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Caring for Mom, what do I need to worry about

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My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 non small cell lung cancer in Sept of '03. There were metastesies to her spine and hip. She wasn't a candidate for surgery or chemo because of her age (79) and general health at the time. She had radiation on her spine and her lung shortly after diagnosis. We have hospice coming once a week. Lately mom has had more and more bouts of vomiting and dizziness and general feeling "not well". She has fallen a couple times when I was not with her with no explanation. She has gotten herself up and gotten back into bed and then told me about it later. She isn't taking too much for pain, it makes her sleepy. She isn't eating well, because she usually ends up throwing it up. It's hard to keep her hydrated as well. She is a retired RN who taught nursing for 20 years and I know she is protecting me but I still need to know when I need to really start worrying. We don't want her to die at home from the cancer. The vomiting is a huge concern, as is the dizzyness. She does have the Phenegren gel to try to help prevent teh vomiting, but I don't know if it is really working. I have noticed a little bit of confusion as well, she gets her days mixed up and has other little incidents, but I don't know if I need to worry about them either. ANY help as to what to expect what to look for etc., would be greatly appreciated. Her initial prognosis was 3-6 months (in Sept.) but her oncologist extended it at Christmas to another 3-6 months from then. Thanks for reading this.

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Does the doctor want to do any scans to see if her brain is involved? I know that different medications can be invoked if that is the case....

I feel badly for you about the vomiting, that must be hard....

Zofran did helpme quite a bit, as did the lorazepam.

Good luck.

Your mom is in my prayers.


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When I got up this morning, mom was vomiting again. I know she had only one meal today, and that was some soup for dinner. I called Hospice today to talk to her nurse, and she called the Dr. and they increased her dexamethazone which is a steroid that will make you have a moon face with extended use. She took the dosage recommended and has spent the better part of the day sleeping. She hasn't had too much to drink today, I tell her to drink some of her gatorade whenever she wakes up for a few minutes.

The trouble is, we lost my dad to kidney cancer in 2001 and I was his caregiver at night while she was caregiver by day. I remember things about dad, and I don't know if I am projecting them onto her or not. His appetite went down the tubes about 6 weeks before he died, but he didn't have the vomiting etc. that she does.

This has been really rough on me, I don't want to hover over her every second, but I don't want to miss something that I might be able to help her out with. We are still trying to get affairs in order, so we have temporarily removed the DNR from her file.

I just want to know what all to expect. I will ask her nurse tomorrow about the Zophran and see if it might be an option.

What should I be looking for?

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Everybody is different. It could be your mom is dehydrated and that can cause the weakness and confusion. The very end stages of most cancers are being extremely tired, no appetite, and little thirst. You need to talk with the nurses caring for her and the Dr. He needs to change her anti-nausea meds-zophran is a good one, it does not make you tired like the phenergan. Bless you for being there with her. Cindy

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