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I’m a certified nurses aid and I deal with these things a lot but now it’s personal and I don’t know what to do. My boyfriend's mom has stage 4 lung cancer, she went to the hospital a week ago and was told she only has a few weeks left to live, due to kidney failure. She’s young only 60, it was stage one/two for the past year and this past month they bumped it up to stage 4. Ever since her chemo got bumped up she didn’t eat/ drink cause she couldn’t keep anything down.


When my my boyfriend and I got the news I took it so badly and so did he. We found out she’s coming home tomorrow on hospice care. They set up a hospital bed in their living room for her and it’s just so hard for me to see my boyfriend go through this.


What can I do... I can barely keep myself together. If anyone has any advice please let me know?

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It's very challenging to see someone you love in such pain and know there's nothing you can really do to change things. As long as his mother enjoys visits, I would encourage her son and you to visit daily - at least for a short time. Try to bring something to these visits that isn't about her illness. Pictures of something you saw (rainbow, flowers, a yard with pretty decorations or landscaping), something that happened in your day or whatever is blowing up facebook that day. Be ready to cut things short and leave if his mother isn't feeling well. Don't forget to support her husband too.

I'm southern and we believe food is a basic comfort tool. After my sister went through chemo and radiation treatments for her lung cancer she had problems eating and drinking. The radiation had damaged the esophagus and stomach and she couldn't tolerate acidic foods at all. So I made sure she was always stocked with things she liked and could still eat (mainly variations on potato soups and casseroles with a few puddlings) and I also cooked my BIL's favorites. Toward the end when drinking was very difficult, I filled mini-ice-cube trays with flavored waters to melt in her mouth.

Please remember that although a terminal illness means death is coming, it isn't here yet. Things that can still be enjoyed during illness should be enjoyed as much as possible, whether that's basic companionship watching a tv show or sitting on the porch and watching the neighborhood. Try not to anticipate future losses too much - there will be a time and a season for mourning.
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Ask his mom if there is anything you can do for her, write letters, make phone calls, special food or drink, read out loud, pray with or for or both, rub her feet, comb her hair...you get the idea.

This is ALL about her until she passes. Her well being at this stage will help make it easier on those left behind. If she is okay with going, she will be able to say what's on her heart to her loved ones.

Another thing, it is okay to hold her in your arms and cry, probably together, share how much you will miss her and let her know that you intend to take care of her son and will tell your babies about their wonderful g'ma. Do this once in her presence, then suck it up and show peace and joy to her to help her find that peace and joy.

Atmosphere and attitude will help all with this loss.

You will have time later to loose it and cry a river, helping her now will help you later. I know, I've buried 3 siblings all of them 52 years old.

(Have you guys contacted Mayo clinic to see if they can help? Or is she just done with the poking and prodding of it all?)

God be with you all on this journey and grant you strength and wisdom.

Hugs!
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As a CNA you know the health care system and what should be available to them better than most so I think your expertise will be be welcomed. (Watch your step though, you don't want anyone to accuse you of overriding what is already in place)
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I'm so very sorry to hear this news. It must be so very painful. Bless you for wanting to help though. I learned some similar news about a family friend, so, I've been asking questions like yours. What I have been told, is to be available, but, give them space. Also, to just do some things. Like, say, I'll bring food for dinner on a certain night. I also offered to help care for pets, since that can take the duty from them for a few days. I also offered to run errands, pick up meds from pharmacy, etc. Hospice should also be a big help. My LO just went on it and the Social Worker has been amazing. She will arrange for anything the patient needs.

I hope you'll get more responses from those who have actually experienced this type of thing.
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