Taking Care of my Mom Who is Dying of Lung Cancer

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Mom With Stage iv Lung Cancer

by Queenie57 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:00 AM

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Laura, I was reading your message and noticed similarities such as the super caregiver. Also you talked about enjoying the time. My mother was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer 6 days ago after a diagnosis of stage I and successful removal of the upper lobe and all cancer cells of her rt lung 6 months ago. She began having pain about 2 months after surgery and now is stage IV. She had chemo 2 days in a row last week and has been basically unconscious since then. She is also an alcoholic and has done lots of damage to her liver. She now has mouth sores so bad she can't swallow or eat. She is very dehydrated and is going into the hospital probably tomorrow. I am wondering if anyone has had the experience of this kind and then had the patient get better at least enough to enjoy a conversation. I keep thinking to get home health care but if she is going to die soon i don't want to leave her. Thanks to anyone with thoughts or info. Cindi

End of Life "rally"--communicating and Taking Care of Self...

by Rainbow on Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:00 AM

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Hi Cindi, I'm sorry you are going through all this. Hopefully knowing that others have been in similar situations is some relief to you. I wish I had words to take away your pain, but all i can offer is sharing my experience and knowledge, for what it's worth, with you. My mother died two weeks ago. She was never in an unconscious state like you described, although she was weak and sleeping alot. She had hospice care at home, supplementing the care we provided for her. I encourage you to get hospice involved, if there is time, but based on what you described, there doesn't sound like there is much time. As for my mother, for two days, only a couple days before she died, she had what hospice workers describe as an 'end of life rally' where she was lucid, talking, laughing, awake most of the day, and even feeding herself. This happens to a lot of dying people, but not all. It can be comforting to get to experience that special time with the loved one before he or she dies, but also can give a false sense of hope or security that death is not imminent after all. (particularly because there can be many ups and downs in the illness). I hope that your mother will have such a rally so you can get some peace out of communicating with her. Even if she cannot respond to you, I encourage you to talk to her while she seems "unconscious," because we do not now what people can hear in varying states of consciousness, and hearing is said to be the last sense to go. I'm not sure about your mother's wishes, but my mother chose, for a variety of reasons, not to have any treatment, and to just be cared for peacefully at home, by family and hospice. Hospice provides personal and medical care, so the family can take care of other needs. My mother also had a DNR (do not resuscitate) and a living will to ensure that her wishes were carried out. Hospitals sometimes are in the business of keeping people alive at all costs, even when the body/soul is ready to move on. Most medical personel will be honest with you, though, if they feel that your mother's death is "imminent" (in hospice talk--could occur at any time). You mentioned your mother's alcoholism, and I would guess that you have some strong feelings associated with that disease, and how it affected your life. Again, i don't have any answers, just experience. It is a disease (albeit a disease that is affected by our personal choices), and surely she was not trying to hurt you or any other family member through the disease--but it is still inevitable. If you can find it in your heart to forgive her before she dies (or even after) for the pain this caused you, your heart will be lighter. People make mistakes but I believe that they do the best they can with the tools (and experiences) they bring to a situation. Unfortunately, that was part of her, and hence your, reality. Be gentle with yourself, Cindi, and try to remember to take care of yourself. Eat regularly, try to sleep, get some fresh air and sunshine if only for a few minutes at a time. I know all this and tried to do it, but still, two weeks later, I am still exhausted, but recovering. i hope something in my rambling message will provide comfort to you and maybe others as well. take care. laura

my Mother and Lung Cancer

by Ermasangel on Sat Mar 25, 2006 12:00 AM

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Hi My name is Sue. My mom was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and what a roller coaster. She got out of the hospital on the 27 of Feb and 2 weeks later she fell into a coma like state for three days. She showed all the signs of dying, (according to the hospice book) On the third evening she woke up and wanted to eat. She is in extreme pain, very very weak and has made the decision not to get treatment. She is basically living on pain pills and a little bit of food. How long can this go on........I moved in with her from the day she came home, while my husband is at home with the kids. I try to get home at least once a week, but whenever she seems to turn a corner, I can't bear to leave. She just seems to be suffering so much, I can't understand why when she seemed so close to death, that she would get that "surge of energy" to only be suffering with the pain. I'm really frustrated for her. She doesnt want to die, continues to smoke , and cries in pain. What can I do for her? It is now the 25 of March and my heart just breaks for her. I'm not sure how to forward this on to others or to put this on the message board so others may be able to contact me. I really related to your posting though. My best to you, Sue

