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FIL has incurable liver cancer

(4 Posts)
MountainDweller Fri 09-Aug-19 01:49:24

My FIL was diagnosed nearly 3 years ago with incurable liver cancer. It's not operable and he didn't want chemo but has had some immunotherapy which has almost certainly prolonged his life. He's stopped all treatment in the last few months as he felt the side effects outweighed the benefits (fair enough, he's in his 80s). He's survived longer than we imagined he would, but living with the knowledge has been hard.

He seems to be getting weaker and currently has an infection. DH's sister has messaged to say she thinks he should come over, but his mum doesn't think it's urgent. FIL has a permanent drain for ascites and visits from the district nurse, and a stairlift, so he's managing at home. DH is planning to visit in 9 days (we live in mainland Europe so only a short hop, but because of summer hols flights are booked up). He was last there in March so has seen his Dad relatively recently.

I'm find it all overwhelming. My own father died suddenly a bit more than 2 years ago at the age of 71. He had a rare cancer with many secondaries and was completely undiagnosed till it was too late - he went from initial A&E visit to death in 11 days. I made it to him before he died (he didn't want to worry me so I wasn't told for several days) but he wasn't conscious. I guess the situation is bringing all this back for me, that and worry that DH won't make it in time, and how to support him. I actually came close to a panic attack earlier though I think I hid it. I know it sounds selfish, but my own reaction is taking me unawares. I feel terrible for making it about me and will obviously keep that to myself. I do have (non life threatening) health issues myself including anxiety - which is mostly linked to my physical problems. I won't go with DH, partly because my own problems make travel difficult and partly because money is tight.

The other thing is that medical information isn't really getting to us, which is frustrating, so we don't know how bad things are. Obviously it's his parents business how much they ask or pass on, but I'm the complete opposite and would want to know everything if it was me.

I'm not sure why I'm posting except for support and any insight into how long FIL might have, and how I can support DH. And how I can get my own feelings under control.

OP’s posts: |
Minxmumma Sun 11-Aug-19 17:57:55

I didn't want to read and run flowers

Perhaps he should have a chat with his Mum, ask some relevant questions about things and go from there. You can probably help him with the appropriate questions to help him and you glean the information you need.

Sorry you are facing this xxx

MountainDweller Mon 19-Aug-19 00:59:06

Thanks for replying Minxmumma. I realised after I wrote that I was very waffly and not really asking actual questions blush

My MIL isn't very forthcoming about the prognosis or any details really though she's asking for help setting up stuff around their home to make it easier when he's gone - I think it's her way of coping.

DH is there at the moment, his Dad is still at home. DH says he's very thin and moves very slowly, but he's not bedridden. He's not eating much - have told DH to suggest they try those fortifying shakes but I don't think he's keen. He's actually got a hospital appt tomorrow, not sure what for (oncology, scan, nurse???), and DH is going to take him. He doesn't think his Dad will actually let him go into the appt with him. I know that's his prerogative but it feels like a missed opportunity to talk to the doctor.

It's just so hard to see him fading away. Feel so helpless.

Thanks to anyone who's reading my ramblings. Just need a hand hold I think.

OP’s posts: |
MountainDweller Sun 25-Aug-19 00:19:36

FIL has been discharged from oncology as he's no longer having active treatment. He's already having visits from the palliative care team.

He's decided he doesn't want any more hospital admissions and wants to die at home. He has a stairlift but I think he may be able to get a hospital bed downstairs if he gets to a stage when he is less mobile (bathroom is downstairs so makes more sense). I hope it works out for him. He is very reluctant to take strong meds but I'm sure there will come a time when he has to. He has oramorph to try and he's taking it at night, adding 1 ml every couple of days. I'm sure he'll feel a bit brighter if he can get a little sleep.

DH is back home, he's a bit subdued but glad he went.

OP’s posts: |

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