Cancer AND dementia

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
5,379
NW England
I realise this is a very emotive post for some but would be very grateful for any responses …..

Well, looks like worst nightmare is about to happen…… mum has been sent a ‘copy GP’ letter which confirms ‘nodules’ found which were previously giving little cause for concern now warrant investigation (lungs and diaphragm) - further details to follow when the consultant has discussed results of latest scan with radiologists etc etc…. (next scheduled appointment with said consultant is not ‘til 2nd October)….

Mum’s battles with cancer previously (pre-dementia) have always involved invasive surgery …. now I’m not sure she’s even well enough to cope with a biopsy….(they refused my dad years ago on the basis they wouldn’t be able to treat him anyway if cancer was confirmed) and having seen the effects of chemo and radiotherapy on family members in a far better general state of health than mum is now……I know I’m going into ‘panic mode’ … but fore-warned is fore-armed and all that?

On a purely practical note, given mum doesn’t hear / understand / remember 99% of what is said to her in consultations, where do I stand in terms of ‘consent’ for any investigations or treatments which are proposed?

Sorry to be so gloomy, Karen, x
 

Kayla

Registered User
May 14, 2006
621
Kent
Dear Karen,
I'm so sorry to hear your bad news about your mother. When my Mum broke her hip, I signed the operation consent form as next of kin, but the doctor seemed to be very anxious to get Mum to sign on her own behalf as well. As her signature is virtually unreadable, I had to sign that I'd seen her sign as too. I don't really think she understood what was going on.
The hospital wouldn't do an investigation on my MIL earlier this year because she was too ill and frail and did not have the strength to recover from it.
I will be thinking of you all. Take care,
Kayla
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
Oh Karen, you poor thing. I have no idea whether they will suggest treatment, but I suspect not. I assume this is cancer that has metastitized from the original site?

Although your wishes should be taken into account, and they probably will be, I believe that legally, they don't have to be. That's one of the things the new Lasting Power of Attorney addresses - nominating someone to make care (as opposed to simply financial) decisions for you.

Speaking purely from a personal view, if it was my Mother, I would investigate if there was anything that could be done from a medical (rather than a surgical) viewpoint even before a proposed biopsy. The medical profession have a tendancy to want to know what they are dealing with first, and then tell you there's nothing they can do (even though statistically, they know what it's going to be before they operate).

On a practical note, you may well find that with a diagnosis of cancer, MUCH more help will be forthcoming - unfair, but true.

I hope I've made sense - I'm a bit muzzy today

Jennifer
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
I'm so sorry Karen and wish there was something I could say.

As far as consent goes, when my mum needed an operation after she broke her hip I thought it would be an issue and I also half expected them to say that they didn't want to do the operation. However, nobody had to sign for the operation and, although we were asked questions about her general health and quality of life, there was never a question of them not performing the operation. Obviously in different circumstances the doctors and ourselves might have felt differently. I only hope that it's not a decision I ever have to participate in.
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,436
66
Toronto, Canada
Caught between a rock & a hard place

Dear Karen,
What a place for you to be! The closest we've been is to decide not have my mother's cataracts removed.

My feeling is that I would say no to any invasive treatments or surgeries. Anything that can cause pain and/or confusion is a no-no in my books. I would not want to save my mother from cancer only to have her die from starvation 2 or 3 years on. I personally hope for a masssive heart attack but we take what we are given in this world and make the most of it.

I don't know where you stand legally (since I'm in Canada) but my sister & I have both personal and financial power of attorneys so our decision is what counts.

I have always found your posts encouraging, giving me something to think about and humourous. I'm with you in spirit & here's a big {{{{{{HUG }}}}}}}.

Joanne
 

BeckyJan

Registered User
Nov 28, 2005
18,972
Derbyshire
Oh heck what a terrible predicament for you. I am not sure where you stand with 'consent' but surely the hospital 'social worker' or GP or someone in the medical area will help you. WHATEVER we all know here that you are doing your utmost and that is all you can do. Best wishes Beckyjan
 

mel

Registered User
Apr 30, 2006
1,656
63
Sheffield
Hi Karen
i'm sorry but I have no advice to give
just want to give you my love and support
love and big hugs x
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
Sorry to read what is happening to your mother .
Found this for you on the AZ Site

Lasting powers of attorney

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 has made provision for people to choose someone to manage not only their finances and property should they become incapable, but also to make health and welfare decisions on their behalf. They will be able to do this through a lasting power of attorney (LPA). LPAs will replace EPAs in 2007, when the Mental Capacity Act comes into force, although EPAs made before this time will still be valid

http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/After_diagnosis/Sorting_out_your_money/info_epa.htm

Ps I was wondering who has the EPAs for your mother ?
 
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Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
5,379
NW England
Thanks all

I think I am still reeling from the fact I have discovered this in a letter!!!!

