Topic: Trying to help aunt Who is 900 miles away


I've been reading the posts here and I finally have some hope for my 78 year old aunt who has cholangiocarcinoma. She lives in Florida, 900 miles away from me, and was diagnosed in January of 2008. In addition to the cancer, she fell and broke her hip at the end of July. She has mets to the left hip, but she broke her right hip. She had to be moved from her home to a rehabilitation center. She was receiving chemotherapy until she broke her hip.

It's been so frustrating trying to find out what her prognosis is. I made a trip to Florida and met with her oncologist, but was unable to get much information from him, although my Aunt signed a release of information form. All I have is her original diagnosis and her bone scan report.  According to what I have read on the internet, her changes are slim; however, since reading the wonderful posts here I realize that this cancer can be controlled through various therapies.

Right now we are trying to decide whether to leave her in Florida, or try to move her closer to me in Illinois. I think I would have a better opportunity to get more information from a doctor if she was closer. Oh, I forgot to mention, she also has moderate dementia so she becomes agitated easily. I don't want to do anything to upset her.

Thank you for providing much needed information about this disease.

2 (edited by JeffG Tue, 16 Sep 2008 18:54:11)

Re: Trying to help aunt Who is 900 miles away

Pegtucky.... I was in the same situation a few years ago with my mom.  She did not have cancer but parkinsons, dementia, amd she to fell and broke her hip.  Unless you are ready and fully understand the role of a caregiver, especially, of someone with dementia and a prognosis of terminal cancer; well I would really take a close look/review.  My Mom bless her heart is in a great nursing home and are having all her needs taking care of in a very professional manner.  We thought of moving her across the states to live with me or my sister and finally after talking with relatives and social workers and doctors, it was determine it would be in her best interest health and emotionally to stay where she grew up and still have contact with familiar surroundings and people.  Once you cut their roots of where their livelyhood is/was you are in my opinion taking away a an improtant part of their life and time again ,working in this field I have seen them debilate remarkabally fast.  It's like robbing them of the rest of there life.  Now saying this some elderly are ready for excitement and change and do very well.  But the caregiving part can be a full time situation in some cases, health, safety , appointsments, you name it.  If money is no object, and you can hire someone to assist, then the caregiver part is okay.  Then you have to think back to the other side of the coin.  Just my past observations and experience.  I hope your Aunt is doing as well as can be expected.  It is remarkable how fast you can recover from broken hips now a days.  A replacement joint and off they go walking around and doing therapy.  It's a nobel and ;loving thing your thinking of doing, all I'm saying is really take a good look at all the pros and cons and what is best for your Aunt firstly and then If you feel you could handle your end.  We correspond all the time and visit once or twice a year. Mutiply that by all her friends and other children and the activities she enjoys,and new friends she is quite a happy with the choice made.  Wish you the best of luck in your decsion making.  It's a tough one.  Oh, I did want to mention , we have complete immediate contact with my Mom ,nurses, and doctors when ever we want, that was a prerequsite for our family.

God Bless,
Jeff G.

Take it to the Limit,One More Time! (Eagles)

Re: Trying to help aunt Who is 900 miles away

Thank you so much for telling me about your experiences with your mother. One of my brothers wants to keep my Aunt in Florida so she can be in familiar surroundings. I agree, especially after reading your post, that that will be in my Aunt's best interests. The frustrating part is trying to make long distance decisions about her health, but we have been talking to the social worker on my Aunt's floor and she has been a big help.

Thanks again!