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End of Life Issues

Guest Sammy

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If you would please email me directly I will share with you what my Mother went through. Also, we had Lutheran Hospice and they gave us a booklet that gave us detailed information on what to expect and when to expect it and it was pretty on the mark. The only reason I am not writing now on what to expect (and each person is different) is because some people may not want to read that particular information. my email is michelle@mhallrealty.com please put in subject line that this is regarding lung cancer so I don't delete it.

God Bless You and your family.

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Dear Sammy,

I posted my other reply to you before reading all the other responses. After reading them I see that what I write should not upset anyone as a lot of it is already posted. Of course each person is different. My Mom passed over Nov 28, 2003. She was 76 yrs old and was never sick before she was diagnosised with LC in Feb 03. She was not on meds or anything before she was diag w LC. My Mom was an extremly strong person right up to the end. In Oct my Mom was hospitalized with pnenomia. While in hosp we were told that she only had 2 -3 months (it turned out she only had a month left). Anyway, we were all very scared about what she would go through until a wonderful nurse named Greg talked to both my Mom and I and explained what she would go thru. He said that as her body started to shut down her oxygen and carbon minoxide levels would change. due to having more carbon minoxide than oxygen it would cause her to go in and out of conciousness (please excuse my spelling) - or in and out of a sleep like state (Hospice book explained it as going to and from the other side and after seeing all I saw, i truly believe that. He told us that most patients told him of lovely images that had while in that state, of seeing predeceased loved ones, angels and even Jesus. He said while the body was shutting down she would lose her appetite, meats and vegatables are the first to be avoided, and then other things (Hospice book explained it as she was going to and from worlds and her body did not need the nourisment as her soul did not need food). She did and got down to almost 1/2 her body weight. Hospice book said she would start picking at her clothes (she did) and said it was because she leaving this place for the other side and was shedding earthly trappings) Towards the end about all she would eat was orange sherbert. She did become very weak and had to use a walker about 3 weeks prior to passing, and then a wheelchair and then we carried her to the bathroom as she did not want to use the commode hospice provided in her room. The Sunday before she passed she had more energy and we were able to take her to the pond down the street in her wheelchair and portable oxygen. Hospice came in 3 times a week to bath her. Even though we could have done this, she really enjoyed the woman who came in as she made her laugh a lot. My Mom was not a very religious person but while in the hosp in Oct she spoke to a minister and accepted Christ. After that she was so at peace. She had been having panic attacks and had to take pills and pills to sleep. after that she told me God gave her peace and she was no longer afraid and she no longer need the anxiety pills. Also, the Nurse, Gregg, told me that most people think that the noise in their chests "death rattle" means they are drowing and he said that was not true at all. If you scroll down to the topic "we lost our mom yesterday" by marylou in late Nov or early Dec I describe things my Mom expereinced that gave me a lot of peace. Sammy, I won't lie to you and tell you that it was not as bad as I thought, because it was the worst thing I have ever lived through watching my Mom go through all that, losing so much weight, not eating, not drinking, and all the rest. But, I really believe it was harder for us to watch than it was for her. A couple of days before she passed, I knew her time was close and I think I went outside every 15 min to cry. It is very hard on us, the loved ones. My Mom would smile so big when I came back into the room. She would pull me down to her with my head on her chest and stoke my hair. I am so thankful she did that. God, she was so brave. Hospice was wonderful with keeping my Mom out of pain. They gave her pain patches and she said she really was not in pain. She did have to take a lot of medicine the last month or so. A few days before she passed over when she had stopped eating and we were having a hard time getting her to drink I asked the nurse if she had to take any more the hated medince and she told me no. She still had the pain patch to control her discomfort. The nice thing about the pain patches is that they did not knock her out or diminish her thinking in anyway. My Mom had the "death rattle" for about 2 days before she passed. The day before she had quit eating or drinking completley. I gave her ice chips, squeezed water from wash rags into her mouth. (we needed the mouth swabs to swap liquid in her mouth - but as it was thanksgiving we could not find a place open). My Mom told me she saw her Mother and her Father. I saw her lift her arms up and bring them down and around as if hugging someone. I had an airmattress and I slept in the room by her bed. The morning after Thanksgiving I got up around 6:30 - 7:00 and saw that my Mom had turned sideways in her bed. i picked her up and turned her around (she was only around 60 lbs by this time). I asked her if she was thiristy, I think she nodded yes - I'm not sure, because i tried to squeeze some water into her mouth. She did not speak that morning. I saw that her breathing was different and she had not opened her eyes so I just sat there holding her hand. Her breathing started to slow down and then it came in short little puffs. She stopped breathing for a second and then took a couple of last breaths and just stopped. She was not in any pain. I left the room to get my brother and sister and when I came back I saw that she was smiling. It was and is the hardest thing I ever went thru. I hated what this did to her, taking away her independence, all the weight loss. But, she really was at peace with it. She had some discomfort and it upset her to be so dependent upon us for everything, but i truly never saw her in extreme pain. The book from Hospice really was a Godsend. By that book we knew what to expect, we understood things she did that otherwise would have torn us up, and it also allowed us to know what she was going thru and it was not so scary that way and the book was extremly accurate with time frames on what we saw and at point she was at. The Nurse came every 3 days and as her time drew nearer she came more often. The day before Thanksgiving she told me that it was a matter of hours or just a day or two, so I was able to call all the family in to see her. I know I still have the book, I am not sure where because I still have not had the energy to go thru things and put things away, but if you would like one, please email me your address and i will order one to be mailed to you. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. Michelle

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Guest Karen C

Sammy, you are so brave to go through this and so strong. I just cannot fathom a young vibrant woman of 29 dying of lung cancer, yet I know it is a reality. But I am glad her end was quick, peaceful and just as she hoped it would be. Good for you.

Thank you for letting us know what happened.

God Bless you,

Karen C. (Dave C's wife)

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