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Thread: Friend Admitted to Hospice Care Today

  1. #1
    Moderator Top User IndyLou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Friend Admitted to Hospice Care Today

    Hello, all-

    While I've participated on these boards for a while--primarily as a cancer survivor who tries to give encouragement to others--I heard today of a friend of ours who's been battling metastatic breast cancer for several years now, has been admitted to in-home hospice care.

    I know that a few months ago, they discovered that this beast had reached her brain. They tried several chemo/targeted therapies, and then finally radiation. She just doesn't seem to have responded very well, and as of a few weeks ago, her physical (and perhaps emotional) state has taken a decided turn to the south. She has complained of "just not feeling well" or "feeling tired."

    This post is really just me venting a little, as I usually try to stay so positive with people I've known with cancer, but this woman seems different. No treatment seems to have worked with her, and I'm most saddened by the family she'll be leaving behind. She's only in her 40's, but has sons in middle and high school. Her husband is a pillar of strength, but this just seems way too early.

    I wondered if anyone here can speak to this type of cancer, and why it might not be treatable. I saw her in church recently, and she still seemed like she was managing as well as she could, still able to walk and talk with people. Also, if she's reached this point to be admitted to hospice care such as this, how long could she possibly have? Is palliative care still given while under hospice care?

    Thanks for your thoughts.
    Age 54 Male
    early Feb, 2013 - Noticed almond-sized lump in shaving area, right side of neck. No other "classic" cancer symptoms
    late Feb, 2013 - Visited PCP for check-up, PCP advised as lymphoma. Did blood work, orders for CT-scan, referred to ENT
    3/7/13 - CT-scan inconclusive, endoscopy negative
    3/9/13 - FNA of neck mass
    3/14/13 - Received dx of squamous-cell carcinoma, unknown primary
    3/25/13 - CT-PET scan reveals no other active tumors
    3/26/13 - work/up for IMRT
    4/1/13 - W1, D1 of weekly cetuximab
    4/8/13 - W1, D1 of IMRT
    5/20/13 - complete 8 week regimen of weekly cetuximab
    5/24/13 - Complete 35-day regimen of daily IMRT
    mid-July 2013 - CT-PET scan reveals no active tumors, but shows necrotic tissue at site of original tumor
    early Sept 2013 - partial neck dissection to remove necrotic tissue. Assay shows no cancer present.
    Spring 2014 - No signs of cancer
    Spring 2015 - NED
    Spring 2016 - NED
    Spring 2017 - NED
    Spring 2018 - NED
    Spring 2019 - NED

  2. #2
    Administrator Top User lisa1962's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    I am sorry to hear of your friends situation. My husbands Aunt recently passed away from this same specific cancer. She had several go arounds with the disease over the course of several years. At each point, the medical team was successful but with metastatic disease, it can return at any time. Right before her passing, she choose Hospice as there was very little they could do for her. They recommended radiation but informed her it was not curative. Being 84 and losing her husband earlier this year, she made the choice best for herself. Once in hospice, the decline was swift. They made sure she was comfortable and painfree.

    There sometimes is a fine line between palliative and hospice and can be confusing. I copied and pasted the following for you:

    Hospice care is reserved for terminally ill patients when treatment is no longer curative during the last 6 months of life, assuming the disease takes its normal course. Palliative care can be employed while the patient is continuing active treatment through different phases of their life limiting condition.

    I thank you for all you do here and know your friend is comforted in having someone like you during this most sad time.


  3. #3
    Moderator Top User IndyLou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Thank you, Lisa. I appreciate your answer.


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