About ten days ago my Gram was diagnosed with a cancerous melanoma on her face. In all honesty, we had been expecting this diagnosis. When I was down for a visit in April she’s had a fever blister type of spot on her face, and when it wasn’t healing we knew.
My dad took her to the doctor on Tuesday to have the tumor removed. He said they had to go pretty deep and they took a lot of tissue out of her. There will be a few radiation treatments to make sure they were able to get all that spot, but there are other spots on her body that will need to be biopsied and will most likely need to be removed. They will also have to do additional blood work to determine if the cancer has spread to her stomach and/or liver. As of April it had not, but the tumor had not ruptured at that point.
Chemo is an option that’s on the table as well. As a family, I think we’ve decided that we’re not going to go that route with her, simply because of all the horrible side effects. In discussing it with her doctor, she stated that because of her age, chemo will not prolong her life; all it will do at this point is keep the cancer from spreading rapidly. She also stated that if it were her mother, she would opt out of chemo treatments for quality of life purposes.
Gram on the other hand still really hasn’t grasped that concept that she has cancer. At this point, I’m not sure if the Alzheimer’s is a blessing or a curse. Every day with her is a gamble. When Dad took her into the doctor on Tuesday to have the tumor removed, she was so mad at him because in her mind that was the first time she was even told she had cancer. Her personality has changed so much in the last year that we don’t even know her anymore. One day she’s as sweet and trusting as a child, and the next day she’s a dragon lady.
Her stitches come out next Thursday, and the radiation begins that day as well. At this point, we’re leaving things in the Lord’s hands, which is all we can do. Gram is going to be 89 years old next month. She’s lived a good, full, long life, and she has Alzheimer’s disease now. If the cancer doesn’t kill her, putting her in a nursing home will. Either way, we’re going to lose.
Man, I really hate cancer!