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Nearing Death

LunaSavage
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2011

I posted a couple months ago, I am the daughter of a mother with stage IV. The disease had spread from her lungs to her brain. She was diagnosed in May and now six months later we've gotten many good results. After finding out that the tumors in her lungs were almost completely gone and the large tumor in her brain had shrunk significantly to nothing(after whole brain radiation), she began having severe side effects to the chemo (she was taking alimta). The last chemo she had, around 5 weeks ago, she was almost sure she was going to die from it. After being in the hospital for a week, we decided to stop chemo because her quality of life was pretty much non-existent.
With all of this good news, her mental state worsened instead of being happy or thankful that she's made it this far. I want people out there to know that miracles do happen!! And I believe my mother is a cancer survivor, no matter how much time she has left. Yet, with such an advanced stage the possibilities of the cancer coming back...well it's there...
I am wondering if there is anyone out there that has been through having a loved one pass from this disease and could give me any information on the last few days/months. My mother has seemed to have given up. Her mind is gone, she is very depressed and tells me everyday that she thinks it's the day she is going to die. I try to comfort her and tell her that everyone dies and she doesn't know when it's her time, but I feel if she thinks she is, then she will let her body give up too. I have a very close relationship with my mother, she is also my best friend...so during all of this, especially the last couple months, I am consumed with grief and fear and I know it plays a part in me not being able to handle some of these things or withdrawing some.
I held her in my arms, in her bed, last night for 2 hours while she cried and kept telling me she was going to die, wanted to hurry up and die, and that she was scared. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. My mother is only 54, and I am 23, I never expected (like most people feel), that this would happen.
I guess my main question is, is this a symptom or sign that she is going to die soon? I have already read the "Nearing the End of Life" section on this site...I just hope i'm not in denial. But then again sometimes I just think it's depression and anxiety that is making her think this way.

I would love to hear anyone's input/advice or just kind words.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read.

pants_on_fire
Posts: 6
Joined: May 2011

I'm a 52-yr old SWM who also has Stage 4 Lung Cancer. Mine also metastasized to my brain. The cancer was diagnosed almost a year ago to the day.

I started whole brain radiation (WBR) back practically the same day I was diagnosed; I had the radiation for 10 days, which successfully shrank the two brain tumors to almost nothing.

After the radiation I started chemo (three drugs: Avastin, Carboplatin, Alimta); I had that once every three weeks. I stopped after about six months, then switched to "maintenance chemo" where I only get one drug: "Alimta" every three weeks.

All this time I've had my share of side-effects: weight loss, sore mouth, pain in my chest, moderate infections. The pain in my back and chest would seem like too much at times. I live alone, never married, have no family that isn't 3000 miles away. There have been many evenings (very late at night) when I would begin to feel sorry for myself. Being in pain all of the time, with no family, can be very difficult.

Your mom sounds depressed. Several year ago I was taking antidepressants and learned that they take months to build up your body's serotonin levels to an effective level. I would urge you to see a psychiatrist with your mom. Just keep changing therapists until you find one you like.

PS: Although I have no family, I am going to buy some toys as part of the local "toys for tots" Christmas Toy Drive. Just searching for the toys makes it easy to forget about the cancer I have!!!

LunaSavage
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2011

Thanks for taking the time to reply. It really means a lot to me. I admire and respect you so much for being able to fight through this with out being able to have family around!

As far as the depression, both my mother and I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder. I was diagnosed when I was 12 years old and have fought through it now for 10 years. Things got a lot better and I was beginning to get it under control, until the cancer diagnosis of my mother on May 3rd this year. I still see a psychiatrist from time to time but without health insurance it's hard to go often but I am on anxiety medication and antidepressants which are helping some.

My mother has battled with depression ever since I can remember and the anxiety didn't really come about this strong until her diagnosis. She had been seeing a psychiatrist before this all happened and stopped during her treatments but was still taking her medication. She has an appointment tomorrow with her psyc, so hopefully she can change meds or get this under control.

