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LAST STAGES, WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
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LAST STAGES, WHAT CAN I EXPECT?

MY MOTHER IS IN HER FINAL STAGES, AT THIS POINT HER ONCOLOGIST TELLS ME SHE HAS "A FEW WEEKS" LEFT.  CAN ANYONE HELP ME WITH WHAT WE MAY NEED TO PREPARE FOR IN THESE NEXT FEW WEEKS?  THIS HAS ALL HAPPENED SO FAST, MY HEAD IS SPINNING - AND ANY KIND OF HELP WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.
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10 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Just be with her, tell her about all your warm memories of good times you've shared. She'll find comfort in knowing how she is loved. Hugs and prayers to you and your mom.
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167426_tn?1254089835
Hello  I feel deeply for what you are asking. As a nurse for many years I have watched the ending of peoples lives. It is never easy on the family. My main suggestions to you would be this,  have someone with her as much as possible, if she is in pain, see that she gets meds for that, if she is able to talk, try to talk to her about the past good things in her life. If she is unable to talk, just sit by her side and talk about those times yourself. She will hear you. Keep her clean and as refreshed as possible, it is sometimes a hard thing for a family member to do, but better from you than a stranger. Keep her hydrated and fed what she can tolerate. If she can be up in a chair, see that she is sitting comfortably and warm. If she asks for something try your best to get it for her. A Mother is a very special person in all our lives, and when the time comes to say goodbye to her, let her keep her dignity. If people are coming to see her, make sure she looks good, hair combed, clean and no odors in the room. Never talk in her presence about her illness, she can hear you. If she sleeps alot, and is bedridden be sure to change her position frequently to prevent bedsores. I didn't ask if she was in the hospital or at home. If in the hospital, they will help with all these things, but family should be aware and see that they are carried out. Plans with the family for the final process should not be talked about in her presence either. Do not let any disturbances happen within her hearing. Music in the room helps, if she is relgious, now is a good time for a minister to be called. God Bless you my dear for coming here and asking for help, we will all pray for a peaceful end of her suffering and that God will help you all through these hard times.
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155056_tn?1333642288
I recently lost a very good friend to this horrible disease.  

My heart goes out to you and your family.  As those who posted before me have said, keep her comfortable, let her know that you are there...and most importantly, let her know that you love her.  I know with my friend, we had the opportunity to talk and she told me that she has come to terms with it all and has made peace with it.  How about your mother?  Has she had the opportunity to talk about her feelings and fears?

What about hospice care?  They can also help you and guide you.

May your mother be pain free for the time she has left.  My thoughts are with you and your family.
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Avatar_n_tn
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR THE HELP AND ENCOURAGEMENT.  TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS: MOM IS STILL IN THE HOSPITAL, HAS BEEN SINCE DECEMBER 26TH WHEN SHE WAS FIRST ADMITTED FOR DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS.  WE FOUND OUT ABOUT THE CANCER AT THE END OF JANUARY; AND THEN FEBRUARY 1ST THEY ATTEMPTED A HYSTERECTOMY, BUT THEY HAD TO STOP THE SURGERY BECAUSE THERE WAS TOO MUCH CANCER. :(  THE PLAN WAS TO LET HER GAIN SOME STRENGTH BACK AND THEN START CHEMO; BUT THINGS DIDN'T GO SMOOTHLY.  NOW WE'RE AT THE POINT WHERE WE KNOW THE CHEMO ISN'T WORKING, AND IT'S TIME TO CONCENTRATE ON KEEPING HER AS COMFORTABLE AS POSSIBLE.

SHE WILL BE ABLE TO STAY IN THE HOSPITAL UNTIL THE END, AS THE BLOOD THINNER SHE'S ON (SHE'S ALLERGIC TO HEPARIN) NEEDS TO BE MONITORED SO CLOSELY.

