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ask: end of life signals for pancreatic cancer patient

By Anonymous

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My father (78) broke his hip on June 24,2013 and the X-ray tech told us he was a spot on my father pancreas, when we asked the doctors the blew it off and said it had no right to tell us that. During a finally PET scan on August 28, 2013 after fighting Esophageal Cancer the doctor notice the mass. After during a biopsy decided it was Stage 1A and can be treated. My father decided against surgery and only wanted the chemo and radiation. His oncologist would not accept that as a option and from August til October told him to go home and think about having surgery. Finally on October I took my father to the doctor to agree to surgery and immediately a CAT scan was done and surgery was being scheduled when the surgeon walked out to tell me it was no longer an option. Chemo was offered to help with pain and radiation was not an option. The Ca is now Stage 4 with mets to Liver. No one could tell me anything else my dad is having severe pain in back, leg and left side of chest. He won't eat much or drink as much, he is use to waking up at 5am and now I have to keep peeping in his room to make sure he is okay. I did call Hospice and the nurse is wonderful. Can someone tell me what should I be looking for to make his days better.

November 18, 2013 - 6:35am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

I'm very sorry that your father is nearing the end of life.

Hospice is indeed wonderful - can you have them come out to his house or can he stay in a hospice center?

The main object of hospice is to allow a person to die pain free, surrounded by positivity and as many family and friends as possible. It's often a surprisingly peaceful time and hospice staff are specially trained to provide this.

What has hospice told you about your Dad's options?



November 19, 2013 - 2:40pm

My 63 year old brother was diagnosed 13.5 months ago of pc. He underwent chemo/radiation and was scheduled for the Whipple surgery until a ctscan showed met to liver. The end is near now as we have had hospice at his home for the past month. The past 2 days he has stopped talking and hasn't awakened. This is a cruel and painful death for his family. Please pray that the good Lord calls him tonight!

October 22, 2013 - 6:28pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to jef568)

Hi jef568

Thanks for your post. I'm very sorry that your brother's life is ending at such a young age - these days 63 is very young.

Our thoughts are with him and you/family at this time.



October 23, 2013 - 11:34am
EmpowHER Guest

My mom was diagnosed with PC in October 2012 and she made it to her 86th birthday on May 30, 2013. She didn't want any treatment when they told her that she had cancer. She decided that she would just live out her life and deal with it without any chemo, surgery or medicines like that. She was so sick in November thru January that we called Hospice to see if they could help. They have been so wonderful. They put her on medications that are keeping her from being nauseaus and vomiting. She is losing weight rapidly though and extremely tired. Her vision is going pretty fast too. I was wondering if there is anyone out there who could comment on that and who may have gone through PC without chemo treatment. Do you think if they don't get treatment that they live longer and how long do you think she will hang on. She still gets around by herself and bathes herself. She is a strong little lady and it seems like she is just fighting to stay alive for a reason. I don't know what the reason is, but she really thinks that she is going to get well. Is this a delusion, and part of the process of dieing?

June 2, 2013 - 8:37pm

my mother is 77 years old and was diagnosed with inoperable PC November 2012. She has a biliary drain that has been replaced 4 times and has taken Gemzar chemo for the past 3 months. This weekend her legs started to swell and she is feeling congested. She is taking mucinex for the phlegm but what do we do for the swelling in her legs? All the doctor said is this is a typical side effect from the chemo. Her legs feel tight and tingly and looks very uncomfortable. Does anyone have thoughts about the fluid? Do we need to worry about it? Thank you - caregiver13

March 18, 2013 - 11:09am
EmpowHER Guest

My Nana is 89 years old and was diagnosed in Jan 2011. She did the radiation and actually went into remission in Jan of 2012. In Spetember 2012 her pc came back with a vengance. She has since lost about 30 pounds. She's barely eating (only picking at food, she stays nauseated, her pain has increased significantly. She spends most of her time asleep, lost almost all control of her bladder and bowel functions. In the last few days it appears that the jaundice has shown back up. She is so weak that she can no longer get back and forth to the bathroom so hospice is bringing a potty for her bedroom. A hospice nurse has been coming 2-3 times a week now for months. My mother and Aunt are with my Nana 24 hours a day. They have taken her pain and nausea medicine and cut the pills in half to give her every 30-45 minutes instead of the prescribed 2 tablets every 4-6 hours. I"m hoping that hospice will suggest the iv pain meds very soon. How can we estimate how much time she may have left? PLEASE, any info that you can provide to help me and my family in this transition would greatly help us. Please.

January 22, 2013 - 11:48am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

My Nana passed at about 2am on Friday March 1st. She complained of heart burn about midnight or so. My mama was able to give her some tums, but she wasn't getting any relief. My mama woke her sister up and they decided to give her some pain drops on her tongue. She was finally able to get some releif and rest. Then approx 2 am she was sleeping, raised her hands as if she was reaching out. Then placed her hands back down and stopped breating. There was no trauma, and my mama and aunt were by Nana's side when she left. I know beyond a shoadow of a doubt that my Nana was reaching to take Jesus' hands. She was ready to go. She had been suffering and became completely bed ridden within the last month.

March 18, 2013 - 11:19am
EmpowHER Guest

My father passed away Dec. 1 (4 dayIs ago) from pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed 3 weeks ago. His decline was so unbelievably quick. It's like a freight train came barreling thru all of our lives. I will describe what the last month of his life was like and maybe it will help identify if it's truly the end for the person you know who is currently suffering. My dad lost 60 lbs in one year. Then in the last month gained 15 lbs in just fluid from malignant ascites. He looked 9 months pregnant. He had one round of chemo but on e the cancer was found he was already too weak to handle the treatment just from the cancer alone. I should mention he had mets to his liver and lungs. His liver was really effected. He became jaundice. After he decided to decline further treatments, we called in Hospice. They were absolutely wonderful. We were so exhausted from constantly lifting and maneuvering my 200 lb dad because he could not get comfortable at all. It was nice for them to come in and give us meds to help with dilerium. However the meds put him in a drug induced coma so we had to trade in him being able to communicate with us in his last few days for his comfort, which was hard but the right thing to do for him. I highly recommend hospice if you know you've reached the end of the road. It is not pretty to watch and it is very unfair for the person going thru the cancer to have to deal with the discomfort and constant pain. They made my father so comfortable and he went in his sleep.

December 5, 2012 - 6:53am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

Thank you so much for sharing your story with is and our deepest condolences to you and your family. Pancreatic cancer can rear it's ugly head so suddenly the shock puts everyone in a tailspin, especially the person with the cancer. I'm glad your Dad was medicated so as not to feel any pain and Hospice care is truly a blessing for families.

Thank you again and we wish you the best - this is a really hard time for you and we hope you have lots of support. 


December 5, 2012 - 1:35pm
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