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Losing my mum to PC

Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:56 pm
by Gem39

This is my first posting on the forum, although I have read others experiences from time to time, always reducing me to tears.

My husband feels I need to speak to someone as this past week I seem to be falling into a deep depression, suffering from severe headaches and crying a lot.

My mum was diagnosed last Oct (she is 82) and was told, while alone in the hospital bed with a curtain pulled around her, that there was nothing could be done and she "did not have long". We were due for visiting in less than an hour, but no, the consultant couldnt have waited until we were there??? The following day he arranged to talk to us, and told us it was likely weeks as my mum didnt seem to have any emotion when he had told her (probably the shock) but that it could be months or up to a year. It took us all our encouragement, persistence, love and attention to reverse the effect he had on her, and I still dont think we could ever fully do it.

I was lucky enough to be allowed to work my lunch hours to get away early so I could help my dad prepare a little meal for her (she thinks I know what she likes better). I have kept this up, although am finding it increasingly draining as I have to keep it together in work, in front of my young kids and in front of her and my dad.

Although not able to eat much, porridge in the morn, soup in the eve, horlicks at night, she was really doing so well, considering. We had even taken her out a few times with a wheelchair and had Christmas together and my son's birthday a couple of weeks ago.

The Hospice nurse was happy with her and discharged her for the time being only a couple of weeks ago.

The GP came out to see her and her blood results showed she is anemic so put her on iron tablets last week. Since then she has really not been well at all and we told her to stop taking them. I know iron can be harsh on the stomach, but she was being sick and now eats next to nothing. She also has a chesty cough, but the doctor was out yesterday and sounded it and is happy that antibiotics should clear it up. He examined her tummy etc and said she was doing well. I'm so worried that she is taking a downturn and wont pick up again.

We've been so focussed on keeping her well this last few months, and seeing how well she has been coping (she's an inspiration), this recent decline has come as such a kick in the stomach and I'm not coping well. I know it's all part of life, dying, but I cant get my head or heart around it, especially cos it's my mum. She's a huge part of my life, I cant breathe thinking she'll not be here all the time. I know that seems childish, and selfish, as I know she has had a long and good life and there are so many people on here who have lost loved ones so young, and I'm so sorry for seeming greedy, but it's just hard to contemplate not having the strong, determined and wonderful loving mum around.

This is what I call real heart break. I cried on the phone to her earlier as I wish I could make her better, and she told me I need to take care of myself for the sake of my two wee boys. I've tried not to get upset in front of her and try to keep positive to help her stay on top of this, but this last week has been so hard.

I've had to take this week off work as I feel so unwell with anxiety but still want to keep on top of my emotions to help my mum- thats why when my husband told me earlier I needed to talk to someone, I decided to post this on the forum. My GP might give me tablets to curb the emotions, but it's someone who knows these feelings of despair might be able to help me cope??

Thank you for listening.


Re: Losing my mum to PC

Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:32 pm
by louiepc
Oh hunny

I know all too well what you are feeling. It is so so hard, the constant changing events, and extremely exhausting. You kinda get used to a different kind of normal, then another aspect kicks in, wham - it knocks you for six again.

I lost my mum 2 months ago, my Dad and I were her carers. I too have children - 3 of them 7 and under. I would have days when I would feel absolutely awful. not want to believe that this is really happening.

Mum was "diagnosed" in a very similar way - which seems to be all too often the case. Makes my blood boil!!!!!

You are doing everything that you can for your Mum, and please don't feel selfish or childish, I had exactly the same emotions. She's your mum, if anything like mine - the mainstay of our family - the glue that held us all together - I couldn't -- and still can't comprehend life without mum. You get a strength - goodness knows where from, but it appears, and sort of rolls you along, you know you have to be strong for you mum, dad and of course your children. Don;t forget you! Make sure that you eat plenty, drink enough and try (as best as you can) get some sleep.

Make as many memories with your mum - which is definately sounds like you are doing. These are what will get you through in the hard times, whenever they may be.

Take care - and chat when needed, whether its for a vent, or a cry, there will always be someone to reply and give some support and encouragement.

Much love.

louie xxx

Re: Losing my mum to PC

Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:16 pm
by laura
hello gem, so sorry to hear about your mum, i think it is quite normal to feel so fraught, desperate. emotional. inadequate, cross and every other feeling you can think of, dont be afraid to ask for help, tell your dr you dont want to be doped up! you need a clear head to continue functioning, there are medication out there that will support you whilst you need it, not habit forming, but allow you to carry on, do try and go and see your dr,
you will find all sorts of support on here for all the other things you need, but for some things you need to see the medics, perhaps your husband would go with you, give you some moral support, do remember, like us all, your only human, we all have differant breaking points!
take care my thoughts with you, love laura

Re: Losing my mum to PC

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:36 am
by Gem39
Thanks for your messages of support and advice - its good to talk!

