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Coping with termial illness

(30 Posts)
LordLofty Thu 05-May-11 15:18:39

My husband, aged 48 years, had terminal cancer. We have three children aged 10, 12 and 13. Both my husband and I lost parents at a similar age and are trying to apply knowledge we gained from that. We told the children straight away and talk about it regularly. I try to keep all their routines (i.e. clubs etc) the same and have informed the school. Has anyone else been through similar and, if so, do you have any advice for nearer the end. I worry the prolonged suffering on their father could have a huge affect on them (obviously) but could do to know how best to handle it. It it better to keep husband at home or move him into hospice care. I want him home, he doesn't want to burden the kids with having a room in the house their father died in!! I realise I sound matter-of-fact but trust me this is far from the case.

fluffyanimal Thu 05-May-11 15:22:58

Sorry I don't have any advice but I just didn't want your thread to go unanswered, and wanted to send you all my sympathy and well-wishes.

yama Thu 05-May-11 15:27:51

I don't know anything about how best to help children your age deal with this. I just wanted to let you know that my younger brother died (also cancer) in a room in my parent's house. I like spending time in there.

I'm so sorry that you are all going through this.

onlyjoking9329 Thu 05-May-11 16:22:35

I was in a very similar position three years ago, we have three children now 16 16 and 14, our children have autism which impacted on what when and how they were told, our McMillan nurse was great at advising on this.
Steve spent time in hospice to adjust meds ETC his wish was to be at home when he died, he got his wish. It's never been a problem that Steve died in our house for me or the children.
Winstons wish might be able to advise.
Depending whereabouts you live there are a few projects I know of who work with children and loss.
I'm sure other people will be along soon that can offer more ideas and advice.
It's tough to be where you are and I hope you have some support for all of you. Take care.

saffronwblue Fri 06-May-11 08:21:38

I am sorry you are in such an awful situation. I tink the most important thing to get right is what you and your husband feel comfortable with in as much as any of it can be a comfort) and the kids will take their cues from that.
If your husband spends his final days somewhere else than there will be panicky driving back and forth at various times, feeling scared when tte phone rings etc. If you and the kids have the stamina to have him home than you will all be at the centre of what is happening. The kids can escape to their rooms or friends' houses when they need to.

You sound so brave and strong - you will be in my thoughts.

saffronwblue Fri 06-May-11 08:22:20

sorry about all the typos- long day at the keyboard!

ohmeohmy Fri 06-May-11 09:20:47

sorry to hear about your DH. Have you talked to Winston's Wish? They are experts in bereavement and children. If you are in touch with a hospice can they offer support and advice to you? I know our local one has a team for family support.

lilyliz Fri 06-May-11 16:18:34

hospicws usually have a childrens bereavement section and will be able to help you with the children,they have activities and days out apart from meetings with other kids in the same position.Find your local hospice if you are not in touch with them already,it will also help you andDH.

georgie22 Fri 06-May-11 16:33:52

LordLofty - so sorry you're having to go through this as a family. I'm a nurse specialist in palliative care so have experience of this situation but only on a professional level. I'll second the advice about hospice involvement; not only can they provide physical and psychological support for your dh but also emotional support for you and, in most cases, will have specific support for children and teenagers.

It sounds like you're doing all the right things with your 3 children; being open and honest and allowing them to speak about the situation is vital IME. I've seen families keep children in the dark which ultimately results in them imagining things as they're so tuned into anything being different around the house, and that can be kids at a very young age.

