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Is this the end?


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Hi, I posted back in June. My husband Jeff was diagnosed back in February after only three rounds of chemotherapy, he has been in hospital about 20 times with one infection after another. He's just had a procedure to have a stent put into a blocked bile duct as he was jaundiced. After this procedure the jaundice seems to be going but he seems to be sleeping most of the time and hardly drinking. It could be the mixtures of antibiotics they are giving him but I fear this beginning of the end. He can hardly stay awake and is on morphine patches. His pain management is quite good though. I fear he will never come home. Has anyone else had experience of having a bile stent procedure? Thanks.

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PCUK Nurse Jeni

Hi Suzyma61,

So sorry to hear this.

Have you been able to have a discussion with his care team about what might be going on? You mention antibiotics, does he currently have an infection and is it within the stent or elsewhere? Have they tested his blood and electrolyte levels to ensure they are ok? Sometimes, the kidneys cannot get rid of the byproducts of the morphine quickly and efficiently enough, and this could result in the sleepiness. It is something to be aware of, although i am sure his care team are monitoring this.

Has he had input from the palliative care team?

Please do email us should you need to - details below.

Kind regards,


Jeni Jones

Pancreatic Cancer Specialist Nurse

Support Team

Pancreatic Cancer UK

email: nurse@pancreaticcancer.org.uk

support line: 0808 801 0707

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Hi Suzima61,

Sadly I have had experience of jaundice and stents. I have had 3 stents in three months due to infections which can be sudden and very nasty. Firstly jaundice in itself will make your husband feel really lousy, a bit like having flu with terrible itching. Once fitted the bile should start draining quite quickly but it took a while for the bilirubin levels to drop as I had plastic stents fitted (due to a nickel allergy).

Several things from your comments; firstly it is really important that your husband drinks plenty as this will help flush the toxins out of his body. I found very dilute lemon barley water was what I wanted and I forced myself to drink 2 pints in the morning, 2 in the afternoon and 2 in the evening/overnight. If he is still in hospital he is almost certainly not getting enough to drink, my husband would come with a supply of squash made up for me.

Secondly it could be the meds making him really sleepy so as the nurse suggests these need reviewing. I have kept my meds to a minimum where possible as some of them made me like a zombie. I do think that they do tend to over-medicate when you are in hospital.

Thirdly, is your husband getting enough nourishment? If he is sleepy he might not be eating well, also hospital food can be terrible. After 6 days in hospital due to infection I had lost 2kg in weight and was physically and emotionally exhausted. If your husband has been in for some time no wonder he is tired.

Don't give up and don't let the doctors tell you "this is the end". I have had this twice now and they were totally wrong.

Good luck and keep fighting,


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