My mum had an awful day yesterday - has bad chest infection and vomiting - couldn't keep even a sip of water down.

Her sickness had started a week ago after commencing the iron tablets prescribed, so she stopped taking them last weekend but the sickness has just got worse until she couldn't eat or drink anything. Seemed to be when she coughs triggers the vomiting. She is also diabetic and her blood sugars had dipped to 2.4 and by late afternoon were 2.9 - far too low!! And with not being able to eat or drink, we needed the GP to come out again.

She said mum was dehydrated (could smell ketones on breath and tongue dry) but the only way to get fluids in was by IV drip. We got an ambulance ordered (which came 4 hours later) and took her to A&E, where she still is on a side unit.

The doc there said nothing showing in her bloods or chest x ray and wanted to send her home. Said she wasnt dehydrated??? Basically go home the way you came in - is that right? She cant eat or drink and is vomiting terribly if she tries as she has the chest infection - she cant take her meds as she keeps bringing them up, so antibiotic for chest isnt getting into her system. It's like a vicious circle.

Will find out this morn what the score is, but knowing my mum she will tell them she's fine just to get out of the hospital.

Do these symptoms sound familiar to PC type problems, or is it just a chest infection causing the vomiting or tummy bug? (Her tummy was examined too and seems fine)

I just want the right treatment for her, not to be dismissed as having nothing wrong.

Thanks again x

Re: Losing my mum to PC

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:34 am
by louiepc
Hi Gem

It sounds maybe like its to do with the chest infection, maybe she has a tummy bug too, cos her immunity is probably non-existant.

In any way, being at home is probably the best place to be, as she will be prone to pick up other illnesses when being so weak. If she's had the IV drip overnight, maybe that has perked her up a bit? I think when it comes to the sickness, just try and make her have liquid, not milk or anything strong smelling which will set her off. and once she manages to keep that down hopefully, she can start eating again.

I hope she feels better soon. I know with some medicine mum felt terribly sick, she used to have an alka seltzer and it did settle her, but obviously, it depends what medicine your mum is on as to whether she can take that.

Good luck.

louie x

Re: Losing my mum to PC

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:13 pm
by Gem39
Oh Thanks Louie - you are a great help and comfort to so many.

Mum didnt get put on a drip, but apparantly has managed to keep some porridge down this morn at the hospital.

A nurse from the palliative care team has been round and looking at getting antisickness back on the syringe driver or keeping her on the tabs. Think they will keep her in one more night.

She wasnt even able to keep a sip of water down yesterday, so here's hoping today will be an improvement!

The nurse is also arranging to get the palliative care team back out to my mum 2/3 times a week to see how things are going. It was only a couple weeks ago she was discharged as she was coping well herself!!

Will head off now to see if I can speak to the doctor/dietician etc, as sometimes my dad gets so muddled and upset taking it all in.

Thankyou again for your thoughts and care.


Re: Losing my mum to PC

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:10 pm
by Gem39
My mum got out of hospital on Friday, nothing could be found in blood results/chest xray - putting it down to chest infection and have given more antibiotics, antisickness and advice over blood sugar levels.

Over the weekend however she has been so weak and tired and not interested in eating anything. My sister and I were worried yesterday as we watched her doze in her armchair, eyes half open. My sister phoned docs first thing this morn and arranged another house call. Mum couldn't even make it out of bed this morn.

Our lovely doctor came out today, thank goodness I was there - the news isn't good. My dad broke down as the doctor told us the cancer seems to have got a hold of her now, and really not much time now, weeks or maybe even days. We are so in shock. However we are not telling my mum. What time is left we dont want her worrying or becoming fearful and anxious or panicking. She was so upset when the consultant broke the news back in October and it really set her back thinking she hadn't long. We've had a few months since that, and they have been reasonably comfortable and enjoyable for her, so we are going to continue to give her joy as much as we can for as long as we can.

I was able to lie beside her on her bed this afternoon, let her doze, make her smile and just talk a little. That time was so special.

I'm so scared and so sad. I love my beautiful mum.

Re: Losing my mum to PC

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:14 pm
by louiepc
Gem I am truly sorry for this news. It doesn't seem that long ago that I had the same news about my mum. It's absolutely heartbreaking. I hope that your mum is comfortable and not in pain. The next period of time will be the hardest time. You sound like a loving family, that is wonderful, you will all need to support each other in the times ahead.

