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I need some help. Desperate for it actually. I am 18 years old and I am currently living with my Grandma helping take care of her because she's just been diagnosed with cancer. But I have no idea what to believe since we get told different things all the time.
First, she got the call from her family doctor to come in. The doc looked at my Grandma and said "Sharon, it's bad news." and she replied with "Do I have bone cancer?" (she must have had an idea). And he answered with "Yes. And lung, and liver cancer".
I believe this cancer metastasized from her breast cancer, which she had and thought was gone 6 years ago. The breast cancer was estrogen induced and I am going to mention my Grandma smokes like a chain, still even after breast cancer AND learning she has lung cancer, she can't quit. She's been smoking for 50 years. But the nurse at the cancer hospital told her to not even try to quit for a few weeks since it's going to be stressful. I am thinking what she means is "don't bother quitting because you won't live anyways."
Here's where our confusion comes in. After her family doctor told her she basically has cancer all over her body, we went to see the oncologist and he performed a physical on my grandma. I was present in the room so I could hear what he said, since my grandma isn't thinking clear and also tends to twists things the doctors say.
To my surprise, the doctor says nothing about the bone cancer, stating that the "bone scan looks clear". He even went on to say "lungs sound okay" after listening to them. I don't understand how the lungs of a woman who has been smoking for 50 years sounds "okay". All I want is the truth, because now my Grandma is under the impression that her family doctor lied to her; that she doesn't have bone or lung cancer just a tiny mass on her liver. The doctor said it was very small. The doctor was generally vague, and I am wondering if he's just being optimistic because she doesn't have much time.
She is doing treatments of chemo, she's had 1 already. But the doctor described this as very light chemo, she won't even lose her hair and she can even drive herself to her chemo. It only lasts a bit over an hour. Is this palliative care? I can't tell if it is or not and was wondering if anyone knew.
Also, my Grandma has been getting progressively worse. Her ankles have swollen, and she can barely walk which I hear is a symptom of liver cancer. She is in so much pain she can barely get into bed, it's getting worse and worse. When she's sitting on the couch watching tv she will just randomly pass out all the time. In fact, as I type this I can see her head slouched, she has fallen asleep again. She does this on and off all day, and has been eating less and less.
If it's as bad as it seems, why haven't the doctors taken her into hospice? Why won't they talk about the lung or bone cancer? My reasoning is that since liver cancer is the worst, they are focusing on that since that's what's going to kill her first.
So if anyone can answer my question; is the light, non-hair loss chemo she is receiving palliative? Why did her family doctor say she has bone, liver and lung cancer yet the oncologist says nothing about the bone or lung cancer? Do her symptoms, swollen ankle, can't bend over, sore mid-section, loss of appetite and randomly sleeping on and off all day suggest that she's in the last stages? Should she be admitted into a hospital? She won't admit she's doing as bad as she is, for example today she still got in the car to pick me up, even though I could have easily taken a cab.
I just hate this not knowing, I know doctors are vague and optimistic but I would just like to know a bit more then I do. At least not be confused.
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