Friday, February 19, 2016

Decision for Hospice Care

Latest update on Lisa. Her brain tumor has been growing rapidly and hasn't been slowing down despite chemotherapy and radiation. Her doctors gathered together Wednesday to discuss her case as a tumor board at Huntsman Cancer Center in Salt Lake City. I spoke with her radiologist and oncologist on the phone last night, and given how advanced and how aggressive her tumor is we have unanimously decided to discontinue her treatment and to pursue home hospice care. At this point it is the most humane approach for her. To be honest, this decision was quite the relief for me and has brought both Lisa and myself much peace. It still is heartbreaking and tear jerking, but comforting to know that we won't be putting her through needless suffering and misery.
To explain the rationale behind our decision, we discussed Lisa's quality of life. Currently she has no short term memory. She can't remember things from 30 seconds ago at times. Her long term memory is beginning to fade. She is unaware of what day it is or what time it is most moments throughout the day. She is struggling physically. She needs someone to help her balance when she is walking around. I have to dress her and bathe her. She struggles badly to follow simple instructions as her brain can't relay the signal to her body.
Her doctors all agree at this point that it is very unlikely that she will ever fully regain her memory or physical capabilities even if she responded really well to radiation. Also, even if radiation is successful, she will still die within a matter of months. That knowledge causes me to ask why we would put her through the hell of radiation just to prolong her life by a few more months merely to keep her alive at her currently lousy quality of life.
Also, most brain tumor patients don't undergo three rounds of radiation. The successful cases of people who underwent the Rambo trial that she was on were with individuals who had much smaller tumors and were typically receiving their second round of radiation. Lisa really struggled to finish her second round of radiation a year ago. It was really brutal on her. It would undoubtedly be worse this go around considering that her tumor is much bigger and she isn't as healthy as she was a year ago. The treatments this time around were already beginning to bother Lisa. In her moments of clarity she was beginning to complain about them and dreaded her daily visits.
Her doctors anticipate that she will pass away anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months from now. Most likely sooner rather than later. The good news is that she won't be in pain. Home hospice care will help her be comfortable and we will get to be with her.
I can say that we have positively felt the strength and peace that comes from the Spirit of the Lord thanks to all of your prayers. I rejoice in our belief that Lisa and I will be together again after death thanks to the atonement of our savior Jesus Christ. I have decided that instead of having an attitude of 'why me' or a feeling of being robbed of many years with my wife, I would instead be grateful for the wonderful time we have had. We truly have had an amazing 14 years since we first met in 2002 in Chicago. So I will hold my head high knowing that Lisa has lived life to the fullest and we will relish these last weeks we have together.


Jared + Carly Reid said...

We love you guys.

CAP said...

My thoughts are with you.