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hairygrape | 22:35 Tue 24th Aug 2010 | Body & Soul
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My mother-in-law required a blood transfusion recently after being diagnosed with severe iron-deficiency anaemia.She was advised to undergo a laparoscopy examination of the gut to eliminate the possibility of a tumour in the large intestine. During the laparoscopy, a biopsy was taken from the upper colon.
She's had a follow up appointment and was told by the consultant that the tumour was cancerous. He wants her to have a CT and/or MRI scan to give them a better idea of the size and position of the tumour. This will be followed by surgery to remove the affected part of the bowel.
The consultant said he's removed hundreds of these tumours with negligible effect for the patient as was very optimistic of the outcome.
My wife is terrified about this and can't think straight and I'm not much better. My mother-in-law is coming to our home tomorrow and I just don't know what to say to her. How do you deal with this situation? Also, whilst I've read on the internet that the prognosis is optimistic for this type of cancer, I'm feeling very guilty about trying to reassure my wife about it in case the worse happens.

thank you

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You can but hope and pray for the best, we cannot know how these things will turn out. Some will say always look for the best and at this early stage that is true, I have been there and the outcome in my case is not what you want to hear.
You will cope as a family, we all do.

Take good care.

M♥
I can't give you any kind of medical advice (sqad's your man for that but he doesn't post at night), having had a friend who had cancer I can only tell you what she said regarding what you say to your MIL. She said she just wanted people to treat her normally, she was still the same person she'd always been and she hated the fact that people could no longer make eye contact or have a normal conversation with her. Give your MIL a hug, tell her you're there for her and then get on with business as usual - she's a person, not an illness. I hope everything works out ok for you all x
So sorry to hear of your bad news - hope everything turns out ok. x
Hello h/g. In my experience (both personal and work) I have always advocated that someone in your position should say something. I really believe it does not matter if your words come out all jumbled up and seem to make little sense because at least you will have broken down the barrier which naturally occurs for many people. The conversation should become easier, it is all one step at a time.I believe that people with cancer find it hardest to cope with the silence from others, especially those close to them. It is very hard for all of you at the moment, but I think that sharing is the key. If you are finding it hard how much worse is if for your wife and her mother? I wish your m-i-l, wife and yourself well - good luck ♥
hairy.....I have to say right from the outset that I am the wrong person to give you emotional support....I am no good at it and I don´t do it, but let us face the facts.

Your mother in Law has bowel cancer, we do not know what type or if it has spread until we get the results of the CT andMRI.

The prognosis (outlook) depends entirely on the staging and this has been done by a guy called Cuthbert Dukes (Google him) well before the second world war and it still holds good today.
Stage A.....Bowel wall only
StageB...No Lymph glands involved
Stage C ....Lymph nodes involved.
Stage D...Spread to other organs e.g Liver.

Survival rates for 5 years.
Stage A..90%
Stage B...70%
Stage C..50%
Stage D..5%

Now you have the facts, so the emotional bit is up to you....today on the arrival of your mother in law.
She hasn´t been dealt the best hand and this is a big deal for her, but there is always someone who goes against the medical statistics.......it could be your mother in Law.

Good luck.
Actually, sqad, you don't do yourself justice. Your last sentence came across as very supportive and encouraging.
All the best, hairygrape.
Question Author
Thank you all for your very sympathetic and encouraging comments. My mother-in-law did come down this morning ( she lives only five minutes away) and I treated her exactly the same as I have been doing for years and waited for her to bring up the subject. We then discussed it as a family in a very matter of fact way without emotion. It worked and I think she really appreciated that we were talking to her normally and not as if she had grown two heads! I've read so much about people being shunned by their friends once the news is out that they have cancer and we're determined not to do this to her.

Sqad, I'm immensely grateful to you for your advice and I've Googled Cuthbert Dukes. My mother-in-law was shell-shocked when the consultant told her the bad news and my wife who was with her at the time, felt unable to ask the consultant about the severity of the cancer, survival rates and other key questions in front of my mother-in-law. You've answered one of those questions and we've got some idea of where we stand now. Thank you.

Thank you all for your good wishes - God knows, if I've ever needed some inspiration and optimism from friends, I need it now.
I am so pleased to read that hairygrape. Well done all of you. You know where we all are now. Best wishes ttfn
Hairy, there are always people on here willing and able to talk to you, whether it's for emotional support or for more 'technical' advice, there are lots of folk can help you through this. Good luck to you and your family x
Glad you are feeling better now Good luck for the future
It is always best to talk openly about it, keeping quiet helps nobody. You will not know more fully until she has had the scans. Only then will you all have an idea of how bad or good it is. The best thing is just to be there for them, I hope that the outcome is good for you all, take care. x
Hairy - I had more or less the same as your mother in law, went through all the same stuff too. I had cancer of the large intestine they found a tumour the size of a walnut growing rapidly, Cutting a long story short they opened me up pulled the intestine out found the tumour (think of it like a piece of hosepipe) they cut one side of the tumour then the other and the two pieces they stapled together & sewed me up. I had chemo for a few months afterwards to kill any would be cancerous cells. I was poorly but Hairy here I am 10 YEARS later & very well.
Please be positive because I'm living proof we live in the 21st century a fantastic time medically.
I am sure she will be fine. Keep us posted.

jem
Hairygrape I'm pleased to hear that you and your wife are positive and continue to support your Mil. My sister had bowel cancer and after surgery had to wear a colostomy bag for 6 months. Her husband was there for her, making meals and making sure she rested etc. Fortunately she didn't have to undergo chemo or radiotherapy and she has now been given the all clear. She also has a close friend who supported her (besides me and her other sister) Her friend made her go to the GP in the first place, and thankfully the cancer was caught early.
hairy...thanks for the feedback.

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