I am a caregiver to my mum. In May she was diagnosed with stage IV CRC with multiple, large liver metastases.
Ever since her diagnosis, I have been trying to find resources online that would be informative without filling me with dread, and this forum has proven to be one of the only positive places around. I am in awe of your bravery. Thank you for that.
She had been tired for a while but doctors thought it was due to a stroke she suffered in March 2017. In February 2018 she started having bowel troubles but attributed it to a stomach bug that was going around at the time. In late March, she had a CT scan that showed what was described to her as a polyp in the sigmoid colon, as well as several lesions to the liver.
She had a sigmoid resection a week after, as she was risking gastrointestinal perforation - the surgeon did an excellent job and apparently removed the tumor (6/11 LN affected) but he inserted a PAC without permission and after the surgery took myself and my brother on the side, telling us about the gravity of the situation. This was the first time we heard it was cancer and as you can imagine it was devastating. He told us to keep the secret to get my mum to full recovery. He didn't tell her he knew for sure for about a month, when he got the results, by which point he really downplayed the liver issue, saying he didn't know for sure if there was anything there. The oncologist at that same hospital played along, saying there was a tiny nodule in the liver. (My mum found out consequently, from the papers they gave her, that it wasn't this way - which I think had as much - if not more - of a psychological toll). On the whole, as grateful as we are for the operation, we feel the situation wasn't dealt with in the most tactful manner.
We went to see another oncologist. He seems very reassuring and started her on a Folfox + Avastin regimen which is meant to go on for 3 months (6 months if we see some results). My mum's first cycle was on Monday, May 28th, and her side effects started late (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) and she slept a lot - She was feeling very well this past Monday, but yesterday she went out for a couple of hours, got completely tuckered out, and today she seems to have a slight hint of fever, which obviously I'm starting to freak out about.
I live abroad with my husband but I've relocated since her operation. The financial pressure of having to pay rent in another country and trying to find jobs here to make ends meet, on top of my mum feeling the way she does and me being on my own here, is taking its toll. I want to do right by her and I try to preempt her needs and leave her her space. I don't want to be an overbearing caregiver, but I end up worrying a lot, especially as she is a pessimistic person. She hasn't really felt depressed since her diagnosis, but I'm always wondering what to say to her for reassurance, seen as I have had no reassurance myself (my brother also depends on me for reassurance, despite being older). She is much braver than me, so she is not scared in general, but she is worried about chemo taking up all her energies and making her feel poorly. Any advice would be most welcome.
I thank you all for hearing me out, and I wish you a very peaceful week
Caring for my mum, 65
Sigmoid resection, multiple liver mets
09/05/2018 Dx Stage IV, 6/11 LN - KRAS G12V
28/05/2018 First round of FOLFOX + Avastin
CEA down from 6000+ (05/2018) to 843 (08/2018) to 377 (11/2018)
9/10 rounds with Oxaliplatin
8/10 rounds with Bevacizumab