My mother has always been very sensitive and I know she is feeling sorry for herself, and maybe I am somewhat too. But all I can do is try to be understanding, be with her, listen and communicate...and most of all love her.

Thanks again for your thoughts, and again I admire you for being so strong. If only i could get my mother to talk to someone like you and others,, I think she would feel better having people she could relate to.

<3

MzzKimba2002
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2011

I ran across your posting here and had to respond. I am so sorry to hear all thatyou are going through. I too have limted small cell lung cancer. I am currently in remission. I pray i stay that way. I was diagnosed exactly a year ago. Had chemo and radiation for treatment. What i wanted to say is thank you for the BIG heart you have. You have been through hell and yet you are kind enough to think of the needy children for Christmas. God Bless you!!!!

Radioactive34's picture
Radioactive34
Posts: 387
Joined: May 2011

I would follow the advice given and help her find some mental health help. I would get some for you, too.

I nursed my mother in law through terminal cancer. It was harrowing and somedays just painful. I saw a therapist that helped deal with this type of situation. She helped me immensely. Sadly my mother in law and my husband did take the offered therapy. It made things harder at home.

One thing the therapist told me was to not discount miracles. She had a family whose father had been in hospice for years.

Doggie mama
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2011

My father passed away from cancer of the esophagus that ended up spreading back in '99 3 weeks after my 22nd birthday. It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through in my life. I joined today because my mother was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and wanted to look up some information about her particular illness. I guess regarding your question, my father did start saying he was going to die a few weeks/month prior to him passing. He was already rapidly deteriorating though, so the signs were there. He didn't want to eat anymore and aged 40 years those last few months. At the very end he was in a lot of pain and we gave him pain medication. He was unconscious before he passed away. That was just my experience, I'm sure it's different for others. It is hard and sad when you can't do anything. Just be there for your mom and let her know how much you love her. It may just be her fears making her talk that way....and hopefully her time is far away. Be strong and let me know if you need anything..

JackieA
Posts: 150
Joined: Mar 2011

I am sorry to hear about your mother. I feel your pain. I lost my mother back in January. She had colon cancer that spread to her lungs, heart, and pancreas. The last few months her appetite declined. There were times she was very depressed. She suffered with depression inmmensely, and at one time I did as well. In Septemeber of 2010 she started going into the hospital and it went downhill from there. I can walk you through her entire process, but each person is different. Your mother will go through different stages of grief, as you will as well. The stages are not in order-they just happen. Sometimes people stay in one stage for a long time. Sometimes people want to die, but they hang on until God has the final say. Depression can take one out, I believe, quicker than the disease. The outlook that the person has makes a difference. Mom stopped eating, stop drinking in the last few weeks. She stopped having a bowel movement about six weeks before her death, but she would use the potty to urinate. She stop walking maybe about 2 weeks before she died. There may---and I say MAY come a time when peace will come over your mom and she will accept it. They go through anger, depression, acceptance, denial, bargaining--My husband goes back and forth from bargaining to denial. I spent many nights up with my mom. She apologized for everything. At this time, people began to reflect upon their lives and the mistakes they have made. Some people have many regrets. We did get mom some depression meds. I think it made her sleep more. Yes, the last few days she slept all day. Then she had a lot of anxiety that kept her awake every hour for about 10 minutes. But then she would go right back to sleep. The body has a way of shutting down on its own. THe thing I hated the most was that my mother was in a lot of pain. We had to rub her back all night long. She was on a high dosage of morphine--she needed more and more because she had an addiction problem earlier in life, so she had a high tolerance for narcotics. There came a time when my mother only wanted to see a few people, then it got to the point she didn't want to see anyone. We stopped allowing people to come to see her. THen miraculously she woke up one morning and had the biggest smile on her face and told us that she was getting ready to go home. She said, "bring my dog", and she kissed all of us and told us how much she loved us. After that day she was never the same, and she died 3 days later with all of us by her side. I held her hand and told her Jesus was waiting for her, and that I would look after my siblings. She took her last breath and died with all of us there. As much as she suffered, it was so beautiful to watch her pass from death to life. So my advice to you is to allow it to happen and take one day at a time. Just be there and go with the flow. It will be forever etched in your memory and will be worth it. If you ever need to talk, just hit me up. I am here for you.
Jackie