In terms of how things will be nearer the end it's always difficult to predict. Home is definitely an option for dh's care but with appropriate support in place; likewise the hospice is the right choice for others. It's certainly something that can never be set in stone. If you need to feel free to PM me. Thinking of you and your family.

henrysmate Sat 07-May-11 00:12:55

LordLofty, I'm so very sorry this is happening to you all. I can echo what's been said above by georgie and others about hospices and Winston's Wish (who I'm new to but they've been really useful). My sister wanted to stay at home, so she did, but the support we got from the hospice made it possible. They move at lightning speed and are in every way wonderful in our experience. As far as the kids are concerned we did exactly what you're doing, Fran was honest with them and we tried to keep thier life as normal as possible. I was often surprised how full of laughter a house can be at a time like that, but it was, saffronblue is right, the kids will take your lead. They're so glad now that they had that time with mum and I know she was. Please keep in touch, there's lots of us thinking of you.

LordLofty Sun 08-May-11 23:12:48

Thank-you all for your kind words and thoughts. I think I will comply with my husband's feelings come the time, e may change his mind but I think I need him to be "happy" with what is happening. From day one his concern has been the children and it would be a comfort to him if he could help them cope. The hardest part is his lack of complaining at all the prodding and poking that goes on. I still can't believe it is happening.

Thanks again.

I will look up Winston's Wish.

NannyDonna Mon 09-May-11 00:54:43

I am so sorry to read about your husband.my mum has lung cancer and has been told she has up to a year to live.she is being very brave and just taking a day at a time.my son is 8 and very close to his nan,i have told him she is not well but not the full story.there is a counceller at school that he can chat to.i know he tells her things that he does not me.she helped so much when his gran died 2years ago.maybe they have someone at their school?i can not believe whats happening,it seems like a dream as she looks so well.it is only her hair that shows anything is wrong. my thoughts are with you and your family.xx

LordLofty Sun 16-Oct-11 23:31:42

My husband passed away yesterday. He died at home 3 days after hospice discharged him following treatment for pain. I am glad he was at home as it helps me that I could help him. No-one should have to suffer as he did.
My heart has been torn out.

TheFarSide Sun 16-Oct-11 23:37:24

So sorry to hear your news LordLofty.

Mummyinggnome Sun 16-Oct-11 23:38:45

I'm so sorry. Sending you and your children lots of love.

bibbitybobbitybloodyaxe Sun 16-Oct-11 23:39:44

Am so very sorry LordLofty.

My ddad died in a hospice on 2nd May this year (just a few days before your op I noticed). He had wanted to die at home but, somehow, when he went in to the hospice, he just felt very peaceful and comfortable there and really didn't want the upheaval of going home again. All his children (he had 5) and his wife (my stepmother) are still missing him like mad, but the grief is not so all-consuming now. With a long terminal illness it is almost as hard on the people left behind as those who are suffering. I am thinking of you all.

superdragonmama Sun 16-Oct-11 23:39:53

LordLofty, my heart goes out to you sad

wishing you strength during the days ahead x x x

Northernlurker Sun 16-Oct-11 23:45:47

I'm so sorry for your loss. My bil died in March at home. I firmly believe that home is the best place for most people to die but we should not underestimate how hard it is for loved ones to care for someone dying at home. You have done a great thing and you may not feel now but I hope one day you will feel that.

TuftyFinch Sun 16-Oct-11 23:50:45

So sorry x

NappyShedSal Mon 17-Oct-11 00:32:58

So sorry to hear your sad news. Sending love and strength to you and your children. xxxx

Thzumbazombiewitch Tue 18-Oct-11 12:03:07

So sorry, LordLofty - hope you have people around you who can help you through this time.
I am glad that you had him home - my Mum wanted to come home out of the hospital to die but she couldn't because she needed intensive care and was on a ventilator - it made it harder for us all to deal with that we couldn't do that for her.
(((hugs))) for you all.

So sorry for your loss x I wish you and your children comfort and peace x

pinkytheshrunkenhead Tue 18-Oct-11 12:14:36

Oh LordLofty I am so very sad for you all. Love from my family to yours x

BecauseImAWerewolefIt Tue 18-Oct-11 13:46:49

I'm so sorry sad

Putrifyno Tue 18-Oct-11 13:49:26

sad So sorry LordLofty. Wishing you and your family much strength in the days ahead. x

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