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What to expect in the last stages

Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2003

Hello. I do not know exactly where to begin this email or even if I am doing the right thing. My mother, who is 58, is in the final stages of primary liver cancer. On Wednesday 6/4/3, her physician indicated she has approximately 4-8 weeks to live. Last night, Saturday 6/7/3, she fell into a hepatatic (sp?) coma. Her physician and two friends of ours who are also physicians, indicated that she was not in any pain, so we could still keep her at home, but that she was probably very close to death. Accordingly, her priest came and adminstered last rites. In the middle of the night - at around 4:30 this morning, however, she awoke suddenly and asked for two Dannon yogurts and a large glass of Vernors. She had a third yogurt this morning around 9:00 a.m.

I guess my question, is, what is happening? None of the physicians seem to have an answer, and I am feeling really confused and scared. Last night I thought it was the end and stayed by her side for hours until I fell asleep. My Dad is also taking this very hard.

I have never posted a mesage before or been involved in any kind of chat room, so I am not sure how this works. But, if anyone could lend some guidance, I'd be very appreciative.

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2013

My mother was diagnosed wi stage 4 liver cancer.  Doctor tells us she can try Nexavar which will only extend her life, if she can tolerate the side affects.  

i'll be staying with her at home but don't know what to expect.  Does anyone know of any literature that can help?

i love reading personal experiences and adire how brave everyone braves am scared and I think if I knew what was coming in the next few months I would be able to help my mother more.

any suggestions on data I can read? Mi think with information and the personal experiences posted here, I can better understand.  At least I hope so.

thank you

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2013

Hi Jenny,  me and my sister are experiencing the same thing with our dad. Our dad is 63 we found out around aug10th/13 that he had cancer is his Rt. lung which they say spread to 2 tiny spots in his head and a lrg mass in his liver. Because my dad also had a kidney transplant 12 yrs ago and takes rejection drugs it lowers his immune system which made his cancer spread that much quicker. He did 4/5 radiation treatments and was supposed to try chemo afterwards but the liver cancer is just to far to continue. We found out about 3 weeks ago he is going very fast, he sleeps almost the entire day, he is jaundice and so are the white of his eyes, for an unknown reason he ended up with thrush really badly making sores all the way down his tongue giving a burning swollen feeling. Recently he was given a swishing medicine to heal his tongue however he is very fisty on taking it. He is on heavy doses of dilauded which keep him pretty much comfortable. He is able to crack an occassional joke with us and have small amounts of liquid foods rarely a solid. We are just getting hooked up with Hospice aparently they are very helpful to have around in our time of need. I wish you prayers of strength and a hug. If you ever just want someone to talk to my email is jcdurden@hotmail.com. Carrie 

SashaCohen's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2013

My fiance was diagnosed with colon cancer after he was refused a colonoscopy 8 times because doctors say he was too young. I thought I had at least a good 5 more years with him. So he did the chemo and radiation but it seemed the cancer moved to his liver and was there for a while because while away working in the caribbean based on the nature of his job, he travelled to Europe and thats when the swelling of his ankles, knees and legs started. This started about 3 days of a 16 day trip and by the time he got home he was at least 40 lbs less not including the swellings. He went to the hospital for check up and they say his liver was inflammed. I am now in tears as I decided this is not enough. He is now in the hospital with a swollen stomach, yellow eyes, rapid weight loss, vomitting, day dreams (confusion), pain in upper stomach and right shoulder lower blade. He is in so much pain and the nurses/docs says he has only a few weeks to live. I dont know how to come to reality that I will never be able to walk down the isle with the man I am so deeply in love with. I cant sleep, I am depressed, I just want a few more years with him. I know eventually we all have to go but I am just trying to be strong for him.


Any word of comfort is greatly appreciated and or good news that he may recover for a little longer.


Mckinlyazoid's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2013

I feel for you. My husband has been battling fibromellar carcinoma since he was disgnosed in 2006. We got married less than 2 months ago and recently he started exhibiting signs of the last stage of liver cancer. Swollen belly, jaundice, disorientation, discomfort, etc. it happened extremely quickly seeing that we returned from our honeymoon just 4 weeks ago. I'm angry, hurt, depressed everything I'm sure you're feeling as well. But the best advice I received and try so hard to continue to do when I walk into the hospital is make every minute and second I have with him mean everything.  I try not to cry in front of him but sometimes I can't help it but just live in the moment. Cherish it. Enjoy it. And think positively. Ask the nurses as much questions as possible too. They tnd to be more compassionate and will keep you updated on what you need to know or do.

