Feeling Extreme Guilt Ove THe Loss Of My Mother
I'm going to give a very condensed version of what transpired of the course of the year from time of diagnosis to time of death.
My mother was diagnosed with Stage IV non-small-call lung cancer April 27, 2011. We researched and found an oncologist that we thought would be good for her. She has 12 rounds of radiation and 13 rounds of chemo initially. They did scans and she was doing well. They continued with the chemo for a couple of months. Next scan showed it was no longer working. SO on to the 3rd chemo...alimpta. Supposed to be some sort of a miracle drug. It didn't work at all on my mother. At this point I'm considering switching physicians as I'm losing confidence in her current dr. I talked to her about it and she didn't want to switch. So, we started her on a 4th chemo regimen....Tarceva. Tarceva started out being a bad drug with terrible side effects. Her breathing became very labored. We had to keep her on oxygen 24 hours a day after she started Tarceva. If just went from worse to terrible from this point. Scans came back with bad news and we're all just left wondering what we should do.
I feel totally helpless. None of the decisions I'd made to this point has any long term lasting affects. They made her feel better for a while and then stopped working. I don't know what to do now.Tarceva is an EGFR inhibitor. Tarceva caused her to have Interstitial lung disease (ILD), essentially an inflammation of the lungs that appears to be directly causally related to Tarceva, but when it happens, continuing on an EGFR inhibitor makes things worse, and stopping it is probably the most reliable way for things to improve (they don't always, unfortunately).
Doctor wants to keep her on Tarceva. Either way, whether there's some progression or EGFR inhibitor-induced ILD, holding the Tarceva for some time seems like a sensible approach to me, though her physician didn't agree with.
I told her doctor that she needed to be referred to a pulmonologist to have the Interstitial lung disease (ILD) treated. It's treated with high doese of steroids in a hospital setting. Her doctor didn't think it was necessary and never made the referral.
So here's the guilt that I feel. I should have stepped up made the decision to have this appointment made and got her treatment.
Because at the end her problem wasn't that the cancer was killing her.... it was of course.... but at the time her bigger problem was that she couldn't breathe becuase of the Interstitial lung disease (ILD)that the Tarceva caused.
She died on Thursday, May 17, 2012 of Acute Respiratory Failure. I was holdinig her hand when she took her last breath. I just can't get past the fact that there were probably so mamy other treatments I could have gotten for her that may have helped extend her life more. I just feel like I made some mistakes and ended up costing my mother her life earlier than it would have ended.