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Need Advice Regarding My Mother

Posts: 9
Joined: May 2014

Hello All, My mother is a Stage 4 Breast Cancer Patient. She found a lump about 4-5 years ago, but never saught out treatment until about 2 years ago when the cancer literally ulcerated and ate a hole through her flesh. At that point, they were able to radiate and shrink the tumor where it was once again operable and she underwent a single masectomy. At the same time they told her she had mets in most of her bones including multiple tumors on her spine. She underwent many rounds of radiation and also did three different types of hormone therapy. (She did not want to chemo, because the radiation already had made her sick to her stomach.) After about a year and a few months, her tumor markers began to rise which led to to the use of several different treatments. Nothing seemed to work and her tumor markers continue to climb steadily. After a complete CT Scan of Abdomen, the scan showed numerous lesions in her liver, two of significan size. This was three months ago, which led to her decision to discontinue all treatments. She did very well at first, but we have seen a steady decline over the last few weeks. She has gotten weaker, her appetite is getting worse, and she seems to be bloating some in her abdomen. Of course her pain in her back and bones has gotten worse as well.

My question for the forum is what to expect in the coming months and weeks. She has ultimately put this in God's hands, but as her family we want to know what to expect and what we can do for her. We've discussed hospice and that is something we are considering right now. She still get's out some, but only can do things for a few minutes at a time. She is not bed ridden at this point, but afraid that time is quickly approaching. No jaundice or discoloration of skin at this point, but she is pale and not eating well. Anything that anyone can offer would be helpful.

Best wishes to all!

soul-mate's picture
Posts: 82
Joined: Feb 2014

Sorry to hear about your mother but I wish her the best ahead. My wife's condition is similar as she has advanced stage. We chose palliative care which entails some treatments to stop progression but it's not curative treatment. The most important thing for us at this point is quality of life, so pain management and nausea is well managed . ( top priority )When you choose palliative care there's a whole support team that get's involved as needed. We are 11 months in and our new normal life is not so bad for patient and caregiver. I hope this little bit of info helps to make a decision one way or other. Take care!


Posts: 9
Joined: May 2014

Thank you. It is a lot of help! I have been searching for people in similiar situations. Thank you for the advice! Take care!

Posts: 760
Joined: Apr 2012

I am sorry to hear about your mother.  Call hospice in.  People have the wrong idea about hospice.  You can have in-home hospice.  My husband has been on in-home hospice since September 2013.  They come in once a week and check him and provide all medications dealing with his cancer and even the feedings for his feeding tube.  They will come in more and more as the time comes closer.  He is able to get out and do a few things around the yard but that's it.  He doesn't drive anymore, because I won't let him.

Please talk it over with your mother and her doctor regarding hospice.  Just so you know once you go on hospice, you don't go to the doctor or even the hospital.  For many hospice is a blessing.  I was told up front, that if I didn't like who they were sending, just to let them know immediately.  So far everyone has been great.

Wishing you and your family peace and comfort -- Sharon

Posts: 9
Joined: May 2014

Thank you for the advice. This is what my wife and I have been talking about. It is hard to convince her to do this because she feels that it is her way of giving up! I have heard so many wonderful stories of hospice and how early is better. Thank you so much for this. Wishing you the best as well!

grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

I agree. Call hospice. Hospice is for the whole family. They are experts in pain control. They give you a 24/7 phone number you can call whenever you have questions. Most Hospices now allow palitive care.  I am speaking from experience. I lost my husband to colon cancer almost five years ago after a six year battle. We didn't call Hospice until the last month. I wish we had called sooner. They were very helpful. My husband was able to get out. He used a walker and toward the end a wheelchair right up until the last couple of days. He was very determined. He, too, had placed himself in God's hands. We were vey blessed that the end for him was peaceful. I will add, though, that even if you think you are ready for the end, you probably are not. We had accepted early on that he was just buying time. We had discussed how I would go forward without him. Our affairs were in order. Yet, I really wasn't ready to lose him, his sense of humor, his companionship, his sharing in my decisions and problems. It was a difficult time for our sons and me. I'm sure is for your family, too. Don't forget to say I love you often and share memories. Try to cherish whatever time you have left. It is ok to both laugh and cry together. Take care, Fay. 

Posts: 9
Joined: May 2014

Thank you all for the kinds words and encouragment. Since my last post, my mom has went down-hill fast. She developed a condition called ascites, which is fluid build up in the abdomen--luckily its not too bad and they are trying to manage it with medication, but it doesn't seem to be helping too much. Jaudice has also started, last night her entire face, eyes, and even scalp was yellow. Today is not quite as bad, but then again it depends on the moment. She is increasingly tired and irritable. She can't sleep well because she can't get comfortable. I am hoping she will be more accepting to hospice care now, so they can help provide her some comfort.

She is still mobile and moving some. She tries to get out at least once a day, so that is encouraging. My mom has a very high tolerance to pain and knows how to put a good face if you know what I mean :)

It's just so hard to know what to expect next, etc. Thank you all for your kinds words. I will continue to post updates.

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