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Joined: Jul 2013







Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2013

I'm contaminated with hepa b and I feel the symptoms of weakness, headache, muscle aches... I don't know what to be in the last stages...


I just want to make sure before I go to heaven that all is well with my family as I depart.Smile

Posts: 24
Joined: Feb 2013

MY BLESSING TO YOU. I understand that you want your family to be taken care if. I too was told that I only had with in a year. I WILL PRAY FOR YOU

meh_oregon's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Nov 2013


Keep a positive attitude and don't believe everything you are told. Stats are based upon those who open their files to the docs. Everyone reacts differently. Attitude is a main thing and you should surround yourself with people who are positive. The dooms day folks can go back into the closet. I have had Stage IV cancer for almost three years. I was diagnosed in January 2011 and my children were told that I had only three months to live. I am still around and functioning. I may not be functioning 100% prior to being diagnosed, but I am able to move around and hug my family and friends. I have neuropathy in my hands and feet due to side effects of treatments. I believe a positive attitude is a key to maintaining to improving your health. I have undergone radiation treatment for my colon/rectum cancer and it is has been in remission for two years now. I am battling the liver cancer with the knowledge that I have two tumors that are inoperable and located in places (portal vein) that they never will go into remission. But, I can fight it with the drugs to maintain the size and not spread to other parts of my body. When I am undergoing chemo, the doctor puts me on a 5,000 calorie/day food intake. It makes sense if you think about it. Chemo burns up approximately 2,000 calories a day. You need the other 3,000 calories to account for the nourishment you need and the times you vomit it back up. In all honesty, I have never been able to eat that much food in a day, but I try. The main thing is that I have kept my weight within the 10 lb. radius of my origiinal weight prior to being sick. I keep the resources in my body to help fight the cancer. I don't stress about what is good for me to eat, whatever I can eat and keep down is a positive thing. Food doesn't always taste the greatest, so I use Carnation Instant Breakfast or diet beverages with a lot of protein to help me reach my food intake. I love to prove the stats wrong and have a great relationship with my doctor: he keeps me going and I will make his stats look wonderful. There are thousands of chemos out there. I have gone through six different types so far. Some have had horrible side effects (i.e. the skin looks dry and flakey and no matter what cream you use, you look scaley, colostomy, etc.). The thing is that if one doesn't work, go to the next one. I know my liver cancer is not primary, but I still go through the same things that primary folks do.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2013

Thanks for the encouraging words.

My mother was diagnosed with stage IV liver cancer about six months ago.

I guess I'm still a little baby, but the news has shaken me to the core.

She went in for a PET scan yesterday and today the doctor has found that the cancer has spread to her lower spine.

I'm at a loss for words, but I understand that I need to be strong for my mom.

I will pray and cheer for you too.

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2014

Hello. My mom was diagnosed with liver cancer on April 29th, 2012. The doctor told me she would not make it to see me graduate on May 29th, 2012. She has surpassed what the doctor said, & now she is staying cold, loss of enegy, having sharp abdominal pains, coughing up blood, & there is blood in her fecal matter. She refuses to go back to the doctor, she also has multiple sclerosis. Can somebody please help me.. I have no idea what is going on, or what to expect next...

Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2014

My dad has a large tumor on his liver and a smaller one on his esophogus. We are waiting to get his biopsy report on where the primary tumor may be. i do not think there is much the doctors can do at this point. But I have hope in alternative methods. i know Dr. Thomas Seyfried from Boston College has a ketogenic diet that uses a monitored high fat, low carb, no sugar diet to kill cancer cells. Basically cancer cells need sugar to live, whereas normal cells can use ketone bodies (an alternative fuel) to function. He's very good with his emails. [Content removed by CSN Support Team]

Additionally, hyperbaric oxygen treatment has also shown very good results. You can check out scientific papers on hyperbaric oxygen on pubmed (scientific paper database). There is also an institution called Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida, where they use natural methods and food to help with healing.

Chinese Traditional Medicine has also very promising effects. There's 2000 years of trial and error behind this medicine, that we westerners often overlook.


this is a good website to look for some information. People think some Chinese Traditional medicine is toxic, but the thing is any medication is probably way less toxic then chemo.

And I think most importantly, it's about being there with the loved one, wholeheartedly. I'm dropping everything to be with my father. I hope you can too.


