My mother was dying. She was in pain. The meds available did not help.
We brought in hospice. They relieved her pain and anxiety so that she passed in a comfortable and easy way. I am making sure that my kids understand that I do not want to die wracked with pain and anxiety. My mom said to us "let me die, just not in pain".
My mom had breast cancer when she was 65 (30 years ago) and I was able to convince her to get good care for that (she wanted to go to the local hospital for a drive by mastectomy; she fortunately agreed to Memorial Sloan Kettering, where they kept her for two weeks).
My mom had a stroke at age 90 which brought on vascular dementia, so we had 4 years of gradual decline. Mom was eligible for hospice two years ago (2015) but POA brother thought that palliative care was a better choice. so we ran with that.
Mom fell in August and developed pneumonia; we brought in hospice to control her pain and anxiety.
Facing a cancer diagnosis, I think that the anxiety must be a huge thing. You need also, I think, to separate the fact that you have no control over your mom's mortality.
I know. Hard to accept.
On the afternoon that my mom died, I kept thinking "if only we can control her pain from whatever is broken, we can clear up the pneumonia, get her through this, and then she'll be fine".
Except that she HADN'T been fine for a long time. I got that denial was taking over and that it is in many ways the best defense. You feel like you've got some control over the situation, when in fact you have none. I can remember contacting an Aging Care pal whose mom had been on hospice and graduated, seeking the idea that my mom would be able to recover. I kept thinking "if only I could....."
I'm so sorry that you're going through this.
One thing I wish for, but may not be realistic: I wish the hospice team had told me that death was inevitable, and not to force food/liquid, that this was *only* about comfort care in the end of life. I was told in so many words that "Hospice Care only means there won't be any resuscitation given, but other than that, business as usual." I've learned since that Hospice also means there is an expectation that someone will pass on within relatively short time frame. Maybe since no one has an expiration date, Hospice doesn't want to give on which makes sense, just in my particular case it would've been better to give me a "Your grandmother is declining and likely won't live much longer" speech, and also tell me that means to not fuss over her and try to get her healthy.