My mom-in-law has cancer in lungs & spine and is nearing the end. What can we expect?

Q:My mom-in-law has cancer in lungs & spine and is nearing the end. What can we expect?
More Answers to “My mom-in-law has cancer in lungs & spine and is nearing the end. What can we expect?
I know what you are going thru. Just last week (on Wed.) we got a call from my grandfather. He said he thinks he has Pancratic (sp) cancer. We (my sister, mom and dad–by the way–we are all grown kids) jumped in the car and drove 1000 miles in 17 hours straight. We got to see my grandfather and spend two days with him when he was awake and talking. Only after 3 days of knowing his cancer, he was placed in Hospice care. He is expected to pass within hours now. But the whole time this is going on, my mom is remembering how her mom felt when she died of Lung Cancer (about 15 years ago). It was really bad. The worst part is the struggles of breaths she will try to take. The drs. and nurses will ask if you all if you would like her lungs drained or suctioned–it is hard but say “no”. It prolongs the death by hours and a lot of suffering for the family. By this time your mother in law will be on a morphine drip and will feel no pain. Even though it is hard to say goodbye, let her know it is okay to go see the Lord and mention other family members in heaven she will be with. Let her know she will not be alone.
I would like to send you a book I have given many hospice families called “Gone from My Sight”. It is a booklet written for the families of hospice patients which tells you what to expect as death nears in the weeks and days before a person passes on. If you could get a copy of this, it would make it so much more understandable. Every hospital has a connection with hospice. Call your local hospice and ask them if they have a booklet similar. Sit down and discuss your questions with a hospice nurse or volunteer. They are very supportive and it would be worth your while. It would be more than I could put in this short essay.
Such good answers. Check out your local bookstore for books on death & dying. Make sure she has good pain protocol in place & let her control the amount she gets – usually a pump. Hearing is the last thing to go, so you might want to play her favorite song for her as she is passing. Take care of you.
Fluid in the lungs is correct and things that happen usually right before death include coldness of hands and feet, difficulty breathing, being confused, and loss of control over bowel movements.
First, please accept my sincere condolences. I lost my dad the same way about 10 years ago. I’m going to be brutally honest with you because you need to know and knowing what is coming will make it easier for you to deal with. Her lungs will fill with fluid. They may try a couple of times to drain them but, eventually, they will advise that treatment is no longer effective. They will keep her heavily medicated with pain killers, usually morphine. Morphine effects different people in different ways. Some sleep, some hallucinate. Be prepared. At the end, she will lapse into unconsciousness. Her breathing will become more and more labored and, eventually, it will just stop. Be there with her as long as she is conscious. Let her tell you how much she loves you, even though you already know that. She needs to say goodbye. In that last vigil, hold her hand. She’ll know you’re there to ease her passing.God bless you and give you peace. What Mazziat says is true. Her lungs will fill with fluid and she will become very congested. She will probably die of complications rather than the cancer-pneumonia.I hope that you have a DNR (do not resuscitate) order for her. CPR at this point would be considered an extreme measure to keep her alive. As well as a thorocentesis (removal of the fluid).Of course this is usually done through a living will if she has one or at the family’s discretion.Comfort measures are important at this time. Be with her. Talk to her always, even if it appears she cannot hear you. She can. I’m so sorry you have to go through this. It will be a difficult time. Be there for your spouse as well. Losing a parent is a difficult time for anyone, at any age, but especially a mother. I’ll say a prayer for you and yours. Good luck!
I was wondering if she is in a hospital or hospice or home.If she is at home and passes, do not call 911. Their job is to use CPR no matter what unless you have a living will to show them.Hospices are wonderful places for your last days on earth. They keep you comfortable to the end. There are also people that will come to the home to help with the dying person. They too are so special. Condolences to the family.
Only death is certain then. Long pain full treatment is in order, if it already hasn’t begun. Lung cancer the has reached the spine, that is almost untreatable. Just be with her and lover her till the end.
I am so sorry to hear about your mother in law, My mother died from lung cancer last year at the age 45. You can expect a lot of things, but you can never prepare yourself for what will happen. You can expect her to sleep alot, to be in a lot of pain till the doctor’s can control it. They may even eventually put her into what they call a medicated coma. It is when they give her so much medication or morphine in my mom’s case and it will make her sleep the hole time till she dies and she will be comfortable. She won’t feel a thing. Her blood pressure and temp will go up and down. When it goes down and stay’s down you will be hitting the end. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions doctors or even hospice nurses. They are there to make it as easy as they can for the family. If you would like to know more please fell free to ask.
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