Dealing with terminally ill family member
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08-03-2017, 09:17 PM
Dealing with terminally ill family member
My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer about 3 years ago, and all indications were that she had beat it... She went through a couple rounds of chemo and radiation, and has had no new tumor growth since initial diagnosis. Dr. said he thought it looked good and the she was clear. Until this last December when she started having severe problems with her balance, went to PT, which didn't help, finally dr. ordered a CT scan of brain, which revealed 3 "large" tumors and possibly some more that are too small to show on CT (not definitive - and she can't have MRI due to previous surgery with pin placement). Apparently this is one of the most common things to happen these days with lung cancer, if people live long enough - most often it goes to the brain - so WHY in the hell did her oncologist not keep his eye on this AT ALL?? I'm angry about that... If it had been caught sooner she may have had half a chance, but now she does not, and has stage 4 lung cancer which has metastasized to her brain.

Anyway, we are meeting with Hospice tomorrow, hoping we can find a way that she can get care while remaining in her home, where she has lived independently until now, but has reached a point where that isn't possible anymore. SO, I'm dreading some of the upcoming conversations, and what can I say to comfort her, etc. She is a Lutheran, though hasn't been active in her church for some time - but still believes. I don't know what to expect, what to say, etc. I can't promise her 'we'll meet again in heaven' etc. etc.

My husband is still VERY much a believer and very active in a pentecostal and fundamentalist church (as I *used* to be), and he doesn't really know that I am completely OVER that fantasy.

How have some of you handled dealing with terminally ill family members? Any sage advice appreciated.

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08-03-2017, 09:42 PM
RE: Dealing with terminally ill family member
I am sorry that you and your family are dealing with this. Cancer just sucks.

In my dad's last days I wasn't faced with the topic of religion as he had announced his atheism some years before he got sick.

We have had similar questions here before and most agree that this isn't the time or place to take a bold stance. Go along with whatever makes her most comfortable. This is the time to focus on her.

Again, I am sorry your going through this...it's really hard to watch a parent decline.

Sending hugs and good thoughts your way.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF

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08-03-2017, 10:05 PM
RE: Dealing with terminally ill family member
*hugs*

My dad passed away from cancer, only I was a believer back then. As far as what to say to your mom, just tell her you love her. Hug her and hold her hand.

I think if my dad had said the same thing-that he would see me in heaven and I was an atheist back then (and he knew I was an atheist)-I think I would just say something like if there's a way to find you, you know I will. If he didn't know about my atheism and he said he'd see me in heaven someday, I might just say, yes, we'll see each other again or something like that because I know it would be a comfort to him.

People use religion for comfort. It's his belief, it's his story. In his version of the story, he would see me again. I would not have minded letting him have that if it made his last few moments on earth more peaceful for him.

All that said, I think you have to do what feels best for you. I am so sorry for your mom and your situation. I know how hard it is to be going through all of this.
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08-03-2017, 10:48 PM
RE: Dealing with terminally ill family member
You've had some good advice and thoughts above from my friends. I would add that above all, try and go easy on yourself, be gentle. These times are so stressful and it is hard to avoid hurting yourself, saying things you would regret to others.
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09-03-2017, 06:24 AM
RE: Dealing with terminally ill family member
I'm so sorry you have to go through this.

I have so far never had to deal with this, so I can only guess, but I think I'd do what I could to get something positive and constructive out of the last days.
Depending on what is possible to do comfortably. I love books, so if I was dying I'd hope someone would read to me if I wasn't able to read myself. I'd love to hear about what was going on in the world. The news, what my friends and family have been up to. Including the trivial little day to day things. Being kept a part the world as much as possible. If I could I'd love to go to a pub for a beer or a café for a cup of coffee. Or to the library. I'd love to play boardgames with the grandchildren I hope I would have and watch documentaries. Learn until I couldn't anymore.
I'd rather have a chat with my family about how the politicians are idiots and the weather sucks, than talk about disease and death.
Just generally not be treated as dead before I was actually dead, but be alive until the end.
As far as possible of course. I realize that severe disease puts a lot of restrictions on things, so you have to work within that framework.
The topic of death shouldn't be avoided of course. If she needs to talk about the end she should!
I'd focus on the fact that no matter what happens after death, if there's a Heaven, reincarnation, 72 virgins or nothing at all, the important thing is that she will be alright. She won't suffer after death. She won't be lonely or in pain. And her loved ones will go on, they'll be alright and they'll always remember her.