Happy22
Posts: 18
Joined: Nov 2011

Jackie,
Your comments touched me and reinforces the fact God sends us what and who we need as we need them. My husband is early in the fight of Lung cancer IV- diagnosed 7-2011. He is a sweetheart with a Positive and God fearing spirit.
I am anxious alot, wanting to take him back to the "normal" he craves. The real hope is a peace about all that will transpire. God Bless you for your loving heart!!
Chris

Happy22
Posts: 18
Joined: Nov 2011

Jackie,
Your comments touched me and reinforces the fact God sends us what and who we need as we need them. My husband is early in the fight of Lung cancer IV- diagnosed 7-2011. He is a sweetheart with a Positive and God fearing spirit.
I am anxious alot, wanting to take him back to the "normal" he craves. The real hope is a peace about all that will transpire. God Bless you for your loving heart!!
Chris

Happy22
Posts: 18
Joined: Nov 2011

Jackie,
Your comments touched me and reinforces the fact God sends us what and who we need as we need them. My husband is early in the fight of Lung cancer IV- diagnosed 7-2011. He is a sweetheart with a Positive and God fearing spirit.
I am anxious alot, wanting to take him back to the "normal" he craves. The real hope is a peace about all that will transpire. God Bless you for your loving heart!!
Chris

Happy22
Posts: 18
Joined: Nov 2011

Jackie,
Your comments touched me and reinforces the fact God sends us what and who we need as we need them. My husband is early in the fight of Lung cancer IV- diagnosed 7-2011. He is a sweetheart with a Positive and God fearing spirit.
I am anxious alot, wanting to take him back to the "normal" he craves. The real hope is a peace about all that will transpire. God Bless you for your loving heart!!
Chris

KLScoville's picture
KLScoville
Posts: 161
Joined: Mar 2011

I am so sorry about your mom. My husband just passed on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 11:32 am from advanced stage IV lung cancer with mets all along his aorta. He did do radiation but no chemo. Didn't want it. My husband was 55 years old. On the Monday prior he said to me "I am going to go soon" I asked him if he would like me to lay with him and I did, on the blow up mattress that has been in my living room since October 18th since he fell. He told me that he would love me forever and I replied the same. On Sunday night prior to the 24 hour hospice care nurse to come after he just got a hospital bed he called to me and asked me to "get that old woman in the corner out of here!" Well I didn't see the old woman so I asked him what she looked like. Never got an answer but he wasn't comfortable so I moved his legs. I have been his caregiver since day one when he got diagnosed on 3/3/11. He wants no one else. I am sure others would of ran but I stuck by his side! You don't have a time stamp, when God wants you He will open up His arms and take you. It was the hardest thing in my life to have happen. And right now I am not doing so well being alone. I am going to get help and this board and chat has helped me alot but I can't be on the computer 24/7. I have never been alone in my life and I miss him terribly!!!

Thanks for letting me put my input!

