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Readers Respond: What Helped You Honor Your Loved One in the Final Stages of Cancer?

Responses: 50


Updated January 25, 2015

Dad Doesn't Know

Its hard every day. Dad has no idea how ill he really is. He decided when he went into hospital for a chest infection that he didn't want to know the results. We have to be careful what we say around him and when not with him we are arranging everything else. Not sure which is worse, losing them suddenly or waiting for their time to come. He isn't in pain despite cancer in the lungs, abdomen, spine and brain. They gave him weeks and that was 3 weeks ago. He is not able to stand now and his arms are weak. I just pray he stays pain free and goes peacefully. I love you dad xxx
—Guest daughter

Final Stages Now

My Mom has end stage colon cancer mestaticised to liver. It is so very hard to watch the life slowly go out of her..i wish i could trade her places , i know we are going to lose her soon.. she has fought hard but has other health issues also..im finding it so hard to let her know how much ill miss her what do i say, how to tell her.. this is so very hard ..shes in a lot of pain, hard for her to breathe i know that she will be much better with God now ,its just so hard to let go
—Guest diane m

Unexpectedly Horrific Final Hours

My brother was in a hospice home. He developed intractable pain during the last thirty-six hours of his life and was unable to communicate with any coherence. Although some phrases like, "Oh, my God", would come from the depths of his being because of the pain, he tried in vain to tell us what he was feeling. This, added to the painfully slow suffocation, was unbearable. I got the doctor on the phone to find some way to control the pain without completely suppressing his respirations. They were giving him Subcu Morphine, Ativan, Haldol, and then Phenobarbital for the nerve pain. I prayed for him to be taken quickly. I believe that he was completely unaware of what was happening to him during the last six hours and my prayers were answered. He declined much faster than the norm and finally was at peace. Editor's note: Your brother is fortunate that you were there for him. Thankfully, most pain, even in the final stages of lung cancer, can be controlled if the medical staff or hospice staff is closely involved and attentive.

My Mother

03/11 mom had another bought with bronchitis and I insisted she have a chest x-ray. Tumor. Brach-scope proved cancer. I insisted on Dana Farber and all tests run on a Wed. Thur AM she was told no genetic testing as the cancer spread to her brain. 14 rounds of radiation in June and MRI was clear! Lung cancer stable, no growth. 11/30 returned to DF and told no change, enjoy the holidays!! F/up Dec 30th brought much heartache. Tumor has almost doubled and specs in the left lung growing. 1 chemo treatment at DF in Londonderry and white count tanked. It's been 3 weeks now and to low so chemo is out and no more options? In my head I am screaming NO!! Mom beat brain cancer, beat the odds by over 6 months!! We talked for 3 hours of family cancer history, no more chemo. I am so grateful to have such a hero in my life & time. The days ahead I will pray for a miracle and for no pain. Ive lost many to cancer. This is my mom and will be my most terrible loss. My mother, my friend & my hero:(

There's More After We Go

My grandmother was mere hours from passing from multiple symptoms and in her 80's. No signs of lucidity. I walked in and she lit up and said, "Billy" and everyone in the room fell silent as she smiled. I ran my finngers thru her hair for an hour as she slipped into unconciousness. I left out of emotion and on my drive home I got a call that she'd gone. I could still smell her body's "leaving" on my hand and it stayed for days. We are beings of light...........of energy.........and we have another dimension to look forward to.......believe.
—Guest Little Bill

dad has stage 4 cancer

My dad was just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. he is 62 he's lost over 50lbs. and it's spread into his bones I'm his only daughter and he lives far away and that's the hardest. everyday I just want to cry I hope this gets easier.
—Guest christina dow

understanding cancer

Hi all, just recently lost mother to cancer, whilst hard, i looked back, thanking god i was able to nurse her. Keep strong those of you, still nursing loved ones, such a horrible disease!
—Guest rangi

My mother,and best friend

My mother was told she has stage 4 lung cancer. They haven't tested her for cancer because she has so many blood clots. The doctor said that the test would kill her. He told us in his professional opinion that the mass seen on her lungs from the ct scan is cancer. She has lost about 40 pounds within 3 months. She is on a ventilator to help her breathe. This is killing me to lose my mother.
—Guest rene boyd

