Feb 19, 2011 - 10:11 am
My mother-n-law has been fighting cancer in various forms for over 20 years. She has had breast (right breast mast.), colon, liver (twice), and now lung (2 in left lung).
She is a very private woman and lives alone. She is only 62 and fiercely independent. Over the years she has just "lived" with cancer and doesn't really understand that this may be the end. She has been fighting this last bout, which has been deemed terminal, for 18 months (she was given 6 at initial prognosis).
She lives 90 miles away from us, and my wife has been commuting every two weeks to take her to treatment. This is very hard on us as everyone here knows.
Lately, she has been getting more and more "sick". She still goes to treatment but half the time they can't treat her because her white blood cell count is too low. Just this last week her breathing is getting harder and harder.
Anyway, my question is when should we invoke the hospice services? My understanding is you can't go to them until you "stop" treatments? I don't think she's at the point of quitting just yet; amazingly.
Would it be better to have her moved here, or have her stay at her home for 20 years? She has resisted moving here in the past.
My biggest fear is that she will pass in the night all alone and we won't find her until later that day.
Are there other kinds of "buddy systems" out there? She has few friends, and nobody, besides us, checks up on her. Her doctors office calls a couple times a week as well.
Thanks for listening, and any advice is appreciated.