How Long....

by Rainbow on Mon Mar 27, 2006 12:00 AM

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Hi Sue, I'm sorry you are going through this. Seeing a loved one in pain is a horrible experience, and even the word "horrible" doesn't do it justice. The hospice book you have provides guidance, but dying is not a textbook experience. The thing that I keyed in on in your message is that your mother doesn't want to die. This may seem like a silly question, but why doesn't she want to die? Does she have "unfinished business"? Is there someone she wants to see or talk to before she dies? Is she afraid that you or someone else will not be ok? Does she need your or someone else's "permission" to make this transition? Are there unresolved religious or spiritual issues? Many people don't want to die, or don't feel ready to die, but after something happens, or someone arrives, they are more at peace and accepting of what will happen. And, sometimes it is the mere physical pain and exhaustion of fighting a serious illness that results in someone being "ready" to go. People who, by all medical indication should not be alive sometimes hang on much longer than anyone would have predicted for reasons that may stay a mystery. There isn't an answer to your question "how long can this go on." At this point, focus on quality of life, since quantity is limited. Please be honest and insistent with your mother's physicians about the level of pain she is experiencing. At this point, if smoking brings her more joy than not smoking, it's probably best to just let her do it. Anything that brings here any joy, even if it's 'not good for her' like smoking or certain foods, or music or company, let her enjoy it. I sincerely hope that your mother's pain can be controlled so that she can have some peaceful time before she dies. Remember that you have yourself, a family and a life you need to take care of too. best wishes. laura

Response

by Ermasangel on Mon Mar 27, 2006 12:00 AM

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Thank you for the comforting words. You're an angel. Sue

Your Mom

by Donnasutu on Sun Apr 02, 2006 12:00 AM

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Hello Carey, I wanted to see how things are going for you. My mother in law is in her final days of batteling lung cancer and my heart went our to you and all that you must be going through. My husband and I are in the military stationed in Germany and we got the call from Red Cross saying death would more than likely be in the next few days. We take off and head home and his mother got a "second Wind" for a few days, well that was 3 weeks ago. Since that time she has gotten worse. Her care is also through Hospice and her 5 kids. of which 3 are able to take on weekly shifts. Her mind is near gone. Talks a lot to those loved ones who have gone before her and most times reverted back to years ago. She has almost stopped eating and drinking all together and now wear a diaper, oxygen 24/7, Morphine and breathing treatments every four hours. She fought and won breast cancer and colon cancer, and is still to this day trying to win this battle but her body is preventing that. Hospice has be wonderful, and even though we have family with her most of the time it still gets to be to much and you just need a break away. If at anytime you can get someone to come sit with your mom even if it for for a few hours, TAKE that time for yourself. Maybe someone at the church or a neighbor can help. Even ask hopsice to stay for a bit while you can just get out and take a walk. Please keep me posted. Donna

Mom Dying of Stage iv Cancer

by Wowjb on Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:00 AM

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Carey, I completely understand what you are going through. My mom has been dealing with breast cancer for 13 years, and in spring of 2004 she was diagnosed with it in her lung, and then march 2006 she had was told it was in her brain. The doctors gave her till labor day weekend, but she is still hanging on, but barely. I am currently a student and working hard at getting my degree is very hard. Sometimes I don't know how to get through the day. My mom being sick put me into a depression, but after a while I realized she would not want me to be sad. She would want me to live my life, no matter how hard it is. I don't know how I am going to deal with losing her, and I know I will never get over it, but I just take it one day at a time, and sometimes one hour. I keep in constant contact and cherish every moment I am with her. I don't have all the answers, or really any. I just know that it hurts more than anything I have ever felt, and has caused me to become depressed and question whether or not I want to live, and that is not something my mom wants for me. I know that my mom is dying, but I see it as everyone is dying, my mom is just doing it faster than most. Cherish her, and always remember, you need to take care of you, as much as you want to take care of her.
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