Topic: How Does Dad Make the Decision to Stop Treatment?
As I mentioned on the Introductions Board, I'm new to these forums. Everyone has been so supportive and helpful.
To review, my my 85-year-old dad was diagnosed with CC about five years ago. With radiation and a surgical resect, he was able to overcome it and live a normal life. In January of this year, it came back with a vengeance, and at stage iv, has mets to liver and spleen, with abdominal skin lesions. He underwent a few rounds of chemo, which stalled the growth for a little while, but is no longer of any help. In return, he has become very ill, was hospitalized with pneumonia, is on oxygen, having breathing difficulty, very anemic, has weekly blood transfusions, and needed to have fluid drained from his lungs. The liver is no longer functioning well and he is accumulating fluid. He has weakened to the point where he has no strength whatsover to get himself out of bed or even turn or sit up. PT and OT have been unsuccessful. The good news is he still has a good appetite, and is not in any pain. He has reached the point where they will be discharging him to a nursing home within the next few days, and hospice will become involved.
He now needs to make a decision to either continue with weekly blood transfusions, fluid draining, and any other treatment issues that arise, which will require him to be transported by ambulance back and forth to the hospital, or, in the alternative, to let the disease run its course naturally as comfortable as possible. If he ends treatment, the doctors give him "weeks". If he continues with blood transfusions and fluid draining, he may gain a little more time. Either way, the cancer will take him at some point. He is having an incredible amount of difficulty making this decision. We, his family, want to help him in his decision but don't want to sway him one way or another with our own personal beliefs (i.e. to let the disease run its course). We will support him no matter what he decides.
His mindset changes daily, like the wind. One day he'll say I've had enough, the next he says he's not going without a fight.
I was hoping we'd have some kind of plan in mind when he's discharged from the hospital, but it looks like we'll have to take it a day at a time.
I am consumed with this, and I'm mentally exhausted. Any thoughts on this difficult subject would be greatly appreciated.