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My mom has stage 4 cancer. 
Started by debbie123
20 Dec 2015, 6:25 AM

She is at the end stage. Not drinking water for about 7 days now. No food in forever. Her body hurts to touch. She gives kisses if you lean in close and tries to lift her frail arm to give me a hug. I barely understand her words. I tell her that so as to be honest. I let her know I am there..I love her and want her to be comfortable with no pain. She nods yes or no if awake. Is there anything to help with the body pain ? She's on strong pain meds. Hospice is great. Mom's at home with her loved ones. How long will this last ? I have been so lucky as the doctors gave her one month..Now it's been 8' but she's declining with the no water n food. Shes everything to me. any advice would help. I wish I could understand her words more as she tries so hard to talk but it comes out as a babble. she's my amazing mom. :-)
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Reply by KathCull_admin
20 Dec 2015, 4:04 PM

Welcome debbie123 – as the rest of us you've come to our community at a very hard time in your life.  Your words show how much you and your mom love each other – what a great gift.  I wonder if that love might help you as you have more difficulty understanding what your mom is saying to you.  Would it help to talk to her about some of the conversations you have had in the past – memories, interests?  She may not be able to talk to you the sound of your much loved voice and the memories you share could bring her comfort – and you as well. You could direct your questions regarding pain medication to Ask a Professional .

In my experience loving someone who is ill makes me feel so helpless, but I find comfort in words of the article When death is near when it says, “… the simple presence of loved ones near the end is usually more important than what is done or said.

I am not sure if you saw a thread started by another member Andreadzel called Losing my Mom - Taking this so hard .

Are there other family members and friends who are supporting you and your mother debbie123?


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Reply by JennJilks
20 Dec 2015, 4:30 PM

You poor thing. This is really hard, isn't it?
You can know that she is in good hands in hospice. My mom refused any such considerations. It was terrible. I was so alone. 
Another suggestion: tell her that you will be able to manage with out her. Sometimes they need permission to let go. You know, by her love, that she has given you all of the tools you need to live your life. This is obvious by your loving concern. Take a deep breath. Dying is a part of life. We all lose our parents, and hwile it is hard, there are many people who will help you through this. The hospice can find you a bereavement counsellor. Or Google hospices in your area. I am a hospice volunteer, going into people's homes. We have Visual Arts Bereavement programs, for example. It really helps to be with people similarly grieving. YOu are pregrieving, and this is natural and normal.

You take care.

In my late father's case, he was in pain, I knew. I felt that even when he said he wasn't he was. I decided to have the nurse give him morphine injections regularly, since he was unable to tell us. 

There are signs and symptoms of pain. I believe that it is better to medicate than not. Our parents often want to pretend to be stoic, when, in this day and age, there is no reason to be in pain. 
Symptoms of pain
Loss of appetite, anxiety, bleeding, constipation, cough, confusion, dehydration, depression, diarrhea, dysphagia, dyspnea, hiccoughing, intolerance of sheets on their legs, sweating, nausea, vomiting, pruritis, insomnia, mouth pain, skin problems, seizures, urinary frequency, weakness.
Watch for changes in expression, a change in behaviour, physical, intellectual, emotional spiritual pain:http://www.jilks.com/Ray/Ray-Images/99.jpg

  • being very quiet or moaning, rocking

  • being friendly to now being combative

  • from being cheerful to being sad

  • eating well then refusing food

  • sleeping well to insomnia

  • gestures: wringing of the hands, fidgeting with clothes, "pleating", clenching fists, flinging arms about, reflexive jerking, rubbing a body part, rhythmic body movements (banging on a table)

  • holding onto a chair for security

  • tossing and turning in bed

  • changes in body posture: slouching, slow shuffling, tense posture, rapid gait, tense sitting or lying positions

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Reply by Carlyn
20 Dec 2015, 5:14 PM

Dear Debbie,

My heart goes out to you. I was in the same place you are in 2007. It's very hard. I am relieved you have found Virtual Hospice and reached out to us here. There is a lot of great support and kind voices here. All of them.... lean on us here, it will make this time easier to bear a bit at least.

My Mom also had stage 4 cancer. She wanted to die at home so she was at home with me in her own bed. Hospice and home healthcare were closely involved. I have other siblings but I was the primary because I live here and they were not geographically close, though they were involved by phone and sometimes email. Still, I was alone with it is what it felt like because others who loved Mom, their concern was Mom. So I have an understanding of where you are and how this feels. That's what I'm trying to say, just in case it helps. And offer you a supportive ((Hug)) 

I like everything both Katherine and JennJilks said and the links and info they shared. It's a lot to process and absorb but they're right. 

If it's not being done already, I would consider asking her doctors if your Mom can be sedated or made more comfortable. That helps with the pain. 

We're all with you during this time.

