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My mother is 92 and I'm seeking advice.

Juno22's picture
Juno22
Posts: 39
Joined: Feb 2013

I need informed advice.  I’m very confused and don’t know what is the right thing to do.  My mother is 92 and started bleeding Jan. 31st After an ultra-sound and a visit to a Gynecologist we know the bleeding is from her uterus.  I'm feeling overwhelmed.  The Dr. wasn’t mean but so matter of fact that I didn’t feel there was any support.  The Dr. let me know that my mother had lived a good 92 years and I would have to think about whether or not we even wanted to try a biopsy.  Which she said she might not be able to do anyway because of mom’s cervix being so closed.  And, if they can perform the biopsy and if it came back positive what then?  At her age would we want to have her go through the surgery?  She said we might not even want to do the biopsy just go home and let happen whatever will happen. What!!!!!    My mother is pretty healthy.  I need to add that she has early onset of Alzheimer’s but still does very well.   Mom is hard of hearing so even though she was sitting right there when the Dr. was speaking she didn’t hear it all.  On the way home I related the conversation and mom’s response was yes, I want the biopsy, otherwise I’ll sit and wonder and worry every day anyway.   The Dr. did say that if when trying to do the biopsy if mom was in pain she would just not do it.  I strongly felt that because of mom’s age the Dr. doesn’t feel like it’s worth going forward because after all she’s lived 92 years.   Has anyone else had experience with treating someone as old as mom.  At this point we don’t know if mom has cancer but the Dr was not encouraging because of mom’s age.  Am I supposed to just give up on my mom because of her age?  Our next appointment is set for March 6th and what do we do if the Dr can't do the biopsy because of the closed cervix?

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

When they tell you, biopsy was "inconclusive" it means -- tests have not shown up an exact diagnosis or have not confirmed or denied what was being tested for.

It means no one is exactly sure of an exact answer in the capacity the term is used, eg if a report says 'blood tests have been inconclusive' it means these have not shown up anything helpful to reach a decision.  Many times it could be the person conducting the test didn't sample  enough fluid, etc, to conduct the test.  Not to mean good or bad, just cannot come to a conclusion.

D&C is what I  had after the ultrasound which found the thickening of the uterine wall.  It's really not bad, but they do sedate the person (don't know what drug they gave me, sorry can't  tell you).  When you bring up anesthesia and Alzheimers this is what I do remember reading a bit about.  My mom has alzheimers and used to be on the Alzheimer's message boards.  Many had posted about anesthesia causing the disease toprogress faster.  Now I cannot remember which drugs were the ones to avoid.  You might want to google and see if you can find out additional information.  Don't both asking the doc as have to tell you so many aren't up on this stuff.  If I were you, I'd find out the drug(s) to avoid and decide if you wish to proceed with the D&C. No  I would not suggest this D&C without sedation...no way would one wish to be awake.  After the procedure I was down for the day and thinking the next day a bit  groggy, too. 

One cannot avoid everything, but if we can be better educated to make a good decision it's easier.   I'll see if I can find out some information on the anesthesia with alzheimers, but no guarantee.

Hope this helps,

Jan

NorahS
Posts: 93
Joined: Dec 2012

....but this is what you wrote on March 6th....

"The great news is that we did see her new primary doctor today and we both absolutely loved her.  Loved, loved, loved her!  She gave me a referral to her personal Gynecologist if after tomorrow we want a second opinion.   She is also concerned with what’s going on with mom, but she didn’t miss the class that taught a doctor on how to speak to a patient.   I don’t know where this will all go, but it feels so good to have someone to fall back on when I need advice."

Now, it seems to me that you shouldn't carry the burden of what to do next on your own. Your mother has a new primary doctor - whom you both "absolutely loved" - plus you have a referral to that doctor's Gynecologist if you "want a second opinion".  Also, "it feels so good to have someone to fall back on when I need advice." 

 

Juno22's picture
Juno22
Posts: 39
Joined: Feb 2013

Believe me my next step is to try to talk to mom's new primary doctor.  That's a call I have to make.  Thank you for caring Norah.

