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Grandma refusing treatment...

Guest rachel2m83

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Guest rachel2m83

My grandmother called me about 6 weeks ago to tell me she was diagnosed with lung cancer that had metastisized to the brain. She said she had a tumor in her left lung and multiple small tumors in her brain. She was started on whole brain radiation therapy. I believe she did that for 2 weeks, then was supposed to get 2 weeks off, then start chemo. I wanted her to come where I live (about 4 hours away from her) because I live near a cancer center and she lives in the middle of nowhere with small hospitals, and she refused to come down saying she'd start treatment up there.

Well, during the 2 weeks off she developed chest pain and went to the hospital...they told her she had a heart attack. While there they told her that they did more tests and found that she had a tumor on her adrenal gland. She told me that the ER doctor basically told her not to bother with chemo and enrolled her in hospice.

I'm so upset. I know it's her life and it's her decision about treatment...but I feel like she's just giving up too easily, and people are letting her. I don't know for a fact that the ER doctor told her that...but I was there when the hospice nurse came and when my grandmother said she didn't want to do chemo the nurse said "I don't blame you". And before the nurse had come I'd convinced me grandmother to just go to the appt with the oncologist (that was already scheduled for 3/1), just to get his take on everything and see what he suggests, and then when the nurse came she said she'd cancel her onco appt for her! I just feel like they should be encouraging her to fight, not just give up and die...

I don't even know the which kind of cancer it is because I didn't know about this until after she had her initial appt with the oncologist, and she is refusing further appts due to going into hospice care, so I never got a chance to talk to any doctors.

So anyway, now she's on home hospice care on oxygen and receiving morphine, metoprolol and dilantin. She hasn't really lost any weight yet, and she doesn't seem short of breath, but does seem to get sleepy when she leaves her oxygen off. But she still gets up and walks around without a problem, even cooked breakfast the other morning.

I know it's probably impossible...but does anybody have any idea how much longer she has, without any therapy?? We don't have a clue because she hasn't seen anybody but the ER doctor since last weekend (when she had the MI). My aunt called me the day after my grandmother went into the hospital and told me she only had 2 weeks left...I have no idea where that came from, and neither does my grandmother...so we're just guessing at this point.

Well, thanks in advance for any advice or support.


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My mother also did not opt to do chemo.

Her feeling, and this is a very personal choice, was that I could spend my days feeling beat up everyday or I can have fewer days feeling pretty good.

She chose to have fewer.

I understand your sadness. When mom was still deciding, I told her when she did, don't be upset at my reaction, I will cry at any choice once it was made, because any choice sucked. And I did cry, a lot.

Ultimately, I am happy mom went on her terms, not happy she had to go at all though.

I'm sorry you have found yourself in this position. It sucks, plain and simple. But I understand where she is coming from. Right or wrong...I get it.

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I don’t know how an ER doctor can be that knowledgeable about cancer. I would not give up trying to have her at least get a second opinion from a major cancer center. I would think that she would owe that to herself. I was told that with out treatment to go to Hospice and with treatment 16 to 18 months and if I took the chemo that I would be very sick. I took the treatment; I never got sick and ran a half marathon in my 18th month. Let her know that getting a second opinion will not hurt. Will pray for your grandmother.

Stay positive, :)


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Hi Rachel-

You don't say how old your Grandmother is and that may make a difference in what they are recommending for her. I wish she would go see an oncologist-- just for some accurate information and diagnosis. My MIL is in her mid 80's with large cell adenocarcinoma. She elected not to have chemo but she had her tumor radiated and two years later she is still here. There are other options for her so I hope she will go see the oncologist.

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  • 1 month later...

I understand completely where you are coming from. My mother was diagnosed on March 6, 2007 with cancer in her left lung, in her lymph nodes and in her adrenal gland. She was only given 3 to 6 months and we are almost 13 months later. She chose not to do anything even to the biopsy.

Mom has had some pains throughout the year but she has only had the majority of her problems since Christmas and it started with difficulty breathing.

I believe each person has to make their own decision about treatment b/c each person is different. In my mom's case she would probably have not made it two months with chemo. I believe my mom's attitude has gotten her this far. She has always been such a positive person and she just tries not to let things get her down or if she does it doesn't last very long. It has been very difficult letting my mom make these decisions b/c I have not been able to even get her to do any further testing to see how the cancer has progressed. Just keep talking with your grandmother b/c it does not hurt to get a second opinion on things.

The only thing I can say is to just be there for your grandmother and listen to her. My prayers are with you.


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