Our mom goes crazy during CHEMO Please Help!!!

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Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:00 pm

Our mom goes crazy during CHEMO Please Help!!!

Postby winn » Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:39 pm

My mom was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer at the end of May 2006. The aggressiveness is also a 3. She had surgery to remove the tumor and recovered very quickly. We went to see the oncologist and her regimen is every other week for 50 hours for 12 times. Her chemo treatments are with 5-fu, oxcilaplaton, and leaucovorin. She has just completed her 4th treatment. We are not battling the common side effects of chemo such as nausea vomiting and diarrhea. She is experiencing extreme depression, paranoia, and anxiety following her chemo treatments, also with each treatment the symtoms are getting worse and lasting longer and longer. She doesnt have enough time to mentally rebound before she starts another treatment, we fear we are going to lose her and she is never going to come back. It has become so bad that she does not want to leave her bedroom. She has seen a physiologist and taking 20mg of lexapro. They are saying it is common with cancer to experience some depression and anxiety, but we feel this is NOT caused by the cancer that maybe it is a reaction to the chemo. The doctor has even suggested mental hospitalization might be required to finish chemo or she may be put on anti-psychotic drugs. This is not the mother that we know and that started this 8 weeks ago, she went from being an energetic 62 year old mother , wife and grandmother to a shell of a person that we do not know, she hides from us and can not even get in a car or go anywhere with out having severe panic attacks. We are so distraught over the situation that we are considering stopping the chemo. She has begged to quit for fear she will not mentally recover. No one seems to have any answers for us. NO ONE, including her oncologist or physiologist seems to have any answers or even can even grasp how desperate the situation is . We have done research and know the chemo can cause this but are looking for someone else who has or knows someone that has experienced this. Pleas Help! :cry:

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Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:43 pm

Winn, I was that energetic, outgoing mom undergoing chemo...

Postby kcharl5037 » Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:45 am

Hi there! I am Karen Charlesworth, the Colondar's Ms. July, 2006. I read your message and am so happy you posted it! It takes courage to want to seek help and look for ways to make changes. Your mom should be proud of you to identify problems and seek some answers! Good job!!!

I had stage 3 colon cancer. For me, it was not the chemo nor the hospitalizations; the worst ordeal of the whole process was the depression. I felt I was not the kind of mother I wanted to be while undergoing chemo and such. Like your mom, I was the energetic, do everything kind of mom. I loved life and most certainly, being with my children.

I have good news for you! There are ways to get beyond this and be even stronger; for you, your family and your mom. It takes courage and strength and is totally achievable. These are things that brought me to where I am today: happy! You guys have some tough issues and to make things better, you need some plans which require some effort. Are you ready to get stronger? : )

1. Talk. Communicate. Support. These things are all components of a well-run support group. I know. I founded and facilitated 3 depression support groups in my area. I ran them successfully for 15 years. I feel the reason they were successful is because they were goal oriented. People did not come to the group to sit and lament. Their participation required action on their part. VERY difficult to do when you are depressed - depression depletes energy. Fight back! Here are some suggestions: Get one of those yellow Lance Armstrong bracelets and hand to your mom and any other family member who wants to make things better in your family. Tell them they can wear the bracelets if they are willing to work hard to overcome the issues that are affecting your family. By wearing the bracelet, it shows that you folks identify that there is a problem (first and foremost to fixing a problem is to identify it!) and that you all are committed to working with each other to correct it. Perhaps call a family meeting and present this suggestion?

2. You guys can call me. Seriously. I have just returned from Utah to care for my parents and am back in town where my daughters live (PA). I have the time right now. Take it. Be strong and make that call. I am a professional, sincere person committed to helping others. 717-233-3908. Leave a message if I am not there. I always return calls. Email me:
kcharl5037@yahoo.com. I always respond. If need be, dare your mom to call another mom who had colon cancer and depression. (Uh, that would be me!) Ask her to do it for you as you want her to feel better and so do you. The hardest part of going to a support group is seeing other people or acknowledging you have a problem and are going to talk with others about it. Hey, what do you all have to lose? : )

3. Exercise. Yeah, right! Getting up off a couch or a bed and exercising when you are desperately ill is very difficult. Going back to that issue regarding depression: Fight back! You will find that when you exercise (all of you...!) you will GET more energy. Seriously! I'm not a total health freak, I just like to do what I need to to make myself feel better. I hated depression! It made me angry that it compromised my energy! GRRRR! Start off with 10 minutes a day. If you went together, wearing your bracelets and going for a walk, it is something tangible you can do to fight what you folks are going through. It is a plan. Hey, don't forget that dancing is an exercise..I did that with one of the support groups I had at the local YWCA...we had a ball! Play music that your mom likes...dance with her! Yeah!

4. Try to eat right. Oh no! Not that! Hey, even I eat junk food. There's plenty of that to be had.

Now, is my life a complete success? I would say no..there are still some challenges out there for me. One being the fact that one of my daughters is still angry with me over the depression and will not communicate with me currently. She will come around in time, I know that. My eldest daughter said she would get 'scoped when she is 30, as recommended by her family physician. Better than nothing!

So...I hope to hear from you and or/ your mom. I am here for you folks. Be strong and make a plan to challenge issues. Get busy!



sue kidera
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2005 8:29 pm

Postby sue kidera » Fri Aug 04, 2006 9:28 pm

Winn Kids,
I am also a stage 3c survivor. Karen has given some great advice here.

Support groups are really helpful for many people. Gildas club is in many cities and has groups where patients can meet while families meet at the same time. Try googling it and see if there is one near you. If not, ask your mom's oncologist if they can recommend one. Isolation can be very terrifying, and it can be very empowering to be a part of something bigger than you while going through this. I am also a mentor for cc alliance and would be happy to be an e-mail "buddy" with you or your mom. Just respond to this post and I will send you my e-mail if you are interested.

Depression is hard to treat even outside cancer. If the drug she is on isn't working, she may have to try others. Also-check to see if she is given a steroid as part of her anti nausea drugs. Some people have really strong reactions to them (roid rage!!) It might be worth looking into.

I am sure your love and support mean the world to her. This is a tough road. Bless you for being there for her. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Sue

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