It's fragile

My dad broke his collar bone on August the first this year. On September 9th there were spots found on his lung and back. My girlfriends dad had a melanoma and died after three months and she told me that it had already spread. I read a lot that day and didn't want to believe it was stage 4. I tried to tell my mum and brother but they denied and thought it was in early stages. At least I was prepared in some way. He died on November the 17th from a big tumor on his neck. Mum and I were had to take him to the hospital after he was delusional from the pain. He died the next morning. The last night isn't something's want to remember because it was so ugly. He smoked for 55 years. It doesnt spare many. We miss him a lot.

my mom

i was with my mom when she took her final breath. she had lung cancer. i replay the night over and over again. i saw all the signs of her dying i just didnt want to see it. i thank god i was by her side right to the very end. i love u mom. her breathing became shallow and she was gurgling and very sick at her stomach. she had finally laid down then looked over at me and that was it. thank god she didnt have to struggle to much just had a lot of bone and back pain in her final days.
—Guest Denise

Letting Mike Go

My stepdad's lung cancer was not detected until stage iv, which is very common. The tumors which had metastasized to his spine were discovered in an MRI after physical therapy and all typical back pain treatments had failed to help what he thought to be just a bad back. He lived for 30 days and died at age 60, surrounded by his kids and my mom. His final hours followed this article by the book. In his final minute of life his breathing changed and my mom took out the devotional book and began to read him the passage that they had read every day since the day they checked into the hospital. Im not sure why she decided to do that then, i think that she knew something in that moment that she didnt know she knew. As she was reading he took a big breath and then there was silence. Everyone was listening to her and I was the first to notice that his next breath hadn't come. "Mom...he's not breathing" I said, and in that moment he took a gasp of air and a tear streamed down his cheek
—Guest Tiffany

Much loved Nannie.

The grandmother of my youngest child was diagnosed with lung cancer last week. She died this afternoon. I loved her and will miss her for the rest of my life. We had our ups and downs but this wonderful woman understood me better than my own mother. We love you, Eve and I'll make sure the children never forget you. God rest your soul, love. XXXXXXXXXXXXX
—Guest Nicci.


My father will die and my whole family grieves but me. The most cruel sasistic man I ever knew which several of my sibling die and the rest still suffers from their childhood. I cannot feel any remorse. I guess soon I'll will feel peace at last, but wish the best for him. Editors note: It is important to note that just as some people deeply mourn the loss of loving family members, others have very mixed feelings as death nears. At times like this, perhaps the only emotion is a sense of peace that a family member who was unloving can no longer inflict pain. Thank you for sharing this side, which sadly, is not uncommon in our world, and best wishes to you.
—Guest Jack11

my mum

My mum will be 60 next year and was only a month ago diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, since then she's lost a lot of weight, so much that it hurts her to walk. She's been so brave although now, she's bed ridden and more dependant than ever. Her speech has broken down and her interaction with others, is minimal. I wish there was more I could do. We have now been told she has roughly a week two at most, although to look at she doesn't seem the same person, a some what shell of what she once was. Hopefully she will go with minimal discomfort and knowing she's truely loved. Love you mum, gone,but NEVER forgotten.
—Guest sean g

Miss My Father

My father took a fall in his apartment and went into the hospital on 8/29/11 with what was first thought to be pneumonia. Within a week, he had been diagnosed with stage-4 metastatic small cell lung cancer that had already spread to his bone marrow, red blood cells, and liver. He passed away only 9 days after first being admitted. My sister and I are devastated. He smoked for over 50 years and we saw what lung cancer had done to our family (all 4 grandparents and an aunt passed away from lung cancer), but we never had the chance to take him home, put him in a hospice where he could rest, or even really say goodbye. He was relatively healthy at the time of diagnosis and we are left with more questions than answers. We were told by doctors that neither chemo nor radiation would help and they stopped giving him any antibiotics or blood transfusions the day of the final diagnosis (he died within 24 hours of that diagnosis). We love you Dad and miss you every day.
—Guest Julie T

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