My 76 year old mother had lived independently with success until March. She developed pneumonia and was diagnosed with it in early June. She was fatigued and began to slowly withdrawl. In early July, she fractured her femur which resulted in a hospital stay. When she entered the hospital, her cognitive ability changed very quickly. She was confused about everything: where she was, why she was there, and who I was. An additional dignosis in the hospital revealed stage 4 lung cancer which had spread to the brain, where they found a lesion on a scan. There was also speculation it had spread to the bone, which was why the fracture occured. I knew her health was declining but this was all a shock to me and my sisters. It was advised that she enter a rehab to gain some sort of independence, even if it was to transfer to a chair or use the bathroom. She has been there almost three weeks and her cognition has decreased dramatically. The oncologist perscribed a steroid to help reduce the swelling of the brain lesion and increase cognition. She is confused, cannot hold a full conversation with me without being off topic and at times sees things that are not there. Sometimes these things frighten her with intensity. I am able to do window visits at the facility and go twice a day to talk to her on the phone through the window. She has also lost 15 pounds since being admitted into the hospital in July and eats about 25-30% of each meal. Prior to hospitilization, I saw my mom every day for several hours. We would share dinner together and talk about the day. She is my best friend and I am heartbroken at this sudden change of lifestyle for her and myself. It has been heartbreaking for me. The plan for her after rehab is to come back to her home for pallative care. The pallative nurse advised me she will need 24 hour care. I have a sister who can assist me with care. I don't know what to expect and am fearful of failing in some way. Two years ago, my father passed away from Alzheimers at home in hospice, and two months after that my sister passed away from gliblastoma. My mom was the primary care giver for both in her home. My sisters and I assisted. The whole experience was honestly traumatizing for my family. I am doing my best to be prepared, accept the decisions I have made regarding my mom's care knowing I am making them with the best intentions for her, and trying to take time for self care. The onset of the confusion has been devastating for me because my mom and I have always been such a part of each others lives. Sharing laughs, asking for advice, watching new shows and getting gardening tips are what I miss most right now. I don't want my mom to experience any prolonged suffering and just want her to be comfortable. She has cared for others her entire life and is a stage 4 lymphoma survivor. Thank you for allowing me to express my feelings.
I am truly sorry for your loss of your mom. No doubt that she was a very special mom.
You will always miss her but now she lives in your heart just as she did while she was with you. I know that you cherish every sweet memory that you have of her.
May God grant you grieving mercies and strength during this difficult time.
Your mom was indeed blessed to have her family around her in her last days. Well done bringing her home.
Great big warm hug!
it is too much to take, but you will be there for her like she taught you, by example. Take strength in the fact that many of us have done this, And you will get through and you will be okay. Gain strength knowing that many people would never do this — and you are one of the special, very rare ones who would.
Hire help so you can get rest when you are weary. Find what calms her (not morphine) but music, hand massage, calming videos.
You may not be able to have dinner like you used to, but these moments will be treasured also.
if you need encouragement, let me know - I’ll write you personal messages. I’ve been there and am so glad I had the privilege to love my parents and show them that love unconditionally.
Watch the Wizard if Oz. They all had those qualities they were seeking, they just didn’t know they could do it.
You’ve got this! You will be grateful someday that you did this your way.
Reading about all the losses and trauma in your life, I would like to suggest that you attend a grief support group like GriefShare. You can talk to others who have also lost loved ones as well as those who have already walked the path of grief to a place of peace.
I found out that my sister was sick unto death because I happened to walk in the ER as the doctor was telling her that she is consumed with cancer. So the suddenness for you is very familiar and the pain it causes sends me back 3 years.
If you are going to bring her home, I suggest that you do it soon. Once it has metastasized to the brain things are very different and the person that you knew is buried under this vile disease, you probably don't have much time. So interview hospice providers and get the durable medical equipment that she will need delivered.
My sister could no longer move, her bones were eaten up and would just break, so she was transported home in an ambulance with 4 paramedics to help her. She was in so much pain they couldn't roll her on the gurney so these wonderful people carried her.
May God grant her and you peace and strength during this difficult time.
Great big warm hug!🤗🤗🤗
Many people (on this forum) do not have that but still go into mourning at this stage - way before the person actually dies. You will go through a roller coaster of emotions just now. I lost my mum in May but it was after a couple of years of dreadful personality changes; which were not recognised or diagnosed until quite late. I think it helps to get the clarity on what is going on - so you can prepare yourself. I also think it helps if such a serious illness is short lived and the person does not suffer for too long.
Good luck with it all and hang onto the good memories with your mum.
I know the doctor will have explained to you what the brain swelling and the mets to the brain indicates, and see that you already have palliative care in place. I want to ask if you would consider hospice care. It would help you a lot, and there is honestly no upside in Mom having to suffer without adequate sedation and help, and this could possibly give you more help as well.
This is a very difficult undertaking. Are you certain that you wish to take this on in your home, or would you consider SNF setting, even Nursing Home.
There is so much for you to consider now and I hope your support system is very good. Again, this is such a lot to be set on the family plate now. I am so sorry.
My father died of a brain tumor and was in Assisted Living with my mother at the time, so I was able to sit with him every day and even lie in the bed with him and say the things I wanted to say before he passed. Had this stupid virus been thrust upon us at that time, the opportunity would have been stripped away from me, and I'm grateful it wasn't.
Do you think you and your mom might be better off if she were to go into a hospice care facility after she's released from rehab? I know that many hospice residents ARE allowed visitors, so maybe you'd be able to go there every day to sit with her but still have her needs tended to by a staff of 24/7 care givers. Just something to think about. The thought of having her come to live with you after her release from rehab must feel overwhelming...........I know it would for me.
My 93.5 y/o mother lives in the Memory Care section of the ALF nowadays and I feel your pain with witnessing the confusion; it's very difficult. A year ago last May she was hospitalized with pneumonia and suffered hospital delirium; she was seeing mice running on the floor and all sorts of awful things. A CT scan revealed that she'd had a stroke sometime earlier as well, which was contributing to her dementia. These days, she's up and down. Some days she's coherent but other days she's in another world. When I speak to her on the phone and she's incoherent, it's really terrible. I know that I would not be able to care for her in my home because I just don't have it in me to be a 24/7 care giver to a person with SO many health and psych issues.
Ask yourself honestly if you think you can really do this, and go from there. Wishing you the best of luck in such a difficult situation and sending you a prayer for peace with whatever decision you make. And a prayer that your dear mom suffers as little pain as possible during her remaining time on earth.