Best Wishes


Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2015


This is my first time on here. My dad has cancer in both lungs and also in his glands ( I think ) . He was given 9 months and we are just gone past the ninth month. Myself and my mam is here caring for him but lately my mother keeps  sleeping. Last week I went back to work and this is 9am to 5 pm as I was falling into depression and I needed to do something. 

I feel a bit guilty but I was no use to anybody the way I was. It's really only since I started work my mam is sleeping too much. My dad has carer s calling everyday but he is able to dress himself and walk around. He is an alcoholic and every night I buy him his drink. The way all my siblings look at it the drink is what he always had and why take it away from him now . But my mam hates us getting the drink. My dad is on morphine tabs and he is slowly going to die and maybe this is what my mam cannot accept. 

I am thinking of leaving the job and wait until my dad goes so I can look after the both of them as after working that week it has helped me get up early and I feel a lot better now. 

I do not know what to do with my mother . Do I contact the palliative care team and explain to them or what else ? Has anyone got any suggestions. 

Thanks for listening



luvinlex's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2016

My morher was home with Hospice care and had gone 10 days without water and we were waiting for the end. My brother from Florida came there and she perked up and talked to him, talked to his wife and daughter on the phone, asked how they were. She then fell back into her coma induced by the morphine I was giving her. The nurse explained that at a certain time, when they've been waiting for someone they can muster energy from somewhere to find the strength to wake and talk and that it's not unusual. I was shocked.. she became lucid and then went back into her coma. I wondered if I could stop the morphine and we could talk again, but I didn't want to mess with the plans Hospice had given me. Test things. But - she did wake up... she died shortly after that, after everyone had left the room, also not unusual. 

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2017

Hi there,

I do not have cancer or know someone with it. I was at risk for mouth cancer but thankfully I quit smoking in time to be okay. I am now writing a short novel which in large part is about cancer. I came here as a mode of research and I have been completely moved by this comment thread. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has contributed to this thread and I offer my deepest sympathies to all of you and your loved ones. These comments are some of the most honest, courageous, and empathetic words I've read. 

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2017

Hi I'm new here and I've been reading about the different cancers and what to expect I was diagnosed with end stage liver cancer 4 yrs ago the dr.gave up on me 4 times 1 yr in my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer she was my caregiver at this point I became hers and she passed away 5 weeks later. I had to have paracentesis every week to drain 50+ lbs of fluid my then 3 yr old daughter watched as I grew weaker and no energy to pick her up finally I found a doctor that did everything he could to help me my only option was receive a transplant or die on March 7 2016 I received a liver they said I was the first PT. With my diagnosis to receive a transplant and do so well iam a living testimony keep your faith and fight til the end never give up and live everyday as it's the last my baby brother was diagnosed with leukemia 6 months after our mom passed away my Dad stayed by our side my brother received a transplant 2 weeks before me...I pray that all of you have peace and understanding and remember when you've done all you can for your loved one knowing that they are free from hurt and pain it doesn't take away the hurt of losing them but it gives you a piece of mind knowing that you loved them and they loved you until that last breath.


Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2017

My husband has liver cancer he takes nexavar and has had 2 embolizations since September they say he is losing blood somewhere his red cells are always low and he has to have iron transfusions he is on transplant list but don't know how long g it qill be we have extra lost friends in the past year from like er cancer I get scared not knowing if he qill make it to transplant just wondering during how I know if he is near the end 

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2017

I lost my father 3 month after these symptoms started, 

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2017

My father was diagnosed with brain tumor and he had a surgury about 8 months ago. He finished the radiotherapy process to complete the treatment in December 2016. Unfortunately he got an intestain issue during the January 2017 which enforced him to experience an intestain surgery. Fortunately, once he got the anesthesia, his intestain started to work properly and he started his recovery without any surgury. The anesthesia process affected him negatively and he became so week. Recently (two weeks ago) we checked his brain again and the MRI result was disapointing. His doctor said that he is so weak to experience either surgury or radiotherapy and here is the exact summary of my father's current situation report:

There is avid enhancing massin right basal ganglia /thalamus and brain stem with peripheral vasogonic edema cause mild line shift. Those are suggest high grade brain tumor. The mass show high signal ADC and iso signal in DWI suggest high cellularity.

It means the tumor is back!! and he is now so weak to get the radiotherapy or surgury. Please if anyone had such experience let me know what can I do for him. I really want to do something but I do not know how. God bless you all and thank you so much.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2017

thank you for starting this thread, it's helped me more than you could know. 

