Unfortunately, the chemotherapy has brought about so many other health problems, but in all fairness to my father’s Consultant, he never promised that if he chose chemotherapy he would have the same quality of life as he’d had up to that point.
Now my father almost vegetates. He can hardly walk, is wheeled around when he’s out of the house and struggles to walk in the house with a Zimmer frame. The Lymphoma is better than it was before the chemotherapy, but other things are now affecting his health.
I know that in someone younger, these side effects probably wouldn’t have happened to the extent it has with my father and although my father puts Osteoporosis down to his age, when I explained the reasoning behind his age, chemotherapy and Osteoporosis, he did agree that it made sense.
For me there will always be a moral issue involved. It’s a shame the UK medical profession doesn’t use the moral code as much as they do the treatments they have to offer for their patients. When I was a little girl, no Consultant would have even considered giving treatment to an 83 year-old.
A friend who is a Geriatric Specialist echoed my sentiments, but agreed it’s not how the medical profession choose to work today. They work on saving lives, period. My father was 6ft tall. I am one hundred per cent sure my father wouldn’t be dealing with Osteoporosis and brittle bone now without the chemo, but would probably still have some of the other issues to deal with.
Osteoporosis is a gradual condition, which happens over a period of years, not something that happens within months of chemotherapy treatment. As one Consultant told us when he first presented the symptoms, it wouldn’t be the Lymphoma that killed him.
It’s a slow growing cancer in elderly patients, therefore it would be something else that took him. My father would die with Lymphoma, not from it. For anyone else in this position, I would seriously ask about the pitfalls before making such a life changing decision.
But for me it would always be the moral issue. It’s important to think about that. It seems to be whatever takes, regardless of the outcome.