All the best Heart

"I believe that while not all people are essentially good, most are trying" - Adam Savage
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09-03-2017, 06:58 AM
RE: Dealing with terminally ill family member
(08-03-2017 09:17 PM)Closet-Heathen Wrote:  My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer about 3 years ago, and all indications were that she had beat it... She went through a couple rounds of chemo and radiation, and has had no new tumor growth since initial diagnosis. Dr. said he thought it looked good and the she was clear. Until this last December when she started having severe problems with her balance, went to PT, which didn't help, finally dr. ordered a CT scan of brain, which revealed 3 "large" tumors and possibly some more that are too small to show on CT (not definitive - and she can't have MRI due to previous surgery with pin placement). Apparently this is one of the most common things to happen these days with lung cancer, if people live long enough - most often it goes to the brain - so WHY in the hell did her oncologist not keep his eye on this AT ALL?? I'm angry about that... If it had been caught sooner she may have had half a chance, but now she does not, and has stage 4 lung cancer which has metastasized to her brain.

Anyway, we are meeting with Hospice tomorrow, hoping we can find a way that she can get care while remaining in her home, where she has lived independently until now, but has reached a point where that isn't possible anymore. SO, I'm dreading some of the upcoming conversations, and what can I say to comfort her, etc. She is a Lutheran, though hasn't been active in her church for some time - but still believes. I don't know what to expect, what to say, etc. I can't promise her 'we'll meet again in heaven' etc. etc.

My husband is still VERY much a believer and very active in a pentecostal and fundamentalist church (as I *used* to be), and he doesn't really know that I am completely OVER that fantasy.

How have some of you handled dealing with terminally ill family members? Any sage advice appreciated.

Nursed my dying mother for around a decade.

Just lived through 3 years of the threat of approaching death.

Yeah, I got nothin'.

Good luck. Smile

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09-03-2017, 07:25 AM
RE: Dealing with terminally ill family member
It is a much different thing for everyone, so much depends on the individuals involved.

Just follow her lead. If she brings it up, let her use it as the crutch it is, she needs a crutch now more than ever and there is no point whatsoever in trying to take it away from her.

If she doesn't bring it up, no point in doing so.

Just allow her to set the pace for what is the final part of her life....

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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09-03-2017, 07:29 AM
RE: Dealing with terminally ill family member
(08-03-2017 09:17 PM)Closet-Heathen Wrote:  How have some of you handled dealing with terminally ill family members? Any sage advice appreciated.

Just be there and let other people talk if necessary. Such situations are typically pre-ritualized for you (to make them easier for everyone), so all you have to do is hit your marks. Stay positive for others without commiting yourself to any nonsensical ideas.

My mother-in-law died a few years ago not. She was 96, and my wife and I had taken care of her for 20 years. In the last several years of her life she suffered from dementia, which made everything very difficult. At the end she went into the hospital for a few days, then to a hospice for a few weeks, then to a nursing home for a very short period. Most of that time she wasn't even aware of what was happening around her, so there wasn't any need to talk except to pass the time with other visitors.

The funeral was difficult to take, with all its elaborate religious lies. But at least I didn't have to do anything but sit there.
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09-03-2017, 09:57 PM
RE: Dealing with terminally ill family member
(08-03-2017 10:05 PM)jennybee Wrote:  As far as what to say to your mom, just tell her you love her. Hug her and hold her hand.

I think if my dad had said the same thing-that he would see me in heaven and I was an atheist back then (and he knew I was an atheist)-I think I would just say something like if there's a way to find you, you know I will. If he didn't know about my atheism and he said he'd see me in heaven someday, I might just say, yes, we'll see each other again or something like that because I know it would be a comfort to him.

People use religion for comfort. It's his belief, it's his story. In his version of the story, he would see me again. I would not have minded letting him have that if it made his last few moments on earth more peaceful for him.

All that said, I think you have to do what feels best for you. I am so sorry for your mom and your situation. I know how hard it is to be going through all of this.

Thank you... Yes. Not what anyone wants to have happen to a parent. And I agree with what you said about saying whatever gives her comfort... In a way I hate to be dishonest about it, but I care more about not making her upset needlessly... she's got more than enough to deal with without her "baby" causing her worry.

In ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped as gods.... they have never forgotten this
(And yes, that gorgeous creature in my avatar is my very own lovely psycho-kitty-Queen)
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09-03-2017, 10:01 PM
RE: Dealing with terminally ill family member
Thank you all so very much for your kind words and suggestions. Would love to reply to each of you individually but it's been an exhausting day in so many ways and I'm wiped out. I really appreciate you.

In ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped as gods.... they have never forgotten this
(And yes, that gorgeous creature in my avatar is my very own lovely psycho-kitty-Queen)
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