This is my first post to this forum, although I have lurked here for a long time. I have read so many stories from so many of you. I have learned so much from so many of you and I have also endured the same type of pain that many of you have experienced.
My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer with brain mets a week before Christmas, 2003. He and my mom were to be at my home for Christmas. My sisters and I thought it would be the last Christmas that they would be up north, because my dad had Alzheimer's and it was progressing.
My mom brought him to the hospital in Florida because she thought he had a stroke. He had a facial droop and more difficulty speaking, and that is when he was diagnosed. He had no lung symptoms at all, only neurological symtoms once the brain tumors got large enough to cause trouble. The location of the brain tumor was such that it was inoperable. The doctors wanted to do palliative radiation therapy to the brain, but my father could not tolerate it since he had the Alzheimer's.
We went to Florida to see him, since we were told that without the radiation therapy, he would not live long. He was already in a hospice "hospital"...more like a home really. We were there for five days, and the last day I saw him before I had to go back home to Mass., I found it hard to leave. I knew it would be the last time I would see him. He still recognized me, and he kissed me five times on the cheek and told me that I would be fine. I think back to that and boy was that typical for my dad....always reassuring me!
One of my sister's went to Florida two weeks after me, and she was there with my mom when my dad died. It was much like what many of you have described. The weight loss, the dark urine and not much of it, the bluish tinge to the skin, and that awful breathing, although hospice says it does not hurt the patient. My sister called me from his bedside that morning, and I could hear that breathing on the phone. He died later that morning, four weeks after diagnosis.
I still have such a sense of loss. I am still sad, and I still really miss my dad. I am so glad that I got to see him and hug him and that he was able to talk to me. Because of the Alzheimer's, my mother chose not to tell him that he had lung cancer, but I know that he knew he was dying when he told me that I would be alright and, at that moment, I knew he was OK with it.
I just want to thank so many of you for your courage and for sharing so many of your last moments with your loved ones...you have no idea how much that helped me through these tough months.