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Bowel cancer - any knowledgeable bods please read

(15 Posts)
Savvyandchips Tue 29-Aug-17 14:42:59

Two weeks ago I lost my lovely mum to bowel cancer. I feel I've been so naive. Just always thought she'd get through it. On diagnosis it was declared inoperable...she never liked to talk about it but said it was 'treatable' . I'm guessing what she meant was if the chemo worked well she could have several more years (she went through a year of hell , never coped well with the chemo). I never really understood why it was inoperable...on death certificate it said it was a primary adenocarcinoma of the ascending colon? I feel I totally wasted a year. I've 3 very young children and live 6 hours drive away. But still i should have been there more. I'm rambling really. Utterly Devestated. I fear she knew she wasn't going to last long but didn't want to worry me. Why oh why couldn't they remove the bloody thing?

OP’s posts: |
Mustang27 Tue 29-Aug-17 14:46:37

Savvy I can offer you no real insight only I know how terrible it is to have a love one die from an inoperable cancer I didn't want to read and run. I really hope others can offer you some answers it's so awful. Your mum would not have remotely expected more of you and I'm pretty sure she would have been grateful for the time you did spare, try not to beat yourself up it doesn't help.

MajesticWhine Tue 29-Aug-17 14:57:39

So sorry for your loss flowers
You are right in thinking people can sometimes live with bowel cancer for years so you weren't to know that your mum would die so soon. It could have been inoperable if it had already spread beyond the bowel wall or spread to other organs? Would it be possible to contact her consultant and ask for more information, if it would help you with your understanding?

StorminaBcup Tue 29-Aug-17 15:15:20

flowers sorry for your loss OP.

I lost my df to bowel cancer so I have a limited knowledge but my understanding is that once it has breached the bowel wall (especially when it's higher up), the tumour cells can spread to the liver and then the lymph nodes which means it can be transported to other organs through the blood supply. I'm guessing they couldn't operate as the tumour was advanced? There is usually a stage rating for cancers, the higher the number the more advanced it is with 4 (I think), being the most severe and typically less treatable. In the hospital notes there's usually a TNM classification where it looks at the size of the tumour, if it has spread to the nodes and metastatic (if it has spread to other organs / sites).

yawning801 Tue 29-Aug-17 15:20:06

No advice but didn't want to read and run. I lost my grandma to bowel cancer in 2009 but because I was so kept in the dark, I only really knew about it until afterwards. flowers

myrtleWilson Tue 29-Aug-17 15:33:41

So sorry for your loss Savvy flowers. I lost my sister to metatsic bowel cancer a couple of months ago. In her case they did initially operate and thought they'd taken all the tumour out -but it returned and had spread. I found (both with my sister and my mom - who died of cancer two years ago) that the health care professionals were very helpful about talking to the wider family (obviously this was with the patients permission) and it may be that an oncology nurse may also be able to talk to you if that would help. But please try not to put blame on yourself in anyway, the grief itself is difficult without adding to it (I know the blaming is part of the grieving but hopefully you know what I mean)

SweetChickadee Tue 29-Aug-17 15:34:12

My dad's was the same. For him, by the time he had any symptoms and they found the cancer it had spread to his liver, and more seriously, his lung. He had various treatments but it never really kept it at bay and he died 19 months after diagnosis.

I'm so sorry for your loss flowers

Notreallyarsed Tue 29-Aug-17 15:35:34

I'm so sorry OP, 2 months ago we lost my mum to cervical cancer with secondaries in the bowel, liver, lungs and bones. It's horrific, and a horrible horrible disease.
I'm so sorry flowers

1234hello Tue 29-Aug-17 19:04:24

I'm very sorry for your loss, a PP is correct - no one could have predicted for sure how long your mum had left to live as individual patients surprise doctors all the time. So please try not to feel guilty. Having three young children would have been a very understandable distraction in any case.

StorminaBcup has more or less explained about the non-operable part. Your DM's situation will have been discussed at length by a team of doctors (oncologist and surgeon as a minimum) and a treatment plan would have been put in place based on their expert knowledge and experience. If a surgeon is not comfortable in getting clear margins (i.e. all of the the tumour) then chemo will be tried to shrink the tumour. However, if the chemo is not successful or not successful enough then sadly the tumour remains inoperable.

It's early days for you, look after yourself flowers

Also - for sometime in the future, and I don't mean to scare you, but depending on how old your mum was and other family history, it may be worth mentioning to your GP if you should be monitored more closely in the future.

StorminaBcup Tue 29-Aug-17 19:55:58

Sorry OP I've just come back to this thread and my response sounds really clinical (I was typing quickly in between refereeing two dc!). We have a family history of bowel cancer so getting yourself checked is a good idea (as suggested by pp).

I'll also add that in my experience people often will bury their head in the sand and not open up about their symptoms, diagnosis or prognosis at all. Because if it's said out loud it makes it true iyswim? It's so hard because it makes those who are left behind wondering what they could have done or could have said. And in other cases the original tumour can be so aggressive that there is hardly any time from symptoms to decline.

It's a horrible disease and a terrible thing to have to watch someone go through. It's normal to feel guilty OP, it's early days. You'll find a new normal and a different way to cope with it all in time. In the mean time be kind to yourself flowers.

Savvyandchips Tue 29-Aug-17 23:29:54

Hi, thank you so much for all your replies. I know my questioning is a normal part of grieving (I've been reading a lot....) but it doesn't make it any easier. Life can be so cruel, I'm so upset my littlies have lost their grandma. So sorry for all your losses too. I'll give myself a bit of time and may yet try and speak to one of her doctors.

OP’s posts: |
fluffywhitekittens Wed 27-Sep-17 14:32:19

Sorry for your loss Savvy. I have inoperable stage 4 bowel cancer. They did emergency surgery on my bowel as I had a perforated bowel but because the cancer has spread to my liver,lungs and stomach and because of where the tumours are in relation to lymph nodes and arteries etc they can't operate. Chemo is currently working well for me in terms of extending my life expectancy and some people who have been initially advised that they are inoperable have gone on to have operations but it very much depends on the individual, where the tumours are and how they respond to treatment. The beating bowel cancer website is a forum where you can speak to other people going through what you have, it may help

fluffywhitekittens Wed 27-Sep-17 14:33:16

SOrry, only just realised you last posted in August. I hope you got some answers that helped from the Doctors.

Savvyandchips Sat 30-Sep-17 23:42:39

Hi fluffy, thank you for your post (no probs I'm still lurking!) in so sorry to hear of your diagnosis. Bloody awful disease. My mum never mentioned a stage. But I'm still wondering if she wasn't given one or she kept it from me. I'm still full of questions. It's been 7 weeks now since we lost her. I'm building up to asking my dad more. I pray that the chemo continues to work well for you, good luck.

OP’s posts: |
fluffywhitekittens Tue 03-Oct-17 15:50:58

Thank you Savvy, it's difficult when people don't want to share , for whatever reasons, hope you can have a conversation with your Dad that isn't too upsetting.

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