annjen Asked May 2010

What can you expect while taking care of a parent in the last stages of brain cancer?

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My mother has brain cancer and the doctors say she has 2 to 6 months to live. What should I expect while I'm caring for her during this time?

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For what it is worth, let me just tell you about a friend of mine who died from brain cancer. This was probably 10 years ago, but he was a very intelligent person and would tell me all about what was going on with his body during this process of his illness. He could tell me about why one side of his body was cold and the other was not. He so understood his illness and was only in his early 50's.

My point is that you can get a grip on what is going on with the brain if you want to know and have a doctor to consult with, but you have to be aggressive and clear about what you want to understand.

My husband went down to help with our friend at the end. It is a difficult illness to treat and there are not many successful stories of survival. The brain is not easily reached with chemotherapy and radiation has it limits.

I hope someday there will be a better way of treating this disease.
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r0binH00d Oct 2012
My grandmother just passed away on oct9th 2012 of a brain tumor .The drs gave her 2 to 6 months to live, she passed after just three short weeks . She wenyt to the dr for an MRI the wet read it and told her she had a tumor to come in and they would discuss her options and speak with a brain surgeon .before she got to that appt she lost all speach and was put in the hospital where they put her on steroids to bring down the swelling ,aftyer about 7 days in the hospital and a visit from her dr and the surgeon they decided that there was nothing they could do ,but because GOD is so good by this time she had regained most of her speech and we took her home with the help of Hospice who came in and made it as easy as the could we had her for another couple of weeks .during that time her eating decreased and she spent almost all her time in bed except to eat dinner and go outside a couple of times .she continued to get week and more sleepy taking more and more naps .then one night she had alot of anxiety and couldnt breath to well so we called hospice and they had oxygen delivered she eventually lost contiousness and went in a coma and died the next morning ,I was holding her hand when she left this world and I told her it was ok for her to go home everyone was going to be ok .and she did imiss her very much I hope that this helped also read the book thats provided from hospice gone from my sight its very helpfull kristina
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Need2know Jun 2012
Thank you Jaye really appreciate your response. So far only one seizure....just hoping we have more time with her. God Bless.
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Jaye Jun 2012
I would really encourage you to get hospice involved... they can do as much or as little as you would like them to. They are wonderful about helping with medications and equipment. They also will help you with what to expect. I think my big concern would be seizures. My Mother in law had colon cancer and it spread she did have seizures! It was very scarry for my Father in law and brother in law. take care and God bless!
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Need2know Jun 2012
God bless you all for such a quick response. It has given me a lot to think about and things to provide my brothers and sisters with. Thank you for helping others like me in times like these. Take care and God Bless.
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Need2know Jun 2012
My mom discovered a lump in her neck, she found out it was cancer and not operatable. She is only 66. It has Met. in her brain. She was on steriods and given 6 months possible 2 years with radiation...she said she would rather enjoy 6 months then be miserable for 2 years. Us kids don't know what to expect. She is trying to heal herself the healthy route...there is a lot out there regarding homeopathic methods. We know it's her life and her choice. She put herself back on her steriods when she tried to wean herself off she had a minor seizure...I say minor only because of a lack of a better term. She knew what was going on but her body wasn't working. She took a steriod pill as soon as she came out of it and has been taking them ever since. We understand we might not have that much time with mom. We know eventually her speech with be effected...she shows signs every now and then....but what else should we expect? I know this is not a pleasant thing to think of, but I am trying to prepare my 4 siblings and I don't know what to tell them. I am the oldest and everyone is looking for me for answers. Mom is still positive and that is great for everyone involved. I know no one can give us exacts...but what should we be looking for.....our dad is 73 and we need to let him know what to look for as well. Any answers or ideas anyone could give us (including prayers) would be helpful. To anyone that is reading this that smokes.....please stop....now.
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ibarro Jun 2010
Jessielou comment is very helpful. Well my stepfather died on prostate cancer which spread all over inside him. He was a prostate cancer survivor for 17 years when he was first operated. Then his cancer came back and he did not tell my mom that he couldn't pee, so one day he couldn't walk anymore and we thought that he had problem with his spine cord(disk) because he had two surgeries before. The doctor told my mom that the cancer returned on June 2009 and he died on Sept. 23, 2009. he was hospitalized, they operated him because also he developed veins problems. he was sent back home because my mom was able to take care of him, they also provided hospice service so a doctor and a nurse (came to bathe him 3 times a week). he couldn't chew anymore so we blended his food and crushed his pilds and give them to him mixed up with apple sauce. he was bedridden for 3 months, he lost weight. he sometimes was unresponsive. he complained of pain all the times. he was given pain killers. the doctor authorized him a radiation once only because after the treatment he had blood in his urine and he was not responding. we did not want to cause him no more suffering. we including him decided not to resucitate/entubated him in case that he stopped breathing, so he died surrended of people and friends who love him so much.
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jessielow Jun 2010
My mum died of brain cancer after the breast cancer has spread. I was her main caregiver and it was really difficult during the last stage - both phyiscally and emotionally. She had a brain hemorrhage - She became weak on right side, lost her speech and she had to be fed using tube feeding. Depending on the location of the tumor in the brain, watch out for any seizure (whether she's not conscious or breaking out in cold sweat). Reassure her constantly - even if she can't respond, hold her hands tightly and let her feel safe. Be very patient with her as her reaction might be slower than usual. Most importantly, give her lots of love as it's your last chance. My mum was constantly fear of abandonment and becoming a burden to us because of her condition. I cared for her to my best ability and let her know how much I love her. It was emotionally draining seeing your loved one dying away. I stil cry when I think of her everyday. It is not easy but you would be glad that you did this for your mum in her last stage. I cared for my mum at home as it was her last wish to be at home during her last days - I learned a lot about taking care of bed-ridden and home nursing when discharging her from hospital. If you need any information on taking care of your mum, please contact me @ lowhuilui@gmail.com. Brain cancer is the hardest to cope with as the patient becomes incapable of the basic daily functioning. Be strong for your mum as she needs you at this point.
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4luvofmom May 2010
With My Father there was a period of Strong denial then bouts of anger and lashing out ( out of character for him ) thinking people were laughing at him or trying to trick him ( mood swings and confusion).
Then he was in a constant state of fear that maybe he wasn't right with God, but through daily reasurrance he became at peace with that.
Physically he started with sore joints and head aches, then progressed to being week in the legs and not being able to eat much, then he, not much later, Began falling as his legs couldn't hold him any more. After a short period of time he became bed ridden and Thank God for Hospice! he had the best of care and we could enjoy a little more quality time with him....Then there came the time when he couldn't wake up/was no longer alert , that was the beginning of the end for him approximately four days later he was gone. I miss him so much, but am also glad he isn't suffering.
I'm not sure if this was the type of info you wanted but this was my experience with my father.
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I am so sorry that you are facing this. I agree, you should speak with your doctor, every cancer and patient is different.
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