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Anyone with any experiences of stomach cancer?

(21 Posts)
waterlego Sat 26-Jan-13 23:35:40

It looks likely that my mum has it. Not confirmed as yet but all the symptoms are there, including a big lump in the stomach which mum can feel.

She is quite poorly currently, although had a better day today. She is on regular dose of morphine for the pain.

She has had a scan which showed the lump but they don't yet know if it has spread. Her blood test results show anaemia but nothing else at the moment. Her liver function test result was also good, which I'm told might be a good sign that it hasn't spread to the liver, but I don't think that's conclusive until they've had a proper look at the liver.

She is due to have a biopsy but apparently not until the week after next, which seems rather a long time to wait.

We have been to hell and back this week and faced some of our darkest fears.

I don't think I want to hear any horror stories at the moment. I have already Googled them. I have a fairly good idea that stomach cancer is pretty serious and may or may not be treatable, depending on its stage and how aggressive it is.

But if anyone out there has any positive stories, I'd love to hear them. My mum is being remarkable and I need to be remarkable for her.

porridgewithalmondmilk Sun 27-Jan-13 16:52:34

Waterlego, I know you asked for positive stories and it gives me no pleasure to tell you I sadly lost my mum to this. However, I can honestly say that it was many, many years ago now and furthermore it was caught at quite a late stage and had indeed spread to the liver. Furthermore, I don't think my own mum could feel a lump which sounds to me as if the cancer is still quite contained (I am not of course a medical expert.)

Other than that I just want to extend my very best wishes to you and your family, it must be so difficult for you all and I hope you can all be supported. Hugs to you all x

doodledoodoo Sun 27-Jan-13 17:04:23

Sorry waterlego but I lost my Dad to stomach cancer too. It had already spread to his lungs and liver (I think). He did receive chemo but died nine months after diagnosis. I came to the conclusion very early on that his days were numbered but there was nothing I could do about it. It was still very upsetting but it did help.

Really hoping that they have found your Mum's cancer early. You just need to stay positive for her and talk about her getting better. Lots of people are successfully treated these days. No reason why it can't be your Mum.

lucjam Sun 27-Jan-13 19:56:01

My friends father had it, they took out quite a big part of his stomach, he had to eat little and often. He eventually died from a heart attack many many years later. Good luck to you and your Mum x

waterlego Sun 27-Jan-13 20:55:45

Thank you, for sharing your stories, even though some are not positive.

I have come to terms with the fact that the prognosis for this type of cancer is often poor. Something I read said that, by the time of diagnosis, 80% of stomach cancers are already at quite a late stage. I know that it can also spread easily to the surrounding tissues and organs.

In a strange way, it is helpful to hear all of these experiences. I know, in my heart of hearts, that any treatment (if treatment is possible at all) may simply be for the purpose of easing her discomfort, and prolonging her life. On the one hand, I don't want her to be in pain for a second longer than she has to be. On the other, I obviously want her to be around for as long as she can be.

She is really an incredible woman. She has more friends than anyone I know. She is in her 60s and I'm afraid I had rather selfishly taken it for granted that she would be around for a good 10-20 years yet.

What will be will be. We can only wait and hope, and share our love and precious memories while we wait. These shitty situations bring unexpected little gifts, I am finding. The last week has shown us our greatest fears, but also some priceless, precious moments, which probably wouldn't have happened, were it not for this awful situation.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts, it is lovely to not feel alone.

And I'm deeply sorry for those of you who have lost someone to this hideous disease.

porridgewithalmondmilk Sun 27-Jan-13 22:18:04

You sound anything but selfish to me, waterlego. I'm just so sorry that you are all going through this. Have I read it correctly that it has not been diagnosed yet? Praying that this turns out to be something quite different and cureable. If not, and if your worst fears are realised, I hope your family are able to get through this. Macmillan were awfull good to us and went a long way towards making the unbearable, bearable. I hope you will update when the time comes and please feel free to ask me anything - I may not be able to remember as I was young at the time, but my Dad will certainly know. x

dinkydoodah Mon 28-Jan-13 08:34:33

Hi Waterlego, My father was dxd with stomach cancer in 2006. He had his whole stomach removed and tests showed it hadn't spread at that point. He is still with us and you would not know any difference apart from the fact that he lost weight due to not being able to eat large portions at once- though he has a good try! I remember how awful those first few weeks were after diagnosis so my heart goes out to you and your family BUT do not give up hope! My dad is really healthy these days and I would not have imagined this 6 years ago especially when he went through the operation and chemotherapy. I wish your mum lots of luck and hope she is another success story.

