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Started by Showscots
20 May 2019, 7:04 AM

My son was given a surprise diagnosis of Stage 4 Colon Cancer with liver mets 3 weeks ago. He had been suffering stomach pains for about 4 months. Repeatedly going to doctors and emergency rooms with no success. Finally, The family doctor ordered a colonoscopy and his colon was fully blocked with a tumor that had punctured the wall of the colon. They operated and got it all but then said it had metastasized to the liver. The cancer in the liver is not operable. The liver specialist said do chemo and we will try to shrink the tumors so we can resect the liver. The Oncologist this week said it is terminal and only offered palliative chemo. He was very abrupt and lacked all empathy. He said he didn’t believe people should have hope when there is none, he believes it is unhealthy to have false hope. We both argued that we needed some hope to go forward. He continued to state it was not his method.  My son asked about support during chemo, being able to ask questions. Doctor stated his only job is to manage the chemo not to support patients.
My son is young, fit leads a healthy lifestyle He wants the chance to fight.  He is not willing or prepared to quit before starting.
In the 3 weeks since diagnosis and surgery there has been very little actual information given to us.  There has been no counselling, we feel like we are completely on our own facing the unknown with no information to make decisions. 
We don’t have a support network. My husband died 10 years ago.  This is my only child, there is no extended family.  We live on a farm, we don’t have many close friends and the ones we do have seem to be afraid to call or drop by. 
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Reply by Simone Stenekes (Simone@virtualhospice.ca)
22 May 2019, 5:02 PM

Hello Showscots and welcome here to the Canadian Virtual Hospice (CVH) discussion forum. We all know this is the last place you want to be posting about your son's advanced colon cancer.... but we hope you find some connection and support.

I just want to tell you about a couple supports that are be available to you and your son, as you seem to be isolated both in geography but also in terms of linkages with the health care system as you deal with the emotional impact of his physical illness.

I am not sure of your son's exact age, but CVH has recently developed a website for young adults and teens living with advanced illness: https://www.livingoutloud.life/ . This website provides a safe place to listen to the stories of others and realize that you are not alone in trying to navigate a new diagnosis and all of the emotions and issues that come along with an advanced illness. If you are looking for local resources, please see the resource section of the website at: https://www.livingoutloud.life/resources/ (scroll down to "Provincial and Services". There are also young adult cancer specific resources, such as Young Adult Cancer Canada, that may be helpful to your son and support him as he deals with cancer diagnosis (https://www.youngadultcancer.ca/).

The second resource that you and your son will have available to you is the social workers at the cancer centre. This may be called the patient and family resource centre, or the psychosocial oncology department. Different provincial cancer agencies have different names. If you look up on the cancer agency website, you can call the department on your own (you don't need a referral). They are an invaluable resource to help you and your son with the emotions, decisions and general angst of the cancer journey. I would encourage to make his link as soon as possible! There may also be support groups for younger adults available through the cancer centre. This is something to ask about.

We are thinking of you and hope you find this community a safe place to find support.

Simone (CVH Moderator)
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