Darlene 

Juno22's picture
Juno22
Posts: 39
Joined: Feb 2013

I would very much appreciate any information you might be able to find regarding the anesthesia and Alzheimer's.  I'm sorry that your mother has this dreadful disease too.  It's not like you didn't have enough to worry about.  What is they say, "you are never given more than you can handle", I know that sometimes I think God must think I'm a Ninja. 

One of the studies talked about how surgeries create inflamation that travels even to the brain, which of course is what would create the problem for mom, and this is aside from the anesthesia.  But again, I don't know if a D&C falls in that group of surgeries that create this inflamation.   I have more work to do to try and get some answers.

Thank you again for being here for me.

Darlene 

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Mom was diagnosed in '09 and later that year moved her to assisted living facility, as lived alone prior to the move.  I will mention, if one finds a good qualified facility, they're great.  Mom is doing excellent, even has a boyfriend -- and she's not the type to communicate much with the opposite sex.  Plus they do all the care, provide the meals, 24/7 care, give her the daily meds...do it all!!

As mentioned I used to be on the Alzheimer's Association (www.alz.org) website message boards, but don't go anymore as mom is doing well.  Just tried to peek on their site and see what I could find, but don't see exact specifics on the best anesthesia drugs for patients dealing with ALZ.  Might I suggest you go to the ALZ.ORG site and at top is MESSAGE BOARDS, link on this area and will give you option to see the postings as a visitor.  See if you can find information, but when I searched didn't see the exact specifics on drugs.  Not that it's not there, but didn't find what I was looking for.  Another option, on the site is a contact number, call the association and ask them these questions, as they do have some medical staff to assist.

Bottomline, certain  type drugs can cause delerium and suddent escalation of the alzheimer's disease.  Last thing you want is your mom to get worse in her memory after an outpatient procedure.  Don't know if her primary care doc is "geriatric" specialist, but this type of doc might offer insight as that's their speciality...the elderly!

In answer to your question on surgeries create inflammation, I think it's more about the drugs after affects.  I could be wrong but what I'm thinking in my little mind....lol~

Will keep looking for the drug information but thought I'd get you started as you might find what you want on your own.

Hugs,

Jan

 

 

 

Juno22's picture
Juno22
Posts: 39
Joined: Feb 2013

I appreciate the information and I think you are right that the people I need to talk to about this is on a Alzheimer's site.  Duh!!!  With mom's Alzheimer's and her pacemaker it makes it very difficult.  But I think at this moment, me and my siblings don't want to lose more of mom that we need to, especially since we know that it's highly unlikely that no matter what the results might be she couldn't be treated.  Of course, I will continue to look for natural and healthy ways to help her.  I think it was you that said long ago to me that becaue of mom's age perhaps we should just enjoy her.  It's taken me a long time to finally understand the rightness of this.  When all this first started I think for weeks I just bounced off walls and was runnning scared.  Well, I'm still scared but not doing so much bouncing.  However, I'm not giving up, I'm just going to go in a different direction becaue there's still a lot of rocks that I need to look under.  I'm not going to give up on this site either, I adore the people here and I've learned so much, I didn't realize how much I didn't know.   Thank you so much Jan.

Darlene

txtrisha55's picture
txtrisha55
Posts: 424
Joined: Apr 2011

Darlene,

I would follow Jan's advice and do some research on what drugs to avoid. I had a D&C and was put out. It is not something that can be done awake.  I might get a second opinion and naybe check if they go do a PET or CT scan or maybe aMRI and maybe that could give the answer without having to do the D&C.  A person does not have to be put asleep for those. Praying for your mom and your family. trish

 

Juno22's picture
Juno22
Posts: 39
Joined: Feb 2013

In researching other methods of treatments I came across the following statement regarding PET scans and Alzheimers " PET amyloid scanning is not appropriate for people over 65 who are already known to have Alzheimer's, the guidelines say."     I don't know if its not appropriate because it is harmful to someone with Alzheimer's or because the test is so expensive they don't want to do another one if you know you already have Alzheimers.  .  During this search for information  I also just found out mom can't have a MRI either because she has a pacemaker.  I will keep researching but mom's age and the Alzheimers's is kicking our butts.

