My mom had cancer in her pancrease which spread to her liver causing tumors. The tumors caused fluid to build up in her abdomen, we took her to the hospital weekly to have the fluid drained, then she would return home. She did everything she would normally do, cook, clean care for herself. One night she had extreme abdominal pain and had to go to emergency room. We all thought it was the routine fluid drain, even she thought she was coming back home but they admitted her into the hospital because they saw a blood clot somewhere. However, her condition quickly deteriorated, within 4 days she was dead... I always thought someone with cancer deteriorates slowly until they get to the end of cancer where they can't do anything on there own. My mom was still caring for herself until she went to the hospital. Me and my family believe the hospital over medicated her because she just went to fast. Once they started with the IV, pain patch, she never came back, we believe they gave her the Fentanyl patch, along with morphine among other drugs, thats what killed her. They declined our autopsy request,,, however we paid for a private autopsy, we're waiting on toxocology reports. Do you think we are wrong to assume the hospital over medicated her or was it just her time to go. We strongly feel she wasn't at the end of the cancer and still had time left to live.
I don't know for sure, Darrell...but I can tell you that pancreatic cancer is one of the worst. It's seldom caught at an early stage, it metastasizes all over the abdomen, and it's nearly impossible to cure. The fact that your mom was already having to have fluid drained from her abdomen on a weekly basis indicates that the cancer had, indeed, spread dramatically.
Since at that point pancreatic cancer cannot be stopped, your mother would have been increasingly in pain. And while your mom may have been doing everything right up to the day she went into the hospital, she may also have been hiding her discomfort from you. The hospital did the compassionate thing, which was to make her as comfortable as possible. Sometimes that means major pain killers, which can hasten death, but only by a few hours or days...and without it, the patient would be in incredible pain and misery for that period of time.
So, your private autopsy should look not only at the toxicology, but also at the spread of the cancer to see if, in fact, the painkillers were necessary.
It is never easy to lose a loved one, and we all tend to want to place the blame somewhere, but often times there is no blame...just incredible sadness that life isn't more perfect and that we not only have to die eventually, but sometimes we have to face death earlier than what is normal. My deepest sympathies to you and your family, and may God give you the strength you need to survive this terrible loss.
Thanks for the response, I appreciate the honesty. The autopsy did show 70% of the liver in tumors and some spreading to the lungs and pancrease, the pathologist said if he can't find anything in the toxocology he will have to rule the cause of death liver cancer,however cause of death is still pending toxocology. I try to keep and open mind about this because I know she had cancer but my brother and sister really think it was the medication. I guess when you're hurting it's easier to want to blame someone. Its very possible she could have dealt with the pain until it was unbearable. I guess that's why she made that 2 a.m phone call for a ride to the hospital, but she was in good spirit and was planning on coming back home after they drained the fluid. They said they noticed a blood clot somewhere and they had to admit her, it was all down hill from there. Thanks for the reply.
My best friend died of pancreatic cancer that spread to the liver. She worked full time for eight months and then had to have the bile drained from her liver several times. She went downhill quickly. She was in alot of pain. The cancer spread to her stomach, adrenal glands and probably to her brain. The pain was unbearable to watch. Her meds were increased and it affected her thinking. Her daughter-in-law, a nurse, was so devoted to her as her husband was and they took turns to care for her as she could no longer move her lower body. We prayed for her to go so she could escape the hell she was in.
My other friend's mother passed from diagnosis to death within a month. She was one of the fortunate ones. Her daughter loaded her up with meds to help her cope with the agony.
My nephew's grandpa at 90 years old was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was gone within 2 months and I heard it was very painful for him as his neck swelled.
I am sorry about your mom. I know it is a shock she went so quickly but if there is a rainbow, in my opinion, be thankful she went quickly. She might have bought some time but once that cancer gets a solid grip,it can be a losing battle because it is usually diagnosed too late.
My mom lost her 3 1/2 year battle with this beast 2 years ago on September 28th. Her cancer was caught "early" and she had the whipple followed by 6 months of chemo. Unfortunately with this type of cancer for most people it eventually comes back. Having watched my mom die the horrific death she did from this be at peace that your mom didn't suffer to much. We found out 3 weeks before my mom died that the cancer was all through her. She died at home on hospice but didn't eat anything by mouth the last 2 weeks, drank nothing the last week, had to have a catheter put in and basically was unresponsive except for moaning the last week. She probably weighed around 80 lbs when she died and was 165 lbs. when diagnosed.
I'm sorry for your loss. Be at peace that your mom is no longer suffering and in a better place. Wanda
Darrell 1973: My brother in law was diagnosed with liver bile duct cancer in late July of this year. He doctored at the Mayo Clinic--one of the best medical facilities in the world. He was undergoing several weeks of radiation and chemo in preparation for a liver transplant. He was in alot of pain and was also on the Fentanyl patches along with immediate release and extended release morphine. On August 25, he had a celiac plexus block which destroys pain nerves in the stomach area. This helped his pain immensely, but on August 26, the hepatologist told us that he was no longer a candidate for a transplant because his cancer had spread to his pancreas, stomach and lungs. In all the cases this particular doctor has treated, my brother-in-law's was the second most aggressive he'd ever seen.
We spoke with an oncologist who said that he'd have 4-6 months without any treatment; and 6-11 months if he decided to go through more aggressive chemotherapy. She encouraged him to take a week to think it over.
Well, we brought him home and nine days later, he died. He went downhill so fast we couldn't believe it. Even his doctors were shocked. However, it was the nature of the cancer he had--not the pain meds he was on. And having watched him suffer through the pain, we would not have wished him to live longer.
It's a shock when they die so suddenly when they seemed to be doing pretty well, but unfortunately, that's the nature of the beast they call cancer.