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Meds or Mets?

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Hi....I was wondering if anyone knows how to tell if my moms confusion is from meds or maybe another brain met. She had a tumor removed in late Oct. and opt. for no radiation therapy. Now she is really confused most days. Angry sometimes but mostly mumbles and talks about off the wall things. She sees things that are not there. Her primary dr. said that it is probably from the meds and that is a side affect. I havent taken her to see her Onc. since Oct. because she didnt want to go back. I have tried to only give meds when absolutely necessary and that doesnt seem to help. She also uses other words for words she means to say....(Can I have my metal insted of water.) It makes it so hard on her and I was just wondering if changing meds or something might help....Thanks Kim

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Yes--which meds is she on? Morphine/Ativan?

In later stages it really can be a sign of anything. It can be the medicine, or the mets, or the disease messing with her body chemistry in other ways. I know that my Mom did a lot of the same things that you are describing during that time.

If you suspect the meds, do consult with her medical team to try to get a definitive answer. But also know that a definitive answer is really hard to pinpoint at this stage.

Also bear in mind that with things like morphine--everyone's system is different. With Mom I was told everybody has a 'magic number' (which of course can change with pain needs), and finding that perfect dosage is tricky.

(((((hugs))))) to you. Hang in there. And know that we're praying for your Mom and you too!

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one thing you may check for is fever or headaches. With my Mom, she was very confused too, using the wrong words etc. We found that many times she was running a low fever even though to the touch she didn't feel like it. Or she was having headaches and not telling us. Does your Mom rub her head at all? this is one way to tell if her head is hurting her. We used Tylenol a lot for Mom and it made a world of difference. It would clear her head up quite significantly. Basically we relied on Tylenol from the time she began radiation until the end when she needed something stronger. It was amazing how much it helped. One minute she'd be so confused and then we'd give her Tylenol in 45 minutes to an hour we saw huge improvement. Even with getting her out of bed. She would want to just sleep. We'd give her a Tylenol and then in 45 minutes or so we could get her up for the day. The doctors couldn't quite believe it but they said if it worked don't question it.

Just a thought anyway :) Best wishes to you :)


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If you suspect that there is a problem with the meds then you should go back to the doctor that prescribed them. She needs to go back to her onc, if she does not like the one she has get one you like. It’s hard to fight cancer if you do not have a complete team including doctors that you have faith in. When you do go back, write down everything that she is taking even supplements etc. You could post a little more info about your mom’s cancer and there may be someone here that has had a similar experience. Where was the tumor? Keep us posted.

Stay positive, :lol:


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On one of our oncologist appointments, i asked the doctor how to tell the difference between disease and drug symptoms. His answer: "That's the $64,000 question." In other words, it's very hard to tell sometimes.

when Arnold was home on hospice care, the nurse was so good about asking phamacists, doctors and other nurses about the things Arnold was experiencing.

I too, tried minimizing the morphine which cause so much confusion, but it created other problems. Arnold did not have brain mets so I have no experince with that part of it. I do know that when he started haveing problems with hallucinations, they added medication to counteract that. He did struggle with communicating, but did not have trouble with naming things incorrectly.

As others have suggested, I kept very precise redors of any thing he was taking, any thing I observed day to day and comments he made. All those things together helped the docotros and nurses make informed decisions about treatment.

I wish I could give you better information, but don't let down. if your current doctor doesn't listen or take action, by all means seek another. Your mother's care is the most important thing right now.

I pray that god will give you the wisdom to care for your mom and make the best decisions on her behalf. I pray that He will give strength for each moment, each day.

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