• support for those in end stages

    Asked by jazzijenn on Tuesday, April 23, 2013

    support for those in end stages

    My father in law is in the end stages of multiple myeloma in his bone marrow and was just admitted to the hospital for severe dehydration and renal failure for the 2nd time. He was put on dialysis back in January-Feb for about 6 weeks then his kidneys regained function and he no longer needed dialysis. His oncologist feels his cancer is what keeps causing the renal failure. We were told yesterday thatthey can try to treat the cancer again ( he has been in remission 3 times in 2 1/2years) but this round would beso aggressive that he my not survive it. My husband is heartbrokenand very overwhelmed as am I. He has one 1/2 brotherwho lives 1500 miles awayso really we are the only support we have for him and for each other. I have lost both my father and step father and have never truly recovered those losses and am so afraid I don't have the strength in me to support husband and father in la w thru this without breaking down. Guess I'm looking for ways to help them. Thank you

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • Tallgrass69's Avatar

      I start by saying GOD bless you and you're family. Since I was Dx in 2008 I took myself to treatment precedures to inplant a port. I have 3kids at the time they were 2, 4, and 14. and only incom was disability. I just know I prayed and prayed. It helped me to lean on him.

      over 3 years ago
    • Ladykarla's Avatar

      Honey, I don't know if you are a religious person or not. God is with you every step of the way. Lean on him, that's His job. Pray. I suggest you pick up Trusting God When Times Are Tough by Ed Hinson. It comes in paperback for around $12. It helped me so much. Also, The Heaven Answer Book by Dr. Billy Graham. Fabulous. I suggest you take just a little time for just you. It will help you help your father in law. Take a nice bath. Go for a walk. Have a nice dinner with your husband, either out or at home. See a movie together. You both need some time away from this so you can come back more refreshed to help him. See if there is anything he wants to make him more comfortable. Little things can be such a comfort during a time like this. You can do this. God loves your family so much. Keep me posted.

      over 3 years ago
    • Gabba's Avatar

      You are allowed to break down, you are permitted to cry, you must let these emotions out...you have suffered great losses and must take care to acknowledge your emotions...you cannot help anyone if you do not take care of yourself...also do not wait too long to get hospice involved, they are absolute angels...your father-in-law's oncologist will help you with the arrangements...they have so much to offer the families, as well as the patient...my thoughts and prayers are with you. God bless you all.

      over 3 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Hugs, this is a very very difficult time and a good cry or breakdown may be just the thing you need to acknowledge the toll this is taking on everyone. In order to make an informed decision on going forward you need information. What exactly will this new aggressive treatment bring to the table. A real chance of remission, or just prolonging life without real quality. How does your father in law feel about treatment and how his care is managing. This is really important. Some people want to go out fighting, others want to be able to enjoy what time they have left, managing their pain, seeing people they love and doing things they enjoy.

      I recommend to you speak to the oncology team and/or a social worker where your father in is being treated and start exploring options. None will be perfect, but you will be able to create a plan that will let you feel that you have done the right thing.

      My sisters and I did the above when dealing with our parents final illness (not cancer, but still issues on how aggressive to treat), and then based on the information we formulated a hospice care plan for my mother, We were in the process of figuring out my fathers long term care when he started having breathing, and passed away.

      over 3 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      I am an oncology/end of life nurse. For the purpose of addressing your question, I am taking off my oncology hat and addressing you from an end of life perspective which is normally something I would not do here on this site. I understand and can appreciate your dilemma. I see many who struggle with the same issue. At some point in this journey, your father in law will find his option narrowed down to a one way street. In my role in end of life care, I have to prepare those on that path for that last leg of the journey. Young or old, adult or child, man or woman, and all that are strangers to me until the last two weeks of their life. I am nothing to them. We share no sacred bond. For me to get them to follow me blindly, I have to stand before them on equal footing. I have to show my emotion, my confidence, my weaknesses. Then they reciprocate in kind. Most people dread your position because they fear death. All our lives we worked at creating a righteous life. We avoided stealing, harm to others, sins that we were told would block us from that glorious afterlife. We did it believing we would be rewarded for our good deeds. But when it comes to collecting the reward we spent our whole life working towards, we prefer to hold onto the suffering. To weather this storm, you need only to say what is in your heart. If you fear what lies ahead, say it. To disclose is to disrobe the burden you wear. Do you think you are alone in your fear? Tell your father in law and your husband that although you do not know what lies ahead, and although you have fear of uncertainty, the three of you together will be at each others side every step of the way. No one travels alone. If your heart is heavy...say so, and I am sure they will say it as well. To bury the one conversation that could liberate each of you is like hanging yourself on a noose you made, and then cry out "Murder." If you see death as an end, then it will be a loss. No matter how long we live, how strong we are, at some point we all need to go back home. I don't fear death because I see it often. I know the beauty of that liberation, I found the rhythm to that last dance. Your father in law will know when his will to live becomes a will to leave. When it is time, trust that he alone will plot his own course. But for now, open your heart before him. Tell him your concerns so that he knows you stand together. One of the biggest complaints my patients have is that no one really talks to them anymore. Conversations become polite and general. They miss the honesty. Open your heart so that he can open his. Words heal when technology and medicine fail us. Only then can you truly know the power of a conversation. If you embrace what you fear, hold it close to you and make it a part of you...it cannot hurt you any longer. Best of luck to you, Carm RN.

      over 3 years ago
    • Vjp2012's Avatar

      God bless you and your family. I will keep you in my prayers. If you are religious, I suggest praying. For me, God is my refuge and my strength.

      over 3 years ago

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