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to be desperately worried about my sister

(15 Posts)
streakybacon Fri 03-Dec-10 10:03:56

She's being tested for ovarian cancer. Has had swelling and discomfort in her abdomen for about a year, progressively getting worse. She's was physically examined about two months ago for the first time. Up till then GP put all her pain and other symptoms down to menopause hmm and was reluctant to refer her on.

She's had ultrasound scans which revealed a large mass around her ovary, and is scheduled for full hysterectomy next week - consultant says 'as a precautionary measure' as they can't say yet whether it's malignant or benign. No mention at this stage of other treatment - I guess they're waiting to see what biopsies show after the surgery.

GP sent her to A&E twice this week because of the pain she's in. It seems she has an accumulation of fluid in her abdomen which is affecting her urine output and preventing her eating. She's now admitted to gynae oncology and they're draining the fluid today.

I'm so worried for her. It seems that she thinks she'll have this hysterectomy and all will be well, but I'm not so sure. I realise she's the one who's had all the discussions with consultants and I've only heard second hand what she's been told, but I'm concerned that she doesn't realise how bad this could be.

She's only 54 sad.

ilovehens Fri 03-Dec-10 10:12:25

It's good that she's getting treatment now and they seem to be acting promptly and taking it seriously.

Hope she's okay.

Onetoomanycornettos Fri 03-Dec-10 10:23:48

Of course you must be worried, streakybacon, I would be sick with worry in this situation. I don't think there's any point trying to worry her though, at this point, til you know what you are dealing with (I have recently been through a similar experience with FiL and in the end, we ended up in a quite different set of circumstances than we had initially thought). I hope you are getting lots of support too, as it will take a toll on you and you need to talk, have nice cuddles and treat yourself nicely so you can support her as things unfold. Good luck with it all.

thx1138 Fri 03-Dec-10 10:33:42

YANBU. It is very difficult not to worry in these situations.

I am sure your sister does realise how bad it could be. Perhaps she is just trying to manage her anxiety, holding back on the worry until she knows there is something to worry about. I try to do this, it isn't easy but I keep telling myself that there is no point in worrying twice - does that make sense?

I really, really, really hope this goes well for you both.

MrsGravy Fri 03-Dec-10 10:36:22

Not unreasonable at all, you must be so very worried

Honestly though, it's probably good that she's simply focusing on the hyseterctomy. It's a big thing in and of itself and worrying about what's coming next really won't make it any easier to deal with.

I hope the results are clear and she's fit and well soon.

streakybacon Fri 03-Dec-10 11:00:17


I guess I'm mostly worried about her because she doesn't do illness well, is usually full of worst-case scenarios, not practical at all. That's what makes me think she hasn't thought this through fully.

I do agree that it's probably best she's focusing on one treatment at a time (the hysterectomy), but I don't think she's considered that there might be more after that if it turns out to be cancer.

Her husband has just phoned. They won't be draining the fluid today after all sad. They're keeping her in over the weekend to observe and the doctors are meeting to discuss whether to leave the fluid till the hysterectomy and perhaps bring that forward.

This weather isn't helping. It's -8C here and a good foot of snow in the street, which makes hospital visiting complicated.

kreecherlivesupstairs Fri 03-Dec-10 11:02:54

Another set of fingers crossed here. I am with the majority here, it is good that she is focussing on the hysterectomy at the moment, plenty of time to worry about the other if the time comes.

TwinklePants Fri 03-Dec-10 12:13:24

Hi streakybacon , I had cervical cancer last year (now in remission after having most of my cervix and lymph nodes removed)and whilst I don't think YAB at all U to be so worried about your sister, I can promise you that she will have thought very carefully about what will happen if the mass turns out to be cancer and fully realises 'how bad this could be'. In fact it would surprise me if she can think about anything else at the moment.

Her consultant will have given her all the options and possibilities (they have to) and she is no doubt either trying to think the best or just doesn't really want to talk about it in great detail at the moment. I was the same and it drove my Dad in particular mad.

