For my mom - lumpectomy/radiation hints

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by slsh, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi all,

    You are the largest collection of wise women I know, so I'm hoping you can give me some suggestions here. My mom has been dxd with DCIS and will be going in for bilateral lumpectomies the beginning of the month. I don't have a lot of details, don't know if sentinal/axillary nodes will also be dissected, etc, because... well, she wanted to take care of this herself. Very independent woman. So I haven't been bombarding her with clinical questions. She will be having radiation afterwards - don't know planned length of treatment, etc. I expect I'll get the chance to discuss with oncologist when I go down for the surgery. I'm reading up on lumpectomies and radiation, but thought I'd check in with you guys too. I'm also researching support/services through Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen. Hubby has also verified that FMLA is available thru his job if she needs more support from me. I'm will have lists of local resources ready to take to her, along with care package to help her get thru radiation. Will also cook/freeze meals for her (if she lets me, LOL).

    If you (or a loved one) has been through this, what were the most helpful things? What made you more comfortable? What tips did you learn from fellow travelers? As with most things in life, I'm guessing that those who have been there done that know what works best.

    If you could share with me, I'd appreciate it. PM if you'd prefer privacy. Thanks so much in advance.
  2. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    I am going thru treatment for breast cancer right now. I have had chemo, a double mastectomy & we're trying to get radiation scheduled - but keep hitting bumps in the road.

    It sounds like you have sure done your homework. Either that or you're very organized
  3. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    ps - your privacy setting are prohibiting me from pm'ing you
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Thanks, Chris. I think I changed PM settings?
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    no first hand experience with cancer but i think the isolation is hardest. first because the simplest things may become hard to do. and the frustration and fear and loneliness.

    she may in denial. or mentally tough and independent. but when the reality of limitation, discomfort and serious illness hit her, it is not about tough--everyone is fragile and vulnerable.

    i would arrange support for her: frequent visits. somebody to stay with her initially. maybe longer. drivers to appointment. or uber.
  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Uber! Thanks, Copa. I wouldn't have thought of that. Will add to my list of resources for her.

    I'm just trying to brainstorm to delay her limitations - does that make sense? I want her to be safe and comfortable, but I also feel like I have to respect her choices.
  7. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    slsh - can you try pm'ing me? that might be enough to start the process - I still cant pm you for some reason
  8. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    So sorry to hear of your mom's challenge. I don't have personal experience with breast issues but I do know independent women really hate having decisions made for them. Just share the facts that you have learned a be her support. You are a good daughter. Best of luck
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This will sound odd, but it is the only tidbit of advice I have. When a relative went through the radiation portion, she got severe skin irritation from the radiation treatment. Oddly enough, the only thing that helped was diaper ointment. I had a small child at the time, and she needed something that provided a barrier between her skin and her clothing or anything that would touch the area. Absolutely anything that touched her hurt this area. I got some small containers of different ointments to try and the only thing that worked was a zinc based diaper ointment, but not a stiff one. Even Aquaphor hadn't been helpful at all.

    Odd, but it was a huge help for her. Years later I passed it along to 2 other friends who went through radiation and they both said it was the only thing that helped them. They thought it was strange so they tried everything else first. WHen nothing else worked, they figured it could not hurt.
  10. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Thank you, Fran.

    Susie - exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I will add it to her ointment basket! Thank you so much!!
  11. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Hi sish

    I am a cancer survivor of 16 years. I did not go trough radiation and mine was uterine.

    There is a program here in Canada called look good feel good. It is a group of volunteers who have had cancer in the past and it is a self esteem building group.

    They help women feel better and look better providing advice about hair, make up mad prosthetics and shared experiences.

    I would suggest seeking out any groups like this for social and more support. My sister and I both found this support very uplifting.

    You are in my thoughts. And I pray for an uneventful speedy recovery.

    My dear friend is in the operating room today form most of the day. She had a rare sinus toumor that has inavddd her facial structure.
    She was in good spirits last evening as we had a group chat for moral support. She sent a picture of a lovely Orchid potted my her daughters and they painted the pot themselves. It said "We are rooting for you mom". Not a fancy basket of flowers but so much more meaningful.

    Cancer is a terrible disease and once SSG I Joe we find a way to stop it before it starts.

    Warm hugs to you and your mom.
  12. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Thank you, LBL. My gut tells me I have to offer info to her, and then as we travel this road reinforce it and remind her. She's still just beginning to process this, so baby steps. I'm so used to just taking charge of medical situations (30 years with 2 kiddos who were crisis after crises, lol) that I'm having to remember to rein myself in. She needs to be the driver here - I'm her backup.

    I love the orchid idea. I've been wracking my brains for something creative and meaningful for her... just a reminder that she's not in this alone.

    I hope your friend has a successful surgery today. Cancer is a brute. :(