Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sad tonite

I was getting ready to head to work when my brother called me, to relay the information that my Aunt Judy, who was diagnosed with Lung Cancer last winter, is in the hospital.  She had recently undergone her second Gamma Knife radiation treatment for tumors in her brain.  At this point, they don't seem to be sure as to what is really happening or why, but....she has numerous dementia symptoms suddenly.  She doesn't recognize my uncle or their children, she is very confused.  She can't move her right arm at all, and seems to be blind, too.

The saddest thing is that all the tests that the hospital have done so far show good things physically:  No tumors are currently detectable in her brain at all.  The tumors in her body continue to shrink and no new ones have appeared (She has been taking Tamoxifen, which has been shown to extend the life of lung cancer patients).  Her heart is good, her bloodwork looks good too.  Just her brain isn't ok.

From what I can find on the internet, dementia is a very rare side effect of the Gamma Knife procedure.  Based on what I know about my mom, I'm also wondering if the dementia was already starting, and was just "helped along" by the procedure....but if that was the case, why did there not appear to be any dementia following the first procedure she had in January?  Regardless, things do not look good.

My uncle is thinking that if she does not regain any of her abilities, she may have to be moved to a nursing home or a hospice house.  And his heart is breaking.  And, since this aunt and uncle are probably my most favorite relatives in the universe, except for my mom....well, I'm really sad, too.

I am hoping that it's a temporary setback.  But I knew from the "get-go" that the prognosis for Stage 4 lung cancer was not good.  I guess, since my dad died of lung cancer, I kind of had an idea how things would go....of course, that's like saying that since my mom has Alzheimer's, I know how other Alzheimer's patients will present.....but you know, you try to cling to what's familiar to you, and my dad is/was my sole experience with lung cancer.  And he had brain tumors too, but of course in the 1980's, they didn't have the Gamma Knife radiation, or any of the fancy scans that they have these days.  So it's really like comparing apples to oranges, but I keep doing it.....

Anyhow, if you are a praying type of person, and feel like saying a little prayer for my Aunt Judy and my Uncle Neil, I would greatly appreciate it, and probably they would, too.


Anonymous said...

I have struggled with cancer as a caregiver and now as a patient myself. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
- Daisy