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My MIL had rectal bleeding took her to the doctor yesterday and after a rectal exam the doctor found a large mass that he said he was pretty sure was cancer. She has an appointment tomorrow for a biopsy. She is in pretty good health especially for 90. I am hoping if it is cancer the doctor will give my husband the right advice for treatment. My husband's mother unlike my mom has always been pretty healthy. She was just in the hospital about a month ago for the first time since my husband was born and he is 60 for a blood clot in her lung they put her on blood thinners and also a statin drug that is the only medication she takes. Her short term memory is not good at all, but she still piddles in the yard (she lives next door to us) and is very pleasant all the time. My husband thinks since she is still active that surgery should be an option I on the other hand think that quality time is important and have seen with my on mom that the healing process is hard on the elderly and I found with my mom that every surgery took more away.

Any experiences from you guys with surgery at 90 ? I know I am assuming the worst but the doctor seemed pretty positive by the size and feel of the mass and he did schedule the biopsy quick.

My mom is still in the NH cannot walk her mind is going at a rapid rate I would not wish that on anyone. My experience and perception is very different from my husbands, but I do know it is their decision or his I am not sure how much his mom retains when told.

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You said that she is on a statin drug? Has anyone talked to her dr about discontinuing itif she has memory issues?
The odds in to doing her any good at her age are very small, and the correlation with memory deficits is large.
Worth a try.
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Update: My MIL just finished her 4th week of treatment and has 3 more weeks to go. She so far has done well. She is starting to get tired and her appetite has diminished some. Will be glad when she is finished. They think the treatments will get rid of it completely or at least out patient surgery. So will keep you updated.
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Update :
My husband is taking my MIL for consults with the radiologist an chemotherapist today and tomorrow. They want to do 5 weeks of chemo in pill form, then radiation. The only other option would be surgery and a colostomy bag which she flatly refuses to do. Without the treatment the tumor will grow larger cause blockage and pain. Praying that being the chemo is only for 5 weeks a pill in the morning and one in the evening and that it will not be too bad. Praying for peace for my husband who loves his mom very much and is a great son. He is very realistic about her health, but the doctors assured him this is the best treatment for her.
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I do not totally disagree, but the final decision is my husband's since it is his mom. I have made the decision to not get involved with it because it just causes him more stress. He wants to do what is best in his mind for her. The doctor's all encourage him and it really makes me sad for them both because he just wants what is best for her and depends on the medical professional to tell him just what that is. I have found with "my" mom that I know her better than anyone, but I have been through so much with her it has made me really probably over cautious. Both of us being only children and decision makers is really difficult. I pray for the right information to get to him and help him make the right decision for them both.
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Why prolong a life if you have to cut short the quality of an elderly person's life. I had to make that decision on behalf of my mother. My mother passed away peacefully with her dignity and quality of life still intact, the way she wanted.
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They have decided on a low dose chemotherapy and radiation. I am glad it is not my decision and I pray for my husband to make the correct decision. Right now he wants her to have the treatment. Myself, having gone through all I have gone through with my mom I would go for the cancer outlasting her, but again it is not my mom and I am not her caregiver. His mother is in good health for her age the cancer has not spread pass the growth itself which is large. She does have dementia but I will say all is right in her world. My mom's health has been so bad for so long and she has never been happy so my outlook is not normal. Keep my husband and mil in your thoughts and prayers for the right decisions to be made.
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Having twin daughters in nursing, one hospice and the other ICU trauma, the doctor will most likely tell you it is up to you to decide. Why? Because she/he has to. Most would love to tell you don't do it. But they have to try and save a patient.

Your mom is 90. My neighbor has an 87 year old mom with Alzheimer's and cancer. She was just fine a few months ago. But she isn't now. They were too face with the decision to treat the cancer but decided not to.

I would not want to have to make this decision. But I would not put my mom through the treatment and surgery to give her another year of life. Sometimes it is quality not quantity. God bless you.
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Terrific news, lot's to be thankful for this holiday! Enjoy every moment with your elders.
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What great news! So glad you let us know! Have lovely holidays with your family.
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Good news, the cancer has not spread the only growth is in her rectum and they think they can get rid of it with a few radiation treatments or at least shrink it so removal would be outpatient...so great news for my MIL and us ;-)
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I would not put my mother through this. In fact, at the age of 91, her own doctor has said she doesn't need colonoscopy screenings anymore. They are just too much! Given her state of mind, I've decided not to do anymore to interfere with the natural processes of the body.

Nature keeps trying to do it's job, Man keeps thinking he can beat Nature. In the end, Nature wins all the time.
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I have found it useful in dealing with my 90 year old mom (with vascular dementia and chf), asking doctors, "what would you do if this was your parent?". " Keep her comfortable and happy" is the answer we usually get.
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If it were me, I would read up on medical marijuana and the success at shrinking tumors. You can find a lot of info on Facebook.
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The MRI (was repeated due to the first one not being clear) and the CT scan was done. They have set an appointment to go over the results yet. I am up to my elbows right now with my mom and my husband is her POA. I am just praying his decisions will be from his head and not his heart. I will stand right beside him in whatever. I am basically as of today decided I am losing my mind anyway........Thank you for all your answers you guys are always the best
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I see it from both of your sides but I think you need to tell your husband that this is his call and you will support him in whatever he decides....that is unless his mother has a Trust or Health Care Directives where she has stated what she wishes to do. He may want to discuss this with her as well if she is of sound mind. She may flat out say "No I do not want any type of surgery" and then you have the answer.

