• Terminal cancer

    Asked by DonnaC on Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    Terminal cancer

    I just found out I have 3 to 6 months left. I have not told the children yet. Tomorrow I will know if they think chemo will do any good. Today is my 5th day of Radiation. Cancer in lungs, brain, liver, and bones. How do others accept this. I would like to talk with someone in the same position.


    13 Answers from the Community

    13 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Donna, I have not been in that position, but my mother and father both were. With Dad, we took him to the hospital to have a feeding tube put in and see what else they could find wrong with him, he had prostate cancer for 13 years, the doctors told me to take him home, there's nothing we can do. It had spread to his, bladder, pelvis bones, lungs, and eventually brain. He was told 2 wks. to 2 months, but the doctor told me to figure closer to the 2 wks. He lasted 3 wks. He was not coherent so him accepting it wasn't a problem, He just wanted to "go home" We took care of him in hospice at a local nursing facility.

      Mom was diagnosed 2 months later with inoperable lung cancer, the tumor had wrapped itself around lots of vessels and we were told that it couldnt be removed, but would last 6 months or so. And also told that chemo wouldn't do any good. Mom was told, and she decided to not have the treatments. We took care of her in hospice at home. She made it 8 months. She accepted it ok, she told me what ever happens, just happens. I think it was harder for me to accept than her. she had an enjoyable last 8 months. We made sure what ever she wanted she got, took her places, and she was never alone. In the last weeks of her life when she couldn't get out any longer, she was compfortable, and just slowly, slowed down, to the point of going to sleep, and didn't wake up. It was much more peacefull than I was afraid it would be.

      I don't know if this helps or hurts, I do know what your going through, and I hope you can find peace and relax. My very best to you, enjoy life and have no regrets.

      about 8 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar

      (((((Donna))))) Consider yourself gently hugged. I'm three years older than you.. not that that makes a difference when being told what we've heard. I was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer... They removed a 39 lb. tumor and both my ovaries. Then the surgeon oncologist removed the cancer that "he could see" from my intestine and my euretha. He inserted a port in my abdomin for placing chemo liquid directly into my abdominal cavity... to slosh around :). When I woke he gently told me that the cancer had metastized and he had removed all he could see. I smiled (I was so out of it with all the drugs).. I closed my eyes.. when what he'd said sunk in... I called doctor... he was in the doorway... "How much time have I got?" he punched the doorway with his fist and said "SIX MONTHS". I closed my eyes and thought... It's February ... August will still be warm.. (we live in Minnesota)... I always remembered freezing when I was 18 at my fathers funeral in March in Ohio........ Then I went to sleep. Tom and I together have eight children (He has five and I have three sons)... My brother... .... I slept.

      Now let me take you back to the day I first got the diagnosis... I KNEW IS WAS GOING TO DIE! I just knew it. I'd watched Gilda Radner fight and fail... This is the deadliest cancer... (I thought) My problem I had all the symptoms for it already... auto accident caused me to live with back pain... gas/cramps... a lot.... etc. How would I ever know. I didn't.... So here I was laying on the exam table knowing what they had found.... They'd left the room... I was alone with God. As I put my life in his hands I asked it he would talke my hand and lead me to where He wanted me to be. I know that God wants good for us, not bad, thus, "Thy will be done Lord"... I told him I was terrified... my fear left me immmediately... I was good. I'd do whatever the doctors wanted... I knew I wanted to fight until my last breath... but "He leadith me".....

      Now here is where it gets tricky... they did the surger as I said... I got a MRSA infection faught that off.. and was about to start chemo... They had a PET CT Scan to spot where the remaining cancer was hiding.... It came back... The doctor opened the report and looked at the scan... and started bouncing up and down... lightly punching me in the shoulder... I GOT IT ALL... MY GOD CAROL DID YOU HEAR ME ..... I GOT IT ALL.... Based on this we decided to do a full cycle of six cycles... of three infusions of chemo to my abdomine..... when we'd completed that... he said he'd heard of a new study, He wanted me to complete one infusion a month for another 12 months....

