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Dad wanting to quit treatment

Dini
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2003

My Dad is literally changing his mind from one day to the next about continuing treatment. When he is feeling good, he talks positively about beating the odds, but when he is feeling bad, he says he wants to die. Last Thursday he checked himself into the hospital because he was feeling bad & they brought up his magnesium levels. He was looking forward to going home Saturday when he had an irregular heartbeat & trouble breathing. He was put on observation & back on treatment for phlegm. Looked good on Sunday, eating & sitting up. Yesterday (Monday) I get a call from my Mom that they are going to release him today but that he's told Dr. J., his lung specialist, that he wants to give up & go on Hospice care when he gets home. I am asking what has changed & she says only that he feels bad & wants the morphine they gave him this weekend now every few hours. Dr. J. is very pesimistic & I think would let him die. His oncologist, Dr. O. is an optimist however and believes he's treatable. Unfortunately, he is out of town this weekend.

We're all on an emotional roller coaster with this indecision. I am thinking he is depressed & in need of medication & counseling since he keeps yo-yoing on what he says he wants & then the actions he has taken have been to get medical help when he can't breathe. I don't think he should give up when there is some hope of making it to remission & recovering. He's had his lungs drained twice & had an operation to try to keep them inflated, but only done the first 2 week session of chemotherapy drugs. When he says to me he wants to die I am feeling he wants to commit suicide, which I believe is wrong.

On the other hand, he is 72 years old. We didn't find the cancer, stage IV metastatic in both lungs & associated lymph glands, until he was on the verge of dying from it when his lungs filled in reaction to the numerous (>100) large & small tumors in both lungs. He went from bicycling every morning to being so weak he is in bed or a wheelchair, is on oxygen, and is not eating, drinking, or sleeping well. This is how he was before chemo. Dr. O. had wanted to do concurrent chemo & radiation, but then didn't think he was strong enough for the radiation. Monitoring screw up with this first session of chemotheraphy allowed his white cells to go to crash to zero & he had thrush, mouth ulcers, infection & had to go on antibiotics & into hospital for isolation & get his blood counts & chemistry straightened out. It was hard, and can't guarantee that it won't ever happen again.

The conversation with my mom ended last night with her deciding to put off the hospice people. I suggested they wait and talk to Dr. O. first. She asked me to come talk with Dad & the doctors & I will do that.

I am not sure if I am giving the right advice. His quality of life is poor now, maybe I am just prolonging his misery, but for him to die because we failed to encourage him when he despaired?

Thanks for letting me vent. I'd appreciate hearing from folks who have gone through anything similar.

jkeen
Posts: 33
Joined: Nov 2002

Hello, my name is Jackie I am 35 with stage 3b NSCLC, it can be very hard and very depressing to go throught this, but I feel it is all about quality of life rather than quanity, you need to talk to your mom and dad and truely see where he is at and what he is feeling. I am on my second round of treatment and I too have days that are overwhelming, I have two very good reasons to live and fight my kids 13 & 7 I want to see them grow up. Honestly if I was 72 I do not know what I would do or put myself through. Just let him know that you support him no matter what, and maybe he will realize he does want to fight. may God bless you and your family.

karenlee3sons
Posts: 35
Joined: Apr 2002

Please do not let him give up. I had stage 3b lung cancer with some spread to nodes. I had a lobectomy followed by chemo and radiation. I have reached my fifth year with no signs of the cancer at all!!! My doctors consider me cured, not just in remission. There is hope and please don't let him give up. I am 60 years old and now enjoying my children and grandchildren. I beat the odds and so can he.

cbecker
Posts: 89
Joined: Sep 2002

Tell your dad to get tough and that you need him. My husband started out with throat cancer and after 40 radiation treatments the tumor was gone and we thought we had it licked. this was in 2002 then in Feb 2003 just when he was starting to feel good it metastastized to his lungs he had 15 tumors in both lungs. He went thru aggressive chemo and during the radiation last summer and chemo this year there were days where he wanted to die but I keep him going. They need the constant pumping up and alot of times I used tough love which was hard on both of us. I do know he is going thru hell but there is so much out there. My husband was not responding to chemo and now he is on Iressa. It is a newer chemo and they do not get real sick from this. Please ask your oncologist about this. My husband has squamous cell cancer. I also have him on a special cancer diet which has helped alot. Get some good books on fighting cancer with supplements and vitamins and food. This gets them stronger. HIs lung scan last week was better. Some a little bigger but some alot smaller the one that was growing outside his chest wall that broke two ribs is almost gone. Believe me, my husband has gone thru pure hell these past two years but he is getting better. They say they cannot cure him but we hope to beat these odds. If I can help in anyway my email mktgintl@inlandnet.net My husband was put on an antidepressant two years ago and that helps them alot to fight. He is on Prozac, it does take 30 days to kick in. I suggest that you mom get on an antidepressant and maybe you. It really helps the caregiver to help them fight because we have to stay positive to push them.. God bless and tell him not to give up. Candy

gin51
Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2004

I am fighting small cell lung cancer at the moment and everytime I get down or a not-so-good
report, I too vow to quit treatment. Treatments
are so mentally and physically upsetting that, there are times, I find myself using any excuse
to postone,or even stop the treatments --and I
have a limited stage type. I can't imagine how
your Dad feels but I'm sure it's much worse than
I feel. I think the only thing you can do is
what you're doing --offering him hope. People
who are given little or no chance of survival --
beat the odds every day. If you haven't done so,
read up on alternative treatments such as herbs
and nurition that might help your Dad feel a bit
better as he undergoes chemo. This might also offer him hope from sources outside of his chemo.
It sounds as if he's lost confidence in the
traditional medical system. I'm not a doctor--just a patient --but I know I find doctors very
depressing, whereas my acupunturist and nutritionist always improve my mental outlook and
help keep me hopeful and mentally able to face
the chemotherapy.

Just remember, that is your Dad does choose to
stop treatment, you are not responsible for his
decision. I've been through a family suicide and
I know how easy it can be to feel responsible for
a loved one's decision. Please don't get caught
up in guilt.
God bless you and your Dad

Alloyd
Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2004

My life is very different now. I had my left lung removed and have nerve damage from chemo and spinal damage from radiation. I make the most of what I have. I go to every lung and cancer group I can find through the hospitals ect. There is always someone worse of then me and usually with a good attitude. We have to fight it isn't easy. Get support.

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1564
Joined: May 2006

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