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new diagnosis

new diagnosis

Posted by Jeff75 on Jan 13, 2021 8:30 am


Brand new here and really struggling.  My 75 yr old mother has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  We had been expecting her to qualify for the whipple but found out yesterday she is only elegible for the full pancreatectomy.  She already advised is she MAY not want to do it which I guess I understand, especially as an initial response to the description of the surgery and especially the long term impact of it.   In the mean time, my sibling is in a mental health hospital (again) getting treatment for his 20 year battle and my almost 80 year old father has very, very early stage dementia type issues,  and although is still pretty much  functional, likely would not be able to continue to live on his own.  I also have had my own mental health issues over the years, but mange to put my feet on the floor each morning.  My mom has pretty much been the glue that holds all of us together.  Although I have some friends and other family members I have shared with a bit, I am single and live alone.  I have not really slept much in a few weeks now since all the issues began leading us from what was supposed to be simple gallblader removal to address gall stones, to complications/infections after the surgery, then waiting for the biopsy, the results of the biopsy and finally the consult with the surgeon yesterday.  I have had a knot in my stomach almost non-stop for this whole time and rapidly rotate through the various stages of grief, which I assume is normal.  Thanks for letting me share here.

Re: new diagnosis

Posted by Brighty on Jan 13, 2021 8:57 am

WeLome Jeff75‍  juat wanted to reach out to you and give you a huge cyber hug and let you know you are not alone in your struggles.     We have lots of great members  here to support you share experiences with you.   Sounds like you can use someone  to talk to.    You may want to reach out to the social worker in oncology  who is great for enotional support and offering different  resources to help with whatever you and your mom need going forward.    Do you have any other family  or close friends  that can be involved  as well?   Also you may want to call our cancer info line who can offer a sympathetic ear and may have some great suggestions  for you.   1 888 939 3333.   Please don't forget  to look after yourself while caring for your mom.    I was a caregiver  myself so feel free to be in touch with me whenever you want if you need anything or have questions.    There  is also a caregiver  discussion under 'forums' where caregivers  give their best tips.  Again,you are not alone.   
Help is out there. All you have to do is reach out.

Re: new diagnosis

Posted by Lacey_Moderator on Jan 13, 2021 9:40 am

Hi Jeff75‍ 

I'm so glad you found are community and reached out. You're not alone, we are here for you. 

Putting two feet on the floor each day is a big accomplishment in my books. Especially when your plate is as full as yours. It makes sense that you are losing sleep with all the people in your life you have to worry about right now. I think Brighty's suggestion to talk to someone is a good one. Do you already have a counselor you speak with? Our Cancer Information helpline is a good resource as well.

You may find some posts in this thread helpful: Coping with a Parent's Diagnosis - CancerConnection.ca. There are many practical tips and experiences that I hope help you feel less alone in this thread. 

I'd also like to introduce you to Cynthia Mac‍, Bird‍, JenG‍, D1955‍ who all have experience supporting a parent with cancer. I hope they can share how they coped with you.

Will your mom be receiving any other treatment or care?


Re: new diagnosis

Posted by Jeff75 on Jan 13, 2021 9:49 am

Hi Lacey

We don't really know much yet.   She has yet to make her decision on if she will proceed with the surgery and we  (the family or her doctors) have not really discussed any other options yet should she decline to proceed.  She told the surgeon she will proceed but then told us she needs to think about it.

Re: new diagnosis

Posted by Lacey_Moderator on Jan 13, 2021 9:55 am


Thanks for getting back to me. It is a big decision with lots to consider. 

I thought you might find some information from our website helpful: 
Treatments for pancreatic cancer - Canadian Cancer Society
Questions to ask about treatment - Canadian Cancer Society
Supportive care for pancreatic cancer - Canadian Cancer Society

Please keep us posted Jeff.


Re: new diagnosis

Posted by JenG on Jan 13, 2021 10:34 am

Jeff75‍ I'm very sorry to hear of your mom's cancer diagnosis. It can be a real slap in the face when you get the news.  My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in 2018. She was almost 91 and it looked and felt like her life was over. Now two years plus later, a round of immunotherapy and continuing milder chemotherapy, she's still with us, still living on her own. She has a lot of support from my oldest brother and his wife, who live close, and the rest of us do what we can from a distance.

No one can say what is in store for your mom as everyone's journey is different. I can tell you there will be ups and downs. It's the most unfun rollercoaster ride in the world, even if you like that kind of ride. I don't. And so you have to find ways to be good to yourself as well as your mom and the rest of the family. I did a lot of reading about the cancer and about dying. It's not everyone's cup of tea (reading about dying) but it was what I needed to do. I also made sure to spend what time I could with my mom while she is well. Now, of course, that is very tricky. And so I haven't seen her since August whereas before I was seeing her every month.

Be kind to yourself. Allow the feelings to flow. Talk to the social worker, to the people in this community, to your family and friends. And talk to your mom. 

Take care of each other.

Re: new diagnosis

Posted by nisa on Jan 13, 2021 1:12 pm

Hi Jeff75‍ Ya you sounds like you hands are full. I completely understand how you are feeling right now as I am going through a new diagnosis with my Father as well.  Hang in there and  vent and allow the emotions to flow, it is the healthiest thing. Try to remember to also take care of yourself. You are not help to others if you are not taking care of you.   I had to go out and buy a nutritional smoothie drink suggested by a friend cause I just can't seem to get my self to eat and sleeping has been hard for me as well. We are all here for you to support you through this journey.  Break down, stay strong but most of all try to look at the positive you have with Mom every day. 

Re: new diagnosis

Posted by Jeff75 on Jan 18, 2021 9:30 am

Hi All.  Really struggling watching my mom almost disappear in front of me.  She had already lost a fair bit of weight when we thought it was just gall stones leading up to her gall blader removal before finding out after that about the cancer.  Hardest part is not even knowing if she will go through with the surgery which she is still capable of having, but not 100% sure she wants.  I have been over there almost every day since she come home from the hospital last week, but We have not really talked much about it yet other than her one comment right after the first consult with the surgeon that she might not want to go through with it.  She signed the consent form and is waiting for a date to be advised (assuming Covid does not mess with it and that she even decides she wants the surgery -- which is the full pancreactomy).   We are also waiting for a second opinion from a different hospital.  In the meantime, she is in quite a bit of pain and can't really eat much.  Surgeon advised last Tues she was hoping for a date around 28 days from the date of consult, but now I am really worried it may be too late even if she wants to proceed

Re: new diagnosis

Posted by Lianne_Moderator on Jan 20, 2021 4:31 pm


Just checking in to see how you are doing. It is wonderful that you have been able to check in on your mom daily but I also know from experience how draining that can be.
Can I assume her doctors know about her being in pain and not being able to eat? Are they able to offer some solutions to that?

Thinking of you


Re: new diagnosis

Posted by Jeff75 on Jan 21, 2021 1:31 pm

Thanks for checking in.  Just this morning, she had a consult for a second opinion at a different hospital.  This doctor told her he believes she does still qualify (if that is the right word) for the Whipple.  Not really clear on what he saw that the other doctor did not.  He gave her some pancreatic enzymes that I think are supposed to help with digestion.  She is taking prescribed pain killers as needed.  No date booked just yet but he said hoping for a month or so.  I guess now is just the waiting game and hoping for no spread between now and the surgery date and I guess also hoping Covid does not have any impact on the surgery date.