I was reading everyone's experiences with pancreatic cancer in relatives and I feel for all of you.
My uncle who is beloved by all was diagnosed over the summer. He just found out that it spread although no one will tell me how much it spread. All I know is they took him off of all treatments and is letting him live comfortably at my grandma's place with hospice helping.
I am grateful that everyone has posted exactly what was happening at what time because now I can understand if it is getting near the end. We are hoping he at least makes it through the holidays since this is the only time of year that the whole family actually gets together.
What kills me is my uncle is such a fighter, that he won't accept that all there is to do is lay there and wait to die. He is really overcome with the fact that he knows this is going to take him sooner rather than later.
And even though all of the neices and nephews are like his kids because he isn't married nor has kids of his own, I am scared to go see and talk to him.
I think it is because he was always joking and funny and like hearing stories of our lives. But now I am so overcome with emotions that I know all I will do is cry and not be able to get a word out, making him feel worse.
Has anyone gone through that before? Please either reply to this post or email me. I need as much support as I can get. I haven't lost a whole lot of relatives in my life (a grandpa and a cousin when I was young) so I am really a mess right now.
Go see him. You will regret not doing so. Of course you will cry, you are going to lose someone special. He will realize that. He must know what the outcome is going to be if all treatment is stopped. What better time to tell him how much you care and relive some good times you had together. Might even get a few laughs out of it and take his mind off his current situation.
I relish the time I had with my best friend. She said she hated telling me she was sick because she knew it would upset me. Of course, i cried. She had a few tears too but she had an amazing strength.
He may not talk much because of fatigue. It will be awkward, I mean, come on, it is tough to discuss the weather, but it is a good time to say how much he was like an uncle to you. Ask if he needs anything. Be honest and share you haven't been around someone ill so it hurts to see him ill. It will work out.
I am so glad I was with my friend in her last months, days, hours and minutes. It also gave me closure. I had witnessed her pain and there was some comfort to know she was finally free of the pain.
I lost my sister suddenly in a drowning accident. I sometimes am asked what was more difficult. My answer is always losing my sister, because I didn't get to tell her goodbye and how much is will always be alive in my memories. Go see him is my advice.
when hospice is called in, it means he will not recover. i agree with Mel, go visit with him. when he sees you, it will mean a lot to him. he knows you will be upset and when you cry, he will most likely console you. you need this and he does too. its closure. he needs to know you will be okay when he passes away. he needs to know all of his family will be okay. and yes, ask him is there anything you can get for him or do for him. remember that you can touch him. hold his hand when you talk with him. he will like that.
hospice always gives a booklet to the family to read. it tells about the stages of death, what to expect, and signs of when the end is near. unless you are very strong hearted and want to be a part of his care, i advise you to not know more of what is happening to him. it is extremely hard. i think it will help your grandmother to volunteer to help her if you are wanting to help. it is going to be very exhausting for her. she will need all the help she can get. grandma wont be strong enough to hold him up when he gets to where he needs to go to the restroom.
i lost my step-father to pancreatic cancer. i traveled 45 minutes to an hour to visit with him and my mom every other day. she really needed me, so then i would stay 4 days at a time. and my aunt would stay 3 days. i have a very loving and understanding husband. when the doctors could not help him anymore and sent him home, he lived for 4 months. even though i knew he was dying and knew what to expect, when he passed away, i still was not prepared as i thought i was. i dont think any of us are.
he passed away in my arms. i thought he was choking and i was trying to help him. he wasnt choking. he was gone. i was trying to revive him and my mom said to let him go-he was gone. that was hard for both of us.
when a loved one is coming to the end of thier life, it is so hard on the family. it will be hard for you. i can tell you love him. that means a lot to him. you have wonderful memories of him to share with the family. most of all, you get to pass those stories on to other little ones or with your friends. that will help you also. he gave you laughter. that is a beautiful gift.
i will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
The title of this thread caught my eye because the same question haunts me everyday, "How long will my mom continue to live with pancreatic cancer?" She has been in pain for at least a year, but refused to go to the doctor. Finally, after she visited me in October, they went to the doctor and discovered a 6 cm tumor in the tail of her pancreas and confirmed it was pc which has spread to her liver, lungs, and lymph nodes. In the last month we have worked through the shock, but now I can't help but wonder how long she will have to suffer. I've read all the notes about everyone being different, and it's just so hard to know. A couple weeks ago she got a full body CT scan to see if she could be in a clinical trial to try a combination of drugs, but the levels in her liver were too high. So she was referred to another doctor to try to manage the pain. She has increased her morphine pills from 30 mg, to 60, and now 100 mg. She has really turned yellow and this last weekend so weak, I just didn't know how she could make it to Thanksgiving. But then she still got up to play bridge on her computer, so it's like a roller coaster. On Sunday, my dad thought it might be time for Hospice, but then on Monday, they met with the physicians and decided to go ahead and give chemo a try and they're doing it every 2 weeks. They went for her first chemo appointment yesterday in an effort to cope with the pain. They're going to do an ultrasound later this week to see if there is a blockage which they can drain with a syrienge to help with the jaundice, but stints are not an option. She's so thin and her legs have begun to really swell due to her liver. So it seems like these are signs, I just don't know whether they're manageable or if it's getting close. I live in a different state and I'm just flying back and forth on weekends to see her, so it's hard not being there to see how she's really doing. I just want to know when it will be time - when she can't get out of bed at all anymore? I just can't imagine her making it to Christmas; I just hate to see her suffer. They're managing the pain better, but then she feels gross from being so drugged. Hopefully, we'll find a balance with the meds this week. I just wish someone could tell me how long.
It's a question without an definite answer. I am sorry about your mom. My best friend was diagnosed with the cancer in the tail of the pancreas. We were hopeful she could have the whipple surgery and be ok but the surgery was cancelled because it had spread to her liver. She had chemo and it helped with controllling the pain, maybe slowing down the cancer, but she lost her battle in a year taking chemo up to the end. It maybe bought her a little time and even though it was her decision, we secretly wondered if it was worth it as her life consisted of sleeping, not eating, and pain. I think hope kept her going. Some people seem to give up sooner, needing to let go. It depends too on where the cancer spreads. If it starts choking veins, or the bile builds up as the liver shuts down. There are just so many variables and unfortunately the end results are usually the same. There are usually signs that the end is getting near, lack of eating, a disconnection to what is going on around, sleeping more. Sometimes they see people who are no longer with us. Pay close attention to your own instincts and your inner voice. I swear something or someone told me my grandmother was about to breathe her last breath and for some reason I ran out of the room to retrieve my mom. She rushed over to grandma's side and told her it was ok to go. And she did at that moment.
Take care. Melanie