A relative has pancreatic cancer. Diagnosis was during the summer so we are about 8 months in at this stage and it is heading towards the final few weeks at this stage. I would really appreciate any advice that you could give on what to expect at the end of life stage, for anyone who has been through it. Many thanks.
DH's mother (MIL) passed away from Pancreatic cancer about 18 months ago. Not sure what you want to know? She died at home but only because DH and his sister took on her care themselves helped by a rota of MILs friends who happen to be nurses. Hospital bed, oxygen tanks etc had to be delivered to the house and the bed setup in the lounge.
Managing her pain was a daily challenge. Took longer than it should have to get hold of a morphine pump and then get it setup and in retrospect she should have had this several days earlier than she did.
My DB sadly died from this in October after only 8 weeks of knowing that he had it. He was in constant pain and at the end was hooked to to a morphine pump and was topped up with various other pain killers as required. He had Downes Syndrome and it was awful to see him suffer when he really had no idea what was wrong with him. The McMillan nurses were fantastic and visited him daily to check his medication. He spent the majority of that time in hospital as he was too ill to go home.
Oh I'm sorry, my DM died of this when she was only 52, just 18 days after she'd been diagnosed with it. Obviously I can only tell you what happened in her case, I don't know if this is what happens in every instance. DM was in a hospice, she had a kind of drip type thing that allowed her to administer morphine as she needed it, however the last few days she was hooked up to a constant morphine drip.
She slept a lot or was out of it a lot on morphine, although she did have lucid times. She was never in pain, we know as we were always sure to ask her. The doctor told us that ultimately it would be kidney failure that would cause her death. Mum never once cried, according to what the hospice nurses told us it is apparently quite common. They said that the person dying almost comes to an acceptance.
Sending lots of strength to you to get through this
Thanks for all your responses and sorry for your own losses. I’m not sure myself what I want to know, and it will be different for each person. How quickly did they pass away after the morphine pump? We aren’t at that stage just yet, but it will be the next step. Such a nasty form of cancer.
In our case it was less than a day and half from the arrival of the morphine pump to the end. But as I said we should have had the pump a few days earlier.
Be prepared to be extremely pushy and forthright to get the care services you need. Unfortunately the help you will get varies massively from area to area. We contacted Macmillan but got no help as they had no nurses available at the time in MILs area. Social care was appalling too, we were told she couldn't be discharged home without a care package in place. The care package went out to tender and there were no bidders so therefore no care.
We were so lucky that DH, his sister and good friends of MIL were all able pitch in to enable her to be discharged home for her last few weeks. For us this meant me staying home with the DCs while DH moved in with MIL some 300 miles away. The alternative was unthinkable.
I think all you can hope for is a peaceful dignified end. Spend time with her and talk to her. Have lost my aunt pancreatic cancer and my DDad last year. The morphine pump really does ease the pain. My dsis a geriatric nurse says different hospitals and hospices have different policies. Do be prepared to be pushy(in a nice way) if necessary.