~Kelly Scoville
wife of Mark Scoville RIP 11/14/11
Stage IV Lung Cancer with mets

JackieA
Posts: 150
Joined: Mar 2011

For you to even reach out now is a huge step. I remember you from the caregiver board. I can truly feel your pain. I go back and forth now with what will happen next as I watch my husband 43 suffer with stage iv breast cancer. He has been declining since Thursday. Don't know if this is just one of those days or if this will come to the end. In May we thought it was going to end, and miraculously God stepped in and gave us a great summer with our 11 year old. But since Thursday he has not gotten out of bed except to use the restroom. Has not eaten since Thursday or Friday. Nothing yesterday. Tried to eat a few minutes ago. He can sit up because it hurts his hips to set up. I don't know

Back to you Kelly...God will give you what you need. Take it one day at a time. Know that it will get better with time. Somedays you will think that he just died, and there will probably be days where you will forget that he has and call his name. I have laughed and cried, screamed since my mother passed. There are days, I pick up the phone and automatically dial her home number. I remember the good and the bad, her smell. I know you will do the same about your husband. But above all, he will want you to live and go on. He wants the best for you. Yes it will take some times, but God has a way of healing us, if we let him. Your husband would want you to go on. It is so fresh now, so whats the use in rushing? But in the same breath, know that it will get better. One day at a time...

KLScoville's picture
KLScoville
Posts: 161
Joined: Mar 2011

It has been real difficult for me. I went to the doctor today (Mark's hospice doctor) to get some ativan. I have never been to a doctor's office without Mark so that in itself was hard!! I am not dealing with this very well. Doctor told me that "this won't help me forget" I told him "I never want to forget, I just need to function and I am not doing so well on my own.".

Today at 11:32 am will be one week. Have a bereavement counsler coming tomorrow. I feel bad cause I told my husband before he passed that I would be okay and now I have lied to him...I am not okay but someday I will be. I will never forget though. It has been real hard but like I said this board and chat have helped. Friends and family have helped but they don't really understand or can comprehend what I am going through so I keep them at arms length or away...I don't need someone in my face asking me "what are you feeling" all the time. I don't want anyone sitting here staring at me when I stare off into space. I just want to be left alone. That is until I want to talk or whatever..

Yes, one day at a time. One moment at a time. I still can't believe he is gone. My heart is truly broken!

My prayers are with you and your husband Jackie!!! I feel for you! Take care of each other!

Thanks for listening!
~Kelly

RIP Mark Scoville 11/14/2011 @ 11:32 am

NayPaul's picture
NayPaul
Posts: 231
Joined: Oct 2010

Kelly -

I have not posted nor read many posts the last few weeks. My wife and I decided to "take a few weeks off" of cancer.... as best as one can when dealing with stage iv lung cancer.

Incredibly sorry to hear about Mark. You have been a rock... again, as best as one can in the circumstances.

Tonight, my thoughts are with you. I hope that you find peace, and can put your life back together piece by piece, never forgetting mark, but letting his memories be the glue you use to put together the rest of your life.

There are not enough dirty words for cancer!

NayPaul's picture
NayPaul
Posts: 231
Joined: Oct 2010

Kelly -

I have not posted nor read many posts the last few weeks. My wife and I decided to "take a few weeks off" of cancer.... as best as one can when dealing with stage iv lung cancer.

Incredibly sorry to hear about Mark. You have been a rock... again, as best as one can in the circumstances.

Tonight, my thoughts are with you. I hope that you find peace, and can put your life back together piece by piece, never forgetting mark, but letting his memories be the glue you use to put together the rest of your life.

There are not enough dirty words for cancer!

sleepless in jersey
Posts: 185
Joined: Feb 2011

I myself haven't been on in awhile and had just seen your post Kelly if I could give you a big hug I would. You were such an amazing wife and took such great care of Mark. take it one step at a time. My thoughts are with you!

Dawn50
Posts: 122
Joined: Sep 2011

I beleive that people have a sense of when their time is ending... my Grandfather gave my brother a pocket knife that was his father's the day before he passed, my Grandmother started talking about her "trip" she was going on with her deceased husband and son while bedridden in Hospice, and my Dad started telling people goodbye as he lay in his hospital bed before slipping into a coma and passing. But that isn't to say that your Mom is just suffering from depression and has decided it's time to stop fighting. This battle is a tough one and if you look up the steps of grieving you may find she is experiencing very normal thoughts and reactions to what she is going through.

hang in there

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