(Forget I am cross that I thought I had managed to arrange for all correspondence from the hospital to be sent to mum, c/o me - primarily to ensure she can't 'misplace' the letters and miss appointments as she has so often in the past before we realised quite what was happening....)

(Forget I am cross at the number of appointments I have attended to simply be told 'all clear' - Whhhaaat? Have we made this huge effort to be told that? Couldn't THAT have been done by letter???)

I'm reeling because I have been so angry (and proud) that she has 'beaten' so many cancers to be 'presented with' dementia ... I am questioning all I have thought about ... well, you know....

Margarita, the LPA seems wonderful in principle, and maybe that is what is scaring me ... even if that were in place here and now, I don't know enough to make any informed choices ....

All I will remember of today is mum passing me an envelope and saying 'I think this is bad news'...... and one day I will stop beating myself up for being away and not there for her when that b**t**d letter arrived.....

God, why does it hurt so much to love someone?

Answers on a postcard, thank you....
 

rummy

Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
700
Oklahoma,USA
Dear TF,
I am so sorry for what you are going through. I hope your Mom will be comfortable and that you will have many valued and memorable days with her.
Take care and God bless.
Debbie
 

Kriss

Registered User
May 20, 2004
513
Shropshire
So sorry to hear what you are now facing. I can't offer any advice from a like experience but I do know that hospitals are not the best places for dementia sufferers however long or short the stay.

Thinking of you
Kriss
x
 

bernie

Registered User
Jul 28, 2005
52
south london
it is very hard for patients with dementia and cancer/any hospital treatment.

my mum had an opertation for bowel cancer, but she had a heart attack after the operation which she died from.

It was an incredible strain on her being in hospital, not knowing where she was and trying to go home. asking anybody that came in to take her home, I'm sure this is what lead to her having the heart attack.

As far as I am aware if a patient can't give informed consent then the doctors will act in what they feel to be the patients best interest. I as next of kin did not have to sign any consent forms, If I had objected to the course of action the hospital was taking, I don't know what I would have had to have done to stop it.
 

Helena

Registered User
May 24, 2006
715
Tender Face

So sorry to hear of this furthur assault on your emotions at a time when just coping is hard enough .

I guess if it was me I would not want her messed around with by the doctors any furthur and simply let nature take its course
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
As an out side person looking in what your saying its easy for me to say this to you ,but maybe it was meant to be that you went on holiday when the letter arrived, because you had a week out to recharge you mind body soul even if it does not feel like that now if you understand what I mean.

I must say I agree with Helena when she says
I guess if it was me I would not want her messed around with by the doctors any furthur and simply let nature take its course
I am sure if you ask the doctor surgeon what are the odds of your mother surviving after an operation they advice you as I had a Uncle who had cancer in the stomach he was 75 when told he had cancer also had VD they said it was best not operate. he lived to 88, my father died in 02 he came to my dad funeral(sp) was in the first car with me last words he said to me was I am not scared of dieing 2 weeks later he died . Not sure why I am saying this but I thought, I tell you anyway ((((Hug)))
 

Lucille

Registered User
Sep 10, 2005
542
Tender Face said:
All I will remember of today is mum passing me an envelope and saying 'I think this is bad news'...... and one day I will stop beating myself up for being away and not there for her when that b**t**d letter arrived.....

God, why does it hurt so much to love someone?

Answers on a postcard, thank you....

Hi Karen

'Fraid I haven't got the answer for you but you have been there for your mum so many times and YOU are entitled to have a break. Know it's impossible not to feel guilty because you weren't there when the letter arrived, but you've done everything you can to get the post sent to you ... what else could you have done? As Connie said, you've offered so much support to everyone here and I include me in that, so now it's your turn! Although I haven't the answer in terms of your decision about your mum's care with her treatment, just to let you know am thinking about you and am sending a fellow northerner a chin up lass greeting. Take care.

PS: It hurts so much to love someone BECAUSE you love someone so much!
 

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
5,379
NW England
You are all such a lovely lot!!!!

So how come every time I stop crying and dip into TP my eyes keep getting redder and sorer???:p Do what I do at times like this - scribbled a poem and posted it....

Mum seems to have forgotten 'the letter' ... came away from taking her lunch today only to be rung 10 minutes later to be told what she was watching on TV.... suddenly, it was important!!!! (Actually, it's fantastic - she could tell me which channel she was watching!!!!)

Today she's amazed about going for her CT brain scan next week - because her stomach has been so much better recently.......:eek:

I can't quite take in all that has been posted here ... bit of a mess today if truth be told but I really appreciate all your thoughts and opinions .... and will mull over them, as I do... just don't know where I'd be without TP.....

Thanks again, all......

Love, Karen, x
 

BeckyJan

Registered User
Nov 28, 2005
18,972
Derbyshire
Karen: Hope you are feeling a little better by now. The poem was great. All I am thinking is 'take a day at a time' - not sure if that helps. I know how you feel when 'in a muddle' - but just hope TP helps. Thinking about you. Best wishes Beckyjan