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bunnidlite 08-11-2011 04:06 AM

end of life...what will it be like
My mother is stage 4 pancreatic cancer and we have been informed that she has a month maybe two left to live. What will the last days be like for her and for us? What will happen to her physically? What should I do for her when that time comes? My father just passed away one year ago on July 30. She cries for him everyday....I am so scared and completely devestated and I just want to know what to expect when my mother is at the end of her life. Daddy died suddenly from a brain aneurysm so I didn't have to watch him suffer like my mother is suffering...someone please help....:confused:

Mel52 08-11-2011 09:32 AM

Re: end of life...what will it be like
Hi I am sorry you are going through this with your mom. I lost my best friend to this cancer. A few months before her passing, we had a conversation. She said she was really tired. I told her she had put up an incredible fight but to do what she needed to do. I thanked her for always being there for me and I loved her.She was worried about her family being ok and I reassured her they would get through it. I almost felt like she needed permission. I am so glad we talked As her time approached, she didn't want to eat. We were able to get her to drink Ensure and eat a few pieces of watermelon. She slept more, became less communicative. She asked for Hospice a few days before she passed so she knew. She didn't want to go in the hospital and be poked with needles, tests etc when she was past surviving this.
She stopped eating and didn't talk except for a word now and then that she needed something. The night she passed, her daughter-in-law called to tell me it was going to take place. She is a nurse, so she knew that when her breathing had changed death was approaching I said I was on my way even though I live an hour away.
When I got there, her breathing was very shallow. She seemed at peace. Her husband said I was there and I took her hand and told her to go get on her horse who had died some years back and go ride across the meadow. Just like that she was gone. Her husband and DIL said she waited for me to get there. Geez, it has been almost 4 years and I still fall apart just typing it.
So, that was her experience. Her DIL said many times, they see someone who passed before them. We were just relieved she went. No more pain.
Say everything to your mom now that you want to say. I don't know if you believe in the spirit world, but tell her to come visit you from the other side and then listen for her once she rests. One of the best books I ever read was a gift given to me after my sister drowned, called "Never Say Goodbye"
You won't get over this, but somehow you do get through it.

t_411 08-31-2011 07:34 AM

Re: end of life...what will it be like
My dad had lung cancer... The dr's told us he would live 2 months. He ended up living almost four years before he died. At first he had good days and bad days but near the end all he could do was lay in his bed, very weak, could hardly speak or move. He ended up getting a big pressure sore on his butt and heels because we only helped him move to a different position every four hours... but we had no idea we were supposed to move him from side to side and on back every TWO hours. He got to where he couldn't/wouldn't eat due to getting sick. In the last 3 days before he died his breathing changed, it was very shallow and slow. He didn't move at all, didn't speak, his eyes were just looking straight ahead as if in coma even though we knew he was not cause when we held his hand and talked to him we would ask him to squeeze if he could hear and understand us, and he would but it was very slight, he was just too weak to hardly even blink. In the days leading up to his death he said he saw his brother, who had drowned when he was young. He also said he saw all kind of people who were dead and some he didn't know. In the last few minutes of his life, his breathing changed again from very shallow inhale and exhale to a very very short, faint, tiny inhale only... His adams apple was the only thing that would move as if gulping/swallowing but it was over pronounced as if a very weak gasp for air. Me and mom held his hands and told him we love him, he's been a great man, and that it's ok to go to heaven now, we'll miss him but we will see him again soon and not to worry, then we prayed for him and he died. I agree with the last poster.. It's as if they are hanging on either for fear of the after life, or for how it will effect the family. Months before he died, we had our pastor and church members come to the house regularly cause we wanted to give him a chance to save his soul (he was a non believer till he started seeing things and people we could not see and some of those things were pretty terrible from how he explained it) so he decided to get saved and follow God. It gave him a lot of peace and he was so much less scared.... I hope you all and your grandmom find peace and comfort through all of this. Hang in there, cause it's not an easy thing to see someone you love die this way but you will get through it.

mabent 08-31-2011 08:00 PM

Re: end of life...what will it be like
Bunni - My sister had pancreatic cancer and passed away at age 62. The doctors kept saying that she had some sort of mass but that they couldn't biopsy it because it was too close to the liver. Her only symptoms were back pain. They gave her morphine for the pain, and she also took Percocet.
Neither of us had any idea that she was slowly dying. I am telling you this so that you will know that people with pancreas cancer do not necessarily suffer. One day, she woke up and her skin was jaundiced. She didn't feel well, and we decided that she should go to the hospital.
They operated on her and said that they could not cure her but that they had fixed it so that she would not suffer by relieving pressure caused by the tumor. She did not suffer because the doctor made sure that she was comfortable by giving her IV pain meds. She died peacefully about four days after she entered the hospital. I'm sure that your mom will go peacefully when the time comes. Try to be strong. I am so sorry for you and your family! :( :angel: Mabent

sarah_support 09-26-2011 08:57 AM

Re: end of life...what will it be like
I am not glad i found your post but in a way i am... my mom right now is suffering from pc... her liver is failing and I'm watching in horror as the pain takes over her body. she was diagnosed in feb of this year and went through chemo... cat scans were going good as the chemo was working, then all of a sudden last Tuesday we went in for chemo and she never came out. my mom is my best friend. I'm a single mom and an only child. I'm devastated, just shaking inside with anxiety because i know she's scared to die.

