Hi! I read your posts with much empathy as my mom, 82 at the time, was diagnosed with stage IV CRC this past April. She just had her 83rd birthday this past week, sharing her birthdate with Napoleon which I always laughed about since she has all of her life been a very strong person, losing her loving husband when she was 62 and working until she turned 67, being very opinionated, but a tough yet loving mom and an animal lover who kept busy with gardening, caregiving to two grandchildren up until she was about 75,inspite of a disability that occurred at age at five when she was stricken with polio that greatly affect her left leg all of her life.
Since you are new to the forum with an elderly parent here is my experience in a nutshell: My mom underwent 20 sessions of aggressive radiation as well as what turned out to be two and a half weeks of a less aggressive 5FU chemo infusion (one of the 5 day regiments resulted in a dosage error that only dispensed 10% of the correct meds). Unfortunately, my mom was also showing signs of dementia recently, and I probably helped masked those symptoms as her live-in caregiver daughter. Her age and her dementia didn't make me feel any less that she deserved to be made as comfortable as possible with the stage IV diagnosis. We were told right up front that the treatment would be palliative, however, it was believed that the radiation would ease her distressful bleeding systems and frequent need to use the bathroom and perhaps allow her see her grandaughter graduate from college and her grandson graduate from high school. In that respect, she did receive relief from those symptoms of her cancer.
I turned to this forum just as you did, hoping to get any information from the wonderful members that would help me as her caregiver navigate through treatment because I found little support from the Cancer Institute where she was treated. For the majority of the responses I did receive, I found great information on the two times I sought help. However, if you look up my posts, you will see how some well-intentioned members quizzed me as to whether I wanted to prolong her suffering only to subject her to more dementia and whether keeping her alive was only for me, etc. I must say that was not the case at all! Based upon what the doctors presented to us, it was my brother's wish and mine that she at least been given the chance to alleviate the symptoms her colorectal tumor was giving her without surgery. I will also say again, there is no legal mercy killing in New Jersey, and as was suggested that I let her go still means that she would experience suffering. Cancer is horrible! Back to my mom's decision of treatment, she was very much taken about when her oncologist proposed that my mom could either participate in treatment or do nothing. We went forward with the treatment. Her treatment was completed the middle of July. I will not sugar-coat things, It was rough and my mom got to the point after treatment was over that all she did is sleep. There was no quality of life. Today my mom was admitted into a local hospital as an inpatient hospice patient in much pain inspite of the morphine that they are providing for her. I pray that her suffering is coming to an end and that God has mercy on her.
My conscious is clear in spite of what some may think. I can look myself in the mirror and say we tried, even though because of her age the treatment was not as aggressive as what would be given had she been 40 years younger. Cancer suffering is suffering no matter what the person's age is.
My thought and prayers are with you and your dad!
Also, very important: Because of my mom's diagnosis, I had a colonoscopy last month which I would probably not have had until too late, because a benign tubular adenoma was found and removed. So please, if you have done so yourself, schedule a colonoscopy!
live-in caregiver/daughter to 83 yr old mom DX 4/14
Stage IV colorectal cancer
mets to liver
In-patient Hospice Care 8/20/14
Departed to greener pastures 8/28/14
At peace in heaven with my dad.