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What to expect/ be prepaired for

AHelstrup
Posts: 22
Joined: Mar 2013

My Gram has been diagnosed for 3 totally seperate cancers.  Anal, esophgis (SP) and ovarian.

 

she had surgery to remove some but a lot was still in there. She is 75 and does not want to do any treatmetns and letting nature take it course.  Our family does not know what to expect during this time and how to help her. She has been on palitative care and just started hospice this week. Whe has been in good spirits but this week has gotten weaker, does not want to eat and looses track during a conversation.

I know this site is Cancer survivors but we know that she wont survive this.  That iw will mostlikely take her within the next 2 months.

Any suggestions or input you can offer on ways the family can deal or how we can help her or what to expect during her decline is appreciated. 

NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 461
Joined: Mar 2013

I am so sorry to hear about your Gram, it truly sounds like it is someone you love and care about. 

10 days before I was diagnosised with my cancer we buried my father.  For the month before he passed away I drove 6 hours one way as often as I had to, to be there for my mother and help my dad.  I have no regrets and would do it all again to have another minute with my dad. 

I would say surround her with your love and be with her.  Let her know you are there and whatever she enjoys do it with her.  Reading?  Offer to read to her.  TV?  Radio?  Whatever it is.  Drink up every word and laugh.  Tell her about some of your wonderful memories of things you did or what it meant to you. 

I think the group on this site is more "fighters" than just being limited to "survivors", so don't let the name of the board confuse you.  It is a wonderful GROUP of people here and you and your family have now been added to all our prayers. 

I am sorry you have had to find us here, but I pray that God holds all of you in His loving hands and guides you in your days.

 

Nina B's picture
Nina B
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2012

What you say and do during this sad time should reflect how you would act if she were still healthy.  If she enjoyed talking, talk to her.  If she was comfortable with silence, enjoy quiet time sitting with her and holding her hand.  In your words and actions let her know how much being her granddaughter has meant to you. 

AHelstrup
Posts: 22
Joined: Mar 2013

Questions is more... As she declines what can we expect as her time comes to an end?

debrajo's picture
debrajo
Posts: 770
Joined: Sep 2011

We just went through this with my sted dad, he died June 20, 2013.  If you haven't contacted Hospice you might want to think about he. We were unsure if we wanted Hospice, but they were wonderful.  If she is at home they will come there, or at a hospital or nursing home they come there also.  I think you can expect her to weaken to where she is bed bound and her appitate will drop off.  Hospice will help with everything including special feedings.  My step dad was brought Ensure everyday to help his energy.  The hospice we used also gave him liquis morphine in small drops so he was never in pain.  If she is at home, when she gets weaker, consider a hospital bed and put in the room that has the most activity so she will be engaged with people.  Hope this helps a little.  May God bless your Gran, you, and your whole family.  Best, Debra

AHelstrup
Posts: 22
Joined: Mar 2013

We started Hospice last week.  we got her an adjustable bed post surgery, potty in room, monitor in room so we can hear requests, water proof sheets.....

so far she is doing decent but she is in pain and wants it to be over. Asks for a pill each night or more morphine so it can just be over. But ovbiously we cant do that.  No DNR and she does not want any interventions at all... Hospice said to stop giving ensure as that will prolong life and she does not want that.  Its hard, but I dont need to tell you that. 

Personal questinon (feel free not to answer) how slow/ quickly did the decline take till it was all over? one week she was doing great and then it seemed like over night that she went back 30 days....

calafia
Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2013

 

We lost my brother to cancer in June. After a remission of several months, his recurrence was sudden and highly aggressive, and he passed away a week after it was diagnosed. He also had a directive for DNR and no interventions other than pain relief. However, he was in a hospital and getting the meds by IV, along with oxygen. They did all they could to keep him comfortable. He was aware of surroundings and visitors up to a couple of days before the end, then gradually stopped communicating or opening his eyes. We don't know if he could hear us or still knew we were there, but we kept talking to him as if he did. In the end, his blood oxygen gradually dropped and he went peacefully.

debrajo's picture
debrajo
Posts: 770
Joined: Sep 2011

In some ways it went on forever and then one day he was less responive, had a few visions of angles, wouldn't eat or talk,  The day he passed he had actually gotten dressed and to the dinning room and ate a fairly decent breakfast,  He then said he felt very sleepy and tired and then just slumped over.  He lasted an hour.  We were there and it was peaceful with no pain, just the slow breathing that got less and less.  It's impossible to tell about everyone and how it will go,but in my experence they rally and have a good day right at the end.  If they are not giving her tube feedings or liquids like ensure than they usually expect them to last 5-7 days.  Don't know if she is on IV or if getting any fluids, but I would expect Hospic to figure it to be less than two weeks.  Sorry if this is too much, but it really is a heads up to get in all the time with her you can...now.  Best, Debra

debrajo's picture
debrajo
Posts: 770
Joined: Sep 2011

In some ways it went on forever and then one day he was less responive, had a few visions of angles, wouldn't eat or talk,  The day he passed he had actually gotten dressed and to the dinning room and ate a fairly decent breakfast,  He then said he felt very sleepy and tired and then just slumped over.  He lasted an hour.  We were there and it was peaceful with no pain, just the slow breathing that got less and less.  It's impossible to tell about everyone and how it will go,but in my experence they rally and have a good day right at the end.  If they are not giving her tube feedings or liquids like ensure than they usually expect them to last 5-7 days.  Don't know if she is on IV or if getting any fluids, but I would expect Hospic to figure it to be less than two weeks.  Sorry if this is too much, but it really is a heads up to get in all the time with her you can...now.  Best, Debra

AHelstrup
Posts: 22
Joined: Mar 2013

Questions is more... As she declines what can we expect as her time comes to an end?

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1220
Joined: Jul 2012

Read http://www.cancer.org/treatment/nearingtheendoflife/nearingtheendoflife/nearing-the-end-of-life-death. Or don't.

Dying is a natural part of life and there is really no benefit in driving yourself crazy staring into the abyss.

Let hospice do their job, spend time with grandma, make her feel comfortable and loved.

AHelstrup
Posts: 22
Joined: Mar 2013

Thank you all. She has signed a DNR, she will remain at her home till the end,  wants nothing other than pain meds.  

From the respnces it does seem that it can be different for each person. As that is what we have been told also. But I continue to find some rational to this.

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