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Total misjudgement of time


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Does anyone know what to do about forgetfulness, as far as it relates to a lapse of judgment regarding time? My Mom just called me and was livid about my Dad's recent lapse of judgment (about something they had discussed recently, though he seems to have forgotten). Due to other issues with this circumstance, she was angry with him, although she told him and does realize it's not actually his fault (had to do with another family member basically taking advantage of him).

She said it's been an issue over the last couple of weeks in general. Dad doesn't seem to have any time-sense; very similar to that of a toddler. Mom tells me that she's had to "nag" him to get ready for appointments, up until the last minute they can leave, and Dad is frustrated with her, b/c she keeps bothering him (but she has to or they'll miss the appointments if they don't leave)! It's the same with eating...he thinks she just asked him if he wants her to make him something and it was before his nap, 5 hours earlier!

Any idea of what to do to help? I thought of setting a timer, but I'm afraid he won't remember what it's for and it will just frustrate him more.

If it makes a difference, he just finished with radiation treatments for SCLC and will be beginning a second round of chemo. sometime after the new year.

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Same here. Is he on steroids? Has he had a brain MRI?

As Donna G said in a previous post. Usually it is recommended they have brain radiation for this type tends to spread there, the radiation is preventative. I'm with Randy. I hope not but you can't be too cautious. It wouldn't hurt to check.


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They had done an MRI and decided no radiation b/c the scan came back clear. He IS on the steroids...which one, I'm not sure, but I know he's on them. I'll check into both, though. He's supposed to go back to the onc in early January, since he hasn't seen my Dad since before the radiation. I'm sure more scans and such will be involved...

Thanks for the quick replies!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dad is going for an MRI tomorrow and a CT scan on Monday. He's still forgetful with time...Mom likens it to everything in slow motion (i.e. he'll get stuff ready for a shower and it takes 6 hours for him to actually take the shower...better than the 24 hours Mom said was last week). He just cannot sense time. Didn't know it was Christmas until Mom said Merry Christmas. He's remembering everything else, though...just the time is an issue.

So, I'll let you know when I know what's going on...very curious situation. On the plus side, Mom says she sees a glimmer of "Dad," not just the fatigued man she's taking care of. So, it seems to be improving, even just a little.

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We will all be watching for the update on your father's tests. I zeroed in on that observation of your mother that she saw a glimmer of your Dad recently. I can relate. I saw a glimmer of myself when I started coming out of treatment. Let's hope it's a side effect of the treatment (steriods defintely a maybe) and that it is temporary. Keep us posted.

Judy in Key West

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Well...it's what most of us would think. Dad's cancer spread to his brain. They're doing a CT scan today to check everything else out and then will decide a course of treatment (if any) from there. Dad's not really even phased by my mom telling him that he needed to start Decadron ASAP yesterday (my Uncle picked up the Rx and brought it to him, while Mom was at work). The meds are supposed to help with any swelling in the brain, so that could help his time issues, for a bit, at least. I think it's more to help him, so that he can make some decisions about whether or not to pursue treatment.

He always says to do whatever to keep him alive, but no one wants him to suffer, either, so some tough decisions lie ahead...

I'm still surprised at how fast the cancer is spreading...he had brain scans, but not right away, after diagnosis, according to mom (he had the superior vena cava issues that were more pressing). He was only diagnosed in April 2008, so maybe, at most, it's been 6 mos. since his last brain scan.

I was hoping that Dad would be one of the small percent to kick this in the butt and live past the 5 year mark...now, I'm just hoping he has a decent quality of life before he leaves us. I know my hope was somewhat flawed...I've known all along that the treatments were just to alleviate symptoms and not supposed to be a cure. I think I just thought the cancer wouldn't be so aggressive.

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GardenLady, I'm saddened to read your post. My husband, in my opinion, had an aggressive form. The docs never said so, but it just seemed that way to me. My husband was also on decadron. I think it really helped him. I hope that is also true for your dad.

There's probably still several courses of treatment your dad can try that can beat back this beast and allow him quality of life.

I'm praying for you all, including wisdom for your treatment team.


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Garden Lady,

I lost my dad to SCLC this past October. SCLC is a very aggressive form of cancer. My dad lived for five months after diagnosis. My dad had a lot of memory issues. He was on pain meds from the time he was diagnosed until he passed away. At one point, we got sooo concerned with his altered state that we requested a brain MRI be done. The result: No cancer in the brain. There could have been microscopic cells tho.


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I'm sorry to hear this news. My mom had brain mets(3) at her dx. And they immediately started her on steroids, followed by radiation.

There was a noticeable improvement on the steroids mostly in her coordination, but her memory still lapsed (short-term memory) even when on steroids.

In y mom's case, she could remember long term event from years agos, but the short term she could not tell you what she just ate for dinner ten minutes ago. It was only after she had a craniotomy that her memory, short term came back.

Another thing, my mom's appetite increased dramatically when she was on steroids. It seemed like she was eating every hour on the hour. Also, if my memory is correct they will do blood tests to keep an eye on the steroid levels in the bloodstream.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time.


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My Mom was able to talk to the doctors after she got the results of the CT scan (she's a nurse and is able to get in touch with the docs easily at work) and found that Dad's prognosis is poor and the end will be quick. The doc cautiously told my Mom that Dad probably has about a month, without treatment. The doc is upset, b/c he knows that if my Dad pursues treatment, it might kill him just as fast (Dad's still trying to recover from radiation that ended two weeks ago), so radiation or not, the timeframe will be similar (if he had no brain mets, he would be on course for more chemo, since things are growing elsewhere, too). Also, Mom's friend, who reads the CT scans, etc., was helping her understand why Dad's symptoms are the way they are, showing her which spots the masses are in and how they affect the brain in the way that it causes the issues he's having. (She explained that time and coordination are affected, which explains why he seems strong in some ways, but weak in others). I'm glad that my mom is able to talk to people she knows at work and trusts their opinions and advice. It takes away some of the extra stress.

Luckily, the Decadron has helped enough that my Mom was able to have a very simple conversation with my Dad about treatment and he told her that he's not strong enough for any more radiation or chemo. right now. Sadly, I don't think he realizes exactly what that means, yet. I doubt she told him that the docs only give him another month or so. Also, Dad's the kind of guy that would just rather not know...he doesn't ask the questions or research to get answers...kind of a need-to-know person. Those closest to my Dad have all decided that we'd rather not have him suffer, and that's what treatment will do to him right now. Even though we know he just wants to live, we know he doesn't want to live in a way that he has a very low quality of life. He saw his Mom lose her fight to LC, when he was about my age, so he knows what to expect. And, I don't think it was lost on him when his Aunt passed last month, due to NSCLC, maybe 2 months after diagnosis (she was 86, and chose no treatment).

My sister is staying at my parents' this weekend (planned before we found out the test results) and I'll have her let me know how things are going and how fast I should fly out to stay with them. I'm numb, at the moment...I just didn't expect to hear that it could be that fast until the end for Dad. And, Mom's very clinical when she talks to me about Dad, usually, so when she was emotional talking to me about it yesterday, it really became real.

Thanks for listening...I know this is a long post...

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