May 21, 2004 - 11:00 am
A very dear family friend (I call him my Dad), who is 68, has just been diagnosed with brain cancer. 2 years ago he had rectal cancer, had surgery, was doing great for over a year, when it returned to his shoulder, in his humerus bone. They did 3 weeks of radiation, it is still there. A week and a half ago he fell at his home, and then had to be admitted to the hospital. They did a CAT and found 3 masses in his brain. He was doing so poorly, couldn't walk even. They have him on steriods and suddenly he seems his old self, walking, he thinks he is fine even. His doctors seem to tell us everything and him very little. He is on week one of 3 weeks of radiation, just to the tumors in his brain. They are now saying he can do chemo with the possibility of extending his life maybe a year, but he will be very sick. He wants to do the chemo anyway. He is starting to get cranky, from the steriods, and demanding, wanting to be driven all over creation. I just want to let you know that he has medicare and an HMO supplemental, and that he had pain in his shoulder for nearly 6 months which the doctors knew about but completely ignored. Finally, when it broke his humerus bone, they did a cat scan and found a very large tumor. I feel like they have completely neglected him, that if they would have begun chemo right away, he may have a chance, but fear now he doesn't have much hope. He is stronger than any person I have ever seen. His doctors thought he'd be in a coma the day after his fall, and instead he was up ready to go home. They say it is the steroids though. I'm going to have to get help from his real family in NY soon, because I can't give him 24 hour care. I am feeling guilty about this. He is staying with my sister at the moment but wants to go home and I am terrified to let him go home. We are setting up a lifeline for him to wear around his neck, to call for help if he should need it. Until his fall he has not let us help him with his medical care, and I think if he would have let us sooner, I would have insisted the doctors check out his shoulder pain 6 months ago and he may have a chance. His HMO doesn't care though, they really don't. They have been giving him morphine for 6 months, the hell they didn't know his cancer had returned to his shoulder! I am so angry! I am babbling on now, so I'll go. It helps to have this board to get it all out. I don't know what to do next. I feel like I cannot handle this at all. Does anyone else have this experience with cancer spreading to the bones and brain? Is it realistic to think radiation will do a damn thing? Will chemo even help? I have so many quesitons, and have no faith in his doctors and don't even want to speak to them right now. I feel like they have sentenced him to death. I feel so bitter. Sorry to be so long.