My mother-in-law has late stage cancer. I need some feedback on what to do.

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2 of her 5 sons are her healthcare proxies and are refusing hospice. she is now on pain patch to keep her comfortable. well the other day when i went to see her she looked me straight in my eyes and told me she wants to go home and then started to cry. as much as i try to comfort her i feel like her sons need to give her permission to "go home" but there is way too much denial on their part and it really saddens me. so out of 10 people that are her caregivers, the number is shrinking down less and less are going out to help tak care of her yet it seems like her sons dont want to let go. SHE IS NOT MY MOTHER AND I CHOSE TO GO AND HELP OUT WHEN AND WHERE I CAN BUT SOMETIMES I JUST WANT TO WALK AWAY FROM THIS AND FORCE THEM TO LOOK AT THE SITUATION AND DEAL WITH IT. ANY FEEDBACK WOULD BE APPRECIATED.


Are you married to a sibling in denial, or one who understands what is going on and that hospice can help EVERY ONE? If the former, enlist another sibling to talk to your spouse, If the later, help him or her to get the brothers to see the true picture, and how much LIFE is to be gained by bringing in hospice. Meanwhile, talk to MIL (either alone for with a NOT-in-denial spouse) .See if she understands what is going on, and let her know that bringing in hospice talk to doesn't mean she has to sign up for it: she can just learn what her options are. Then, abide by her decision. The brothers may have health care proxy, but MOM still sounds like she has all her marbles and still can drive the bus on this, herself. Help her do it.
What about the other 3 sons, what do they say about mom's prognosis? As someone who just went through the dying of cancer thing with my mom in April, it stinks big time. What made the difference for us though, was mom was a follower of Jesus and ready to 'go home'. As a Christian myself, it's sometimes hard to remember that this world I live in was NEVER supposed to be my final destination. God had that figured out before He created the universe. Mom's place, along with my family's place, is in Heaven. Gotta keep my eye on the prize. Otherwise, to me I'm thinking, what's the point?
one of the sons agree that we do need hospice yet his hands are tied. my husband tried to tell me that because his mother's belief in crist that she was going to lay on faith and that god is going to heal her. now if he wants to belive that it is his choice. However everytime i see her she is not getting any better, she can not talk, she is incoherent, losing her hair, getting bed sores can not use the toilet onher own. my issues is if she rested on faith and decided not to have chemo or radiation why go under the knife? why listen tothe doctor? or just try to find an alternative. my breaking point came last week when i had an anxiety attack in the ladies room at work. if the sons decide to have faith with her, they decided NOT TO CALL HOSPICE. so at that point i said bump it. i need to seek help for my self and emotional being. so here i am along with reaching out to the grief counselors at hospice. if they so choose not to call them for their mother that does not mean i can not call for myself.
I overheard a conversation at the hospital last month. Several persons in scrubs were talking in the hallway, waiting for the cafeteria to open. One woman was asked how her stay in Afghanistan went. She answered that it was interesting and she learned some things but that overall it was very difficult for her. They are not big on sedatives or pain relief. Suffering brings one closer to God, so their attitude about relieving suffering among the dying was one she had a hard time watching.

Deeply held religious beliefs certainly color how we feel about appropriate treatment for those on the last leg of their earthy journey. What you describe sounds to me like differences in relgious beliefs. If possible I would think that MIL's beliefs should prevail. Ideally MIL chose ONE child to be medical proxy, and that was one whose religious views were most like her own and whom she could expect to stand up for them. Alas, that often does not happen.

By all means, get counseling and comfort for yourself. I think you let the brothers sort out their religious differences and make decisions accordingly. Continue to give comfort to MIL as you are able.

Know that the ultimate outcome is that MIL will die. In the normal course of events she would have died before her sons in any case, and the cancer has shortened her life expectancy. This is very sad, very hard to accept, and very stressful. That doesn't make it less true. Please get help dealing with this loss. You deserve it.
ok i have a question, i have read the section on end of life (amer, can. society)
one of the symptoms is loss of bowels/bladder. as she is on fentanyl patch and the side effect is constipation, she has not been given any type of laxitive or stool sofener so not sure if this is part of the dying process or what?????
Hospice is a wonderful service. I realize there is a common misconception that it means the end is near. You know the end is near and it is difficult to accept but, these wonderful nurses are specially trained to make your loved ones life much better. They understand how to comfort every member of the family and they are excellent guideposts for what to expect and how to cope. Goodluck
rewilliams, even though my mom knew where she was going go spend eternity, that certainly didn't stop her from exhausting all the medical options open for her. In hindsight though, she probably wouldn't have put herself through a torturous surgery that did absolutely nothing to help. But who knew? Only God knew.

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