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Seeking feedback for my aunt (terminal?)

Seeking feedback for my aunt (terminal?)

Posted by zozo on Feb 16, 2020 12:35 pm

Hello all, 
I’m a one-year breast cancer survivor myself. My aunt who’s like a mom to me was diagnosed with colon cancer at the same time as me. She’s 56 and she lives in a different country so it’s been hard for me to get clear info on her status. I believe she might be close to her end but I want you to help me understand what is going on. Thank you in advance.

She was diagnosed with stage 3c in mid-2018. From her pathology report, it appears that her cancer is aggressive and had invaded the lymph nodes and the vascular system. A large portion of her colon and small intestine was removed but she did not respond to chemo. She developed a new tumour in the abdominal wall during chemo. That was removed only for a new invasion of the abdominal wall. Sadly her second surgery produced abscesses which were dealt with but she got so weak they can no longer do any treatments on the new tumours, which are pressing on her stomach. Due to the pressure on her stomach, she hasn’t eaten for a couple of months (she’s on IV) and now she’s on a respirator and in ICU. She was resuscitated once after losing her vital signs.

These facts make me think that she will not leave the hospital and that her children must let her die peacefully (it’s not my decision though and they seem to not even want to consider that their mom could die). 

I can’t ask this of her children, but am I right to think that my aunt is near her end? I’m considering flying overseas to say goodbye but it’s bad timing work-wise and I was hoping I could go in April. 

I’m so sorry to burden you with all of this. 

Re: Seeking feedback for my aunt (terminal?)

Posted by ACH2015 on Feb 16, 2020 1:10 pm

Hi zozo‍ 

Perhaps the best way to find out the situation with your aunt would be to contact her children (your cousins) directly to understand the treatment path and prognosis. None of us here could possibly give you information on your aunt's health situation. Everyone is different, and without updated information, its far to difficult to comment on.

I understand your hesitance to contact your cousin's, but I would not look at it as burdening them in any way. Your desire to make contact and lend support will likely be well received. At the same time, you can determine if its the right time to make a trip to see your aunt. We only get one chance to do these things sometimes, and you don't want to regret acting when you could do so. Writing a letter or speaking to your aunt may help everyone as well, depending on the current circumstances.

Reaching out to offer comfort and support is never the wrong thing to do for a loved one. I hope this helps make you feel more comfortable about making contact and moving forward with what is right for you to do.

ACH2015

Re: Seeking feedback for my aunt (terminal?)

Posted by zozo on Feb 16, 2020 7:48 pm

Thank you. I talked with them and it’s what I had thought. They still won’t let her go but at least we know what’s coming. 

Re: Seeking feedback for my aunt (terminal?)

Posted by WestCoastSailor on Feb 16, 2020 8:18 pm

zozo‍ 

Thanks for trusting us with your aunt's condition. It sounds like you will be making that trip convenient or not.

There are some other sections of the site that might be of use to you as you grapple with grief and all the emotions it can bring.

When the dreaded thing happens is a recent discussion amongst some of us about how to cope with a terminal diagnosis.

Coping with Grief is a group on the site with a lot of insightful posts as well.

Stay in touch.

Angus
My story: http://journey.anguspratt.ca

Re: Seeking feedback for my aunt (terminal?)

Posted by zozo on Feb 17, 2020 8:53 pm

Thank you. That is very helpful. 

Re: Seeking feedback for my aunt (terminal?)

Posted by CentralAB on Feb 18, 2020 6:59 am

zozo:
Hello all, 
I’m a one-year breast cancer survivor myself. My aunt who’s like a mom to me was diagnosed with colon cancer at the same time as me. She’s 56 and she lives in a different country so it’s been hard for me to get clear info on her status. I believe she might be close to her end but I want you to help me understand what is going on. Thank you in advance.

She was diagnosed with stage 3c in mid-2018. From her pathology report, it appears that her cancer is aggressive and had invaded the lymph nodes and the vascular system. A large portion of her colon and small intestine was removed but she did not respond to chemo. She developed a new tumour in the abdominal wall during chemo. That was removed only for a new invasion of the abdominal wall. Sadly her second surgery produced abscesses which were dealt with but she got so weak they can no longer do any treatments on the new tumours, which are pressing on her stomach. Due to the pressure on her stomach, she hasn’t eaten for a couple of months (she’s on IV) and now she’s on a respirator and in ICU. She was resuscitated once after losing her vital signs.

These facts make me think that she will not leave the hospital and that her children must let her die peacefully (it’s not my decision though and they seem to not even want to consider that their mom could die). 

I can’t ask this of her children, but am I right to think that my aunt is near her end? I’m considering flying overseas to say goodbye but it’s bad timing work-wise and I was hoping I could go in April. 

I’m so sorry to burden you with all of this. 

 
Hello zozo‍  Thats a tough call you have to make. I am looking after my wife whose time is nearing. I have made previous efforts to get the people concerned over for a farewell visit kind of thing. I have to say that with this and all my years experience in palliative care nursing, I learned that too many people let a death happen with too many regrets. IMO from all that I have seen, if you have your intuition telling you to go like that, maybe its a good idea? You seem like you were saying there is some denial going on with other family; but if you don't go and your loved one passes away without you having been there to say last words, etc, how much would you regret it? I am including a few resources for you that might help you and your family back home in some small way. I hope something that some of us says here will help.
 

I have this book, and I was thinking it may even give you ideas on how to broach various ideas in conversations coming up that are badly needed, but that some are afraid of?  let us know how you make out.


 

Re: Seeking feedback for my aunt (terminal?)

Posted by zozo on Feb 18, 2020 5:46 pm

Thank you, CentralAB. That is very helpful. Sadly my aunt slipped into a coma before I could make it back home. As I missed the chance to say goodbye when she was still awake, I meditated and connected with her in my mind and I found closure there. I am still grieving. Being an immigrant is hard on many levels, and this is one of them. I come from a culture in which unless someone is very old, people don't want to talk about their deaths. In this case, my cousins pretty much kept everyone in the dark.