Darlene

debrajo's picture
debrajo
Posts: 755
Joined: Sep 2011

I agree with Jan all the way.  This will probably muddy the waters, but my Grandmother had Alzheimers when she fell and broke her hip.  The surgery went great, but her mind was completely gone.  She lived three months.  Could they possibly do an epidural?  I had two c-sections with Epidural and I felt nothing and was awake the whole time...recovered nicely also.  Wishing you and your mother all the best.  Debrajo

Juno22's picture
Juno22
Posts: 39
Joined: Feb 2013

Thank you ladies for you support and comments.  All good questions that I need to get answers for.  Debrajo the experience that your Grandmother had with the broken hip is exactly what scares the bejesus out of me.  The medical society know so little about Alzheimer's that even they are guessing.  They do know that surgery causes the problem but they don't know how to stop it.   And the truth is that even if I spoke to the people that put the study together and I asked them if a  D&C would be harmful to Alzheimer's patients, I would bet they could only guess.  What I will be checking into is if they can do some other non-invasive tests that might tell us something.  

Thank you for you good wishes, they mean a lot to me.

Darlene

pinky104
Posts: 60
Joined: Feb 2013

I had surgery at 61 for Uterine Serous Papillary Carcinoma which had spread to both ovaries, the omentum, and the ilium.  It was stage IV.  I also had my gallbladder and appendix removed at the same time.  I was in rough shape after the surgery for a couple of months.  The pain was awful.  I couldn't sleep most of the time, and when I did, I had terrible nightmares. The pain killers I was given, narcotics, only made things worse, causing constipation.  I had to have 2 units of blood 2 days after surgery, and more during chemo.  I personally wouldn't put a 92 year old woman through the surgery.  I know from working in an ER that a lot of people are not surgical candidates in their 80's, let alone 92.  For one thing, skin gets paper thin and rips easily, so just getting her put back together might be a problem.

Chemo gave me low blood counts with shortness of breath.  I couldn't walk across a store without stopping to catch my breath.  It also caused me to lose my appetite, which wouldn't be good for an elderly person, since most  probably don't eat as much as they should.  I was fortunate to be given Emend before treatments so I never had nausea and vomiting.

I had a mother who lived to 90.  She got pneumonia three times, in spite of having had the pneumonia vaccine three times while in nursing homes. She was diagnosed once with possible Alzheimer's, but most of the time, her mind was okay (she had a few episodes of odd behavior).  I had to choose whether or not to have her admitted to a hospital for treatment of pneumonia. She didn't want to go, and I didn't think she had quality of life anymore, so I agreed with her, and she died within a week. I never regretted my choice, although I had been very close to her all my life.

I also had a mother-in-law who died after having Alzheimer's for two years.  She screamed like she was in pain all the time.  My sister-in-law thought she had something physically wrong with her and took her to a dentist to rule out an abscessed tooth.  Nothing was ever found to be wrong.  If she gets worse fast, as my mother-in-law did, she may not be able to express what pain she is in.

I had a second surgery last year for an incarcerated incisional hernia (caused by the first surgery). I thought it would be a piece of cake compared to the first surgery, but the first few days were just as bad.  I had pain on the opposite side from where they did the surgery, which I didn't understand, until the nurse told me that they pump you full of gas for the surgery.  I couldn't even get up from the john without stabbing pains.

