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how does one know the end is near

Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2004

I sure would like someone to shed some light on some signs the end is near. My father has lung & liver cancer. He has completed all treatment and the doctor says there is nothing else to be done, except to live day to day. He started going down real fast, to the point he was sleeping, not eating, having very strange dreams, and couldn't carry on a conversation at all. The doctor said the cancer has now spread to his brain, which causes swelling, He put my father on Decatron and OMG....he's like his old self. He is eating, he is going out doors, he can even laugh and carry on a converstion. My question is.....has anyone else been through this stage, and what am I gonna see happening next. I really would appreciate as much help as I can get. I am soooooooooooo confused. Thank you and God Bless ALL.....Diana

Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2004

Both of my parents died of cancer-related conditions and I am now a cancer patient. My mother had metastatic lung cancer. The tumors caused diminished oxygen flow to the brain, further causing some dementia. Toward the end she was afraid of everything and not at all able to communicate other than grunts and groans. I bathed her, moistured her, massaged her hands and feet, talked to her, read to her and sometimes just sat with her. At the very end, she was nearly comatose and I merely made sure she was comfortable, changing her diapers and doing everything I'd done to care for her up to that point. Thankfully, this stage, the final stage, lasted less than a week. My father had skin cancer that spread to the lymph nodes. He did not tolerate surgery or the death of my mother well. I was surprised he lasted as long as he did (15 months), but he also exhibited signs of dementia (as well as stubborness). I eventually put him in a nursing home because he kept having little accidents and was with him several times a day, every day. His downhill course lasted approximately six months. It progressed from him being just obstinate to being unable to care for himself, to dementia. What finally got him was pneumonia, lasting only a couple of days before his death, but I believe he really died of a broken heart. I don't know if this will help you, but I wish you well. Kate

Posts: 29
Joined: Mar 2003

Diana, My husband died last June after fighting cancer for 4 1/2 years. We had known for almost two years that is was terminal. The doctors wanted him to go on Hospice last February and he refused until in April they told me plain out that there was nothing else to do. He went on Hospice and was on it for six weeks. You didn't say if your father has been referred to Hospice or not. Most doctors will refer you when it is time. Hospice is the most wonderful group of caring people there is. They have a small booklet that explains what to look for the last few months and days. Anyone can get this booklet by asking. The only thing I will say is my husband followed the signs pretty much right on but those final signs for the last few days hit overnight without warning. He quit eating completely, slept a lot, fell asleep trying to eat or when he was talking to you, he lost about 20 pounds the last month, some people imagine things or that other people are around. Each person is different and some can go on for weeks and some only days when they get to this point. Your doctor or Hospice nurse is your best source of information for you. When you think it is close to the end, don't be afraid to get counseling for yourself and your Father if he will talk to someone. I went into counseling as soon as we found out the cancer was terminal and I still go to the grief support group and I don't know when I will be ready to deal with it alone. I hope I have helped you somehow. My prayers are with you.
Mary Ann

Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2004

Thank you for your repsonse. I'm sorry to hear about your husband. I'm sure he is watching over you.The doctor requested hospice for my dad almost 3 months ago. The nurse comes once a month and checks on him. A social worker also comes and talks to us and is so understanding. The thing I am most confuse about is that dad was at THAT point everyone talks about. He was lifeless, lost 18 pounds in 2 weeks, was doing and saying strange things, and slept almost every hour of the day. The doctor says the cancer has gone to his brain, and put him on decadron, to reduce swelling. Since then he has done a complete 180. He has gained almost 11 pounds, eats like a horse, he has actually even driven his car. He is so much better in a 2 week period. I am so confused. Iknow this is a good thing, but am afraid of NOT knowing whats next. Have you heard anything similar to this or is this just another stage in the process of his death?

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2004

my heart goes out to you and your father. I lost my daughter on 1-23 of this year. she had an unknown primary cancer that eventually spread to her brain, she had to move back home at 26 so we could take care of her. after she started having seizures the doc also put her on decadron. it helped her feel better but after about a month she started pulling away from everyone but us, the final week she did not want to stay in the bedroom anymore, she wanted to be with people, she got very restless and wanted to talk even tho she tended to ramble. the last week she just seemed to go downhill, on her last night she was in pain and i held her and took the advice of the hospice worker and promised her that i would be okay(lie) and we promised her we would take care of her son etc., it was okay to go if she needed to. she waited to leave until i was out of the room the next morning. i know that each situation is different, so you wont know what comes next. our prayers are with you and your family.

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