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very severe liver/abdominal pain....i don't know what to do!

Posts: 92
Joined: Mar 2009

MY mom just had as she explained it the worse pain she had so far with her liver a few hrs ago, she normally is now taking some vicodin every few hrs to sustain the pain, but even though the bottle states 1 to 2 tablets of it every 4 hrs, she is super hesitant to start taking the meds till maybe after 6-10 hrs or if she "begins" to feel some pain back....what im scared of was today, i actually saw her reaction to one of the pain surges she had, and she pretty much cried and she said she never had it that bad, so i kept asking her if we need to go to the Emergency room but she said no and took her meds, now this time she took 2, now its a little down in terms of pain, but my question is..

what / how can i tell to immediately take her to the ER because I don't know what to do or what they are gonna give her? because we have the vicodin here at home and it seems to do the job. Is it just a case of "she didnt take it soon enough" or she waiting too long to not take it? I want to know if some of you guys out there have "outburst of pain" if u don't take your pain meds at a regular time or right before the pain starts happening again.

Im really concerned because normally im away or at work or my stepdad looks out after her and today was the first time that i saw her face and she was crying somewhat and looking at me in severe pain. and im also afraid if she is all alone when this happens and no one will help her whenever I'm not around. ITs unbelievable how the tide turns, she went from undiagnosed w/ some symptoms, to a chemo patient with side effects, to chemo patient with no side effects and feeling good (assuming it was working), to being told a week ago the chemo wasnt working on her liver, to now taking meds to relieve the pain, to now what....please give advice if any thnks that was jsust 4 months

lmliess's picture
Posts: 331
Joined: Dec 2008

When I have had all my surgeries (C-Section, APR colostomy surgery and liver resection) I had to take my medicine at regular intervals before the pain started. As I got stronger I spaced them out from 4 - 6 hours then 8 then 10. Sometimes I had to go back to the earlier intervals. If the pill works, then she should take them. The body heals faster when it isn't focusing on pain.

Just a word of caution...pain pills are constipating so make sure she is taking a stool softner a couple times a day if needed.

Hope this helps. You are a great son!!!

shmurciakova's picture
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

First of all, I would take her to a major cancer center for a second opinion, is she on chemo now or is she between treatments?
You say all of this has happened in just 4 months?
As for the breakthrough pain, it wouldn't hurt to take her in to the ER where they will hook her up to IV pain meds. They will also tell her that you cannot wait until you have pain to take your pills. You have to stay on top of it! It is much easier to control pain than to get rid of it once it starts getting really bad! She needs to take her pills on a regular basis in order to prevent the pain from returning.
There are a lot of options out there to treat liver mets. I don't know where your mother has been treated or what her situation is, but 1st get the pain under control and then you can decide what to do next. If it really is the end of the road for her, then please get in touch w/ hospice care. They can come to her home and control her pain.
Best wishes,
Susan H.

Posts: 92
Joined: Mar 2009

although i dont think its "the end of the road" for her..i sure hope not, she had this instant and im like a panicking son so i normally go here to get some "relieve" or advice. I will make sure to tell her to take those meds regularly since it doesnt help anyone, esp. her if she waits for the pain....but really appreciate you guys for chiming in here.....she is a lively 62 yrs old and she is somewhat down now, i would say she is like 80% of her old self, but she is still doing ok, just today...and some days here and there, where she really is in pain...i will defnitely make sure to check on her pills since today she took it at 9am, 2pm, 7pm...and later at 11pm....so cut down that 1 hr that she isnt taking it

sharpy102's picture
Posts: 370
Joined: Apr 2009

Hello Marc,

We exchanged some posts here earlier when I was also seeking for some help to my mom. Anyway, what I was told about killing pains that just because they don't have pain they still need to take the pain killer at the given regular basis because those medicines usually work in a way that they keep the pain mild, or even make it go away until it hasn't reached a peak! When it reaches a peak, it is extremely hard to kill that pain no matter how many pills they took! So, she shouldn't say she is not taking it just because "right now" she is not in pain, and wait until the pain kicks in and reaches its peak! Then it will be very hard to kill the pain, if not impossible. Which means, of course she would have to go to ER or something, and get a shot and another drug, and another one so that the mix will able to kill her existing, severe pain. So, I would recommend you to make sure she is taking those pain killers the way the doctor prescribed to her..if every two hours, then every two hours. If you keep this constant, maybe the pain will never come back. If she still gets severe pain next to these constant pain killers, then you should seek a doctor out as she might need either additional, or a new type of pain killer. Good luck, I wish you and your mom all the best!

Posts: 220
Joined: Feb 2009

explained the meds this way. If your body is trying to heal and you are in pain-you need to take the pain pills as prescribed because the body can't heal if it is trying to fight pain. So, whether or not she is in pain-she should take the medication as prescribed by the doctor so her body can work on the healing part. Playing catch up on the pain is a tough one and sometimes (as you witnessed) impossible to control. Hope she is feeling better.....

daydreamer110761's picture
Posts: 497
Joined: Dec 2008

I would wait until the pain was nearly unbearable before I would take anything, and then would have to double up. Well, my best friend is a pharmacist and yelled at me about that (I have always been this way with any pain as I don't really like to take pills). It is best to keep it in the system and take as prescribed, not to wait until you think you are going to burst. And Sandy (who just happens to be the name of my best friend) is also right, the body can't heal what it is supposed to if it is spending time fighting the pain.

Hope your mom gets to feeling better, she will, she has you.

idlehunters's picture
Posts: 1792
Joined: Apr 2009

My doc switched me to oxycodone for pain. There is no acetametaphine in that as opposed to the 500mg found in vicodin which is not good on your liver.


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