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My Mom won't eat or get out of bed

Bernadette
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2009

My Mom has Lung Cancer that is also in her brain and pancreis. She went into remission for a couple months around the beginning of the year but it came back two months ago. Since then she has had radiation and started Chemo again. Recently she has been in and out of the hospital with stomach pain (from the pancreis) and an infection. In the past two weeks all of her problems have cleared up and the doctors say she is doing fine (the cancer is responding to treatments) but she still is refusing to eat and sleeps all day. My dad is the primary care giver with my sister and mom stopped listening to them. We all ahve talked to her about the importance of keeping her strength up but she doesn't seem to care. We have gone as far as buying anything that she "says" doesn't make her sick. I know it is depression but she won't admit it. I just don't know what to do. If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them... She is supposed to have Chemo on Monday but we are afraid her not eating will just put her back in the hospital.

What can I do???

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

Dear Bernadette,

She can get very dehydrated if she is not taking in enough fluids. That will play with her appetite and make chemo worse, but she may not be able to make herself eat at this point. I don't know if you have ever had the flu and just didn't feel hungry, but sometimes we feel like that. Cancer can also make you stop being hungry. The doctor may have some meds to make her hungry again or may put her in the hospital to get an IV in. It is very distressing to see, I know. It also is distressing for patients. So call the doctor sooner rather than later and see if the doctor can step in with some help. Good luck!

C. Abbott

Pitapocket
Posts: 16
Joined: May 2009

What stage is her lung cancer? It is typical that they lose their appetite. Has your mom expressed to you that she does not want the treatments any longer? The fatigue is a huge side effect of the chemo and radiation. I know this is a very emotionally draining time for you and you will be in my thoughts. Best wishes.

laurenr
Posts: 12
Joined: Apr 2009

Bernadette, my dad was diagnosed March 22, 2009 with stage 4 lung cancer, that has spread to brain, liver, adrenal glands, and a couple other places that I don't remember right now. He did 10 radiation treatments within 2 weeks and just finished his 6th week of chemo. He was very sad and emotional at first, but did not want an antidepressant. After the first couple weeks, he was less emotional and very positive. Just the last week or so, he has been very emotional and sad and tired. We talked about it and he said that it's just hard because it's setting in that this is not going away. We mentioned an antidepressant again and he wanted it this time. From what I've been reading and hearing, every patient is different, yet they all go through varied emotions and stages. What has worked for us on several occasions is for us to tell dad that we've spoken to the doctor about whatever particular issue he is fighting us about, and that the doctor says he needs to do it and this is why. For instance, he was fighting the water rule -- he needs to drink so many ounces of water a day and he didn't like it. We said, "dad, we called the doctor and she said if you don't drink the water, you'll end up in the hospital and that will be way worse . . ." Now, of course, that was from the doctor, but we hadn't really called her right that minute. But, with brain cancer, sometimes his memory is not so good, so he's forgotten that the doctor told him at their last appointment. But just reminding him what he is supposed to be doing seems to help. My dad was a health nut, but in order to keep his weight and strength up, we buy or make him whatever sounds good to him. Reminding him, sometimes, that the doctor says he has to eat enough to stay strong. My dad is sometimes the opposite of your mom: we wish he would stay in bed and rest some days, when he is especially tired, but he thinks that is a sign of weakness and insists on getting up and coming into the living room, to watch TV and be "up."

Just do the best you can and hang in there. I know it's tough. My prayers are with you.

Lauren

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