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82 year old with cervical cancer


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Old 01-09-2009, 05:33 PM   #1
newbrunswick45
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82 year old with cervical cancer

My MIL was diagnosed last year with type 2b cervical cancer. She under went radiation and chemo - it nearly did her in. When she went back for her follow up - she found out that the tumor had not shrunk a bit, and was still pressing on her bladder. She is still very weak and in pain. There is a great faith in the family that she will be cured.. However, I'm worried that another round of chemo - even if this is a "cousin" of the original chemo she had - that this will only continue the pain and discomfort she experienced during the first round. I'm in in-law - so its difficult from my position on the totom pole to bring up difficult subjects.

How do you bring up the subject of palliate care to a family that is holding out hope of a miracle cure for this wonderful woman. She has a bad heart, poor health from lack of active living. I suspect mom just wants to pass on and is doing continuing treatment so that people don't say "she didn't fight hard enough - she just gave up".

Its so hard - the family is devastated. She is the grand matriach of the family and they all feel like they are going to fall apart "if" she dies. I know she is going to die - how do I get them to understand this?

 
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Old 01-09-2009, 06:36 PM   #2
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Re: 82 year old with cervical cancer

I'm sorry to hear her treatments didn't shrink the tumor. This is very difficult. I don't know how to answer your question. All I can say is that I visit another board which has a wonderful gynecological cancer board and 3 or 4 women from that board have died in the past 12 months. It is very sad.

I guess the only think you can do is talk with your partern/spouse who isn't "in-law" but just plain ol' blood relative. Talk to them about your concerns and he/she will bring it up if he/she can/will.

This woman is in my thoughts and prayers!

 
Old 01-09-2009, 08:23 PM   #3
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Re: 82 year old with cervical cancer

Thanks Pickle. There is so much division between the family - Mom had 5 kids by her first husband and then another 5 kids with her current husband. So, it seems that the family divided down the middle and half are on one side and the other half on the other side. So, no matter who brings the topic up - it will only blow into "shoot the messenger - they were never the real family" or whatever neurotic thing they come up with. My partner is really upset and if I bring it up to her, it starts the whole can of worms again.

However, Pickle, you just gave me insight. I don't need to worry about the rest of the family - I just have to concentrate on my partner. So, how do I comfort her to get her to come to terms that we all die, that eventually her mother is going to die and she needs to deal with this now. My own mother died when I was 18 - as she and my dad had split up - I hadn't seen her since I was 14 years old and at that time she had been beaten up by her boyfriend and I was too afraid to go see her. I regret to this day that I didn't get a chance to tell her how much I loved her while she was still alive. I'd hate to see my partner miss the chance to close any issues she has with her mother. She keeps going around "this is her last christmas, this is her last new years, this will be her last birthday etc."

I understand human nature that we must save the weak and the old and they are all going to hope that they can save her - but come on now, she's 82 years old, why would anyone want to put her thru another round of chemo that almost killed her the first time around. However, I've heard of many inspiring stories of people that were in dire straits and been able to recover from their illness' so therefore I also have hope of a recovery. I just feel that continuing treatment is pointless if its only going to prolong her life for a short while. The blood transfusions are almost every other day now - the cancer has mastesized - I just don't know.

 
Old 01-09-2009, 09:30 PM   #4
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Re: 82 year old with cervical cancer

NewB, everyone grieves (and prepares to grieve) in different ways. My parents are 80 and 87. I know they will die, but I like to not think about it because it makes me so sad. In my head, I say and do things that I think help me mentally prepare for the time when they are too ill to care for themselves. Regardless of what I think and do now, the time will come and it will be very difficult for me and nothing I do will prepare me. My husband has made some quite benign comments to the effect of how old they are and what life they have remaining. I know he wasn't trying to be hurtful, but it stung a little when he said these things.

I'm trying to think of what he could say (right now or any time between now and when the fateful days come when they do pass away) that would help me prepare and/or cope. The ONLY thing I can think of is when I am feeling sad about how old/ill my parents are for him to just hug me, tell me he loves me, and he'll be there to help me through it as best he can when the time comes. When it comes time to make decisions about moving them out of their house (they still live on their own and still drive - they are actually quite healthy considering their ages) then I hope he is able to offer some suggestions, but until that time comes I don't think he can say anything that will help me.

I also think that most people have regrets when loved ones die. I know I have felt that way after my grandparents and aunt passed away. I never felt like I gave them the time or love that I could have/should have. Instead of beating myself up about the could have/should haves I try to remember the fun times and the wonderful memories I have of times we loved and shared life. I don't know that we can prevent anyone (ourselves included) from feeling those pangs of guilt after someone dies.

I know from your posts that you care very much about your partner's mother and you worry about her illness's effect on your partner's life/emotions. That is a wonderful thing for you to be there for her and supportive of her. I just don't think you can make them see the light (or however else it could be worded). I am sad to know that her treatments are not helping. I just hope and pray that she stays comfortable. I pray for the family to have peace and understanding and love.

 
Old 01-12-2009, 05:00 PM   #5
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Re: 82 year old with cervical cancer

The family needs counseling and the MIL needs to decide what she wants..not what eveyrone else wants. We cannot get out of this life alive..period. She's 82--pushing her to have more chemo because the adults are too immature to face reality is cruel to her..let her do what is best for her..everyone else should just love and support her.

 
Old 03-20-2009, 05:51 AM   #6
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Re: 82 year old with cervical cancer

Thank you everyone for your replys. Velma passed over to her Lord on March 3, 2009 at 6:50 pm with her family at her side at home.

The end was very difficult for everyone. It seems that grief brings out the worst in some people and this was no exception. I am grateful she is out of pain and that whole issue is now resolved. The end stages of death are really horrific - one thing when you are not connected with the person who is dying or if you find out after that the person has passed on - but when its someone who you love - its really hard. She fought for life right till the very end and I will always miss her.

Again, thank you all for your support.

 
Old 03-20-2009, 08:45 AM   #7
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Re: 82 year old with cervical cancer

I am so sorry for your loss, Newbrunswick! I know this has been a long, hard battle for Velma and those who love her! I have prayed for you. (((((hugs)))))

 
Old 03-20-2009, 10:28 AM   #8
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Re: 82 year old with cervical cancer

Thanks Pickle - its people like you that make the whole world alot nicer.

Peace and prayers to you and your family.

 
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