digerd Mon 28-Jan-13 12:47:00

I have known only one person who had stomach cancer, and they did not have a lump in their stomach. With all cancers there are different types. Or your mother may not have cance. Usually a gastric endoscope is done to determine this. Has she had one already, had a biopsy and waiting for the results?

digerd Mon 28-Jan-13 13:04:50

OP
Sorry, just read your thread again and you are waiting for the biopsy to be done. I am a bit uncertain as to the tests. An ultra sound can show tumours on the liver but they didn't do one? An ultra sound is not normally done on the stomach as too much gas/wind and is too unclear. I have heard and had done only the gastro endoscopy for looking into the stomach and upper small intestine.
My DH's liver tumours were found under Ultrasound, but had the endoscopy to investigate any in the stomach.
As cancer is suspected, I'd have thought further investigations would have been done much sooner .
Fingers crossed for an encouraging result.

waterlego Mon 28-Jan-13 21:40:18

Thank you very much indeed everyone.

dinky That is just wonderful. I'm so glad that you still have your Dad and that he is doing so well.

porridge You're right, we don't have an official diagnosis, but the consultant mum saw last week was not in much doubt about what the scans showed. He was not an oncologist but had viewed the scans with some of the oncology team. We have had contact from a very nice Macmillan nurse too. Good to hear you recommend them, and I will be sure to make use of them.

digerd I am also confused as to why mum has not had or been offered the endoscope. I am going to ask my Dad to query this.

You're right about the Ultrasound- it's now not going to happen after Dad phoned the hospital this morning. Mum has already had a CT scan and the hospital agree that an Ultrasound probably won't tell them anything additional. The reason it was scheduled is that it was requested by mum's GP a few weeks ago and the referral had only just got through (but been bypassed in the meantime by the CT referral). So the next appt is now a biopsy on Thurs. I am still a bit concerned about how/when they are going to check the liver, but again, perhaps I will ask Dad to find out about that.

I feel immensely positive today, not sure why, but I like it and I'm going to try my best to hang on to it smile

Thank you all very much for your posts.

JayARC Mon 28-Jan-13 21:50:11

My mum, December 2009, had emergency surgery on a tumour in her bowel. She'd been forced into hospital, was hours from death. She had a second tumour removed a year later (much hospitalisation, chemo) along with metastases in the liver. She was many times so ill we thought we'd lost her: her cancer was advanced and spreading to the liver is clearly a bad thing. She had a temporary colostomy bag for a long time and was on a horrid low residue diet, feared she'd never eat properly again if she lived. Here we are, January 2013. Her bowel, all the adhesions and mess post op (reaction, noone's fault) sorted, fully functioning digestive system. Cancer free for, must be 18 months, oncologist very pleased. We still can't believe it. Quite a miracle. It does happen, have faith. It's hell for everyone, sheer hell, but have faith.

digerd Tue 29-Jan-13 08:00:22

I too know of a bowel cancer patient who had secondaries in his liver, he was cured too. It very much depends on the type of primary cancer.
Glad you DM survived it.

porridgewithalmondmilk Tue 29-Jan-13 21:49:25

Waterlego, I'm so pleased to hear you are feeling positive and I very much hope that this is a great sign. I've been thinking of this thread a lot and sorry if my return visits are becoming troublesome, I'm just very hopeful that you will get through this with your Mum. x

waterlego Wed 30-Jan-13 10:42:28

Thank you very much all.

porridge- not troublesome at all. It's really lovely to know people care and are sending their good wishes. It brings comfort.

Jayarc What an amazing story. I am so, so glad your mum is doing so well. That really is inspiring.

digerd Another amazing story. Miracles really do happen and that is so reassuring to me.

