Stage IV Breast Cancer

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/18/2010 5:58 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi there.  I am new so I hope I am doing this right.  First let me say I am so happy I found this site.  My mom (age 68), a 15 years  breast cancer survivor, had a double mastectomy & was cancer for free until she started having pain near her rib 8 months ago.  They thought it was shingles but we just found out it is stage IV breast cancer metastasized the pelvis & spine.  It is only in the bone.  (No lymph nodes or organs are involved)  Her cancer is estrogen and progesterone positive & her oncologist is suggesting hormone therapy & not chemo.  Radition will also start on Monday to try to ease the pain she is feeling in the rib(they believe that is nerve pain).  After mom & I had the good cry for a few days, we got busy focusing on how to live!  So now I am doing all the research I can.  We refuse to believe this is a death sentence.   I would love to hear from anyone living with stage IV. Also, I believe that you must treat the body, mind & spirit.  Does anyone use alternative medicine along with conventional?  I have already started cooking all of moms food healthy.   I have removed sugar from her diet & use lots of organic veggies etc.  I am studying all kinds of therapies & would love to hear if anyone has had success.  Also, hear that Bisphosphnates are very good for bone metastasis.  We still have to go for second & third opinions.  We are in CT, any recommendations.  And last has anyone gone to the Cancer Treatment Centers Of America?  Thank you all so much. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 6/18/2010 4:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Sorry to hear about your Mom's recurrence, but we never know that we are "survivors" until we die of something else with this disease. "Only in the bone" is a good thing, and the longer they can keep it that way, the better for your mom. Because of her er/pr+ status, her 15 years of being cancer-free, and her age, hormone therapy could be a really good way to go. Biophosphonates like Zometa are useful for bone mets. They help "fill in" the lesions from the cancer and make the bone stronger. There are several women here who have bone mets. One of our ladies has had treatment for mets to the sternum many years ago, and has been cancer-free for a number of years.

Lots of people (doctors and patients) prefer to look at state IV breast cancer as a "chronic" illness. I've heard it likened to diabetes; yes, it can eventually kill you, but with proper treatment, you can live many relatively healthy, happy years with it. And we have known lots of women who have done that. But statistically, this is not the average, as I'm sure you know from your research. I say this not in an attempt to discourage you. I'm just one of those people who believes that being prepared for the worst is not a bad thing. We all of us like to hope for, believe in, and expect the best possible outcome. But to me, facing the fact that I have a potential death sentence hanging over my head has made me appreciate each day I've had "above ground" all the more.

I can't really speak highly of alternative medicine. My best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years after I was, and her cancer later metastisized. Her oncologist was a Chinese gentleman who combined conventional medicine with the Chinese healing arts. So she had the conventional medicines, but he also gave her herbal remedies, acupuncture, etc... We lost her less than two years after the mets were diagnosed. I don't think the alternative medicines hurt. I just don't believe they helped. And the research is just not there to support it. That is just my opinion, and I will be the first to admit that my opinion is worth about what you paid for it!

As far as diet, I think it is a good thing to eat healthy. But I don't know of anyone who could attribute their demise to the occasional piece of cheesecake, either. And I don't think I would have survived chemo without milkshakes and Graeter's double chocolate ice cream! For a friend of ours, it was fried egg sandwiches. I don't recommend a steady diet of either, but my point is, sometimes, you eat what you can, and what is good for you is really no longer of much concern. My husband is an excellent cook and would make fantastic meals for our family (much better than I would have made!), and I would have to go to my room because I couldn't stand the smells, much less the tastes, of what he had prepared. Of course that was not every night, or even most nights. But when it did happen, someone would show up at my door with a milkshake in hand, and life was good!

Your mom's world has probably been turned upside down by this diagnosis, as has yours. It is terrific that she has such a supportive and motivated (daughter? son?) who wants to see her through this. Just check with her to see that the changes you want to make are changes she wants to make, as well. Quality of life... never underestimate the importance of quality of life! And only your mom can tell you what that is, for her!

Good luck to you both!

"There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker."  --Charles Schulz

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/18/2010 4:54 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Bev. Thank you so much for your kind words & advice. It is so greatly appreciated. And yes I will be sure to talk to my mom about her wishes. And I will be sure to bake her a nice cheese cake (her favorite) though I must admit she is the baker not me LOL


Regular Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 355
   Posted 6/19/2010 11:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Lori

I too am sorry for both you and your mother, how your lives have been turned upside down again by this insidious disease. I agree with Bev and of course you do as well that you should do whatever your mother wants, cook whatever she feels like and yes give her the treats she craves. I think quality of life is far more important.

I think you are a wonderful daughter for caring so much about your mother and I am sure she appreciates it every day even if she doesn't show it or tell you. Good luck to both of you and you are both in my prayers.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 7/23/2010 5:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Lori; I am sorry for you and your Mother and I can only reiterate what Bev and harrington 49 have said. I can add this though, another forum on this website provided me with such love, support, information, encouragement, laughter and friendship when it saw me through a different major surgery and post op complications; I have leaned on the good people here and on the other forum through my cancer and reconstruction problems too..

I hope you find these tremendous gifts here as well
gentle hugs,

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 829
   Posted 8/2/2010 11:01 AM (GMT -7)   
Freshly made carrot juice is good to add to the diet, along with untreated bottled water, preferably spring water. Also, be sure there are no "treated" meats or milk. The "treatments" use hormones and she doesn't need any more of those. Use only organic meats and milk from a health food store. Avoid soy protein of any kind. I3C or DIM may help. Graviola may also help.

A good friend will bail you out of jail...
but a true friend will be sitting
next to you saying,
"Dâmn... that was fun!".
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