Final stages of esophageal

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Final stages of esophageal

by brassrat on Sun Aug 03, 2008 12:00 AM

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I am looking for information on indications to look for in the last days of esophageal cancer. 

My brother-in-law was diagnosed with Stage IV esophageal cancer in February.  At the time the CAT and PET scans indicated that the cancer has metasticized to the lymph nodes in his stomach, his pelvis, his femur, and his arm.  Now, it has metasticized to his brain and his aorta. He's had at least one seizure, is on a feeding tube, can't eat solids, is on morphine, steroids, etc. At this point, the doctors have decided to manage his symptoms and mitigate pain as best they can.  

My brother-in-law has not yet accepted defeat and wants to keep fighting.The doctors have been quite direct with him about his chances.  I hope he wins.

In the meantime, his kids (ages 3,5,8) are missing the opportunity to have some closure with their father.  It is really killing me to watch this all unfold.   

I am not sure what (if anything) I will do with the information, but I am wondering what to expect.  How do we know when the final days/hours are approaching?  How quickly does it happen?

Thanks,

Greg 

RE: Final stages of esophageal

by lland on Sun Aug 03, 2008 12:00 AM

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My Dad just died of esophageal cancer that had spread as well in June.  If you'd like to talk more about that, I would be willing to answer your questions.  PM me if you'd like.

RE: Final stages of esophageal

by doingfine on Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:00 AM

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I am so sorry for your brother-in-law and his family.  My sister lost her husband to MS when her children were 4 and 6.  I don't know if there is a way to prepare children that young.  It was a very difficult time for our whole family, but mostly for my sister who had to carry on without the love of her life and the daddy of her children.  That was 30 years ago and although my sister never re-married, the children grew up just fine.  Certainly not like having their Dad around though.

Probably the 8 year old will be the one with the most recollection.  Your sister and family need to be prepared for answers to his children after his passing.  Miracles still happen, so don't give up hope. But, we also know that not everyone gets a miracle and some people are called home to heaven.  The children will need some kind of reassurance as to where he could be if he is not one of us very fortunate survivors.

RE: Final stages of esophageal

by Jockey on Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:00 AM

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On 8/3/2008 brassrat wrote:

I am looking for information on indications to look for in the last days of esophageal cancer. 

My brother-in-law was diagnosed with Stage IV esophageal cancer in February.  At the time the CAT and PET scans indicated that the cancer has metasticized to the lymph nodes in his stomach, his pelvis, his femur, and his arm.  Now, it has metasticized to his brain and his aorta. He's had at least one seizure, is on a feeding tube, can't eat solids, is on morphine, steroids, etc. At this point, the doctors have decided to manage his symptoms and mitigate pain as best they can.  

My brother-in-law has not yet accepted defeat and wants to keep fighting.The doctors have been quite direct with him about his chances.  I hope he wins.

In the meantime, his kids (ages 3,5,8) are missing the opportunity to have some closure with their father.  It is really killing me to watch this all unfold.   

I am not sure what (if anything) I will do with the information, but I am wondering what to expect.  How do we know when the final days/hours are approaching?  How quickly does it happen?

Thanks,

Greg 


 

Greg,

So sorry that your brother in law has Stage IV esophageal cancer..

The end symptoms are very much like those of stomach cancer, which my son just died of.  He died on 7/30/08. He would have ben 38 on 8/2. His kids are 5 and 7..  So similar to your family's case.

My advice woiuld be to engage Hospice ASAP.  Both he and his wife rejected hospice all along. He died the same day that they finaally agreed to hospice.  He died in an ambulance on his way to their facility.  My daughter in law is already singing their praises.  You need to engage them to prepare the kids.  Ours were never prepared and the 7 yr old is having a very had time.  They continue with counseling a year after your loved one goes. .

You and your family are in my prayers.