Tomorrow's biopsy is on the liver apparently. Very confused now. We understand why they need to investigate the liver and are glad they're doing so but I don't think I understand why they're doing that before investigating the stomach lump. I spoke to a Macmillan nurse yesterday who was very nice but also couldn't shed any light on the testing. Endoscopy still hasn't been mentioned, as far as I know, which seems odd.

I have to trust that they know what they're doing and will keep us informed as they go along. But the waiting is really hard.

Thank you again for your kind thoughts.

digerd Wed 30-Jan-13 13:36:32

OP
It is strange they are doing a biopsy of the Liver before the stomach. They know what was found on the CT, but they should have explained it all to your dad.
Good luck for the liver biopsy tomorrow. .

zen1 Wed 30-Jan-13 14:58:29

waterlego, I have just seen this thread and wanted to give you a positive story. My dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 1995 age 51. There was no lump, but he'd been having symptoms for a while (6 months at least). It was confirmed by endoscopy and biopsy.

He had radical surgery, where they removed his entire stomach, his spleen and a third of his oesophagus (it was spreading up the oesophagus). They joined a part of his intestine to the remainder of the oesophagus to create a new stomach. He had no follow-up treatment (chemo/radio). He lost 3 stone in weight and it took him a year to recover from surgery. Well, he is in his late 60s now and is fine. His new stomach adapted well and he eats and drinks normally. His surgeon did not expect him to do this well, but it just show you can't predict what is going to happen.

I wish your mum and family all the very best. Before we knew surgery was an option, we just felt like the bottom had fallen out of our world. I know how you are feeling now, but hold onto the fact that there is still hope.

waterlego Fri 08-Feb-13 20:05:59

Hi all, and thank you again for the advice and thoughts you offered the other week.m

We now know more and it's not very good. Mum has 'spots' of cancer in the liver- these may be secondaries to the stomach tumour, or they might be related to the breast cancer she had 17 years ago.

Either way, they can't do surgery. They have offered chemotherapy, with the aim of making her moe comfortable and prolonging her life. Although this wasn't great news, it did give us a bit of hope that she might be around for a little while yet, if they are able to keep the cancers under control for a while, or even shrink them a little.

They are giving her a blood transfusion on Tuesday as she is currently very weak and anaemic and needs to be stronger before the treatment can begin.
However, this week she seems to be deteriorating quite a lot; eating is becoming increasingly difficult; she has very little energy.

The oncologist she saw on Monday said that the transfusion should give her some more energy and help her feel a bit better. If any of you have any experience of a cancer patient having a transfusion, perhaps you could you let me know what to expect. She really is very poorly currently and I'm a bit concerned that we are all being a bit naive with regards to how much better a transfusion can make her feel.

porridgewithalmondmilk Sun 10-Feb-13 15:44:11

No experience waterlego but lots of thoughts are with you. I hope someone has more helpful advice than me x

fedupandtired Sun 10-Feb-13 17:49:36

Just before my mum was diagnosed with cancer she had two blood transfusions (she was very poorly) and it made a huge difference to her. She actually had a bit of colour in her cheeks. Unfortunately it didn't help make my mum strong enough to have any treatment but everyone's different.

waterlego Mon 11-Feb-13 22:03:58

Thank you very much both.

fedup I'm so sorry to hear your mum wasn't able to have any treatment.

We are hoping chemo will be possible for mum but I don't think there are any guarantees as yet.

At present, we would just all dearly love to see her with a bit more energy and we hope there is a good chance of the transfusion providing this. She is having 3 units so will be in there most of the day and I am going in to sit with her for a while and take her some of my home made soup.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

starlightraven Tue 12-Feb-13 10:10:55

Hi Waterlego. Sorry to hear about your mum.

My dad had stomach cancer about 3 years ago. He was mid 50s and it hadn't spread thankfully. I remember when he told me I did loads of research on the internet and saw all these horror stories and statistics and it was horrible sad

Like with your mum, my dad had multiple transfusions as he had bad anaemia (that's how they caught they cancer) and no energy. They helped a lot with giving him more energy.

But three years later my dad has recovered. He had chemo, had his stomach removed (didn't know that was possible before!) and then more chemo. He is doing well now, just can't eat as much as he used to be able to. He has been clear for over two years now.

Anyway, just wanted to share a positive stomach cancer story as when you look up things online you tend to always see the worst stories. I wish you and your mum all the best x

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