Very disappointing results from the CT scan. The cancer has spread to Mom's lungs and liver. It has not diminished in her bones. The Taxol is not working.
Dr. C offered two courses of action moving forward: 1. a different chemotherapy drug (the name of which we can't remember right now) to be administered once a month, and 2. not continue with treatment. When he mentioned option #2, Mom yelped like she'd been pinched, "you mean just give up?" He didn't concede giving up, but talked instead about quality of life and how sometimes that's more beneficial than continuing treatment.
My biggest fear is that the chemo ends up shortening her life more than the cancer would. Between the nausea, fatigue, weakness and stomach upset that chemo brings and the speed of the cancer's spread, I don't know which is the better choice. I'm glad it's not my choice to make.
Mom cried the rest of the day. Dad and I took turns wrapped around her in bed, trying to hold the shaking and feeling helpless. This is the most upset I've seen my mom. Hearing the doctor say that a viable option is doing nothing shook her. She wasn't prepared for that answer. And I don't think she's prepared to accept that option, at least right now. She wants to research the proposed drug as much as possible (we're finding out the name tomorrow!), see if people have had any luck with it and see what side effects she's in for. But as of now, without any of that information, that's the route she seems to want to take.
We also had a visit from a social worker today who went over the different going home options. Basically, we have two benefits to choose from: palliative care, which is what we qualify for as long as Mom is having chemo, or hospice, which is what we qualify for if Mom isn't receiving chemo. The hospice benefits are far more inclusive than palliative care, which makes sense. At this point, she's thinking that she'd like to go home on a pass for a day or two and see how it goes. How it feels, what she needs, if it's scary...paying out of pocket for the Kline isn't sustainable for much longer, but we all need to evaluate the other options. Home would be great if it feels safe and comfortable and meals can be taken care of. But we have to see how that feels. There's definitely a level of comfort about being at kgh, where nurses are steps away, medications are distributed at regular intervals and meals are prepared. But the thought of both of my parents able to sleep at home, my dad in a real bed, without the constant whir of an IV, or someone disturbing them to check vital signs, or a neighboring resident's TV on level 11...I hope they'll be able to make the move soon.