Hello, new to this group as my mom was diagnosed in September with metastatic cancer -- ovarian to peritoneal. She was not a candidate for surgery and had one round of chemo, following that the oncologist advised that given her weakened state the option to pursue was palliative management, therefore, no further chemo treatments following the first one. She is currently living with me and my family. She had a PleurEx catheter inserted for home drain of ascites. Here is the confusing part for my family. Previously, the fluid was building up every 24-48 hours causing pain and discomfort, with this permanent drain the fluid isn't building up nearly as quickly (I suppose that means this treatment method of keep comfortable is working), however, in a call with the oncologist last week, he told her she had weeks to a couple months remaining, but...in 2 months we have never seen her better...her appetite is fantastic, her mobility is better in terms of walking around, she isn't napping nearly as much, so we are confused....how is her current condition indicative of 2 months left??? Are there any similar experiences?
I am so sorry to hear of your mother's prognosis. As her caregiver I can only imagine how stressful that is for you and your family. We often focus so much on the survivor we neglect the needs of their caregivers so very glad you've reached out to us.
Your question is a really important one and one that doesn't have an answer other than to say that most of us here have experienced the passing of family and friends and acquaintances over the years. Not all from OVC. The common thread is that the transition period as one begins to leave this earth is different for everyone. But I was chatting with a member/friend recently and we both agreed that in the many cases we've seen there has been some kind of rally period before the end. Not always, of course. And as for the prognosis she's been given, no one can accurately estimate. I've seen patients given a year expire in weeks and others given months stay with us for many more . And what you're seeing with your mother is likely much a result of effective palliative care, the intent of which is to make the patients life more tolerable and comfortable as the disease progresses.
You may have read the recent news articles about Nadia Chaudhri, the neuroscientist from Montreal who died of OVC recently. Nadia was one of our members and she and I became friends around the time of her first recurrence almost two years ago. I can tell you we said good bye three times in that period during which she rallied twice. And even in her last weeks she was writing, painting, entertaining friends in her hospice and continuing to raise donations for an endowment that is her legacy.
You might find one of the Ovarian Cancer Canada speaker series videos of some help. It's titled Living with the Fear of Dying and presented by Jennifer De Wet Turner. You can access it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqFXumzyFyE
While it's more focused to the patient, there are parts that, as a caregiver, you might find very helpful. That said, you might also want to reach out to Jennifer herself. She does run support groups and provides individual counselling. She might be very helpful to you and your family, and even your mother, during this difficult period. I believe this is her most current contact into:
Jennifer Turner M.A
Finally, my own best suggestion to you is maximize this period with your mother. Nature is clearly giving her an opportunity for some final enjoyment so encourage that and share it with her. And please keep us posted on how you and your family are doing. She is very fortunate to have all of you. And our community is here for all of you..
My thoughts and prayers with all of you......