Hi everyone, I have visited this site often and have taken alot of useful information away with me that has helped in looking after my mum on a day to day basis. Knowing that some of the "strange" behavier patterns are "normal" and that other sufferers of this illness go through the same thing and that carers face and deal with the same problems as each other seems a comfort. Knowing your not the only one helps in inself. I thought I'd contribute with a recent problem we faced as a family in the hope that if any one else faces the same situation they may get some comfort from knowing they're not alone. Here goes.... To give some background.......My mum was diagnosed with alzheimers 7 years ago at the age of 53. Since then she's gone from helping everyone in whatever way she could to having to be helped in every way.. She can no longer speak ( I didn't use communicate here as we know by her facial expressions and the noises she makes if she's in distress or wants a drink or food etc , so this is a form of communicaton )She can walk only if guided and suffers from bouts of extreme pain due to bowel problems on a twice daily basis. Even through this she'll still have a smile or laugh for anyone who comes to her. I hope this isn't too long winded but here it is.... About 10 months ago my dad noticed a discharge coming from my mums left breast and immediately contacted her GP who told him to keep watch to see if it happened again and in the meantime he would send a letter of to the local hospital so a thorough examinaton could be carried out. About a month later the appointment came through and after the examination nothing untoward was found. At this point a great wave of relief comes over you, you've imagine all sorts and wonder if it is the worst how you'll ever explain to someone with advanced AD that they have more health problems. By the way my mum is great at all her appointments she just lets the doctors get on with it!!!! Fast forward three months ...... My brother came down the stairs( a Friday morning ) to be greeted by a very worried looking nurse ( mum has two that come to the house in the mornings to get her up, washed and dressed, ready for the day centre ) who asked to speak to him, she had discovered a lump in my mums breast !!!! Once dad knew he contacted the GP again and he in turn set the wheels in motion to have the lump investigated at the breast clinic by the consultant. Three weeks later and my mum was at that dreaded ( for us anyway ) appointment. After a needle biopsy the diagnoses was given...mum had breast cancer!!!!!We were all devastated to say the least. The plan of action was Tamoxifen...... We pinned our hopes on this drug and hoped beyond hope that it would shrink the tumour not wanting to think to hard about what would happen if it didn't. Unfortunately it DIDN'T after three months of treatment and so mums fate was to have a mastectomy three weeks later.... We were in shock and wondered how mum would cope with the operation, the pain afterwards and as she was having nodes removed from under her arm we wondered if she'd loose the use of that arm and how we'd guide her along if she did and how we'd get her in and out of the car etc,etc. So many unknowns. A hard enough operation for any woman but for someone in the throws of advanced alzheimers........ Operation day came and a full mastectomy with 22 lymph nodes was performed...Went up to the hospital that night ( actually at this point I'd like to say that the staff on the breast ward were second to none. Once they knew of my mums situation and that my dad would be staying in the hospital with her through out, they moved her to her own room and brought dad a recliner chair to sleep on. We could never repay them for the way they looked after not only mum but made sure we were ok to.)and not knowing what we'd find walked into the room and there was mum looking fine, you'd never have guessed she'd just had surgery and after all the worry of her arm stiffening one of the first things she did when she came round was to sratch the back of her head with her now "bad"arm. RELIEF again. The "bad" arm is the arm on the side of the mastectomy where the lymph nodes are taken. Taking the lymph nodes can result in other conditions where the arm swells up and becomes painful and very stiff, this was a major concern as we guide mum along by the arms etc and by putting pressure on it , it can bring on a condition called lymphadema the symptoms of which are above!!!!It amazing how much you learn when you care for someone who can't learn for themselves!! Every day she got better and better although it was decided that instead of sending her home and then bringing her back in a few days for her pathology results as is the normal she would stay in until the results were known. One week after the op the results came back... out of the 22 nodes removed only two showed any signs of disease, this was the best possible result and for days we were elated. The wound healed really well, the drains were removed and 10 days after going into hospital, she was discharged. That was 2 months ago and presently mum is doing really well. Her treatment now is a drug called Arimidex which has shown great results in the fight against breast cancer. I've titled this mum an inspiration, because thats exactly what she is. After living with AD for seven years and still being able to smile, living with bowel pain on a daily basis and STILL being able to smile and then to finally being diagnosed with cancer and losing your breast and still smiling through it all, what else could you she be.The love pours out from her and effects the people she comes into contact with. The nurses cried the day she left hospital and kisses and hugs galore were given. It makes us proud to be her family when people react so warmly toward her. What a special lady, even alzheimers couldn't rob her of her warmth and loving nature!!! Good luck to you all ,I hope your mum, dad , relation or whomever is affected by this illness still gives you as much as we get from our mum.