ALL OF THIS HAS JUST HAPPENED SO FAST...I'M STILL TRYING TO CATCH MY BREATH.  MOM IS AT PEACE FOR THE MOST PART, UNTIL SHE STARTS TO THINK ABOUT THE PEOPLE SHE'S LEAVING BEHIND.  WHEN SHE'S COOL WITH IT, SHE TELLS ME THAT SHE FEELS LIKE THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD IS LIFTED FROM HER SHOULDERS, BECAUSE SHE'S BEEN SUFFERING FOR SO LONG ALREADY - AND THAT WAS BEFORE WE EVEN FOUND OUT THERE WAS CANCER.  I TRY TO STAY OVERNIGHT WITH HER 2 OR 3 NIGHTS PER WEEK, BUT THEN SHE SENDS ME HOME TO MY HUSBAND FOR A FEW DAYS.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE MAKING VISITS TO SAY THEIR GOODBYES, AND THE PASTOR HAS BEEN TO SEE HER STEADILY SINCE OUR ADVENTURE BEGAN BACK IN DECEMBER.  I'M TOLD THEY MAY WELL BE STARTING A MORPHINE DRIP IN A FEW DAYS,SHE GETS OXYGEN WHEN SHE CAN'T CATCH HER BREATH, AND ATAVAN WHEN SHE NEEDS TO STOP THE WHIRLWIND.  SHE'S IN A VERY GOOD HOSPITAL...BUT I JUST KEEP THINKING THERE'S MORE I CAN OR SHOULD BE DOING FOR HER...YA KNOW?

THANK YOU FOR KEEPING US IN YOUR THOUGHTS, AND PRAYERS...AND ANY AND ALL ADVICE IS SO WELCOME.

@>----
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108861_tn?1227249648
I am so sorry Nico!  We lost my Dad and Dad in Law within the last five years and, like your Mom, we didn't have alot of warning between when Dad found out about the cancer and when we lost him.  I think the thing that meant the most to both these formally stoic men was that I always made a point to touch them, take a hand, rub their backs, whatever.  Ernie, my Dad in Law, said it felt so good since it felt like many kept their distance, as though his Hodgkins was contageous.  Don't be shy about holding your Mom's hand, even if you are not normally that tactile.  I'm glad I wasn't, meant alot to me too.  MV
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Avatar_f_tn
Nicole, everyone has said so many  wise things, it would be hard to add to them. I have found my family gets upset talking about the someday that I won't be here. However, I feel the need to talk about how I may die and my place in Heaven. If you can stand it, this would be good for your Mother if she wishes, to be able to talk about the end. I know it would be very difficult for you. One thing that gives me joy and peace is listening to music, especially hymns. This may not be what your mother likes, but I would imagine there is something she enjoys watching or hearinfg God bless, He loves you.
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180852_tn?1200518680
I am so sorry for what you are about to experience. This situation sounds all to familiar to me, so much so it gives me chills. My mother passed away January 10, 2007 from Ovarian Cancer & we thought everything was going well & the next thing we knew they said this will be her last Christmas she only has a month left, so make it special. Just be there for her & let her know how much you love her & the most improtant thing is to LAUGH. My mom was so sick the week she passed, but we packed about 15-20 people in that hospital room & we made jokes & laughed about the good ole' days & i tell you she never stopped smiling that night. She was tired but wouldn't go to sleep she was having so much fun & afterwords she just had this peace about her because everything is so emotionally draining & for one night it all went away & we had Fun. I'm still going through the motions of everything & it's all so fresh in my mind. If you ever want to talk about what's going on, please don't hesitate. I know it was hard for me to talk to my family because I had to be the rock for everyone else & comfort them so it was hard for me to show how much I was really huring. Plus I have a 5yr old little brother that I was trying to console. You just stay strong & embrace your family & friends you will need their love & support. God bless you & your family. I will pray for your mother to go in peace & to heal your families wounds.
Amaris
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Avatar_n_tn
Grannie -

Ironically (sp?) one of the things mom and I talked about for a while last night was her 'someday when she's gone' and what she wants to happen, and what she doesn't want to happen.  I was surprised to find out that one of her biggest fears was that we'll never see each other again.  My family is very religious, but in recent years I've kind of stepped away from the church.  It was something that mom and I had never really been able to talk about before, and she was concerned that it was GOD I'd stepped away from, and then we'd end up in two different places when my 'someday' comes.  It was good to get the misunderstanding cleared up, and now that she knows that we'll see each other again, she feels better.

