Managing Effects of Brain Met


It is as if my mom's digestive system is now paralyzed. No one seems to know what to do or how to give her relief from the nausea and discomfort, or how to help her eat.

This Christmas a 5cm tumor was discovered in my mom's lower cerebellum. It was causing debilitating nausea and dizziness. The surgeons removed it cleanly, and she underwent gamma knife treatments at the margins. They determined this tumor was a met from my mom's lung cancer that they had removed (stage IIIB) seven years ago. It was so odd that this tumor showed up so many years after the initial treatment. Her symptoms resolved and she was regaining strength. Six months later they found two more tiny tumors and she received one more brief gamma knife treatment. All seemed fine, but fluid began building up at the site of the removal of the tumor. Her nausea was beginning to return. The surgeons placed a shunt that drained the fluid to her lower abdomen. That seemed successful. However, her nausea was not improving and continues to worsen. She has lost almost 50 pounds since Christmas. Her doctors have tried all sorts of nausea medicines with little effect - the headaches are also worsening -- the medicines exacerbate horrible restless leg symptoms that prevent her rest. If she eats, food just seems to sit in her belly and waste does not move, per X-rays. It is even difficult for her to stay hydrated. All other vitals are strong. At 72 she's had such vigor just prior to the diagnosis, and even initially after the surgery. Now she's weakening, exhausted, and cognitively also drained from it all.

I received a link to this article recently:… It made me think that maybe my mom is suffering from some sort of "late lower cranial neuropathy" that is shutting down her digestive system. I can't pretend to make sense of any of this, and realize that I'm just grasping at something that randomly appeared in my email. I have not mentioned this concern to the doctors, but they have assured my parents that her cranial nerves are intact and healthy (and were healthy after the surgery). There is no sign of any new cancer anywhere.

This is such agony and pure torture.

Anyone have any experience with anything similar?

JanineT GRACE …
Posts: 628
GRACE Community Outreach Team


I'm so sorry your mom is going through this. I don't think we have any info on the site that would address such an issue or faculty that would have helpful info. A neurologist and/or a gastroenterologist would be in the best position to address this or point you in the right direction. The neurologist could address the idea of nephropathy and a GI doc could address the immediate issues of her gut. Unless I'm mistaken scans can pick up neuropathy in the brain so should have shown up.

I'm so sorry and know how difficult it is for you as well. I hope your mom's doctors can help reverse the problems.

All best,

I joined GRACE as a caregiver for my husband who had a Pancoast tumor, NSCLC stage III in 2009. He had curative chemo/rads then it was believed he had a recurrence in the spine/oligometastasis that was radiated. He's 10 years out from treatment.