I had a sobering conversation with my mom today... it just made my heart break a little more.
She had related to me about a week ago that she was feeling unsure as to whether she wanted to continue treatment. When I saw her next, we talked about it and agreed that it seemed reasonable to at least finish the radiation cycle, since there's only one and she's got about 4 weeks left. She saw the oncologist today, and they talked about it. He's really a nice, nice fellow, considered one of the best oncologists in the state. He was pretty straight with them about her prognosis, and the fact is that her life will end much, much too soon. It's a matter of trying to stay comfortable and have acceptable quality of life in the interim.
She told me that she's afraid of losing her pride, and that she feels like she's shrinking inside.
She had a really bad episode of headache last night, and she said it made her so angry and miserable... in a way that's just not 'her'. She got mad at my dad and said some not very nice things to him, something she normally would not do. (Well, she certainly gets mad at him, but she would never cuss him out) It reminded me of something that Alzheimer's patients sometimes do. I told her that it was important to me that she feel at peace with her treatment choices, and that we are there to make sure those things happen. It's bad enough having to come to terms with dying early, let alone be left with *more* regrets. We agreed that we have to accept that there is an inevitable outcome here... it is what it is. However, it is important to me that all of us, as a family, feel like we did the best we could with what we had.
For what it's worth, right now, I think her quality of life stinks.