Hi all... my mom was diagnosed the Thanksgiving before last with colon cancer that had spread to her liver. They gave her 6 - 12 months to live. We were devastated. She had already battled breast cancer twice. Needless to say, the cancer spread to her bones. Around the beginning of this past November, the doctors told her they were discontinuing treatment because it was no longer doing anything for her. The beginning of December, the doctors told her to not worry about coming in for doctors appointments anymore and they placed her on hospice. We had a nice Christmas. She was as feisty and quirky as usual. Full of spunk and all those strangely awkward things that she would say as she's prone to crude humor. Apparently, the day after Christmas she had fallen and her husband had called hospice to come help. She went into the back room in the morning and about an hour later her husband went to check on her and she was collapsed on the floor. She must have went down hard as she had a huge dark purple bruise on the back of her hand maybe 2" across. I only found out as someone had posted on mom's husband's wall on the 2nd that she was sorry to hear of (my mom's) demise. I was freaked out, and I tried to contact my sister as she was vacationing out of the country with her family. I emailed her through Facebook, her extended family on her husbands side and also through regular email. I got a hold of my brother, and he knew since the previous Friday. Then I came to know that she had already known since Wednesday right after it happened. I was distraught. Anyway, since I found out I've been going every day to be with her. Before Thanksgiving she had sat me down to tell me of a scare she had. That she had fainted/fell. and she went to the hospital and it was discovered that she was very dehydrated. She drinks only coffee. hardly any water except to take her pills. She had a full hip replacement surgery a couple of months earlier too, as she got out of bed and fell hard. When the hospice worker came out for my mom's husband, they took her off all meds and she was only getting morphine and drops for her watery eyes under her tongue. The morphine was not for pain. My mother smoked since she was 9 years old she claimed. Even the last time she was able to talk, she had to have a cigarette. Anyway, the morphine was to help her relax as she had so much phlegm in her lungs and always coughed a lot. At one point the other day, it seemed she could drown in all those fluids. Her husband tried feeding her and she was able to eat a little a few days ago. She was drinking her coffee, and insisted on holding the cup herself, I gave her a donut and she picked it up here and there and she wanted a chocolate chip cookie. her husband made her some cream of wheat and she took a few bites. I felt she could have taken lots more, but her husband was thinking she was not interested. Driving home i was upset. I think she could have been feed and would have taken food. She needs nutrients and water to recover. so i thought of smashing vitamins and putting them in her cream of wheat, then i thought of baby food, she can have different flavors, and i got her baby milkshakes with nutrients since she hates the thought of having ensure and some pedialyte. I was scolded. basically i was a bad guy for wanting to extend her suffering. I didn't believe she was dying of cancer at this time. that she is dehydrated and malnourished and getting worse because the morphine is keeping her sedated and between the weakness from no food/water and morphine, she is being coaxed to death prematurely and unnecessarily. Her legs are tiny, but she never went for walks or exercised and rarely had reason to go out as she didn't have a social life of much, her life revolved around her husband. Every day I came back and she was induced further into slumber. And I was shocked. I didn't think the previous day's condition warranted deeper sedation, but the hospice worker was ordering it. I held her hands yesterday. and sat with her. and rubbed her legs. Her hands are still "plumpy" even though she is obviously not overweight. they are very warm and has good circulation. I watched her sleep. and she seems to be having REM sleep. sometimes her mouth turns as if she is actually living in her dreams. And none of the expressions are happy. all some painful, or disturbed. Like her memories are only bad things. She cannot respond anymore. She is on full sedation and she hasn't eaten or taken water for several days. She can't last much longer than this. How did she go from a feisty cursing mom on Christmas to this sleeping baby so fast? She is not gaunt or skeletal either as I would imagine a person suffering from full blown stage IV cancer would be... Can you help me let this go and get a grip? I am seriously in denial and anger..
I'm in a similar boat, although it's not my mother it's my grandmother. She ignored symptoms of colon cancer until it was too late. And you know what, from my experience- it's ok to be angry. I'm pissed off at that stubborn old lady for not going to see a dr when she started having symptoms and then refusing a colonoscopy when she turned 50 until she was 64. I'm scared, because I can't be there for my mom or sister or the rest of my family. I live in Australia, they're in the States. I keep waiting for the phone call, text, or facebook message telling me she's down or gone. It's hard facing the unknown and you don't have to pretend everything is ok. Because it's not ok, and it won't be ok. Loosing a parent will pain you for years. I know it's a lot to handle, so when it comes down to it- this isn't something you have to face alone, and you don't have to deal with it all at once.
It's a surreal nightmare to see someone you love in that position. However, sometimes a quick demise is kinder than a long slow one.
I just wanted to share a little of what I went through with my father as I have felt what you are feeling right now. He did pass in Nov 2010.
He felt the same way your mom is feeling denial... my sisters and his brother where there when he went in for a heart attack but came to find out it was Lung Cancer and not a heart attack this shocked us all it had progressed so pass that the crawls (tiny parts of the cancer trickling down into the body) is what they called it had also gone into the liver and they gave him 3 months at the most and that was without treatments (his choice not too) because he didn't believe he had cancer...well my sisters and I had to make a choice of what we needed to do along with my Uncle of course but he gave us the ring so to speak.
My dad wanted to be at home with hospice care (granted his wish) as well keep trying to do things well he fell and broke his hip going to get a cup of coffee and that put us all on a guilt trip for not being there we all live hours away he had his girlfriend of 80 yo not much help I guess we where hoping she should handle some things she's a very alert 80 yo but any way we had to put him in a nursing home, the Cancer kicked in faster than we thought, putting him in the home my one sister and I decided we where both going to take FMLA and do round the clock 24/7 with my father at the nursing home he was furious at us for putting him there for days he called us everything but his kids so many things he said hurt but the nurse keep saying it between the morphine and the other drugs. He fought it all the way it was such a very hard thing to go through, it's makes you mad,disgusted, hurt, helpless and most of all ANGRY. Don't you for one moment fell that what your not feeling is not normal it is indeed very normal for you to go through those feelings your only human yes it may take a bit to realize that but you will. Just talk with the Doctors express to them what your thoughts are on helping your mother believe me they will let you know if is right or not for your mother...they are going to make her moments as easy going as possible and do what's best for her.
In your heart you know you have to take the good with the bad, so enjoy her and talk about memories send her back to a time when all way good in life to help ease her and yes put some smiles on your face for what you have to go through it will make the time you have left with he more memorable.
I hope this helps you in some way as I gave you a short version of what happen. Keep your head high think HAPPY thoughts in front of her you both will benefit from it.
It may not be a rose garden but you can pick the flowers.
So YES it's OK to be MAD and ANGRY. It's the unknown something we can't control.
I am sending prayers your way for you and your Family and my heart is with you all.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.