I am taking caare of my brother, diagnosed 2 septembers ago, 2 crani's, temador , radiation, he is failing every day, falls down alot, poor cognitive function and all that. I was just wondering what the end will be like, I'm a nurse wwithout brain cancer experience, have not found much info on the end of life, what will his final days be like, his diastolic b/p is getting higher every week, i think it's from increasing pressure in the brain and may herniate, but what's the end like, I and his wife need to be prepared. If anyone has experienced this with a loved one and would feel comfortable sharing with us I would greatly appreciate it.
Hi Susan, sorry to read about your brother Dave. My twin brother died at 50 yrs of a brain tumour - I don't know what type as he did not like to talk about it, always thought he would get well. For the last week of his life he was bed bound and slept most of the time probably because he was on diamorphine. The end was very peaceful - it was as if he just went to sleep again but didn't wake up. A local McMillan cancer nurse attended daily and the local GP also came in daily. They were going to move him into hospice but he died before the arrangements could be made. He was in no pain - the doctor made sure of that. I hope your brother is kept as comfortable as Bill was. My love and thoughts are with you at this terrible time.
Sorry to hear that your brother has brain tumor.
The prognosis of brain tumor depends on what type of cancer your brother has and the grade of the tumor. GBM is very different from meningioma or ependymoma.
Dr. Jay Lu
Diplomate, American Board of Radiology (Radiation Oncology)
THANK YOU BOTH FOR SHARING, AND FOR YOU PRAYERS, HE HAS A GBM GRADE4, THE PITS *SIGH*
My grandmother died a little over 4 years ago from a stage 4 of some form of brain cancer. You asked about the end, and with my grandmother that was pretty much all we had.
They found a mass on a CAT scan and within the next week biospied it. The biopsy was all the treatment she ever had, because she never really came out of a coma after that. We had another 6 weeks with her, but they were all comatos days.
Our situation was a little different because of the coma, but we as a family decided not to have nutrients given to her via IV. In the end it was that her body simply failed her, but her mind was already gone. I was only 17 at the time so I don't know what her vitals were like, but she slowly wasted away. Because she was getting no nutrients she lost all the weight she ever had, as well as her muscle. Then one day the nurses called to tell us that we needed to get there soon. The end is different for everyone, but I firmly believe that while a death is a sad, devastating time, it can also be seen as a relief for the sick party.
My grandfather, on the same side has been suffering from leukemia for 10 years and now has non-hodgkin's lymphoma and as much as I'm going to miss him I know that he will finally be able to rest and not be sick anymore.
I'm sorry to hear about your brother and wish you all luck.
Re: The End
I am sorry to hear about your brother -- this disease is devastating, but I will share with you because I have been their first hand and I wanted to know as well.
My mother was diagnosed with a GBM IV which was inoperable and quite large - right parietal lobe. The only treatment she had was a biopsy for diagnosis -- she turned down chemo and radiation because it would not cure her and she was afraid of suffering. She was in the hospital for 2 weeks and then send home with hospice (which was marginal). Doctors told us 3-6 months -- she lived another 10 days at home. Her ending was not peaceful -- she was in constant pain from bowel cramps, was restless, had to urinate many times a day -- she was unable to walk around and spent every day in bed -- getting up only to be led to bathroom and back. Eventually she could not walk -- she did not become sleepier and sleepier as the doctors told me she would. She had twitchy legs, cold feet and was scared. A few days before she died, I believe her sight was a problem -- she could see things, but could not interpret what she saw. She remained lucid and reasonable, however, until the end -- some short term memory loss. She cried and said she wanted to die. She continued to eat small portions and asked for food and drink. I asked the hospice nurse who came maybe 2x/week if she thought she was near the end. They said not yet. She will stop eating altogether and sleep more. Guess what? They were wrong. On the night before she died I noticed that she was snoring as she slept -- my mother never snored. I left to go home at midnight and at 4AM the aide we had hired to sit through the night with her screamed and woke my sister who was there. They thought my mother was vomiting, but nothing came out. They sat her up, she said "Oh dear God" and was unconscious -- she never woke up and died later that morning. I believe from the description of what happened, that her tumor hemmorhaged and she died of a massive stroke, but no one ever confirmed that fact. It was awful.....my heart goes out to anyone having to deal with this disease -- it is terrible, buy although I did not want my mother to die, her suffering and deterioration were horrible to watch. At least she is no longer suffering. It has been 7 months since she died and many of the awful things I had to go through are still very painful memories. I thought I would never feel good again, but I am finally starting to feel better. I would obsess and relive her terrible death and cry every day for almost two months, but now I am able to cope. Good luck -- it is not an easy time.
There is a great book that helped ease my own worry about what the end of my life would be like. Its called Dying Well by Ira Byock (MD). Its out of print in Australia, but probably still available elsewhere.
A website you might find helpful is www.brainhospice.com
I am sorry for your struggle and heartache.
My thoughts and prayers will be with you.