One of her friends told me that I'm supposed to 'act stronger than I really am' because he said that mom knowing that I'm going to fall apart when she leaves us is making it hard on her.  I tried it, but it lasted all of 5 minutes before she was badgering me to talk to her about what was bothering me.  She told me that even though it's hard for her to leave me, that it shows her how much I'll miss her when I cry over her now...so I'm learning that other people's ideas of what she needs at this time (even her friends' suggestions) may not be what's right for her and I.

Yeah, it is hard to talk to her about her 'someday', but I think it would be harder on me if I don't.  Knowing that it's something that she wants to talk about...if I didn't give her a sounding board now, when her 'someday' comes, it would be a regret, and we've promised each other not to have those.  At least this knowing what's coming has given us a chance to clear our baggage before we go our separate ways...until we meet again.

To that end, if YOU need to talk...I'll be checking in often; and I can talk with you, too.  I'm not your family, but I'm here if you want.

Thank you,
Nicole
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Avatar_n_tn
Yeah, mom gets tired easily now, too.  Just this last Saturday, the hospital where she is had the Head Coach of our NFL Football Team come in to visit.  Mom was SO excited!!  She's a HUGE Packer fan, and the chance to talk football with the coach was awesome for her.  :)

Some of her cousins came in the other day to visit with her, and they stayed for hours just talking about the good old days.  It really wore her out, but she loved it.  I'm thinking that before long, she's going to need a social director to organize all the people who are coming by to see her!  It's great for her though, it makes her feel special, and it makes her smile - and that makes me smile.

You're right though - it feels like I'm going through the motions in every other aspect of my life.  Work is really hectic right now (tax season) and every time someone comes and asks me for something, I just want to laugh and tell them I'll get back to them when I can think again.  Everyone keeps asking what they can do for me - especially my Gramma and my Aunt (mom's mother and sister) and I just can't even think of something to ask for, not even for the sake of giving them something to do to feel like they're helping me.

I try to keep it together more often than not, but a lot of times when I'm alone it just starts to hit me and before I know it, I'm in tears.  People keep telling me how strong I am, and I just have to laugh a little because I know how I feel: like a little girl who's about to lose her mommy!!  In spite of the fact that I'm 35, married, with a WONDERFUL set of in-laws, I feel like I'm going to be all alone when mom's gone - and that day is coming closer all the time.

Is this how it was for you, too?

N
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180852_tn?1200518680
I seriously feel like you have taken out the last few pages of my life story. No joke! That is exactly how I have felt. Everyone told me I was the "Rock" & so strong, but no one sees you when you are alone at home cooking dinner or watching TV when you just start crying out of nowhere! I'm only 24 & my mom was only 42yrs old with a 5yr old son as well. So when he asks his big sister why God made her an angel it strikes a cord. Me & my mom were best friends, I've never seen a mother & daughter as close as us, so I feel like I lost My Mom & My best friend all at the same time. We talked at least 3 times everyday if not more & my phone no longer rings, it's those things that get to me. You'll be suprised by the strengh you will have when it happens, and suprised at your weakness as well.I know for a fact that my mother was giving me the strength I needed to get through the ceromonies following her death, the day before the funeral I decided I was going to sing her favorite song, I have no Idea how I did it, but I did it flawlessly, no tears, no wavers. She wanted me to sing for her & she was going to make sure I did just that! Your situation is so real to me & the things I have just experienced. I pray for you & your family.
Amaris
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