Topic: Bad news

They admitted my father into the hospital this week.  After  previous treatments of 5-FU and radiation and now 7 wks of Gemzar, the CT scan shows that the cancer has significatly increased and that it is very aggressive.  I'm afraid we're are now finished with futher treatments.  It is very difficult and my mother is taking it very hard.  My parents are considering moving closer to family for family support.  In fact, us kids are trying to convince that they need to.  We're afraid for my mother to have to deal with this alone especially what I've read will be the end of life symptoms.

I've read several posts but am still wondering what to expect.  And mom wants to know what to expect.  We are all suffering so much and I can't help but feel so angry.  My dad is only 68 yrs old and was living life fully, travelling with my mom and enjoying life before this terrible disease hit him in Nov 2007.  I love my dad so much.  Mom and dad will be married 49 yrs this coming November.  And they've been boyfriend and girlfriend since mom was 10 yrs old.  They've known each other ever prior to that.  She is suffering so much and can't imagine life without him.

Please tell us what you know to expect.  We're wondering whether hospice is only a once a week visit or do they do more.  What kind of pain and symptoms? 

Today dad received communion, confession and the sacrament of last rites.  He's been very tired and only moves from the hospital bed to the chair and to the bathroom.  He doesn't watch TV, read nor listen to music right now while he's in the hospital.

I'm afraid..........

Re: Bad news

I am so sorry for you and your family. I dont have experience so I cant help. But i will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Kris

Cancer is a word, not a sentence.

36 year old patient with buckets of hope

Re: Bad news

Lee and I watched my dad suffer as he began to lose the battle with a very rare form of throat cancer...I, like you loved my dad beyond measure...it is so ironic because now, I am watching Lee go through what my dad did, and I am walking in my mom's shoes as she cared and loved my dad to the very end...our diagnosis seems to be much more promising as I thank God every day for His blessings and miracles...please know that you are not alone.  I can tell you that we will be praying for you, and God is much bigger than this monster attacking our families.  "Be still and Know I am God"  Psalm 46:10.....

Love,
Heather

Re: Bad news

Dear RANK,
I am so sorry to hear how you, your father and your family are suffering. I cared for my mother toward the end and you can look up my posts about the end (search under jmoneypenny) and there are others who have posted under Palliative Care, I believe. It's too long for me to go into again here, but if you want more specific info and/or an ear to listen to, you can email me at dotbaumann@yahoo.com. The problem with cc is that there are NO clearcut answers, and no one goes the same way. With some it's sudden and relatively peaceful, and with others not so fast. Usually there is pain, but only toward the very end, and the pain can usually be managed with medication.

People have had different experiences with hospice, also. I guess it all depend on the area where you live. Our hospice nurse came once a week and then for emergencies, but we only needed it for 2 weeks and I was lucky enough to have a LOT of people helping - I loved the hospice organization and the people were amazing compassionate and helpful. Other people felt hospice was not there enough for them, especially if they needed help with bedpans and moving their loved one, which may require more than one person. Look into what your local hospice offers. I personally believe that hospice at home is a great comfort to most people - instead of hospice facilities, which can be very nice, but still seem like hospitals. But if the family can't handle all the responsibilities at home, hospice facilities are godsends.

Your father sounds like he is removing himself from this world, as my mother did: no TV or radio, no reading the paper, not much contact with people. I believe this is a natural occurence and I would urge you to tell him you love him as much as you can, even if he's depressed and not very responsive to your affection.  It's a tough road he has to travel - and your mom too - and they might both benefit from some therapy, or a talk with your clergyperson. Of course, that goes for you, too - this is so much to have to go through.

I wish you the best of all possible scenarios and I send many hugs and love to you and your family at this heartbreaking time-
Joyce

Re: Bad news

Dear Rank and Family,
I can't add anything that Joyce has already mentioned.  This CC has a mind of it's own and end of life senerios are so different.  there is a book and some information on line "End of Life" by DR. Ira Brock that I have found to be helpful with planning, emotions, hospice care,and like Joyce mentioned love and not being alone. 

I'm sending a prayer your way.  God's love and support for you all during this time of anticipation and sadness.

God Bless,
Jeff G.

Take it to the Limit,One More Time! (Eagles)

Re: Bad news

Thanks all.  This is a really tough time.  I'm at the hospital right now with him waiting for the oncologist.  Our hope is he get released today.  He continues to run a fever that apparently is being caused by the tumor.  Within the next few days we will be relocating them to be closer to family (Dallas) so that mom doesn't have to do this alone. 

He says his stool is black.  He's not nauseated and is eating extremely well.  He's weak and just plain doesn't feel well.  His stomach is very big...so big he looks pregnant.  There is no fluid so it must be the tumor.

Thanks for the insights.  Joyce, I've read those earlier posts and collected them all and printed so that my mom could read what may be coming.  Jeff, thank you for your prayers.  I pray for everyone on this sight daily.

Rachel

7 (edited by marions Mon, 14 Jul 2008 11:32:36)

Re: Bad news

Rachel,
The road ahead may be the toughest one to walk but, it also allows you some opportunities to enrich the life of your Dad and that of yourself. 
There are a few articles on the internet which might be helpful to you and your Mom, and your entire family, at this time:
"Anticipatory Grief: What is it and how do you do it? by Harriet Hodgson, www.americanhospice.org
"Interacting with a terminally loved one" by Mary Johnson, www.mayoclinic
"Tasks of anticipatory grief for families, www.alzheimer-society.ca/grief2.htm.
And there is something so true to this: "I love you" can never be said often enough." 
My heart is with you,
Marions

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: Bad news

Thank you Marions.  I will print those articles to read and provide copies to my family.

Re: Bad news

My dad was finally released from the hospital yesterday.  We are making arrangements to transport him to Dallas to be near family.  We are having to look for a furnished apartment, oncologist and hospice care. 

He has started having black stool.  Has anyone ever had this symptom?  He believes it's from the stuff he had to drink for the CT scan.  His tumor continues to give him fever which is being controlled with Ibuprofen.  He takes loratab for pain.  He's taking some medicine to increase his appetite and it works very well.  He eats a lot of food.  His stomach is so distended that he looks pregnant.  It seems to get bigger and bigger.

Please keep providing your input and your experiences.  I share them with my family so that they can understand what to expect.  I continue to pray for all.

Re: Bad news

Rank ...Sorry to hear about your Dad. Glad he is going to be near family.  With his stomach so distended that black stool could mean some internal bleeding from some little blood vessels popping as well. I would keep an eye on it. You might want to consult the doctor if it continues to see if they recommend anything at this stage.
God Bless,
Jeff G.

Take it to the Limit,One More Time! (Eagles)

Re: Bad news

Rank,
I didn't know about the black stool indicating bleeding at the time my mother had it - we thought it was just a result of the liver not working properly, since she had very dark urine for a long while before she had the black stool, and they said the color of the urine was a result of the buildup of bile and other products that weren't being flushed properly from the liver.  But by all means your dad should be checked out for internal bleeding - I wish I had known to ask about it when my mother had it.  Thanks for that insight, Jeff.

My mother had the distended pregnant stomach, too, and I was sure it must be fluid but the scans said it was all tumor. I'm glad your father is able to eat and isn't nauseous, as the distended stomach can make eating difficult. I'd see if you could get some anti-nausea prescription just in case it does become a problem - I think the nausea is one of the worst parts of this disease.

I hope your dad's symptoms improve - and I'm so glad he has a big supportive family. I'm sure he appreciates all you're doing, though he may not say it.  Hugs to all of you,
Joyce