Unfortunately chemotherapy has brought about so many other health problems.
In all fairness to my father’s Consultant he was never promised that if he chose chemotherapy he would have the same quality of life as he’d had up to that point, but now he almost vegetates. He can hardly walk, is wheeled around when he’s out of the house and struggles to walk with a Zimmer frame when he’s in the house.
The Lymphoma is better than it was before the chemo, but other things are now affecting his health. I know that in someone younger, this 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 with me that what I was saying made sense.
For me there will always be moral issues involved. It’s a shame the UK medical profession doesn’t use the moral code as much as they do with 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 of ours, 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 tall 6ft and of medium build. This is why the chemo is completely responsible. I am one hundred per cent sure my father wouldn’t be dealing with osteoporosis and brittle bone now without the chemotherapy, but would probably still have some of the other issues to deal with. Osteoporosis is normally 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 and if presented in an elderly patient, it would be something else. My father in effect 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.
Finally, as with other things, we think about the moral issue. In this case there isn’t one. It seems to be whatever takes… regardless of its outcome.