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Old 03-24-2009, 09:38 AM   #1
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How unusual is it for someone to die so quickly?

My dad, 84, died in October of large cell lung cancer. He died 2 days after the diagnosis was confirmed and only 10 days after the first suspicion of cancer (he spent those 10 days in the hospital stabilizing his heart enough for the biopsy). Always a very active man, in his last 2 months he had become very sedentary - Mom and I gave him a hard time for becoming 'lazy'. In September, his appetite was off a bit. Other than that, no symptoms at all. He never complained of any pain, even at the end, and he was not a particularly stoic man (he did complain that the hospital bed was lumpy). He had no cough, nothing. He didn't even go to the hospital for lung problems - the doctor sent him in because of an irregular heartbeat.

We have never heard of anyone dying of lung cancer so suddenly. On these message boards, we see so many who are diagnosed and live months or years. I have never seen anything posted like our situation. How unusual is it for someone to die so quickly?

 
Old 03-24-2009, 10:21 AM   #2
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Re: How unusual is it for someone to die so quickly?

I am sorry for your loss. I can relate to your concerns over the suddeness of your father's parting, my father died quickly as well, however I also saw my mother die slowly from cancer, and am relieved that he didn't suffer for as long. My father died quickly because the myeloma (from his nose) spread to his brain...I have heard that the brain is the last stop for many cancers, could this have been what took your father so swiftly?

 
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:00 AM   #3
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Re: How unusual is it for someone to die so quickly?

Dad definitely died of the lung cancer, not from a spread to the brain. Apparently, the heart problems that sent him to the hospital were actually caused by irritation from pleural effusion. Once they got him in the hospital, an xray found the tumor right away. But it started leaking fluid into his lungs so fast...every time they gave him any fluid at all, it all just leaked out into his lungs.
The heart and lung specialists ended up in a quandry - the meds for his heart increased the fluid in his lungs, but the fluid in his lungs was causing heart problems. Finally, in the ICU, they were able to stabilize him after a week, enough to do a biopsy. He was on all kinds of IV meds.
But the oncologist said that there was really nothing to be done - the tumor was massive, he was too weak for surgery now, and I guess too 'leaky' for any other therapy to be of any help. And they couldn't keep him on all those meds any longer - scary-powerful stuff, I can't remember the names, but not things you can stay on long and live. And he hated being in the ICU.
As soon as they took him off the meds, his lungs immediately began filling with fluid again, despite not having any IV's going in. He died the next day.
We gave him a morphine drip at the end, but I think it did us more good than him.

 
Old 03-24-2009, 06:00 PM   #4
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Re: How unusual is it for someone to die so quickly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daughter2458 View Post
My dad, 84, died in October of large cell lung cancer. He died 2 days after the diagnosis was confirmed and only 10 days after the first suspicion of cancer (he spent those 10 days in the hospital stabilizing his heart enough for the biopsy). Always a very active man, in his last 2 months he had become very sedentary - Mom and I gave him a hard time for becoming 'lazy'. In September, his appetite was off a bit. Other than that, no symptoms at all. He never complained of any pain, even at the end, and he was not a particularly stoic man (he did complain that the hospital bed was lumpy). He had no cough, nothing. He didn't even go to the hospital for lung problems - the doctor sent him in because of an irregular heartbeat.

We have never heard of anyone dying of lung cancer so suddenly. On these message boards, we see so many who are diagnosed and live months or years. I have never seen anything posted like our situation. How unusual is it for someone to die so quickly?
I'm very sorry for your loss.Your dad's story is similar to my dad's.My dad lost his appetite,alot of weight,and became very sedentray for the last few months of his life.He didn't even realize he was sick at first-just thought he was getting lazy.

An xray and catscan confirmed lung cancer.We never had the biopsy,but the docs assumed it was non small cell.I guess aggressive cancers claim lives quickly.My dad was fine other than a cough,for which my mom gave him cough medicine for 2 months (given by his primary doc prior to the cancer discovery).So that caused him to sleep alot.We didn't even realize it could've been the pre active dying stage at that time.Didn't even think of it.

Looking back,my dad wasn't himself,and I wish I could've/would've done something quicker.He would sometimes call at midnight (which was very out of character for him.) He wasn't talking much,like he used to,and
the last couple of times I said "come on dad,you're going to my house for a while,"he'd say,I better stay here."That alone should of told me something was wrong.My dad always wanted to go to my house.I don't know why I dismissed it as I did........


Like your dad,my dad was also very active and 84.He would've turned 85 on Nov.9th 2008.We went to the hospital when dad started coughing up blood.He was also having difficulty breathing due to the tumor.But when I asked him if he was having a hard time breathing he said no (in the beginning.) I dont know if he had just gotton used to it over the last months or he didnt want to complain.My dad never complained about anything.He never wanted anyone to go out of their way for him-such a gracious man.I loved him so much......

The docs said my dad had 2 weeks to live at time of diagnosis.I can still hear the doctor tell me."Maria,it's a matter of weeks." (when my dad refused treatment) -I dont think I believed it......

A few days after that visit with the oncologist,when dad was admitted through the ER,the same doc said,he had just a few weeks,and from the looks of my dad and how sick he was,I figured it would be.

Dad was sent home on hospice with me after a 6 day hospital stay and lived for 3 more months.I took him for walks,we talked,he played with the kids,and we tried to prepare to say goodbye.I can't believe he's gone.......

My mom has stage 4 breast cancer,diagnosed in June 2005.Its a miracle she's doing okay.My dad's diagnosis was very sudden and unexpected.
I am very grateful for the time we were able to spend.

I hope time heals your pain and may God bless you and your family.

 
Old 03-24-2009, 09:32 PM   #5
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Re: How unusual is it for someone to die so quickly?

sometimes like with my mother just the realization that she was terminally ill was enough to make her "go"

 
Old 03-25-2009, 04:58 PM   #6
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Re: How unusual is it for someone to die so quickly?

Marie,
Oh, thank you so much for your reply and for sharing your story. It sounds so much like what happened with us. Before he went to the hospital, it never occurred to us that Dad could be terminally ill. And certainly not with lung cancer!

I plan to share your story with Mom, I hope it will give her comfort to know that not everyone has obvious symptoms, and that the ones she missed really WERE subtle, and could have meant many things. Certainly, it is only in hindsight that it seems so clear that he was very ill.

 
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