My mother's pancreatic cancer story with no treatment

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My mother's pancreatic cancer story with no treatment

by smc123 on Thu Apr 25, 2019 06:57 PM

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I wanted to share my mother's story with the hope of it possibly helping another family whose loved one may not be seeking any kind of treatment.  My mother, at 75 years old, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early August of 2018.  Her complexion had turned yellow and after tests a 2.7 cm mass was discovered at the head of her pancreas. Within a week of initial testing a biopsy was performed and a stint was put in to help with the blockage causing the jaundice. Once pancreatic cancer was confirmed, my mother meet with many doctors.  She was considered stage 1 and  was eligible for the whipple surgery and chemo. But, after lengthy discussions of treatment plans, with doctors and family, she decided not to seek any type of treatment.  This was not an easy decision but she did not want to go through a difficult surgery or chemo. She really wanted to enjoy what ever time she had left surrounded by her family. So, in mid September, with no treatment, she was told she had about 3 to 6 months left to live and she entered Hospice care.  At this point it was all about just making her comfortable.  She wanted to live in her condo for as long as she possibly could and thankfully with help of her children and hospice team checking on her...she was able to live by herself until mid March of 2019. She did spend the last month of her life in a nursing home.  The last week of her life is when she declined fairly quickly.  She went from a walker to a wheel chair within one week...then the last couple days to a bed pan.  She didn't stop eating until the last couple days of life.  Thankfully, she did not experience a lot of pain and only the last 4 days she was on a small amount of morphine. But, even on her last day of life it wasn't obvious...so much so a nasty nurse yelled at my sister and I saying "your mother is not dying today" and we went home for the evening but she did die about 4 hours later. In the end my mother died on her terms...she got to spend the last 9 months of her life surrounded by family and feeling very loved.

RE: My mother's pancreatic cancer story with no treatment

by PunkyD on Sun Apr 28, 2019 05:59 AM

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Dear smc123,

I'm very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate, as I lost my Mom (74) to pancreatic cancer almost 6 years ago. I have been on this site ever since. My Mother was also diagnosed at stage 1, (by accident as she was in the hospital for a different issue) and she did undergo surgery (though not the whipple) and treatments, and she lived on and off with the disease for 4 years. She passed away at home, in her own bed, with most of us around her. Thank God, it was peaceful. 

May the good memories of your mom bring you comfort. 

Punky

RE: My mother's pancreatic cancer story with no treatment

by sahenderso1 on Fri May 03, 2019 07:09 PM

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On Apr 25, 2019 6:57 PM smc123 wrote:

I wanted to share my mother's story with the hope of it possibly helping another family whose loved one may not be seeking any kind of treatment.  My mother, at 75 years old, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early August of 2018.  Her complexion had turned yellow and after tests a 2.7 cm mass was discovered at the head of her pancreas. Within a week of initial testing a biopsy was performed and a stint was put in to help with the blockage causing the jaundice. Once pancreatic cancer was confirmed, my mother meet with many doctors.  She was considered stage 1 and  was eligible for the whipple surgery and chemo. But, after lengthy discussions of treatment plans, with doctors and family, she decided not to seek any type of treatment.  This was not an easy decision but she did not want to go through a difficult surgery or chemo. She really wanted to enjoy what ever time she had left surrounded by her family. So, in mid September, with no treatment, she was told she had about 3 to 6 months left to live and she entered Hospice care.  At this point it was all about just making her comfortable.  She wanted to live in her condo for as long as she possibly could and thankfully with help of her children and hospice team checking on her...she was able to live by herself until mid March of 2019. She did spend the last month of her life in a nursing home.  The last week of her life is when she declined fairly quickly.  She went from a walker to a wheel chair within one week...then the last couple days to a bed pan.  She didn't stop eating until the last couple days of life.  Thankfully, she did not experience a lot of pain and only the last 4 days she was on a small amount of morphine. But, even on her last day of life it wasn't obvious...so much so a nasty nurse yelled at my sister and I saying "your mother is not dying today" and we went home for the evening but she did die about 4 hours later. In the end my mother died on her terms...she got to spend the last 9 months of her life surrounded by family and feeling very loved.

Thank you for sharing your story. I am upset about that nurse yelling at yu. Some people are not suited for this type of work. She should have been fired over that. Anyway, my husband has just been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic canser which has spread to the liver. He has no real symptoms and is still working. We are being consider for a clinical trial right now. WE are nrevous about what is to come.

RE: My mother's pancreatic cancer story with no treatment

by longliveliver on Fri May 17, 2019 03:56 AM

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I understand how grateful you must be that your mother did not have intense pain and died on her own terms.  The decision about whether or not to seek treatment is entirely up to the individual, of course, and both choices require courage. 

I chose treatment—Whipple then chemo. That was almost three years ago and I have been very lucky.  I had a topflight surgeon and follow-up at a topflight hospital, which is crucial for a good outcome.   I am well.  It was the right choice for me.

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