Dec 08, 2011 - 9:28 pm
First of all I'm greatful for a place to say what is on my mind that is safe. It is sort of strange that it is here that I think people can relate to how I'm feeling sort of.
I'm feeling ashamed of the thoughts I've been having lately. My shame which is saddness stems from hopelessness if that makes sense.
My mom, 81, has been diagnosed with lung CA. We had our inital consult with a thoracic oncolgy surgeon on Monday. I can't let go of some of my thoughts since that appointment. It was the typical you've got Cancer and in cases like yours there are 4 options type of canned practiced spiel. Option 1: surgery, chemo, radio. Option 2: chemo, rad. Option 3: rad only Option 4: palliative care (adding in there that he feels my mom is no were near that stage of the game of course).
My moms spirit is that I'm going to fight this thing. I'm going to support her anyway that I can, of course, and we are early in this journey. I can't help myself but I am who I am. I'm a practical, no nonsense type of person. I'm sort of a plan for the worst and hope for the best type of individual. I wish I was that eternal type of individual that is the eternal optimist and views the world through rose colored glasses but I'm not.
So during the appointment my mom indicates her preference for approaching this situation aggressively with surgery,chemo and rad therapies. The doctor dangles the carrot of performing surgery out there initally, then follows up with the typical BUT we've got to do chemo and rad first before we do surgery and if we do surgery we've got to do more tests type of deal. In addition to that this doctor also casually mentions that 10 years ago that a person my mothers age would not be offered such options but that today they don't let age influence care decisions.
I have both a medical and dental background. Surgery of any sort is difficult. Optimal health is reaaaaaaalllllllly important to ward off complications. Surgery in my moms case for lack of a better term is; brutal... removal of a portion of the lungs, the lining of the lungs, and portions of the ribs, and maybe even some other types of things. Not to mention the feeding tube, the chest tubes, the cathter and any other sorts of assorted items that will accompany my mothers care irregaurdless of weather she has surgery or not.
I know my mom is at the best health that she's going to be in right now.... not 2 months from now.
Of course the doctors expel the typical conversation out there of "we've got to shrink the tumors first so we can get them all out." type of talk.
During the whole conversation I'm sitting there saying to myself, "if you think surgery is an option and it will improve my moms chances then do it NOW for pete's sake."
Yet of course that is not the direction that they are willing to pursue. Nope. It's going to be run my mother all around hill and dale... have her do 10 million tests... hit her hard with chemo and rad...diminish her health... just to then re-evaluate her after the chemo and rad and end up with the outcome of saying, "I'm so sorry but your health has changed to much and now your not a good candidate for surgery." Not to mention the little added tib bit the doctor adds in saying..."that the chemo and rad can make my moms current state deteriorate faster." or in essence that the rad and chemo therapies might help matters or make them worse.
Its like this game the doctors are playing with my mom of..."We know you're going to die. But we can't out and out say your going to die. So try these things and if your lucky maybe it'll help." To me this whole thing is false hope.
Yet on the other hand there is my mom. She's never had anything seriously wrong or spent a day of her life in the hospital. She's freightened and doesn't know what to expect. To her it's like going and getting your haircut or your teeth cleaned or something. You do it and get it over with and move on type thing. I can respect that chemo and rad would be a less invassive avenue for her. I can appreciate that those therapies might help her with processing the changes occuring in her life. Chemo and rad are dramatic but not as dramatic as what is going to result if and when they do that surgery.
I wish I could say to my mom,"Each day is precious. There really isn't much chance of living much longer. Stop wasting your time with this medical nonsense because its not going to make much of a difference. I want to say, "Spend what time is left living life well and enjoying whatever it is you want to do with the time that you have left." But I can't because she wants to fight this thing.