Jockey

RE: Final stages of esophageal

by brassrat on Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:00 AM

Quote | Reply

 

On 8/4/2008 Jockey wrote:

 

On 8/3/2008 brassrat wrote:

I am looking for information on indications to look for in the last days of esophageal cancer. 

My brother-in-law was diagnosed with Stage IV esophageal cancer in February.  At the time the CAT and PET scans indicated that the cancer has metasticized to the lymph nodes in his stomach, his pelvis, his femur, and his arm.  Now, it has metasticized to his brain and his aorta. He's had at least one seizure, is on a feeding tube, can't eat solids, is on morphine, steroids, etc. At this point, the doctors have decided to manage his symptoms and mitigate pain as best they can.  

My brother-in-law has not yet accepted defeat and wants to keep fighting.The doctors have been quite direct with him about his chances.  I hope he wins.

In the meantime, his kids (ages 3,5,8) are missing the opportunity to have some closure with their father.  It is really killing me to watch this all unfold.   

I am not sure what (if anything) I will do with the information, but I am wondering what to expect.  How do we know when the final days/hours are approaching?  How quickly does it happen?

Thanks,

Greg 


 

Greg,

So sorry that your brother in law has Stage IV esophageal cancer..

The end symptoms are very much like those of stomach cancer, which my son just died of.  He died on 7/30/08. He would have ben 38 on 8/2. His kids are 5 and 7..  So similar to your family's case.

My advice woiuld be to engage Hospice ASAP.  Both he and his wife rejected hospice all along. He died the same day that they finaally agreed to hospice.  He died in an ambulance on his way to their facility.  My daughter in law is already singing their praises.  You need to engage them to prepare the kids.  Ours were never prepared and the 7 yr old is having a very had time.  They continue with counseling a year after your loved one goes. .

You and your family are in my prayers.

Jockey


 

Jockey,

Thank you so much for this information and I am sorry to hear about your son.  We have convinced my brother-in-law and his wife to seek counseling for the kids, so some benefit can be realized while he is still alive.  Thank you for your prayers and you have my sympathy for your loss.

Greg

RE: Final stages of esophageal

by brassrat on Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:00 AM

Quote | Reply

 

On 8/4/2008 doingfine wrote:

I am so sorry for your brother-in-law and his family.  My sister lost her husband to MS when her children were 4 and 6.  I don't know if there is a way to prepare children that young.  It was a very difficult time for our whole family, but mostly for my sister who had to carry on without the love of her life and the daddy of her children.  That was 30 years ago and although my sister never re-married, the children grew up just fine.  Certainly not like having their Dad around though.

Probably the 8 year old will be the one with the most recollection.  Your sister and family need to be prepared for answers to his children after his passing.  Miracles still happen, so don't give up hope. But, we also know that not everyone gets a miracle and some people are called home to heaven.  The children will need some kind of reassurance as to where he could be if he is not one of us very fortunate survivors.


Doingfine:

Thank you for your insight.  We came to a similar conclusion as an extended family and it is nice to have the reassurance of your experience. I do maintain hope, but am also grounded in reality.  Being related by marriage, I am trying to be realistic so if/when things do end I can be supportive. 

My very best wishes to your sister and especially her kids.  Losing a parent must be a very hard thing for them to endure.  

Out of curiosity, was your brother-in-law able to leave anything specific for them to remember him by?  I thought it would be really great if my brother-in-law could find the strength to write them letters for special events (birthdays, graduations, etc.) that they could open in the future to remember him by.

Kind regards,

brassrat 

RE: Final stages of esophageal

by brassrat on Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:00 AM

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Just an update - My brother-in-law, Rick, is sleeping more now. They are going to treat him with Avastin, mainly because he wants to keep fighting. The doctors believe there is no hope at this point.  I admire Rick's strength.  

He has begun to produce less urine (which I am told is a sign of things shutting down) and seems to be developing jaundice, which may indicate that his liver is failing.  

Thank you for all of your responses....it is somehow comforting to know Rick hasn't been singled out be this disease. 

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