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Oncologist said Mom's Cancer is Advancing Rapidly

Meowycat
Posts: 58
Joined: May 2013

Good Afternoon Caregiving Angels,

My mother has been fighting her stage 4 Colon cancer for two years and 4 months. A couple months back it spread to the bone. As of last week her Oncologist told me her CEA has gone up and is off the wall. He is going to try the last chemo treatment he has in a last ditch effort. I have noticed her health declining rapidly which is to be expected. My father and I have been taking care of her through this period and we always try to hope for the best outcome. I left my job in January and am trying to stay home for as long as I can. Dad is retired.

I think her body is just getting tired. Between the disease, weight loss, pain etc. I feel so bad for her. I feel worse for my Dad. This past February we went to get a family plot at the cemetary and it was very hard on him. He is very stoic but I can't imagine how he feels. I had to have the conversation with him that we should go this Saturday to the funeral home to get everything in order. We work as a team. He is great at certain things and relies on me to do others (i.e. making decisions about health, plots, and I assume the funeral). I just don't want to have a massive breakdown at the funeral parlor in front of him. I just want to go in there and try to view it as a business transaction, but I have a feeling I may crack. I also have ulcerative colitis (which is under control)and the stress is starting to get me down physically (ie worrying, not sleeping well, not eating well).

Any thoughts or words of wisdom would be welcomed regarding home hospice, funerals, etc. . I feel like I'm in an abyss between someone who is living but may go at anytime. I think my nerves are shot.

Huggies,

 

Nellie

 

wolfen's picture
wolfen
Posts: 1194
Joined: Apr 2009

Nellie,

You have already made a wise decision in this stressful time to make funeral preparations ahead of time. My mother has been gone for 8 years & long before her health began to fail, she & I did just that. She was able to choose exactly the service she wanted & was financially solvent so everything was paid for at that time.

When my husband passed last year, it was a completely different story. Even being seniors, we had never made any preparations except for the purchase of a plot next to my parents' 40 years ago. He had no life insurance & during a destroyed state of mind, I made the best decisions I could based on my meager living. It was surprising to learn of each little thing that created charges. I will always remember driving myself & family to the cemetery as I could not afford the extra charge of the limo. Fortunately, I am allowed to make monthly payments on the nice, but spare arrangements which I was able to make.

I have very little experience with hospice, only that of the last 24 hours of his life. His wish was to never die in a hospital & hospice was kind enough to arrange an ambulance to bring him home. Nurses cared for him & kept him comfortable & though semi-conscious, I think he knew we had brought him home. They were wonderful & compassionate.

My heart goes out to you in this most difficult of times.

Luv,

Wolfen

Ladylacy
Posts: 491
Joined: Apr 2012

I know that many think hospice is for the end, but that is not true.  My husband has been on in-home hospice since September 2013.  So far they have been great but right now I'm not too happy with them.  Our hospice nurse had to go on medical leave and now I'm having trouble getting his pain medication when needed and we are about to run out today if we don't get it.  But for the main part hospice is great.  I had hospice for my mother's last 2 weeks of life and can't say enough about them and that was 10 years ago.

Hospice provides all medication needed that deals with her cancer.  They control her pain medication and you can keep her in-home unless her pain because unmanageable then they have to go in-hospice.  My husband is on a feeding tube and they provide the nutrition for the feeding tube.

At first I couldn't get my husband to talk about anything he wanted after his death.  We do have in our wills we want to be cremated and what we want done with our ashes and I asked him about a service afterwards and he wouldn't talk about it.  It is very hard and I haven't been to a funeral home to discuss anything and know it is something I need to do at least to alert them and get things set up.  When my mother passed away she had already had everything planned and paid for.  Well one thing she didn't plan on was that we had to ship her body back to where she had live until she came to live with us.  She wanted to be buried back where she had lived for over 70 years and we tried to talk her out of it because only her siblings still lived in that area.  My siblings and I all moved away from where we had grown up.

Wishing you and your family peace and comfort -- Sharon

 

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1616
Joined: Aug 2009

I am so sorry you and your parents are facing this tough time. I think each of us must do what is right for us. My husband and I talked about his memorial service and wishes ahead of time. We had six years to do that since that was how long he fought colon cancer. We did not, however, go to the funeral home before his death. My sons and I did that after my husband died. I'm not sure  if I could have done that before his death. Our pastor was also wonderful helping my sons and me with the final arrangements for the memorial service In our church. 

Hospice was very good. We only had them for a month but appreciated the many things they did like getting meds delivered, oxygen and a hospital bed. I liked having the 24/7 phone number for questions. They also took care of calling the funeral home for pick up of his body and arranged for the death certificate to be signed. We only have one funeral home in our area and the owner of that is also the county coroner. Makes things a little simpler. 

I appreciate that you are concerned about your father. Losing a spouse if very hard. I thought I understood how my mother felt when my father passed away, but I didn't. He will need your support and love as much after your mother dies as he does now. This is a very hard time for all of you. Waiting for someone to let go of their life is heartbreaking. Yet letting them go is even harder. As long as Doug was here we were dealing with these life changing times together. That made it easier for me. Once he was gone, I felt very alone even with my family's support. We had been married for 42 years and had faced some hard times together. Facing the hardest time of my life without him was, and sometimes still is, indescribably difficult. 

Meowycat
Posts: 58
Joined: May 2013

Thank you all for your words of encouragement. It truly helps.

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