Aggressive Cancer at 85. Please help!

My grandmother and I are quite close. Of all the times I’ve been sick she’s always been there to give me a lift - sending me nice cards, praying for me all the time, and sending me little news clips. She’s just the most wonderful person, and I love her dearly.

Well, a few years ago she had breast cancer. She had it removed but unfortunately a few cells had moved lymph nodes in her armpit. She had that all removed, and last year another lump was removed from her arm (same spot as before). She had narrow-band radiation treatments for 6 months and all looked good.

This week we found out she needed another lump removed. She had the surgery and we just found out it ended up being the size of a lemon and is an aggressive form of cancer.

Now 85 might sound old… but my grandmother is a spunky strong-willed person. She’s vibrant and full of life, I love talking to her and spending time with her (when I can). Plus she’s my last grandparent.

Have any of you through experience, had a loved one at this age go through aggressive chemotherapy? I don’t want to lose her, not just to be selfish, but she’s really been enoying life at the retirement home she’s at too. She has a lot to live for.

She lives in Port Huron, which is 200 miles from us, so we want to bring her here for treatment. There’s a larger more modern hospital and there’s more family directly around her here - if she decides she wants chemo.

Please any advice.
(I’m posting this on all the forums I visit because I desparately want some help and advice).

“Have any of you through experience, had a loved one at this age go through aggressive chemotherapy?”

Yes, my father. Though dude… she’s 85. I don’t want to sound harsh or anything… but if I got cancer at that age I’d say fuck the treatment and go bungy jumping.

PS here’s a picture of a kitten to cheer you up.

Thanks that is very cute :)

I’m sorry your Dad went through that. If she doesn’t get chemo - is there anythig to help keep her energy up and pain down from the cancer?

…I just haven’t had enough time with her :cry:

I was thinking of getting he this: would this depress her more than make her happy?

http://www.ftd.com/528/catalog/product.epl?product_id=C223

Details

Worries disappear with the “Worry Box®.” A special gift to lift the spirit of a friend or family member. Made of blue velour, it comes with three handspun crystal angels nestled in velvet, with an inspirational message silk screened onto the lid’s interior. Each angel has a halo plated with 18-karat gold and accented with 16 Swarovski crystals. It reads “This box is for your worries. The aches within your heart. A place to lock away your fears, where love and hope can start. So keep this box beside you, and know how much they care, for when you need peace and joy, the angels will be there.” Plays “Wind Beneath My Wings.” 5-1/2" wide X 4-3/4" long.

Your purchase includes a FREE personalized gift message.

Details

Worries disappear with the “Worry Box®.” A special gift to lift the spirit of a friend or family member. Made of blue velour, it comes with three handspun crystal angels nestled in velvet, with an inspirational message silk screened onto the lid’s interior. Each angel has a halo plated with 18-karat gold and accented with 16 Swarovski crystals. It reads “This box is for your worries. The aches within your heart. A place to lock away your fears, where love and hope can start. So keep this box beside you, and know how much they care, for when you need peace and joy, the angels will be there.” Plays “Wind Beneath My Wings.” 5-1/2" wide X 4-3/4" long.

Your purchase includes a FREE personalized gift message.

all a bunch of lies. and a free personalized gift message? just cheapen it a bit more, why dontcha.

Worry less about buying, more about helping her cope and spending time with her. Sorry, that sucks.

Pot ?

Also the box would be “sweet” … but if someone gave me that I don’t think it’d lift my spirits. Though eldery folk seem to really like stuff like that.

Get her a kitten and look after it for her… though this may involve her or you moving.

I’m with nutsak on this one. Get her a high-quality pharmaceutical grade vaporizer, a book of recipes, and a whole lot of marijuana. If all else fails, at least she’ll go out in a good mood.

Besides, there’s this, amongst other reports. She might even be cured! Gimme hallelujah!

The worry box is kinda cute. Girls love that stuff, especially the older ones. Include flowers.

I would be stunned if there was a reputable oncologist willing to recommend aggressive chemotherapy for an 85-year-old. At that age, the treatment does more damage and invites death more than the actual disease. She’s probably been told as much.

Tell her everything you want to tell her as soon as possible, and help make her last chapter a good one. It’s the best treatment available, I’m afraid.

If you haven’t had enough time with her, go and spend some more time with her. At her age, I’m sure that’s going to be more valuable to her than chemo.

Evidently, my grandfather holds the record for surviving the longest Chemotherapy treatment in America: 13 years.

He’s now in his 80’s, it’s been 20 years since the cancer vanished, and he’s just as crotchety, racist, and lovable as ever.

My only recommendation is to spend as much time as possible with your grandma, take lots of pictures, and teach her to use the Internet. The Wikipedia needs her.

She’s very strong. I decided to get her a “Get Well” teddy bear and a cute duck thats has my name and “Grandma” embroidered on it’s sweater. I’ll be going out to spend time with her as soon as she’s comfortable (probably after she’s made some kind of decision on what direction to take).

Naw, they gave my grandma radiation treatments when she got uterine cancer.

I think it’s pretty clear what you need to do.

My wife has cancer, so I’ve spent a fair amount of time at Dana Farber (the cancer treatment place in Boston).

One thing I’ve found is that there are a number of older folk getting some sort of treatment. I think most of them are getting relatively mild forms of chemotherapy, although I’ve met a few who’ve signed up for clinical trials, on the “at my age, what can it hurt?” theory.

So there may be options. OTOH, some people reach the point where they just want to say “screw it, let me just die in peace.”

Gav

Sean - that’s a very inspirational story. In fact it reminds me of a compulsive naure I have. Playing any computer baseball game, I felt i I ended my series of game-playing everything would be “ok”. If not, then everything might not. Strange thing for a Christian to do.

Gav - I’m very, very sorry to hear your wife is sick. I wish I could write something that would be more meaningful than to say my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Please forgive me if this is asking too much. But do you believe chemo can be done in a fashion that could extend a person’s life (maybe not fully rid the cancer, but slow or arrest it), so they could more fully enjoy their time?

I didn’t undergo chemo for my cancer, I was lucky enough to have a type that had a “silver bullet” therapy involving radiation. However, I’ve been doing a lot of research not just about my cancer but cancer in general.

For most forms of breast cancer chemo does well both in younger and in older patients. Studies I am looking at right now say that an otherwise healthy woman with positive lymph nodes and hormone receptor-positive breast cancer can be expected to live an average of 6 more years with effective chemotherapy.

If you know the exact form of breast cancer your grandmother is suffering from I would be more than happy to see what else I can find out for you. You could also try joining a breast cancer mailing list or board. All cancer boards are open not just to patients, but to their families as well, and usually have sections for helping friends and family cope.

Grandmas are great, and it sounds like you have a wonderful relationship with her. I hope for the best for both of you, and a swift recovery for her.

Thanks Angie. As soon as we get an answer from the pathologist I’ll take you up on that.

Sure. That’s what my wife’s been having–they know they can’t get rid of the tumors, but the chemo slows them down. The cancer’ll kill her, sooner or later, but she would’ve been dead a couple of years ago if she hadn’t had treatment.

OTOH, you’ve got to realize that many chemos are very rough on the recipient–she may enjoy her remaining time more if she doesn’t get chemo, but gets palliative care instead. It can be a tough call.

Gav

Wait , what? That fucking blows dude. :cry: . Sorry to hear that.

It’s her decision, and it will depend on her personality and outlook on life.