May 27, 2013 - 5:32 pm
My Mom's biopsy is scheduled for tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. Central. She's 84 years old and is more than mild cognitive impairment (she still knows everyone and if you only see her for a few minutes, depending on her current state, she can seem completely out of it or almost normal). Over the last couple of weeks, I've had to help her remember how to put in her false teeth and how to take pills (which is really hard considering the fact that she is having a great deal of difficulty swallowing anyway). She often forgets that she's going for a biopsy in the morning.
I'm scared and I'm furious and I'm so sad and alone. Yes, my father is still alive. He's 88 and doing fantastic for 88 but he doesn't really believe that anything is wrong that gargling and prune juice won't fix. Too many doctors pushed off her symptoms as being part of her dementia (ear pain, swallowing, claims that she wants her voice back -"It's changed. It's not mine.")
I finally found an ENT that actually took a scope and looked at the base of her tongue (he said cancer to the assistants, 3 times on the first visit). Asked if she'd smoked. She's never smoke or drank at all, her entire life! On the second visit, last week, (he wanted to wait two weeks and check it again to make sure it wasn't an infection), he, again speaking to the assistants, stated that it was on the right side and extended to her tonsils and vallecula. He scheduled the biopsy for tomorrow.
So, these symptoms have been going on for at least 6 months. I finally quit my job, making 175k/yr, and moved home so that I could get my Mom to a doctor that could help her. I NEVER expected the word CANCER to come out of the ENT's mouth!! I don't know why, but I didn't. I just figured, with all of the uncontrolled indigestion she has, that it was "LPR".
I've been home around 6 weeks now and she has complained about all of the doctor visits. A gastroscopy came back negative for anything. I got a copy of her medical charts from the PC and I see where several months ago my sister had taken her there and she'd been given antibiotics for swelling in her right lymph node but it didn't seem to reduce it in size! The PC decided that it was just a muscle strain in her neck that was the source of the ear pain and tenderness and swelling. I took a day off of work at that time and the PC refused to refer her to an ENT at that time.
So, here I am. In the last two weeks, my Mom has begain itching all over at times and having night sweats. So, now I'm worried that it's lymphoma.
I did a little reading here and I appreciate the saying "It's not cancer until they say it is." I appreciate it but I'm still in a state.
If it is cancer, can an 84 year old lady, weighing 120 lbs, with dementia, handle all of the treatments that I've been reading about here???
I can't make that decision for her but I wonder what the right answer will be. I wouldn't want her to give up too soon but I also wouldn't want to make what's perhaps her last months of still being aware of "everything" into a nightmare.
Yes, I've read too much on the internet but if I hadn't read things on the internet, I never would have insisted on 2nd and 3rd opinions to find out what's wrong with my Momma.
Scared and Lonely