      Now here is where It gets exciting... I've been cancer free since May of 2006. I was diagnosed at 62 and I turned 69 this past May. Donna place your life in God's hands...ask him to lead you where he wants you to be.... either way... You don't lose. I know there are a lot more thoughts involved... so please know I'm here and willing to help. Carol

      about 8 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      DonnaC, First of all, let me tell you up front that I am not a cancer survivor, I am an oncology/end of life nurse so I am approaching your question from outside the bed, not in it. End of life care is a bit different from hospice care in that my patients are diagnosed with about 2 weeks or less, so I have little time to prepare them or their family for the process ahead. This can be a difficult discussion for you to have with your children as it is for anyone having to have that talk. For me, what makes it so easy and what has always made it easy, was recognizing first, how I viewed death. If you fear it or see it as a punishment, then so will those close to you. So you have to ask yourself first, how do I see death and what do I fear? Do you fear dying in pain, or the separation from those you love? Pain should never be an issue if you have a good physician who knows how to address pain issues; in this day and age no one should die in pain. The idea of separation can cause anxiety at first but in time you will come to learn that it is not an issue, but that is a road you will stumble on without any help. When you address your children, never try to soft sell anything. If this is truly the amount of time left, it is what it is, anytime you downplay the situation you create a pocket of doubt. We humans love each other unconditionally and we tell each other often that we will do so for eternity, there is no reason to think that is not true. We have 5 senses not 2, and you can ask those who have lost loved ones on this earth, they will tell you that they know there loved ones are still with them. If you are open to receive them, they will always come. Right now you need to find out if you have other options and if it means finding a second opinion then that is what I would do. News such as this must be validated. I cannot tell you how many patients I have had who were told the same thing and are still here two years later if not more, Carol is right. You need to handle this one moment at a time, you tell your children what you know when you know it as a fact you are relaying, if they ask you how you feel about it, tell them the truth. Ask them how they feel about it and what specifically they are most disturbed about. An open honest dialogue is the best way. Just make sure they understand that when you first gave them your love, it was not based on geography, it crosses all borders and transcends all space and time. I wish you the best and if you need to talk, just friend request me and I will send you my number. For now just stop, pause, and just breathe. Clear your mind of doubt and fear and focus on your goal, because those who have a goal know where they are going, they have a purpose. You have a purpose!

      about 8 years ago
    • Bashiemn's Avatar

      I also have not been in the position of the patient, but I was in the position of being the adult (25 yrs) child of the patient who was told they had 6 months to live. My mom had stage 4 kidney cancer with a tumor the size of a basketball. We were told it was inoperable. My mom only lived 1 1/2 weeks after that diagnosis. As her child I am grateful that I got to say my goodbyes and be with her 24/7 during that last week and a half and if she hadn't told us intime I would have been even more devastated for sure. Looking back now I am a little angry that she didn't at least TRY to have surgery or treatment. They did nothing but hospice and I feel it would have been worth trying.

      For what it's worth, i'd give your children the information,but still fight like crazy.

      Many hugs, and I wish the best that medicine has to offer you. Jennie

      about 8 years ago
    • RuthAnne's Avatar

      Hi Donna. I have Stage IV NSCLC. Once all the scans were said and done, I had metastases in my bones, my brain and my liver, along with several spots on my lungs. I have no known genetic mutation so my treatment option was chemo only. The stats aren't good. Yet, here I am, doing well. I wasn't to know that at the time, though, and so for me to come to some sort of 'peace' with knowing that I would die sooner rather than later, I read - a LOT. Mostly books written by people who had died from cancer. It helped me not only come to terms with my own death, but also helped me figure out how I did and didn't want to spend the time I have left.

      Ultimately, I think that whatever it is that gives you comfort as you come to terms with your own diagnosis, you should pursue. It is possible to find peace.