my dads at the hospital now and I'm preparing myself again to go there. hospice wont let her go home because she is completely out of it from the delotted, morphine and phentynal. she hasn't eaten in 2 days and cannot speak. she moans in pain and i can tell in her face how uncomfortable she feels. i cant stand this, i wish that if god were going to take her that he would just do it because i don't know how to deal with watching her suffer. I know its been a few weeks since you posted but please reply if you'd like to talk I'd be willing to do that.

mabent 09-26-2011 11:02 AM

Re: end of life...what will it be like
Hi Sarah,
I know how sad you are feeling right now, and how difficult it is to see your dear mother looking so uncomfortable. I am so glad you have people from Hospice there because I know that they are making sure that your mother will never be in any pain. She may seem to be uncomfortable, but she isn't feeling that way. She's sound asleep and doesn't know what is happening around her. They gave my sister Ativan - a very strong tranquilizer along with the other pain meds - perhaps Hospice would be willing to try that to cause your mom to relax further. Even with that my sister woke once and smiled and told me I looked "pretty" - then she immediately closed her eyes and slept.
If your mom could have kept receiving chemotherapy treatments, it might have prolonged her life for a few weeks; but what kind of life would that be?
My sister was in constant pain those last weeks. This would not have improved. I feel so sad, and I wish I could help you. Please let me know if you have any questions that I may be able to answer about my sister's experience. :( Best wishes. Mabent

sarah_support 09-28-2011 03:47 PM

Re: end of life...what will it be like
Thanks for the kind words. My mom actually passed away Tuesday, 2 minutes after I got back from a couple hour break. My dad said she waited for me. I feel so sad and hurt and just completely sick. We were best friends and so close and to see her die was traumatizing to say the least. Yesterday we had to plan her funeral and I cannot even put into words the feelings going through my body. I'm just shaking... I feel so bad that she had to go through that all. She was the most loving, caring lady. Why do good people have to suffer like this? It's just not fair. Tonight we have to put together 4 picture boards for the funeral home. Its going to be so hard. My 8 year old daughter was also so close to her and I know it really hasn't hit her yet. I just pray that my mom is still with me and that I will feel her presence one day. Thanks again for the support... I appreciate it.

mabent 09-28-2011 04:17 PM

Re: end of life...what will it be like
:(Dear Sarah,
I am so sorry that your mom has passed away! But now she's in a very peaceful place; and I truly believe that she is right there with you and always will be.
When my mother died, she was 98, but even though I had had her with me that long, I still had a terrible empty feeling when she died. Several things happened to me that made me know she was with me in spirit: first, the night she died, a light which I had set to light up in case the furnace malfunctioned, all of a sudden lit up - blinking on and off - just at the time the phone rang.
It was the hospital telling me that she had passed away! Of course, many would think that was a coincidence, but I know it wasn't!!! Other times when I would be wondering how to solve a problem, suddenly the solution would come to me; and I knew absolutely that it came through her! Do you believe in guardian angels? I definitely do. I know that my sister also is around to watch over me. your mom has no more worries, but she can watch over you and your daughter and help you and guide you. It's so normal and good for you to feel very sad, and you should do that for as long as you need to. Then fond memories will take over. My deepest sympathies!!! :angel: Mabent

franciscan1 01-18-2012 06:13 PM

Re: end of life...what will it be like
Hello. I'm sorry to learn of your mother's pancreatic cancer. My 86 yr. old mother is in assisted living now. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year ago and is in now in stage 4 which I believe will be short. Just this last week, Mom has become extremely confused. She is now short of breath and sleeping many hours. We just spoke a couple of minutes ago and cried myself out of breath. Thus far, Mom doesn't have pain. She had back pain in last Feb. and has been on Methadone which relieved that pain. She is extremely jaundiced and her legs have about a 3plus edema. Mom is in hospice and her nurse calls me after each visit. I am going to ask her to visit Mom daily now and I'll be leaving my home to be with her soon.
I wish you, your mother, and your family strength and many blessings during this difficult time.


Sister Claudia, OSF

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