My mother had dementia and it is my understanding that every surgery causes some cognitive decline. My mother sworn her entire life that every surgery she underwent took away a piece of her mental abilities and she said she never felt like she gained it back.

You understand what his mother is facing because you experience it with your mother currently. He is not seeing it, what he sees is losing his mother, which he will eventually, but he does not want to do it now. This is a hard decision to make because she is in relatively good health now but that will not always be the case. I think he needs to talk to the doctor about pros and cons, talk to his mother and talk to all siblings, there needs to be a consensus among everyone.

Who is her POA? Putting the Directives into action can be painful but they are your MIL's wishes. When they pass away due to whatever the illness may be, you still feel guilty, but if you have everyone on the same page, it makes it all so much easier.

God Bless You All!
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In my Mother's case, it is making a difference that she has dementia. You say her mind is going. It seems to take the ability to see beyond the operation to a better state of health to be motivated through the surgery. This my Mother cannot conceive - for her its about the moment. My Brother as a doctor is exploring every surgical option, getting opinions from across Canada and the US - and trying to convince the local surgeons to do a tricky bowel resection on my Mum who's 95. But they are resisting. I find that it is all information and good if I do not let them control the process by one thing leading to another. Mum is currently very happy and in no pain - so her quality of life is very high. If we did the prep for the operation she would not tolerate it well - as she could not understand why she needed it. So for the moment I am praying for mercy and preparing for what might come. With the POC I have advocated for Mum to not have the colonoscopy / biopsy and we have been tracking her with CAT scans every two or three months to see if the mass is getting larger. (She will not tolerate MRI - claustrophobia) Currently, although the "mass" is large it does not seem to be growing. So we are in a holding pattern and I am seeing what the chances are of putting in an emergency stent if there was a blockage down the road. We keep her blood iron up by giving her FERAMAX each day and lots of eggs - then a transfusion every few months when her HG goes below 75. So far we've had a great year with this strategy - long may it last. Best wishes - will keep you in my thoughts.
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It is still her decision. If she is ok with wearing the colostomy bag, fine. If she would rather die, respect her choice.
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On the other hand, my mother, who also is in very good health, had a hip replacement under full anaesthetic at age 99 and came through it well. She is 102 now. I am sharing this just to provide another experience.

I am not advocating that your mil have surgery and I know a hip replacement, which is a one time fix, is very different from surgery and other treatment for cancer.

I do know the prep for sigmoidoscopy is hard in anyone.

I agree with ff that if it is cancer it would be good to know whether it is a slow or fast growing type.

If my mother developed cancer of any kind, I doubt she would want treatment. She has said that she is ready to go. Has your mil expressed any thoughts of that kind in the past few years? Her wishes, if she is still at least somewhat with it, should be considered.
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2tsnana, if the test is done and it does come back as cancer, you need to find out if it is slow growing cancer or a fast growing cancer.... that can make a world of difference as to what would should be done next.

Hopefully it is a slow growing cancer where you don't need to decide right away what to do, and could even ignore it. That's what the Urologist is doing with my Mom's [97] bladder cancer, just watch and see, and he said something else will cause her demise, not the bladder cancer.
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Hey!!!!!!
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Putting a 90-year-old under anesthesia is risky. You're not liable to get the same person back as her baseline will most likely change. Her new status will become the primary issue and muddy the waters as far as making a decision go.

If it were my dad I wouldn't encourage him to have the test done to begin with. A 90 year old does not bounce back after anesthesia. And what if it is cancer? Is this old woman going to have chemo or radiation? Of course not! I'd skip the test altogether, thank the Dr. for the information, and move on.
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Putting a 90-year-old under anesthesia is risky. You're not liable to get the same person back as her baseline will most likely change. Her new status will become the primary issue and muddy the waters as far as making a decision go.

If it were my dad I wouldn't encourage him to have the test done to begin with. A 90 year old does not bounce back after anesthesia. And what if it is cancer? Is this old woman going to have chemo or radiation? Of course not! I'd skip the test altogether, thank the Dr. for the information, and move on.
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Stop right where you are. Before you do anything, call up the doctor and ask, what happens if we do nothing, no test, no treatment. then ask, if this IS cancer, what is the treatment? What kind of surgery? Radiation or chemo after?

The rule in geriatrics, I'm told is: If you're not going to do the treatment, don't do the test. Especially if the test if painful. 18 months ago, someone wanted my 89 year old mom to have a bone marrow biopsy. We ended up doing a full body CAT scan instead. We were most assuredly NOT going to do any surgery, chemo or radiation.
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I do agree. The biopsy is tomorrow I even dread the prep she has to go through for that drinking all that stuff etc... . She is having something similar to a colonoscopy a Sigmodoscopy ??. She had a CT scan last month when she had the blood clot and from the waist up showed nothing abnormal other than the clot. My husband has been with me during my mom's surgeries, but never for the aftercare so he really has no clue. He is retired I am not. I will retire in December of next year.
I have been my mom's caregiver since 1998 she entered the NH in Jan. 2013 and I am so done.... My husband like myself is an only child.
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There is a school of thought, that even the biopsy not be done. It's hard if your MIL cannot express her own wishes. You are right, in that this kind of thing can be the start of a decline, no more enjoyment of life.

Get a second opinion from an elder specialist, and the 3 of you decide, including your MIL as much as possible.
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