I'm new to the boards after having a whirlwind couple of months. It all started on Sunday, January 16th of this year. Got a call from my mom saying that she had stomach and back pain and would we (husband and I) come and take her to the ER to get checked out. My mom is 82 and lives independently in an apartment about an hour away....but we flew down there to take her to the doctor that day.
After a battery of tests, the doctor told us that there was a mass on her lung and they didn't want to perform a CT scan with contrast because she had low liver and kidney function, instead recommending an immediate biopsy. We asked for a referral to our clinic/hospital and took her home with us.
Fast forward to today, March 23, 2011. My mother is now living with me, her only child and caregiver, and my husband. After many tests and biopsies, she has been diagnosed with both primary lung and primary pancreatic cancer. Both cancers are inoperable and she has chosen quality versus quantity of life, opting out of any treatment.
I am anticipating that she doesn't have long. Her doctor says that the pancreatic cancer will take her before the lung. She may have six months, she may have up to a year. I don't understand the timetable and sure wish I knew how fast this will progress. To clarify she has good days where we can get out and about together but more frequently she looks to have jaundice (although dr hasn't said that), she's had more frequent episodes of nausea, abdominal tenderness, has certain episodes of vomiting with back pain (seems to come in cycles) and complains of chronic right shoulder pain. The doctor told her the more she can eat the longer she'll live......she is eating but it goes right through her. She's lost about 25 pounds since September. She's taking immodium for bloating & diarrhea and has a prescription for vicodin, which she's only taken twice.
It amazes me that in looking back at her medical records, she went to the doctor twice last summer complaining of diarrhea and stomach issues and was diagnosed in October with sudden onset diabetes....all symptoms of pancreatic cancer
Did I mention that my husband and I just got off the caregiver express? We lost my mother in law a mere year and a half ago to bronchial cancer. We took care of her the entire time as well.
So I guess I'm looking for support and stories from the rest of you here.....what can I expect to encounter in caring for my mom with her pancreatic cancer and tips on what to expect next? How can I be most helpful? I'm scared of how bad it will be because I understand it's so painful. Her sister is coming in late May to visit her but I'm worried that may be to late for them to enjoy each others company.
Thanks for your support