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Father in law refuses treatment

texmo7491
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2007

My father in law was diagnosed w/nsc lung cancer in Nov 06. He is 84 yrs old and wasn't a canidate for surgery. he could have had radiation or chemo. He refuses to have any treatment. He says" I don't think I even have cancer. He has been taking some "herbal"treatment for the past year. However...I think he is showing some progression of the disease. He has had some loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss and now is coughing up some blood. What do we do? Just wait on him to waste away and die? How bad will it get in the end?

MadelynJoe's picture
MadelynJoe
Posts: 96
Joined: Sep 2003

Dear Tex:

As hard as it is to take, we cannot force a loved one to take treatment they do not want. You may try to speak with him about doing rad or chemo and tell him there are many people on this site that have had excellent results and are years out from their treatment.

If he is coughing up blood, he needs medical attention NOW.

I was successfully treated for nsclc in 2005 and I'm over 2 1/2 years as a survivor with no recurrence.

I pray for you, your husband and your father-in-law.

All the best,

Madelyn

cabbott
Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

Call your local hospice organization and ask for help: advice for yourself even if your father-in-law doesn't want any treatment. There are pamphlets on end stage cancer with great advice on how to maximize quality of life when days are limited. One thing we noted with my grandfather was that he was not hungry. Meal times became depressing for everyone involved because we thought he was deliberately starving himself. We had no idea he was in end stage cancer (we found out at the autopsy). Small bites of highly desired foods spiked with protein, like egg custards, maple syrup on french toast, a small souflee, milk shake with Boast or Ensure, or whatever seems good and goes down easy, might work for awhile, certainly better than fights over eating a plate of food. Pain should not be tolerated in patients who are dying. Contact his doctor and convince him to at least have the medicines handy if he needs them. The doctor could evaluate him and see if hospice could offer other services, but he may refuse those services too. I have seen hospice offer counseling to children and families of individuals who are dying even when the individual is not "their" patient. Make the most of what time he has left. I treasure the last game of cards I had with my Grandfather. Neither one of us knew it would be the last one, but three days later he went to sleep and never woke up. It was what he wanted, but a painful surprise to me. Oh, don't forget to take care of yourself too. Time off to go somewhere, even out to eat for an hour, is important when you are under stress. I'll be thinking of you.

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