My mother, who has Alzheimers, now has a lump in her breast, which the specialist says is almost surely cancer. They can't do a biopsy because of her blood thinner, but they are pretty sure. She has to decide whether to have a lumpectomy or have the breast completely removed. I am beginning to believe that my mom isn't capable of making any decisions at all and I am scared to death that, in the end, I will be making that decision. She will have the surgery at the end of August and she keeps forgetting about the whole thing. When I bring anything up about the cancer, first I have to remind her of what I'm talking about, then she changes her mind moment to moment about what she wants. I am trying not bring it up, since she is happier not thinking about it, but there are so many dr. appts. and I have to re-explain each time why we are going there. I guess I need to talk about this, but she doesn't. The reaction I am getting from friends I have told is they are sorry, but I get the feeling that people don't think this is such a big deal, since she is 82 years old and also has Alzheimers. Maybe people think it is some kind of blessing. I realize it isn't the tragedy it would be if she was 30 and had small children, but it is still a big deal to me. I don't mean that anyone has been cruel or anything, just not as much interest as I expected.
What are the opinions out there about what I should do if I do wind up having to make the decision? When the dr. first told us, Mom's first gut reaction was "I don't want them to remove my breast," but in a way I feel like that would be best at her age, since there is less chance of it coming back. But my husband wonders how long it would take to come back, since they say she has probably had this for years; he feels like the less we put her through now, the better.
To be honest, I am also suffering from a guilt trip because of the times I've hoped that she would pass away before the Alz completely took over her mind. I wonder if that is terrible or if others have had that thought. Of course, I meant painlessly in her sleep, not this. Now I don't want to lose her no matter what. I am so confused.