I definitely wouldn't put anyone else through this. I have managed to survive almost three years now, with no evidence of disease, having had a cancer that I've been told has about a 15% survival rate. But I don't know if I could ever go through the pain of surgery again if it should recur.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Juno22's picture
Juno22
Posts: 39
Joined: Feb 2013

You're right, at mom's age neither me nor my siblings want to put her through chemo.  With her Alzheimer's and pacemaker it’s hard to move forward in the way that most folks would be tested or treated.  Even though Mom’s Alzheimer’s was diagnosed five years ago April, she still does pretty well.  As a family we don’t want to lose more of mom any faster because of poking and prodding and useless tests that regardless of the results lead us nowhere to a treatment for cure.  The more I talk about all of this I think it’s finally becoming clear to me what we should do.  I do know that I will continue to research natural healthy ways that I can help her.  Thank you for sharing your experience. I will pray that you continue to be cancer free and that you never again have to go through what you did before.  Take care Pinky.  

Darlene

NorahS
Posts: 93
Joined: Dec 2012

...and hope that you and your mother will soon have a follow-up visit with her doctor (the one that you both love).

Your mother's doctor seemed to be compassionate and knowledgeable and can likely provide valuable guidance.

 

   

 

Juno22's picture
Juno22
Posts: 39
Joined: Feb 2013

What seems perplexing to me now is that with so few really good options for mom I'm not sure why it took me so long to figure it out.  Well I guess I do know why, my brain has been in crazyville for the past two months until I finally decided that not only do I not want to live there I got pretty sick and tired of just visiting!!!!!   

I'm not sure how long it will last but I do feel some peace since we've made a decision and who knows, there may not be a darn thing wrong with mom.......we have love, faith and family and stranger things have happened.  I read this recently "bad things happen, because it's the only way we can keep remembering what good is supposed to look like".  I have a new appreciation of good. 

My best to you,

Darlene

 

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

It's more about QUALITY OF LIFE, VS. QUANTITY!!!!  As we age we're just more vulnerable to any type of bacteria and virus, and elderly just can't fight it like the younger generation.

Today we're dealing with my 87 yr old Mother in law who was admitted last Thurs to ER, due to breathing issues.... thinking she had broncitis or pneumonia.  After a zillion tests, she was diagnosed with pneumonia (pretty bad case of it, too), plus low white blood count.  Doc told her if you were more like 40 yrs of age I'd not be as concerned, but since you're a lot older we're more concernred therefore treat you differently. As we age the body is more worn out and can't fight lots of disease and health issues.  

This is the same woman who was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer 4 years ago and chose to not treat it with chemo.  We all tried to convince her to endure treatments, but she told us, "I'm too old and do not want to die from the extensive treatments", just simply want to enjoy my final years.  Her choice and we chose to abide by her wishes.  Today she has not seen anything show up on the blood work to show any changes in the initial cancer diagnosis.  

Best to you in your decision process...sounds like you have made some decisions, even if minor!!

Jan

 

Juno22's picture
Juno22
Posts: 39
Joined: Feb 2013

I'm so sorry to hear your mother-in-law is in the hospital.  She sounds like one tough cookie so don't count her out.  In the beginning you also told me Quality of Life, vs Quantity.  I didn't really want to hear that at the time, I guess because I wanted both.   Your story about your mother-in-law choosing to do nothing about her lymphoma cancer and she's doing fine in that area gives me hope and right now I choose to use that as a comfort, so thank you.

Jan, have you ever heard of anyone using Essiac Tea?  I've read a lot about it and people rave about it and swear it has kept them cancer free after their first occurrence.  I've also read that there some risks that are posted by the medical community.  It makes you nervous as to which way to jump, but, since I can't treat mom in the standard medical way I will pursue these other remedies. I'm already giving her Z Natural. I heard about that from folks on this site it's supposed to boost the immune system and remove toxins and metals from the body and brain.  Even though we have decided not to put mom through another medical procedure it's just not in me to not look for something else.  I'm a very analytical person by nature so I always do a lot of research on anything I buy whether a car or a gallon of paint, so I'm a bit nervous trying some of these remedies but I think doing nothing might be worse.  I can understand why someone that is and can be treated medically might not be interested but when you options are limited I think you may become more open and creative and not as fearful to try something else.  

I will continue to be a part of this site with the hopes that what I went though helps someone else in the same situation.  Thank you for being there for me.  Do you think you move next door? Laughing

Thank you so much,

Darlene 

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