My MIL was diagnosed with rectal cancer about 5 years ago. While they were examining her they also found that she had breast cancer. HRPR+ HER2- (she suspected she had both for about a year and never told anyone) The breast cancer is totally unrelated to the rectal cancer. She had a surgery, radiation, and chemo for the rectal cancer, which she did really well with, and then they advised she start treating the breast cancer after a six month rest from the treatments she had just finished.
Fast forward to THREE YEARS LATER, Feb of 2010, she finally had a double mastectomy and chemo. Her breast was necrotic, and had been for quite some time. It smelled horrible and bled profusely at the slightest touch. All this while living with my husband and I, and our son, who was born in 2008. (She was taking my son's diapers and lining her bra with them to absorb the liquids.) This is a woman who never had a colonoscopy or mammogram prior to her diagnoses. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. Obviously, I am very frustrated as we are living with and trying to help a person who does very little to care for herself. She and I play a game of adding and removing me, my husband, and her daughter from her HIPAA forms, as I have told her that it is not fair or acceptable for her to live with us if she is not going to keep us apprised of her health, for the safety of my son. She recently (about 6 months ago) became very confused and we took her to the hospital. They believed she was having a stroke, and they admitted her to the neurology floor. It wasn't until I asked them to check her calcium, sodium, and potassium levels that they figured out that she had extensive bone mets and the calcium was leeching out into her blood stream. She is now on Zometa monthly, and her marker has gone from 23.9 to 13.1 (I'm back on the HIPAA...). Her blood pressure is more of a concern at this point than her cancer, as she is responding well to the Zometa. She has actually responded well to everything they have done. Each time some doc tells us to encourage her to get her affairs in order and look into hospice, she surprises everyone and beats each new obstacle. She eats like The Fly: a 12pk of Pepsi and as much sugar and junk food as possible each day; she seems to do everything you are not supposed to do and it still keeps working out for her. I suggested to my husband that she move in with us when she was first diagnosed so that he could spend whatever time she has, with him and our son. It was a very uncomfortable situation, and remains that way. So, it looks like with all of the wonderful advances with treatments and medications, that this is really being treated as more of a chronic condition. My question is: Has anyone been in this situation? Would it be wrong of me to suggest she get her own place and a car? (We are very tired of Driving Miss Daisy) If I sound bitter, I'm not. I am just very tired of the situation and we have a very small house. Did I mention she was a hoarder prior to moving in with us, and very rarely washes her hands after attending to her ostomy? It breaks my heart to see what so many people go through, doing everything right, and they still lose their loved one to this horrible disease. Life is definitely not fair! I am happy that she is doing so well cancer-wise, I just need for her to do it in her own place. Any suggestions or advice? Thanks for letting me vent! Sorry so long!