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Both Parents Recently Diagnosed
Lane
3 Posts
Hi, I’m new to all of this and I would like to introduce myself. My dad was recently diagnosed with malignant melanoma. When he was six days post-op, my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It feels like too much, and we are devastated.
9 Replies
S2020
257 Posts
Hi Lane,

That’s a lot for you and your parents to be going through. I am sorry to read that they have been diagnosed with cancer.

There are two forums at this website that may be helpful.

Cancer & The Family
https://cancerconnection.ca/discussions/viewcategory/81

Caring For Someone With Cancer
https://cancerconnection.ca/discussions/viewcategory/35

The Cancer Information Helpline may be able to direct you to resources in your community: 1-888-939-3333

Wellspring has many online programs for families and patients: https://wellspring.ca/online-programs/programs/all-programs/

There is also a 24/7 crisis line, if there are times when it feels like too much: 1-833-456-4566

What are the next steps for your mother and father? In addition to taking care of them, be sure to take time for yourself. Wishing you and them the best possible outcomes. We are here for you!
Whitelilies
1073 Posts

@Lane Hello and welcome to our caring community….I am so sorry to hear of the diagnosis, of both your parents……Another member provided links for you; they will be a great resource….

I wanted to say welcome…..we are here for you…..

My father had colon cancer…..I am on the same journey…..every which way we look; it is not easy.

Keep sharing,

Whitelilies

Lane
3 Posts
Thank you for the kind response as well as the links. I’ll be sure to check them out.

Everything is still very new and overwhelming, and we’re trying to remember to take one step at a time, and not worry in advance about things that may or may not happen.

My dad (76 years old) has an appointment tomorrow to discuss immunotherapy, and I’m not sure what that will look like. He has several post-op appointments over the next two weeks, and we still don’t know how advanced his melanoma is. We do know that the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes, and the tumour in his throat area was the size of an orange with tentacles that were tightly intertwined around many things.

My mom (75 years old) was diagnosed just a few days ago, and we are waiting to hear what stage her cancer is at, and what the treatment plan will be. She had a biopsy and had 1.7L of abdominal fluid drained on Saturday morning. The fluid is already building up again and it makes her quite uncomfortable.

Thankfully, several family members and friends have already stepped up to support and encourage them. None of my siblings or I live in the same city as our parents, but we’re working together to make sure their practical needs are covered, and we have a family group chat going to keep everyone informed. My sister and I have taken turns staying with them as they are both exhausted, weak, and of course, shaken.

I’m trying to figure out the balance between the needs in our own home (we also have young adults with auto-immune issues) and my parents who have so many things going on right now.

I am grateful to have this community available to help navigate this new and unwanted journey.
Welcome Lane‍ . That is definitely a blow to have both diagnoses so close like that. I am encouraged though by how you all have rallied to put support in place and look at the practical things that will need to be done. Your parents are fortunate to have such wonderful support around them. I am sure this is all consuming and overwhelming right now. As you learn more of their treatments and such, don't hesitate to lean on us and we will do our best to support you both practically and emotionally.

Hugs to you

Lianne
Cynthia Mac
3194 Posts
Lane‍ , we have a saying here that every case of cancer is different. Your parents’ doctors will be able clearly articulate what their treatment programs will be like.

When my dad had immunotherapy (for stage 4 lung cancer), he had it with chemo, and he went to the cancer centre for his treatments.

I’m glad your family is putting forth a co-ordinated effort to support your parents - not every family does that, so I say “keep up the good work!” With the pandemic, it’s been hard to have extra people in the room at appointments, but you might check to see if the doctor would be willing to bring someone “in” via telephone so there’s an extra pair of ears in the room. I know with my Dad, I was able to be at most appointments, and it was helpful to be able to reiterate something the doctor said on the way home, as, when we were discussing the appointment, there was an occasional mis-interpretation, that the other of us was sometimes able to clear up.

A word to the wise for you and your sister: take time to find ways to care for yourself. Self care is really important for caregivers - even ones working from a distance.
Lane
3 Posts
Cynthia MacLianne_ModeratorWhiteliliesS2020

Thank you to each of you for reaching out—I feel very grateful to have found this resource.

Today, A LOT of news came at us! My dad saw his immunologist who is starting him on Pembrolizumab - one infusion once every 3 weeks for 18 cycles. Blood tests will reveal the strength and dosage. He has stage 3 Malignant Melanoma. Without treatment, he would have approx 7 months; with it, a 50% chance of a 2 year survival. He is choosing to give it a shot, and he will have his orientation tomorrow.

A few minutes after that appointment was done, my mom received a call from her doctor with her biopsy results. She has High Grade Serous Carcinoma that has spread to the lymph glands but not the major organs. She has been referred to a cancer clinic and her doctor expects they will start chemo ASAP. I couldn’t help myself, and I googled the survivability rates. Not good.

Although my tears have already been many, I feel strangely at peace. Both of my parents have a strong faith in God, and they are setting a very calm and peaceful tone. I am trying not to look too far ahead, trusting that one way or another, we will get through this.

Any advice on how much to research? I am torn between learning as much as I can, and simply going with the flow. This is all so new and unexpected.
Cynthia Mac
3194 Posts
Lane‍ , wow, what a day.

My Dad was on pembroluzimab fo his metastatic lung cancer. At 78 years old, he tolerated it fairly well, although, as I say, he was also taking two chemo medications with it, so it was difficult to distinguish which medication was causing which symptom.

Your mom’s news is better than worst-case scenario, too, but you still have cause for concern. Survival rates are statistics, and they are an average of all the cases. That means some make it longer than the stats.

I’m glad you’ve got a good solid lead that you can follow in your parents’ tone.

I wouldn’t research anything tonight if you can avoid it. We often caution people here about the pitfalls of “Dr. Google,” and personally, I try to lean on reliable sites such as Mayo Clinic or Harvard Medical or Canadian (and Australian) Cancer Society.

Be kind to yourself.
Lane‍ I echo many of Cynthia Mac‍ 's sentiments. I do love the fact that your parents have set a calm and peaceful tone. It will serve all of you well. We often say "what do I know to be true right now". That is what you can focus on. They will both start treatment soon, there is a plan and that is often what brings people peace - a plan.
I agree also with sticking to reputable sites but maybe give yourself a break from research for a day or two. When you are ready, you can search #melanoma or #serouscarcinoma and you will find others who have posted about them. Or when you are ready, I can introduce you to other members who can relate to those diagnoses. Some may share with you anyway and it is what makes this community so helpful - hearing the lived experiences of others who have walked a similar walk.

Continue to reach out as you need. We are listening

LIanne
Trillium
1228 Posts
Lane‍ I can only imagine what your whole family is going through right now. Big hugs for you all❣️

This caregiver program was very useful to me when My son was first diagnosed with testicular cancer. I hope you and your siblings find it helpful too. Below are more helpful links.

When our parents become ill and how it effects us:

https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/living-with-cancer/your-relationships-and-cancer/adult-children-of-parents-with-cancer/?region=on

A thread for caregivers of parents:

https://cancerconnection.ca/discussions/viewtopic/35/57052#coping-with-a-parent-s-diagnosis-

Cancer Cancer Society (CCS) guide for caregivers

https://cdn.cancer.ca/-/media/files/cancer-information/resources/publications/taking-care-of-you-the-caregiver/pcc_caregiver_2021_web_en.pdf?rev=597fe57846cf426eb567da4880395937&hash=9FC4162A104D6B757066704BD0E2ECE0

Wishing you the best as you navigate this journey with your family.
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