not obsess over whether this is the "Beginning of the End", even though I know first hand what it feels like, because I developed my first pleural effusion last month, and did have it drained, but it filled right back up again, and my lung collapsed (doesn't happen with abdomen).

The truth is that right now, you mom needs that fluid drained, just as often as she needs it. As you've said, it provides her with tremendous relief, so that is your answer right there. Hopefully with successful tx, this will subside - that's what I'm hoping for my lungs.

In terms of "the end" though, I don't feel like I am beginning that just yet, I have a lot of living and loving left to do. Unfortunately, I do not control that decision or that path, and so I know it sounds crazy, but I just force myself to turn these worries into spiritual possibilities, and I try to turn them over to my God for him/her to carry for me. I have to force myself to say those words sometimes, but I work hard at it.

I will do everything I can to stay on this earth for my family, but "the end" is not controlled by me. (This shocking bit of insight was hard won for a control freak like me).

I hope your mom find relief from pain and anxiety, and peace for her bumpy journey ahead. And I am sure this is just a detour. Why not think that way as opposed to the other? Does no harm as long as you are realistic about the uncertainties in this dreadful disease that we can not and do not control.
My hopes are not always realized but I always hope - Ovid Dx 4/2006, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/33 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-

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