My mom is 88 years old and is in the hospital after being diagnosed with colon cancer and possibly an obstruction. What lies ahead?


Can anyone tell me about colon cancer with a possible obstruction? My mom is 88 years old and is in the hospital with this diagnosis. What's next? I'm scared of what lies ahead.

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Wow MsAnnie. I don't think any of us with parents or loved ones expected the hospice staff to be there when the person passes. I didn't, and my mom was in hospice in a NH. I only have pretty positive memories of the hospice staff. They provided support to my mom with music, company and their cleric provided religion as well.
I don't think your expectations of hospice were realistic.
Our hospice nurse provided me with information to come to grips that my mother's end of life was near. It was in the middle of the night. No one was there except my mother and I.
Sorry you had a negative experience with hospice but that was not the norm for many of us.
Dealing with the passing of your mother is devastating. Hospice assisted but ultimately the child has to accept that they are going to lose an irreplaceable person in their life. Both the family and the dying person deserve comfort but death is part of life.
I'm for comfort through medication for the patient and enjoying together whatever time is left.
Blackcloud you have made the best decision you could have made.
Just enjoy your mom while she is here and keep her comfortable. Work with hospice to do so.
My mother will be gone 4 years tomorrow and I remember everything. I know when passed she was comfortable, clean and loved. It was not easy. But she went with the Angels to a better place that morning.
Clinically I knew what was happening but it was still hard to see.
Afterwards you are in deep grief but your realistic side knows they suffer no more. That in itself is a huge comfort, or was to me.
My mom was 89.
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A lot of folks swear by hospice, except those that have been the hospice patient and they're no longer here to tell about it.. but I am. I have been the patient of numerous hospices, and let me tell you they are not all alike. The one common denominator among all of them is the fact that there is a 99.9% chance that when your mother passes they will NOT be there with you until AFTER the fact. You WILL be alone, unless you have family there with you. Hospice has up to one hour to arrive after you call them, so chances are your mother will have already passed VERY painfully, I might add. They may or may not give you a morphine "kit" so you will in effect be drugging your mother (killing her) for lack of a better phrase. I'm sorry if this scares you, but it is the truth. People find the truth hard to swallow at times and certainly the hospices will disagree because they need to make that money, they have families to feed. I will suggest this site for you to read. hospicepatients org Please study that page carefully, it has a lot of good information. Read some of the stories by familes that have survived the hospice nightmare. There are other ways. BTW. You should tell your mom.. It's her life, her body, she deserves the truth and she deserves a choice. Unless she has given you a power of attorney. She still has rights. Best of luck
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Do not doubt yourself. This is the best thing you could be doing for your depart in the company of the comfort of home. Do not under value this!

Your choices are painful. But, rather than to see your Mom go through this over and over with complications and the whole problem just coming right back each time till she is too weak to hang on? No, you are choosing to let her have the best quality of life possible.

Longer life is only worth it if there is quality and hope of recovery.

The choice is hard. You are making the hard the right choice
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Hi Blackcloudone,
Been thinking of you so much!
Hope you're able to rest some and your mom is free of pain.

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Thank you so much everyone with your kind and encouraging words. I'm a little stressed today but I have to get us through this.
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What a precious, special gift of parental LOVE your parents gave you.
Remember when you are fearful God is right by you and your moms side.
Praying for strength and deep comfort for you and no more pain for your momma.
I'm picturing you lying there with sweet and fortunate she has you there, that's a real blessing.😇
Thinking of you constantly sweet momma and daughter....🙏🏻
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BlackCloud, You are doing the right thing by bringing her home for hospice. How about asking if they can send someone to fix her hair - seriously! That is part of taking care of the whole person, and it's going to make your mom feel so much happier if she feels good about her self when she has all these new visitors. Really - call hospice and ask if they can send someone, even if you have to pay out of pocket. If you can get an appointment, tell her, so it's something she can look forward to. When she's struggling, you can remind her that she's getting her hair done next week, and that itself will help refocus her attention from any distress to her hair.
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I am so happy that you can be there for her now as she really needs you. You can provide her with pure acts of love for whatever time she has left. If she receives morphine or any narcotic these meds slow the motility of the GI tract as well as pain relief.
Does she like music? Maybe you can surround her with her favorite music to help her as well.
Try not to dwell too much on the negative. Yes I know you are worried about her pain level and comfort but try to provide relief for her (& your) psyche as well.
That may be difficult as this diagnosis came suddenly.
Bring her favorite flowers, let a little sunshine in, if she has a pet, let her see it. Hold her hand and touch her as the human touch from a loved one is very comforting. Brush her hair, massage her hands, rub lotion on her arms and legs. Give her a back rub if she can roll to the side without much pain. So hard this is. You can still find ways to celebrate life with her in these final days.
I know it's a terrible vigil to have to make. Try to enjoy each other while you can. Hospice will keep her comfortable when she has pain.
And no, the intestines won't burst externally.  Her belly may get distended. Is she allowed ice chips or anything by mouth?
Has she moved her bowels at all?
Sending good thoughts to you.
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B, darling girl, that's exactly the sort of thing you can ask hospice about.

I'm not sure what you're imagining or visualising, and I'm not a medical or nursing professional, but I don't think the colon can "burst" in the way you're perhaps afraid of. But rather than me guessing or looking on the internet, why not talk this through with your hospice team and ask them to explain to you how this is likely to progress, and how they would handle each problem if it were to arise.

Is your mother already being given effective pain relief? - if so, that would explain her thoughts' wandering as you describe. This doesn't mean you should second-guess your decision: you're not denying your mother a chance to fight this evil disease, because there isn't a real chance. But it does mean that she can't be in unbearable pain or feeling terrible fear, and that is what you're aiming for.

It's wonderful that you can be with her to reassure and comfort her whenever she needs it. And you sound like a pretty strong person to me :) Hugs to you, get as much sleep as you can.
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Thank you everyone so much.
I am scared. I am scared that the obstruction will make the colon burst and she will be in a lot of pain and hospice will not be able to do anything to comfort her. God bless my mother she says that whenever God wants her she is ready but then she'll say to let her try and do things otherwise she's not going to get strong again or that she needs to have her hair done. Isn't that sending crossed messages? I am confused! Thanks to all of you that I can open my heart to in the middle of the night when so far it feels the loneliest. I'm sleeping in her bed right next to her in her hospital bed.
As most of you gathered I'm not a very strong person, and even tho I'm an adult myself I never left her nor my dad. After I got married my husband ( that always loved my parents) and I decided to leave together as a big happy family and that's how it's been.
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