A number of you have been so kind in enquiring about my Mom. Here's an update.
After further consultations with her oncologist, who consulted with her regular MD and lord knows who else, it's been decided that there will be surgery for her breast cancer after all. Physically, all the MDs involved believe she can survive it with a good short-term outlook.
So Friday, she'll go under the knife for a mastectomy, which may or may not include a number of lymph nodes--depends on the initial pathology report from the "sentinel node" (first one downstream from the breast). Past that, we wait for a final pathology report before making any big decisions about chemotherapy.
It was a big decision for my Dad and me, and we've struggled with the question of whether or not an 83 year old, bed-ridden woman with stroke dementia should have to go through it. I still struggle with that question, wondering if we've made the right decision. I don't expect to ever have an answer to that question.