by GriefStricken on Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:00 AM
On 12/21/2008 GriefStricken wrote:My brother passed away from lung cancer on 4/12/2009. I don't usually subscribe to these kinds of message boards, but I saw that several people asked the question "what to expect at the end". Hopefully, the info I provide will help someone. My brother had small-cell, inoperable lung cancer, and had 3.5 years of chemo and radiation. He was doing fine until Thanksgiving, when he took a turn for the worse. He was also on Tarceva. After losing a lot of weight (he was down to 108 lbs.) he lost his appetite completely. He was very weak, and taking morphine. He seemed to be resting comfortably in in-home hospice, when suddenly, he began to cough up a lot of bright-red blood. The blood was coming from his mouth and nose. After a few minutes, he took his last breath and died in my arms. A couple months my personal trainer said her best friend's mother had lung cancer and had refused all treatment. She was also doing fine, and suddenly began to cough up blood that came from her mouth and nose. That was the end. Since my friend had told me this, I was prepared when it happened to my brother, otherwise, I would have freaked out and panicked. Instead, I was calm and held him up to keep him from choking, and was able to reassure him and comfort him throughout the ordeal. I'm sure each case is different, but perhaps someone may be helped by this information, just as I was. God bless.
by Becky55 on Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:00 AM
by Chessie on Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:00 AM
I am so sorry for your loss.
How difficult it must have been for you to write this. And thank you for sharing this most difficult experience. I am sure it will help others.
May God be with you and your family.
by Chillitroutman on Fri Dec 26, 2008 12:00 AM
This is a hard thing to say but we all must face the truth when dealing with such matters...
In my case, the end came quickly. My wife of 16 yrs. had NSCLC, inoperable. We took 6 different chemos and 32 radiations and Tarceva. The battle was long and hard and she fought like a banshee. We went to 3 different locations for treatment/opinions but stayed local. (There is no magic treatment).
Lucky for us, she had pneumonia. To quote a hospice nurse "Pneumonia is a dieing persons friend".
Anyway, the end was simply her being in a coma. We were at our local hospital's hospice room but it was suggested we go home so she could be around familiar surroundings. She was extremly weak and was in and out of a coma. Maybe the morphine and dilaudid had something to do with it...who knows as long as they are NOT in pain. We placed her in a comfortable position and made her at peace as much as we could. Do things like tell her how wonderful a wife/person/daughter/mother/friend/ she has been and to simply let go. If you are a Christian like we were/am its easier. Cold wet washcloths on her forehead, keeping her mouth moist, warm with blankets etc will help in the end moments.
The very last moments were not eventful. She simply stopped breathing. Thank God for pain killers and nerve pills. We were told that we did everything possible. Keep in mind that only 15% of lung cancer patients survive 5 years.
I had to fight off the tears while writing this. She passed away Sept. 2007. She was only 57.
Responsible replys accepted
by debbiesf on Fri Dec 26, 2008 12:00 AM
by grumpyone195 on Sun Dec 28, 2008 12:00 AM
by Nurse_LeAnne on Sun Dec 28, 2008 12:00 AM
I can not tell you how he will die, only that he will die. I do not think that a heart attack is the usually senario in one with lung cancer. I do think that the usual would be some sort of lung trouble or failure of other body systems as the body does not get enough oxygen.
I thik the main point is to keep him as comfortable and loved as possible. Supplememtal oxygen that is humidified (make sure it is humidified), medications to relieve anxiety (people get anxious when they are expriencing air hunger) a calm environment (read to him, soft music, old movies that he loves, the smell of his favorite foods cooking--even if he can't eat, calm visitors and no drama) and positions of comfort to aid breathing such as sitting straight up, pillows proped behind the back, etc).
The most important thing is a good hospice (non-profit) organization. They can come to the home and help you and him. They even have hospice homes that are beautiful and serene that he may need at the end.
We talk of a beautiful birth exprience when a new mama is in labor and now we need to talk of a good death exprience as your loved one transistions on to another life. Birth and death are the only certainties of life, we should honor and treat these life processes with respect, honor and peace.
Love and blessings to you,
On 12/26/2008 debbiesf wrote:Thank you to all who are sharing what the end might look like with lung cancer. I just found out the latest chemo treatments are not working & lung tumor is getting larger. He is having trouble breathing. Is this what happens at the end? Does it feel like drowning? Is death generally from a heart attack, or what? I just don't know what to expect & I don't live nearby. Not knowing what to expect is really hard for me...
by debbiesf on Sun Dec 28, 2008 12:00 AM
Your message is beautiful. I, too, think of end of life not as "death" per se, but as a birth into a new and different life. I have done a lot of reading and thinking about the end of life and what it brings, and this view resonates and makes sense to me on so many levels. It helps me to find peace and calm during some of the more stressful moments.
I would love to be able to share these views with my father, but he is functioning in "protective parent" mode and is putting on a good face for my sake and the sake of all who love him. I think, from talking with others, that at this point I need to follow his lead, ( and stay as upbeat as possible) because, after all, this is his death and he should be in charge of it.
It just feels like there is such an "elephant in the room" and I wish he would open up to someone and share his inner thoughts. I think the feeling of aloneness must be so hard on him. I know it is hard for me.
by kzfamily on Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:00 AM
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