My dad was diagnosed as terminal last  June and he's had a happy healthy 12 months until the last few weeks. 

He was admitted to hospital with infection and was still reasonably OK, as in he could walk, sleep, talk, eat and enjoy reading the papers. He's had such a good quality of life despite the illness, right up until the last week. 

Hes now got a swollen abdomen, swollen feet and legs, pain around the liver, and he's lost a lot of weight in a very short time. Today he was (for want of a better description) wild eyed, couldn't sit still, wanted to get up and do things and was so distressed at not being able to get out of bed that he could hardly breathe. I think this might be the end, that maybe his brain is reacting to toxins that his liver can no longer filter out. If anyone has any experience of what this is, I'd be grateful. Today was the hardest day so far.

To anyone with a recent diagnosis, we found that avoiding sugar and reducing  carbohydrates helped. My dad was given 3-6 months and was fully active for 12 months. Tumours eat glucose, so reducing it should slow the growth (it's NOT a cure though, of course, but there's some good science behind low carb diets for cancer and it's worth exploring). 

All my positive thoughts go out to anyone who finds this forum. You are not alone in this x

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2017

Hello, everyone,

i have been touched by your stories and in some cases your pleas. I am watching my sister slowly fail from stage IV colon cancer with many Mets to her liver. She was diagnosed 7/4/14.  She doesn’t talk about which chemo she is on, and she doesn’t share her diagnosis or details- even with her husband. She wants to just keep going until she can’t. Recently, she started having severe symptoms. Confusion, seizures, massive fatigue. Apparently, the chemo she is on causes her electrolytes to become critically low. Her potassium and magnesium were 0.02. Critical is 1.2. Her calcium was a 5. That should be 8-10- also critically low. Now that those are coming back she has bounced back again. We see she is end-stage. She has had bloating and the chirrohis effects for over a year. Her eyes are currently dark yellow. However, she still has the will and motivation to live. We will let her do her thing until she is ready. I will try to update as we go. I am a research fanatic. I have the *need* to know what is happening, which is hard since everyone is different. I will try to keep her story current. 

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2017

I lost my father one week ago, I can remember in his last two weeks I needed someone to tell me what to expect and how to deal with these difficult  moments, so I will try to describe these last days hoping that it can make it easy for you. My father had stomach cancer metastatic to liver, he did 5 sessions of chemo but the low blood level didn't allow him to continue, and his liver stopped functioning correctly so basically he died bcz of the cancer attack on his liver, that started with the very low albumin that made him feel so tired and decreased his appetite day after day, just 10 days before he died he was able to take stairs and go toilet by himself, a week before he needed someone to help him to stand and walk, but last 3 days he was unable to stand at all and he spent time in bed sleeping, he wake up just to take medicines or to welcome visitors, not more than 5 min and he go back to sleep, every time he opens his eye I ask him if he feels any pain, he said no, Then last two days he started vomiting blood (brown liquide) and only on the last day he refused to take tramadol, in the last 3 days he started also talking in his sleep and even sometimes when he open his eyes, he started talking about traveling! But we couldn't understand everything he said, even if he used to say that he is not feeling any pain I was so afraid bcz his breathing change sometimes and he used to put his hand on his stomach so I was wondering if he does feel pain but cant express that clearly. Othet thing his eyes turned yellow in the last week and his feet was inflated with blue marks, and was clear how difficult for him to move his legs or even to turn the other side in his sleep, it is extremely difficult to see the most important person in your life in such situation especially a great man like my father with the kindest heart I have ever seen. I took the strength from prayers and quoran and I never cried on front of him, in his last two days I started telling him that he will be in better place and that it is ok to let go, I told him that I will take care of my sister and of his wife, and I gave him a lot of hugs and kisses, didn't leave him at all. 30 min Before he died he opened his eyes ask for my aunt kissed her hand, kissed me and everyone in the house to say goodbye and then lost consciousness, but this time his eyes didn't close, till the last breathe.

My advise is to get ready, make your loved ones comfortable, focus on their comfort not on the pain you are feeling, if they cant move anymore prepare diapers, sensitive skin tissues, dont say something they dont want to hear, bcz till the last moment they can hear everything even when they are sleeping, you will be surprised, even if they are confused you cant know when the clarity moments will show up. If they know they are dying ask what are their wishes.

If you believe in god pray a lot and ask for strength, forgiveness and pain relief.



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