Spinal Cancer from Unknown Source Spread to Neck and Brain

My mother is 62 and her cancer diagnosis was made in January of this year (5 months ago).  She was diagnosed with leukemia as well as metastatic cancer from an unknown source.  The mets settled in her spine so she has diffuse small tumors up and down her spine and now spread to her neck area and base of the brain.  She has not been able to walk at all since her diagnosis and just last month she lost her ability to use her arms and hands.  She had multiple treatments of radiation to the spine and neck but at this point the doctors recommend paliative care with pain management as they feel she is too weak to handle chemo.  She is down to 84 lbs and is barely eating and very weak.  The only thing she is really interested in is getting her next pain pill/shot.  The doctors tell us her survival is less than a year but we really have no idea with that estimation.  From her condition does anyone else have any slight opinion on her time left?  


  • Noellesmom
    Noellesmom Member Posts: 1,859 Member

    I really would not want to even try to guess but would hope your doctor advised you to call hospice.  They are skilled at handling these situations and can help the family in many ways including recognizing the signs of transitioning from this life.

    I am sorry for the situation and will lift prayers for peace and grace during this difficult time.

  • Ladylacy
    Ladylacy Member Posts: 773 Member
    Your Mother

    I am sorry to hear about your mother.  I can highly recommend hospice if it has not already been recommended by her doctors.  Hospice is for not only end of life.  My husband has been on hospice since September 2013.  It is in-home hospice.  His first primary cancer was laryngeal but his second primary is at the cervical of his esophagus which is rare and no surgery was recommended due to his first round of treatment.  After a second round of treatment for his second primary it came back and went to his lungs.  He refused all treatment after that. 

    All of his doctors agreed with him and no one gave us any time period.  That was 2 years ago but he is now loosing his battle but he is still fighting.  He is down to 109 lbs the last time I weighed him (3 weeks ago).  He can't eat, has a feeding tube, very weak and can barely walk.  I have to do basically everything for him and it really hurts to watch him slowly waste away.  Our nurses can't understand, and neither can I, how he can still be alive.  His will is just too strong right now and I guess God isn't ready for him yet.  It hurts to see a once very active man in his condition.

    Guess what I'm trying to say is that no one knows how much time we have left but the man upstairs.  Doctors can guess but they aren't always right.  But I would definitely check into hospice.  Since your mother is only 62 check with her health insurance to see what is covered and I wold definitely check with social security disability.  My husband is on Medicare and the cost of hospice is $0 for us but remember this is in-home hospice.  In-patient hospice is for people who only have 6 months left and there are times that our nurses tell me in-patient would be better for my husband, but he is against it.  I can thankfully say that his pain is controlled and he doesn't have much pain which the nurses can't understand but I can very thankful for that.  His breathing has become labored but he so against using oxygen something else I don't understand.

    Wishing you and your family peace and comfort

  • wmc
    wmc Member Posts: 1,804
    Sorry to hear about your Mother...

    Very sorry to hear about your mother. I too would recomend Hospice. Seeing how fast this has spread and now the loss of movement, you need the help. With hospice you can spend the time being with her instead of taking care of her. Yes you want to as a daughter but you should be there for her and yourself. My mother was on kidney dialysis and had tried every differant way to do it for many years. Finally one day she called me and said she was tired and stopping the dialysis. She explained what that meant and wanted my approval, which she got. Now the prior year, I was there and took care of her everyother weekend and My sister did the other. My Brother took care of her during the week. She had some nursing but hospysis came in and I now could really "spend time with her" as her care, was taken care of. Hospysis allowed me and my Brother and Sister to be with her, which we all needed to do for us. I wish you the best in your time on need, and pray for your family.


  • Hondo
    Hondo Member Posts: 6,636 Member
    Sorry to hear the news

    Sometimes there is nothing to do but to pray, I lost my Mother to colon cancer 20 years ago. We all still miss her I guess that is something you carry with you the rest of your life. Spend as much time with her as you can, even if it is nothing more than visiting and reading a book to her.


    Tim Hondo