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Lahnlaw
@lahnlaw

Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 29, 2017

Brain Tumor Presumed to Result from Lung Cancer - Is There Any Hope?

Posted by @lahnlaw, Jun 29, 2017

My father-in-law, age 83, WAS a spry ole’ coot. He took a fall a week ago and hit his head, for which we promptly insisted he go to the ER to be checked out. While doing so, they discovered a 3.5 x 1.5 tumor in the occipital region of the brain, with 10-12 smaller “spots” on the brain. They knew he was a smoker, so decided to get a chest X-ray and sure enough, saw a region of the left lung with abnormalities. We transferred him from the small local hospital to the U of M for assessment, and were basically told to take him home to die. They set up hospice. That feels like giving up to us. So we are scheduled to visit Mayo on Monday morning, ever hopeful and trying to stay positive. We just couldn’t “throw in the towel” on Gramps, but I am scared that Mayo will tell us the same thing, and then what will we do? Should we be hopeful, or are we just kidding ourselves. We don’t want to put Gramps through biopsies, radiation, possible surgery and all of the fallout from that, if the end result is the same… go home to die. But we don’t want to not do something, if there is something to be done, that will give him more time with family and friends. He isn’t ready to die yet… he is ready to fight. We hope we have made the right choice in kicking Hospice to the curb, and scheduling that appointment at Mayo. I sure would appreciate any feedback that someone may wish to share. Gramps had his 83rd birthday yesterday. It wasn’t a very Happy one, this time.

REPLY

Hello @lahnlaw Nice to e-meet you here. I am Scott and I will start by saying I sympathize with your concerns about your gramps. I was the primary caregiver for my wife while she fought brain cancer for 14+ years. She, too, got her second opinion at Mayo after her initial diagnosis at the Northwestern University Hospitals in Chicago when she was 49..

While I do not know anything more than what you posted here I will share just a couple of thoughts based on my experiences with my wife.

First, do not ever lose hope.

Second, do not think of hospice as ‘throwing in the towel’. My wife was in home hospice care (after her Mayo neuro-oncologist prescribed it) for 14 months, when they thought she wouldn’t live 5. It was wonderful, patient-centered care that far, far, far exceeded any of her prior care from her local GP. It gave her confidence, support, quicker adjustments, and as I said true patient-centered care.

Third, be sure you talk though any and all major decision points with your grandpa if those haven’t already been addressed — final wishes,
living will, POA, etc. They were tough talks for my wife and I to have, but in the end it greatly helped her and our family members.

Please feel free to ask any questions you might have — and remember you are not alone in this journey even though it often feels like it.

Peace & strength!

@IndianaScott

Hello @lahnlaw Nice to e-meet you here. I am Scott and I will start by saying I sympathize with your concerns about your gramps. I was the primary caregiver for my wife while she fought brain cancer for 14+ years. She, too, got her second opinion at Mayo after her initial diagnosis at the Northwestern University Hospitals in Chicago when she was 49..

While I do not know anything more than what you posted here I will share just a couple of thoughts based on my experiences with my wife.

First, do not ever lose hope.

Second, do not think of hospice as ‘throwing in the towel’. My wife was in home hospice care (after her Mayo neuro-oncologist prescribed it) for 14 months, when they thought she wouldn’t live 5. It was wonderful, patient-centered care that far, far, far exceeded any of her prior care from her local GP. It gave her confidence, support, quicker adjustments, and as I said true patient-centered care.

Third, be sure you talk though any and all major decision points with your grandpa if those haven’t already been addressed — final wishes,
living will, POA, etc. They were tough talks for my wife and I to have, but in the end it greatly helped her and our family members.

Please feel free to ask any questions you might have — and remember you are not alone in this journey even though it often feels like it.

Peace & strength!

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Thanks Scott. I appreciate your reply and your encouraging words. It has been a tough week, but I am sure we have tougher ones ahead. I must continue to remember that this is not in my hands and that I am powerless when it comes to determining or directing the outcome. However, I will remain hopeful and positive, and pray that my family can do the same. All the best to you.

Hi, Lahnlaw, thirty-eight years ago my cardiologist told my wife that I would not live through the night. Then, over the next few years ago others have told her that at least a dozen times. Now, this note is not trying to say that your man will not die. Someday he will. But in the meantime there is a lot you can do. Now I am facing a fatal disease that usually kills within a couple years, perhaps even a couple weeks. That is a bummer. But in the meantime, I am gonna do the same thing for this new disease (amyloidosis) I have done for the others (cancers, infections, heart failure, rheumatic fever, polymyalgia). That is, I will study everything I can about it. I watch the videos from Mayo and the other clinics. I read pamphlets, and internet articles and medical journals. I spent 220 dollars on the gold standard book by the experts. I write down every medical note every day. Glucose, BP, O2 rate, pulse, weight. cardiac data and trends. etc. etc. I could die this morning, and I am ready to go if I must. But I will not go gentle into that good night. And your family can do the same thing. Keep he clean and comfortable. Well-fed and PROPERLY medicated. Read to him. You get the idea. Even if he cannot do these things for himself, the family can do them for him. Will he live another 38 years? probably not. But you will be able to look back and be satisfied that you learned what you should do, and that you did what was right to make is life as good as possible.

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