The good news is that Ovarian cancer is actually very treatable and it is likely that if she has been told that a full hysterectomy will be able to remove all of the mass (and therefore the possible tumour) that it will be able to do just that. If there is even a tiny chance that the cancer may have spread they would also be removing her pelvic lymph nodes as these are the first area in the body that the cancer cells would show up - they would never just leave it to chance IYKWIM.

It sounds like you are a lovely and supportive sister who will help her to work through this but you will need to bear in mind that people deal with things differently to how we might expect. You might find that she doesn't want to talk about the treatment at all, but this does not always mean that she isn't fully aware of what's going on herself.

Here's hoping that the mass turns out to be nothing at all to worry about - but even if it does, it sounds like your sister has an excellent prognosis for recovery with the treatment they are offering her.

In terms of her coping - she will be fine, I promise. I was just 25 when diagnosed and my biggest fear was that I would never be able to have children (I was childless and just 3 months off getting married). Just 15 months later I feel better than I ever could have hoped and I am also 13 weeks pregnant (after IVF) - I could never have imagined being in this situation during the 'dark days', but at the risk of sounding too 'Oprah Winfrey' we have an amazing capacity for surviving what life throws at us!

Best of luck x

LatteLady Fri 03-Dec-10 12:25:06

Firstly, congrats to TwinklePants, what a positive note.

Now Streakybacon, what a caring sister you are, of course you are worried but you will need to be there for your sister and you will need to be strong whatever happens. There is no wrong or right way to deal with a possible diagnosis of cancer - you can only do what will see you through. Everyone processes and deals with such a diagnosis in their own way, she may well think that she is protecting you!

I will be thinking of you both over the next few days, please let us know how she is doing.

streakybacon Fri 03-Dec-10 12:43:26

Twinklepants, thank you so much for your post, and huge congratulations on your recovery and pregnancy. You must feel fantastic grin.

You've reassured me by mentioning pelvic lymph nodes - I'm pretty sure that hasn't been discussed so far so that gives some hope for a positive outcome. Thank you.

I'm going to visit this afternoon so will have a chance to find out more then.

Thanks for support everyone - will let you know when I find out more.

siblingrivalry Fri 03-Dec-10 13:27:54

Sending you lots of hugs and best wishes, Streaky -sorry to hear things aren't going well sad

Your sister is lucky to have you and I will be keeping everything crossed that things go well over the next few weeks.

I will give you a ring, but if you need to talk please feel free to ring me any time xx

monkeyflippers Fri 03-Dec-10 14:21:18

I had a relation who had that and it was cancerous and the tumor was huge! It was all removed though and hadn't spread. She is fine now 6 years later. Just thought I'd mention that.

chipolatasinstreakybacon Fri 03-Dec-10 16:28:17

Thanks. It's really helping to hear positive outcomes.

Visited her this afternoon. She seems OK, though clearly in a lot of pain. Gynae and oncology consultants can't agree how to proceed - one says it's best to leave the fluid in place for the hysterectomy as it makes it easier, though I've no idea why. They're still aiming for her assessment on Tuesday and will be keeping her there till then. Hopefully they'll see over the weekend how much pain she's in and make a decision to operate early.

She seems chirpy enough, but tbh I think she's a bit giddy with medication as much as anything else.

Sibs, will phone you over the weekend. Thanks love grin.

TwinklePants Fri 03-Dec-10 16:41:49

Oooh, I remember the medication well! Was a happy distraction smile

chipolatasinstreakybacon Tue 07-Dec-10 15:46:06

Just updating.

My sister has met with consultant today and everyone is in agreement that she needs full hysterectomy asap, probably by the end of this week. She still hasn't had fluid drained as one of the consultants said it helps hysterectomy if it's still there - they've been arguing the toss on that one for days.

After that it will depend on what they find in surgery, as we suspected.

Most of you were right - she's just focusing on getting through this first step and plans to deal with the outcome depending on what it is (if that makes sense). Tbh she's in so much pain she barely cares what happens to her at the moment. She's only had a few hours sleep since Thursday so is feeling quite weak and miserable. Her abdomen is massive - I've seen smaller full term pregnancies - and she can barely move.

Thanks for your support. Will update as and when smile.

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