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Thread: An update from last summer, mom passed away in December

  1. #1

    An update from last summer, mom passed away in December

    Hello all,
    I posted here last year (around May 2009) when my mom was diagnosed at 73 with GBM stage 4. I wanted to give you all an update. I figured this may help some who are looking for information.

    My mom was a fairly healthy 73 year old who suddenly began showing symptoms. She was having auditory and visual hallucinations, as well as headaches. I called my mom almost every day, and one day when I called her she said she was so surprised that my husband and kids had been there when she woke up. They hadn't been, so I knew something was wrong. When I asked my dad about it, he said she says things like this sometimes, but I urged him to take her to the doctor. Over the next few days these hallucinations got worse, and her speech began to change. He took her to the ER, and she was diagnosed with a GBM.

    She had surgery a few days later, and after the surgery the neurosurgeon told us it was very bad. He estimated stage 4, and when the results came back we found he was correct. He recommended radiation and chemo (pill) which I didn't really agree with--but my dad felt like they should do it because the doctor recommended it. The chemo made her very ill, and the radiation very weak. She lost her hair and looked very sick, and never really looked the same again. Her personality was very "stilted" and she basically would answer your questions with odd answers and chuckle, but you could tell she didn't really understand what was going on.

    By the summer she was in bed all the time, and incontenant. We had hospice care workers coming in to help, but I wish my dad would have pushed for more care. I think he didn't think it would happen so fast, and was afraid to ask for help. I went to visit every weekend, and I would lay in the bed with her and try to talk to her. She slept most of the time, and seemed confused and surprised to see me each time I arrived.

    The last time she sat up in a chair was Thanksgiving. I took the meal there to heat up at their house, and my dad seemed unhappy that she wouldn't eat. I knew that these were amongst her last days, and it made sense to me that she wouldn't want to eat from everything I had read. I went home and felt very sad knowing that her body would be gone soon, and her mind was already gone. She barely interacted with me or my children or my husband, and her gaze was very vacant.

    She died December 17th, 2009--about 7 months after her diagnosis.

    In life my mom was a very gregarious, funny, loving grandmother, wife, and mom. After her diagnosis she never seemed the same, but I don't believe this was due to sadness over her illness. Instead it seemed to be because the illness stunted her personality and took her from us months before her actual death.

    In retrospect I wish that I had encouraged my dad to ask for more hospice workers sooner, and I wish the neurosurgeon would not have pushed my dad to make her endure chemo and radiation. With stage 4 GBM, the benefit of such treatment in someone my mom's age was really questionable.

    I really miss my mom, and this has been a tough year for both me and my dad.

  2. #2
    Lisa, my heart and soul go out to you . My mother was one who opted NOT to have treatments. She only lived 2 months after her diagnosis. Fortunately, her doctor was much more straight forward with her. I look back (12+ years) with no regrets. I do wish we could have spent those way too short days outside of a nursing home. But even with hospice, it would have been impossible for my father to care for her... especially during the last couple of weeks.

    Thank you for this sad update. Hugs {{{Lisa}}}
    Long-term cancer survivor
    1992 Astrocytoma grade 2, left motor strip
    2005 Recurrence this time said to be an Oligodendroglioma grade 3, same location.
    My Story Part 1: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=2528
    My Story Part 2: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?p=7350
    My Story Part 3: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=8029

  3. #3
    Newbie New User
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Thank you for sharing

    My mother has just come home from nursing care, having finally stopped treatment for GBM. I realize we probably don't have a lot of time left and am hugely torn - I am currently running a new startup as CEO on the West Coast, and she's in North Carolina, so I don't get to see her as often as I'd like. I'm planning a trip within a few weeks to take my daughter to visit.

    I am hoping she can stay at home until the end. She was so unhappy in the nursing care facility, even though they treated her very kindly and it wasn't a bad place at all - it just wasn't home.

    I am sorry about your mom - she sounds like a wonderful person and I am sure you miss her very much, as I know I will miss mine.


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