(Closed) My mom's Cancer is getting worse

posted 6 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
56 posts
Worker bee

*hugs* I’m so sorry. This is a huge thing to be going through.

I would suggest that your mom and close family sit down with your mom’s oncologist and talk about her treatment plan. Maybe ask for a representative from hospice to be there, if possible. If further chemo is expected to improve your mom’s health and help her live longer, then that might be the right option at this time! But if the chemo is causing her more harm then good, it may make sense to transition to the pallative/hospice care phase.

A person from the hospice program will be able to explain that hospice does NOT mean “giving up” on treatment, rather it’s a method of care that is focused on helping the patient be free of pain so they can have the best quality of life possible. Palliative care often helps patients live longer than if they had continued with painful chemo treatments. Also, sometimes patients improve so much under palliative care that they are able to go back to active treatment. So it’s not a one-way road. The vast majority of hospice patients are able to be cared for at home — inpatient hospice is usually only for very complex cases where round-the-clock medical supervision is needed to keep the patient pain-free.

It is certainly true that a 90-year-old person should not be the primary carer for a seriously ill patient. When you have this conversation about changing your mom’s care, I would suggest avoiding negative words like “burden” and “demanding” and “draining”. The big C is scary enough, and given your mom’s personality and history of depression, convincing her to change her care may be more effective if you talk about the positive side… she will be safer as a patient, your grandma will be safer, she will be in less pain and most likely her health will improve if she changes her care. There may be options besides moving into a facility, but her doctors and the local hospice program would be the best resources to help plan the next steps in treatment that are appropriate for her condition and her preferences.

Be sure to take time to care for yourself and recharge when you need to. No one really knows “how to” handle this, but having been there myself, taking a break every now and then to do something pleasurable really helped me with the pain.

Post # 4
12974 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I am so, so sorry to hear this.  Does your local hospital or place of worship have a support group for terminally ill family members?  It might be helpful to talk to other people who are going through similar things.  Sending good thoughts to you!

Post # 5
2695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2008

@Silver Plum Fairy:  oh honey, I’m so very sorry.  I lost my mom to cancer last year and it is a soul crushing, heart wrenching thing to go through.  

We got to a pointwhere my mom decided, with our support, to end all chemo.  We decided that given there was not much hope of an improved outcome from the chemo, that quality of life was the most important thing.  Can you go home and spend this time with your mom?  I took a leave from my job, left my husband and baby to spend time with my mom.  It was very special.  She had in home hospice the last two weeks, which I highly recommend if that is an option for her.

It isn’t admitting defEat.  It is looking at reality and making a choice.  PM me if you want to talk more.  Cancer sucks.

Post # 6
1460 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@Silver Plum Fairy:  I’ve been in your shoes.  My father had 2 battles with cancer and lost the second one.  He tried treatments but kept getting worse so the doctors advised us to stop treatment and seek hospice.  It is true that they can receive no treatment for cancer other than pain medications for palliative care.  They also have to sign a DNR.  I’m the one that discussed the DNR with my father to make sure he knew what he was signing.  He was in the hospital at that point and was a little confused.  I asked him over and over and again and explained it to him thoroughly so he would know the implications. 

Luckily, there are many hospices that will do in-home care so that’s what we chose.  This might not be an option for your mom since she’s with your grandparents but it’s something to look into.  All hospice costs are paid by Medicare so there were no out of pocket expenses.  All meds, any helpful tools (shower chair, potty chair, etc.) are covered.  There are registered nurses that come by on a regular basis to assess the patient and are in constant contact with a MD so they can adjust meds (which are delivered to the home).  There are sitters who will come and sit with the patient so caregivers can shop, run errands, etc.  There is spiritual support provided to the patient.  There was even a case worker that helped my parents write and file a will because they didn’t have one at the time.

Deciding on hospice care was the most difficult decision I had ever made but it was a blessing.  They really take care of everything from the time the patient goes into hospice until they pass away.  They also helped my mother tremendously.  Sometimes people forget about the caretakers.

I was almost 7 hours away from my parents during all this.  I took every other Friday off from work and drove there to spend the weekend and help out and be with them.  I know how hopeless it feels when you can’t be there.  My heart goes out to you. 

If you have any specific questions feel free to PM me.  I’ll help you in any way I can.

Post # 7
755 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

i don’t have any answers, suggestions or advice.


i am sending you love and blessings and the biggest e-hugs you can imagine.

Post # 8
1686 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I am so sorry you’re going through this. I lost my dad to cancer last year. It’s difficult no matter what, and there’s a very specific guilt in being so far away that you are essentially insulated against the day to day reality of it while someone else is the primary caretaker.

If at all possible, I think you should make arrangements to take some leave and go to your grandparents. Talk to them privately about what they want; talk to your mom about what she wants. Maybe she’d be willing to come to your house or your brother’s now, if one of you is able to take care of her. Look into what support options are available for in-home hospice care; your cousin sounds like she may have good information about available resources. (My father did his in a nursing home as there were ongoing complications from a surgery when they tried to remove part of the cancer and at home care wasn’t an option.)

I wish someone had told me when my dad was where your mom is; nobody would tell me honestly when I asked (not even my dad, who didn’t want to be “a bother”) and the thing I regret most is trusting them, and as a result, missing the last few months with him when he was still himself. If your cousin is telling you it’s that close, do what you can to be there. It’ll be important later.

I am so, so sorry. If you need to talk or anything, my PM is always open.

Post # 10
1460 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@Silver Plum Fairy:  If at all possible speak to your mom about completing paperwork with her oncologist so you can speak with them if needed.  My parents were upfront with my brother and me about everything and signed the paperwork so that we could speak to the doctors and nurses ourselves if needed.  I actually had to one time because my mother was so upset after speaking with a nurse over the phone.  I was livid and immediately got on the phone to Johns Hopkins and found out that my mother was just confused by what the nurse had said. 

It makes it a little easier when you’re so far away if you feel like you can speak with the medical staff yourself.  My brother and I actually went to a couple of doctor’s appts when we were making decisions about treatment. 

Take care.

Post # 11
11752 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

i am so sorry hun. I know there’s nothing else I can say or do to take away your pain or make it easier. But know that I’m thinking of you and keeping your mom and grandma and whole family in my prayers. Sending you lots of love and hugs. 

Post # 12
2556 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I have no advice as I have never been in such a situation, but I wanted to say that I am so sorry you are going through this.  I cannot even imagine the amount of pain you must be feeling.  Stay strong, girl!

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