As you all know my story regarding my 82 year old aunt, she was scheduled for a 5 week treatment plan that included week 1 chemo/rad, weeks 2 - 4 rad only, and week 5 chemo/rad. Well, after only 3 weeks of treatment, she decided she was through with the treatments. The final decision was her priest repeatedly telling her she "shouldn't" take the treatments, which we didn't necesarilly agree with him straight out telling her that way, but he like the rest of us does not want to see her suffer, and perhaps at 82 being at all 'agressive' possibly isnt' the best way to be going.
That said, the nurse said that we should stop giving her her bloating pills, her anti-inflammatory pills, and only give her the pain meds, the blood-pressure meds, and her glucatrol.
My aunt is still "yellow" - so I am thinking her bile ducts continue to be blocked - unless that means the cancer is in her liver - I'm still not sure how to understand the difference.
The nurse said she'd only last about 6 weeks, she'd eat less and less, eventually get into a coma like state and then just pass. To me it seems nothing at all peaceful and I'm so very sad to see this come to an end. I would much rather the Lord just take her in her sleep as he would most people at that elderly age. I do not want to think of her going into a coma - I really don't. But I guess we have no choice. Does anyone know what it's like at the end? Will she be comforted by knowing we are there? Will she understand us talking to her at all? This is all just so sad and so overwhelming. My heart goes out to all of you with this kind of cancer or any other kind for that matter.
Please keep us in your thoughts, and I will keep you updated.
Mommy Neecey -
I'm really sorry the way things have turned out, but as we said all along, it was your aunt's decision.
As far as "coma" is concerned, yes, she will probably be aware that you are there...my mother had been in a coma for a week before she died. The last morning, I took her hand and told her it was okay to let go, and she opened her eyes, looked at me, closed her eyes, and breathed her last breath. I absolutely know that she heard me.
Please inform your relatives not to talk about her as if she wasn't in the room (go to another room to talk, if necessary). Make sure she has adequate pain medication. Also, when someone gets close to death, their body becomes oxygen deprived, and they may exhibit restless movements, trying to toss and turn, moving their legs, asking you to move them in the bed, etc. Morphine will also help this. Once she gets to that point, she should be put on a morphine drip, not shots, as the shots wear off and then it takes too long for the next shot to take effect.
This is going to be a hard time for you, no doubt about it. Watching someone you love die is probably the worse thing on earth...but, being there is the last thing you can do for that person, and will be very meaningful to you in the long run.
I wish you continued strength in the days ahead, and offer my support (through the boards) whenever you need it.
I sorry to hear about your aunt. I worked on a medical floor, prior to going to GI. I suggest getting hospice involved if they are not already, they will make sure her last days are comfortable. The patients I worked with that had liver and pancreatic cancer, slipped into coma's; the wastes that the liver can not detoxify cause this, they never seem to lose that yellow tint to their complexion. My father died from acute liver failure, he slipped into a coma after his ammonia levels sky rocketed, he actually appeared comfortable for the first time he was in the hospital. I would spend as much time as possible with her that you can.
My thoughts and prayers are with you,