      Sending you strength & blessings.

      about 8 years ago
    • po18guy's Avatar

      Donna, I have had to mentally prepare for death twice since being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma - Not Otherwise Specified (an unknown sub-type). It is rare and aggressive, and there is no standard medical treatment for it. At stage IV, with 54 soft tumors and cancer in my bone marrow, I had 2-3 months left - yet, against all odds, the cancer responded to an unusual chemo regimen. Even so, it relapsed immedately after chemo, when I was not healthy enough to endure more chemo. It could not be irradiated. As well, there was essentially nothing left to use against it, as it had defeated eight different drugs. Here is how I dealt with it: I am a man who practices a seemingly outdated worldview that professes faith in God. I absolutely believe that, even though the body dies, the spirit lives on. Some years back, my faith began to increase. I see now that it came just in time for this journey that I am still on. I let go of any claim that I had on my life, and placed it in God's hands. I knew that I did not give life to myself, and I knew also that it was not I that was calling it back. I simply placed my trust in God. I found it freeing to know that the end of this earthly life was approaching. Once I did that, a strange thing happened: a clinical trial of an experimental drug appeared. I enrolled in the trial and the cancer went into hiding. There is no sign of it over three years later. I realize that there are other implications here, but I live more for the next life than I do for this one. A lot of people were praying for me (and still are). Doctor, who is not religious, calls my case "a miracle." What I have realized is that my life, no matter how long or short it may be, has a definite purpose: to offer encouragement to other cancer patients. Having faced the end twice, and believing what I do, I no longer fear death. This leave the matter of family. Death is the natural conclusion of life and each of us will taste it at some point. The sooner this subject is faced, the better. The lesson is to enjoy each and every moment of life - even the not so pleasant ones. If you are not a person of faith, a counselor or therapiat may assist with confronting the future. If you have faith, or even were raised in faith, I can only advise you to dive into it, for it provides tremendous hope. I offer prayers on your behalf. May peace be with you.

      about 8 years ago
    • joyce's Avatar

      Imerman Angels out of Chicago connects cancer patients and caregivers with others with the same diagnosis and prognosis. They are great and can orovide you with someone to talk to who is in your situation or similar. I am praying that you find the answers that you seek.

      about 8 years ago
    • joyce's Avatar

      The other thing I should say is that if you have not already, you may want to get a second opinion. My husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The first surgeon he saw said he was inoperable and could only be provided with oalliative care. We did not accept that and did a lot of research into who the best doctor to treat would be. We were able to find a surgeon to operate and they were able to remove all of the tumor.

      about 8 years ago
    • daveh's Avatar

      I would tell your family so they can spend quality time with you and so its not a shock when it will become necessary to tell them.sometimes telling people helps set you free

      about 8 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      Donna, ill be glad to he'll you with this if you like. I can be reached at [email redacted]. Carm.

      about 8 years ago
    • beauty's Avatar

      depending how old your children are, i would be alittle hesitate to share this information. my children are 38 and 41. i have a very rare type leiomyoscaroma and its in my cells, so travels through the body. my time like you is numbered, but only GOD knows when are time is up, what happens if you live a year. i was told i wouldnt make it to where i am now. my question is to you. do you want to go out with quality of life or go out with taking chemo and going out out pretty sick from the chemo? everyone is different. i want my kids to remember me how i am now happy, laughing and not sick from chemo or radation. its all what the drs. tell you, and how your own body will react and is it going to prolong your life. these questions were no to me. my is very progressive and the treatments will not prolong so i am just enjoying today and pray you find the answer inside yourself what is best for you.

      about 8 years ago
    • nanx's Avatar

      hello my nan 2days ago found out she had kidney cancer that had spread into main veins into heart etc and was told only 2 months to live. we are disgusted with her doctors 5/6 months back and forth to the doctors test etc and couldnt find the problem untill sunday she turned for the wprse and now its 2 late!!

      almost 8 years ago
    • kkgreg's Avatar

      Donna... I am in the same position - PLEASE stop radiation and chemo and seek HOSPICE and PALLIATIVE CARE immediately - that will make a world of difference.

      almost 7 years ago

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