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Old 11-04-2007, 01:39 PM   #1
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Stevemichales HB User
Question Did I do the right thing???

In June my mother was diagnosed with a 6cm brain tumor that mestastized from her lungs. They removed it, but it left her with memory and speech damage. She was 75 yrs, old and not in the best condition.
the doctors said she was not a candidate for chemo, perhaps radiation., to slow any other growth but it could cause more brain damage as well. After surgery she went to a nursing home, but I couldn't stand her being there day & night without her family; so I moved her into my house. Her deterioration was rapid. By October she lost her balance, speech, was sleeping a lot, dehyrdrated, incontinent. Her dehydration put her back in the hospital for the second time. She was on soft food, and then came down with pnemonia. The choice I was left with was to have a feeding tube placed in her stomach or let her go. Everyone's advice was to just let her go, before the pain would begin, so I did. She died five days later. Not directly from cancer, but more from starvation. Now I feel guilty. As if I didn't do everything I could to save her, to give more time alive,even though I know her prognosis was terminal. Did I do the right thing? Based on her symptoms were the doctor's right in the fact that she would not live much longer anyway?

 
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Old 11-04-2007, 01:46 PM   #2
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Re: Did I do the right thing???

My opinion is that you did the right thing. If I think about her being myself, the last thing I would have wanted was to go on living with memory, speech problems and the prospect of a painful death. I think you made the right choice, don't beat yourself up about it...if you had decided the other way, you would have questioned that choice too.

 
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Old 11-04-2007, 04:49 PM   #3
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Re: Did I do the right thing???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevemichales View Post
In June my mother was diagnosed with a 6cm brain tumor that mestastized from her lungs. They removed it, but it left her with memory and speech damage. She was 75 yrs, old and not in the best condition.
the doctors said she was not a candidate for chemo, perhaps radiation., to slow any other growth but it could cause more brain damage as well. After surgery she went to a nursing home, but I couldn't stand her being there day & night without her family; so I moved her into my house. Her deterioration was rapid. By October she lost her balance, speech, was sleeping a lot, dehyrdrated, incontinent. Her dehydration put her back in the hospital for the second time. She was on soft food, and then came down with pnemonia. The choice I was left with was to have a feeding tube placed in her stomach or let her go. Everyone's advice was to just let her go, before the pain would begin, so I did. She died five days later. Not directly from cancer, but more from starvation. Now I feel guilty. As if I didn't do everything I could to save her, to give more time alive,even though I know her prognosis was terminal. Did I do the right thing? Based on her symptoms were the doctor's right in the fact that she would not live much longer anyway?

 
Old 11-04-2007, 05:06 PM   #4
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Re: Did I do the right thing???

Dear Steve....you are a great son! When reading your post...it reminded me of my Dad....had large tumor in head removed Thanksgiving of 1997 and passed away March of 1998...from nsclc that had mets to the brain....no chemo...He had radiation until he was too weak to continue...had memory and personality changes from the removal of the tumor in his head....honestly....I do not feel your Mom...or my Dad died from starvation from not having a feeding tube....that is an end of life decision...it was the cancer that no doubt caused their passing...a feeding tube would hve possibly prolonged physical life and caused a painful death from the cancer...my dad died under hospice care the last week of his life...and was comfortable...his passing was as peaceful as it could be...the fact you took your Mom home....awesome...we were able to do the same for my Dad...so when he passed...he was w/ family ...in a surrounding that was familiar to him...there a times...and these are some of them...that life should be be judged on quality and not quantity...My Dad had the same timeframe as your Mom from diagnosis to passing...feel good about the quality you were able to afford your mom at the end of her life...and not having the feeding tube...did not kill her...she did not die from starvation...she passed from cancer...and not eating or drinking is part of the natural dying process...I am so sorry for your loss....I am now dealing w/ my Mom going through sclc...and not looking good as well for the long run....Again...you are a great son...and no matter how old you are....not sure your age...but your mom is always your Mom...and Dad alway your Dad....take care...you did good!

 
Old 11-05-2007, 01:33 PM   #5
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Re: Did I do the right thing???

I too agree that you did the right thing. Too often family prolong the death of a loved one out of selfishness. They are not ready to say goodbye and will prolong death at any cost to the dieing loved one. Often that cost is discomfort and pain.

Cancer can be a horrible painful death as you may have seen reading this board. I believe having an easier death outweighs a longer one. My own mom was not in alot of pain but 4th line chemo had left her so fatigued and unable to do anything that she decided after 2.5yrs to stop chemo. She told me she did not want to leave us but she knew it was time and she knew she did not want to go one like this. In her own opinion this was not life. When she did die a few weeks later we think she had a pulmonary embolism while she was home alone with my sister. She did not die right away but hours later after most of the family got there,probably from hypoxia ( lack of oxygen ) caused by the blood clot in her lung. My sister beat herself up wondering if maybe she had called hospice right away rather then wait awhile like she did if my mom would have lived longer. Well the truth is my mom was dieing and what happened that day may have been a blessing as she died a peaceful death with all of us around her. God knows had it been the actual cancer which at that time was only still active in her liver that killed her she would have died a miserable death from liver failure.

I know it is hard when we have to make a decision such as you did but I believe you did the right thing. I have worked in a hospital for over 26 yrs and too often have seen a dieing person that has a family that wants everything done and they wind up putting them on a ventilator where they live out their last few days mouthing things like why are you doing this to me? Just let me die. It is very sad as the outcome is the same they die. That is one promise I had made to my mom that when she was dieing we would not prolong her death in anyway . Early in her treatment she got a pneumonia and was treated for it but had she develpoed one after she decided to stop chemo I think the kind thing would have been to not treat it as in the long run we would not have been saving her life but prolonging her death and allowing the cancer to cause a more painful death. There is a huge difference between assisting one to die and just letting nature take its course and I think what you did was letting nature take its course and you should find peace in that.At the end of life medical intervention tends to only prolong death not save a life.

You are a great son and your mom was blessed to have such a son.You were able to put her need infront of your own needs or wants and that is a great last gift to any parent. Bless you, Janmarie

Last edited by Janmarie2; 11-05-2007 at 01:36 PM.

 
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