If you want to talk you can ask jeni for my email. It's only 2 months since my lovely mum passed. If I can help in anyway hun I will.

Louie Xxxx

Re: Losing my mum to PC

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:32 pm
by Gem39
Hi Louie

Thanks again, not sure how to contact Jeni re email etc, but would be happy to pass on to you.

talk soon

Re: Losing my mum to PC

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:01 pm
by Gem39
Can anyone advise what is happening? My mum isn't able to keep anything down now. She has anti sickness med through syringe driver but is still being sick. She has had a chest infection for couple of weeks, which started around same time as sickness. She's on a second course of antibiotics, but her chest doesn't sound as if it is clearing. Her doctor was out today and seemed to think her chest sounded ok. The coughing from the chest infection seems to induce the vomiting.

They have said the cancer is now taking hold, but it is absolutely gut wrenching to watch my mum try to drink fluids but then be sick a while later. The doc/nurse etc are all encouraging her to eat and drink little and often (which she has been doing since diagnosis), but it seems like torture when she is then sick. It must be so painful for her.

She has a sore back and has complained of sore cramp feeling in her stomach - she thinks this is due to not eating.

She is so weak, but still managing to sit up in armchair, but is skin and bone now, after being such a good sized lady all her life, it's shocking to see. Her feet are very purple and cold, although both her and me have always had cold feet.

I love doing everything I can to help her, she knows how much I love her. But I feel so helpless as we just have to watch her slowly decline - it's like forced starvation or anorexia. This is no way to end things, I want to scream at God to stop it but now feel I'm losing my faith.

Sorry to rant, I want to help my mum. What is going on?

Re: Losing my mum to PC

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:09 pm
by laura
dear gem so very sorry to read your post about your mum, you must all be going through hell, i havent experienced what you are currently, do you have contact with the macmillan nurses? i cant speak highly enough from our experience, they can help ALL of you in so many differant ways, suggesting/organising diff meds, support for you all, and most of all doing the best for mum, i rang them up, im sure they must be as good in all areas, not just here in cornwall, you have nothing to lose and they may be able to make mum so much more comfortable, which would help you all.
thinking of you at such a difficult time, wishing there was something more tangible i could do, look after each other love lauraxx

Re: Losing my mum to PC

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:56 pm
by Gem39
Thanks Laura

There is a cancer nurse involved at this stage, however it is only the district nurses who are coming daily to change syringe driver.

I had to phone today as my mum is still being horrendously sick even with having the anti sickness drugs. She isnt even eating anything, only drinking tea or milk.

She is having the drugs changed to a different one now, which also has a slight sedative effect. I hope it works, as it is too much for her frail body to take the severity of the vomiting. It may also help her sleep a bit better. If only she hadn't got that chest infection, as the coughing triggers more vomiting.

If only I could take her in my arms and make it better.


Re: Losing my mum to PC

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:41 pm
by laura
dear gem, so sorry that mum is still being sick, so debilitating for mum and distressing for those caring for her, do so hope that they can soon control it, its this type of thing that i have found the macmillan nurses have more experience of whats available for cancer patients as they deal with nothing else, whilst district nurses, who are wonderful in their own right work with a wider range of illness, so hope you get the help you need.
you say you want to take mum in your arms, do so gem while you can, you cant stop whats happening, but mum im sure would love to feal warm , comforting, loving arms holding her, its somethimg we all enjoy isnt it? try and get some rest yourself as well, difficult cos you want to be there all the time, chin up, stay strong. love to you all laura xxx

My Mum is now safe in the arms of the Lord

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:33 am
by Gem39
My beautiful mum passed away on Friday 16th March, at home with myself, my dad and my sister at her bedside.
Although the last couple of weeks were troubling with mums consistent sickness and deterioration, we are comforted by the fact that she got to remain in her own bed, at home, with her loving husband holding her and my sister and I comforting them.
It was never going to be easy to lose her, but she is at peace now and having a faith in God will comfort us over the coming months and years.
I can't express the love I have for my mum - she was such an inspiration - even her doctor said she was a lady who never complained.
She came through this horrendous cancer with complete dignity, courage and determination. As far as I'm concerned she beat it - it was just her time to go "Home".
God Bless all who have been through this agony, and those who continue to live through it.
I wish all those who are being treated at this time my sincerest best wishes.

Re: Losing my mum to PC

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:13 am
by rachelqt
Hi Gem, I have been following your posts and im truly sorry to hear this news about your Mum. Its not easy watching our loved ones suffer, so please take comfort that your lovely Mum is free from all her suffering. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time...Love Rachel xx