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Reply by debbie123
20 Dec 2015, 10:04 PM

helllo again....Thank you everyone for all the kind words and great advice. I sing to my mom. And I read part of a story I told het I am writing and dedicating it to her.  I asked her if I should go for it and she shook her head yes. I always went to her for advice. She supported me and listened. Never judged and said to me countless times how proud she was of me. I will cherish many wonderful memories of her and I talking. Sometimes I talk with others in the room and share the memories of mom and me. I know she's listening. My voice sometimes hurts if I start getting emotional as I hold it all in. I have friends that listen but they say they can't even comprehend what I must be going through. I am going to check out the many links and sites I received from my three new friends. Thank you all for being there. My mom's on morphine every two hrs now with other pain meds as well. Her bodies so thin n if you touch her even slightly she flinched. I would give anything to switch places with her. She has been a giver her whole life. Always here helping others. She puts others needs before her own. Only seeing the good in people. I am the youngest of the four kids n the only daughter. She kept trying till she got what she really wanted...lol...kidding. But she had told me she always wanted a girl. Then I had a daughter and she now has the only granddaughter out of all the grandsons.  Thank you all for sharing a part of your life with me. A very special and important part. She says water sometimes but I can only do the sponges cause if she drinks then she chokes. We can't have that. I feel bad all she wants is a glass of water. I love her so much. Thanks for being there for me to talk too. 
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Reply by debbie123
22 Dec 2015, 4:46 AM

Right no I am wide awake. Dreading that phone call I might get about my mom. Also listening my 15 yr old dog breathe hard because he's so sick with an upper respiratory infection. Hrs already blind n diabetic. Hrs a cocker spaniel. Between my mom n him I don't know how I am surviving . I have tried to hard with the dog. Spent a lot of money. I have none left n I can't do it anymore financially. I don't know where to go with him . Today I went back to work after having a few days off with my mom. It was hard not being there with her. I pray for a miracle with her. I am so tired n I just need some peace somewhere . 
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Reply by KathCull_admin
22 Dec 2015, 4:53 AM

Dear debbie123
What a heavy load you are carrying. Thinking of you tonight and wishing you that peace you need. Even a small bit would help wouldn't it.

I read a quote and it fits for me "Dogs are not our whole life but they make our lives whole" 

Take care Debbie123 and I will check in with you tomorrow.
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Reply by Carlyn
22 Dec 2015, 6:08 PM

Hi Debbie, I'm checking in too.

Pets are incredible support and source of love. I grew up with dogs and as an adult had two cats. They got me through some very difficult times.

Debbie, the timing on your dear dog's health issues in addition to your Mom is really difficult. I was in very similar place.

All I can think to offer right now is to please call your vet and speak to someone there to help you feel out how to help your dog (is your dog suffering? - question for the vet). They are also great support to help you ease into letting go if it's time for that. I know it's heartbreaking. I know this is horrible timing. But if your dog is suffering, you need to know so you can both prepare and make a responsible, caring decision for your dearly loved pet. You can do this. It will be hard and hurt but you can do it.

Our vet helped me euthanize 4 pets in between deaths of sibling and parents. Two of those pets were mine and were soon after my parents each died. If the pets are suffering, my vet advised it's not fair to them and I agreed so we made it with lots of time to say goodbye and hold them. I was present for each one.

Whatever you decide, we will all be here for you even if all you want or need to do is vent. No pressure on anything. 

Thinking of you and sending a ((Hug))

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Reply by debbie123
24 Dec 2015, 9:41 AM

Hello everyone. My whole world fell apart. My mom passed away yesterday while I was at her bedside singing and talking ...holding her hand. My other brother was holding her other hand. My daughter who is 20 was beside me. Last thing that happened was I said...who was there and we all love you. Then I said Ivan going to write that book I promised and I want to keep making you proud of me. She immediately opened her eyes smiled and looked directly at me and then shook her head up and down. Then that was it. My mom my best friend is gone. I need her more than words can say. I can barely write this. My sister in law...and my mom's male friend was there as well. Hospice was there but left and came back. I helped clean her up and dress her. I could not watch them take her away. How will I ever move on from this. Infant know right now. My job is kind telling Me to come back whenever I want and there is no rush. I don't feel like getting out of bed even. Then there is another story I have to tell you about my dog....
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Reply by debbie123
24 Dec 2015, 9:54 AM

Freckles my beautiful cocker spaniel of 15 yrs passed away silently in my arms about ten hours after my mom's passing. He was sick for about three weeks with yet another issue complicated due to his diabetes. The vet said..there was nothing else to do as he was suffering and in pain.  He had diabetes for the last two years of his life and was blind for about a year. He was amazing and faithful. I went through many things with him and he went b through many things with me. I walk into my apartment and there's no freckles. His bowl are there ..His pet bed ..I lay in bed a mess. Unable to breathe at times from the pain. Why is this happening all at once. I am so fortunate enough to of found great people like you to talk with and who understand..have been through this and survived. I hope I can stay strong enough to do so as well. I have faith and I hope it gets me through all this.  I just want to see my mom and dog again and give them one great big hug. I miss then both terribly.  My daughter days her nana is going to heaven with a pet. 
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