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Thread: What to expect as death approaches?

  1. #1

    What to expect as death approaches?

    I don't mean to be graphic but I would like to know what to expect as death approaches. Signs to look for. My brother is 53 with primary liver cancer. There are large masses 9cm and lots of smaller ones. It has invaded his portal vien. What can anyone tell me? Will it be sudden? Will he just go off to sleep? Thank you so much in advance.

  2. #2
    In my experience in losing my husband recently, I can only say it was not like in the movies. You should ask these questions of those caring/assisting with the care of your brother. Just love him as much as you can while he is here with you and do not hold back on that love.

    The breathing of my husband was quite disturbing to me however our kids,6 of them aged 14 to 25 had no issue with the way he was breathing toward the end. (he was at home)

    I believe that each passing is unique as each individual is unique.

  3. #3
    Hi, I am very sorry about your brother's cancer. Liver cancer can be so hard on a person's body. It is really hard to predict how death will come. He could die very rapidly if something else happens to him but Liver Cancer is often a slow killer. Usually death comes as the Liver gradually shuts down and does not filter out the toxins from his blood. The toxins will gradually build in his blood, making him weaker and weaker. His appetite will vanish. He will stay in bed more and sleep for longer periods of time. These will become worse with time until he first goes into a coma-like state and then dies.

    Has hospice become involved in his care? They are wonderful and can help you understand better than anyone on the Internet because they can actually observe your brother. On the Internet, we can only talk about what typically happens.

    You and your brother are in my thoughts and prayers.
    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

  4. #4
    Thank you all for the responses.

    brainman - hospice is involved. The nurses that work with my brother in this small town are very young. Not that anything is wrong with that but they have let him run out of his chemo meds and has ordered his pain med refills way to late with only a days supply left. Something else for us to have to worry about. They have told us things that scare us and scares my brother. For instance she told us to buy black towels so if and when he starts to bleed profusely it want be so scarey. She did not follow up with this is something that is possible but usually does not happen. Or that your feet will start to bust open soon and you need to contact us. Why tell patient this? He has told them numerous times he does not want to know how long he has but they insist on giving him inuwindows and it truly pisses me off. They pay for his meds other wise they would not be part of this terrible ordeal. I have worked with hospice in other situations but this has been the most difficult one. Thank you for helping me understand what is happening to him. Please don't be afraid to be graffic. I just want it told to me and not to scare the shit out of my brother.

    Again thank you.

  5. #5
    idobelieveinfairies, I am surprised at your experience with hospice. In the Charlotte area there is more than one hospice. My advice to you is to select another one if this one is not helping your brother.
    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

  6. #6
    Regular User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Rarely are there indicators to show if your love one is about to pass.

    Others have said their love ones become confuse --> this is related to toxin generated from the liver. Horsey breathing, etc.

    In the case of my mother she went to the bathroom to brush her teeth, my father was downstairs at the time. Moments later she was found collapse on th floor. An ambulance was called. Her breathing was heavy. They were supplying her with oxygen, but she kept on taking off the mask. She passed away during transition to local hospital. [She was a fighter to the very end]

    You need to prepare for the unexpected; everyone has their own road to follow.

    My thoughts are with your family,


  7. #7

    Re: What to expect as death approaches?

    I think eash individual is different. I was with my sister 6 years ago when she passed away with a brain tumor. She started having a death rattle or gurgling in her throat about 12 hrs before she died.

    My husband just passed away March 5th of this year. He had colon/liver cancer. His liver began shutting down and his urine was very dark. He also had a yellow tinge to his skin and his eyes were very yellow. The day he passed away I noticed a deterioration to the heels of his feet. I think the circulation of blood was slowing down. Then I saw a pooling of blood in his ribcage area. He had the death rattle but not as bad as my sister. We turned him on his side and he seemed more relaxed and took 2 deep breaths and was gone. My children and hospice was here at the time.

    I miss him terribly as we had been married 41 years, but in another way I am relieved he is not suffering anymore. He was always strong and active and the past 2 years were not easy for either of us.

    Take care,

  8. #8
    I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing. He is still with us but deteriorating very fast. Can I ask what the pooling of blood in his ribcage looked like exactly?

  9. #9
    Newbie New User
    Join Date
    May 2012
    My mum has died today of primary liver cancer, she had upper right abdomen pain, for several weeks, and got weaker and weaker, and slept more and more, this went on for several weeks, it took ages to get a diagnosis, after endless test, colonospy/endoscope, ct scan and Liver Biopsy, she was so weak she couldn't get out of bed and had carers coming in, night and morning, then she was diagnosed last friday and died early this morning ( just 5 days later), her decline was very fast, with swelling of abdomen, then legs and arms, then her throat muscles went, and she slipped into a coma like state, just opening her eye's a little now and again, she could not speak in the last few days, and it was a blessing she passed quickly, be strong and make sure you make the most of every moment.

  10. #10
    Regular User
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    experience with someone passing

    as many have stated on here,it is true that each person before they leave us is different.my father had pancreatic cancer which spread to his liver....about a week before he passed we noticed him falling asleep at the table,or in his favorite chair,but he would say to us Im not sleeping just resting my eyes,his skin was yellow for awhile before he passed .He started to get ascities in his legs one week before he left,i could feel his feet were cold as his circulation was bad...my father got delerium the day we brought him to the hospital,and he was taking very deep breathes,and then would mumble words....he lost his appetite a few days before he passed,alot say theres a death rattle,but for me i never heard that,my dad looked very peaceful to me in the hospital and the day of his passing i was not in the room but my aunt said he took two last breaths and opened his eyes,and she said he was looking in the sky,and then he was gone....My father was in no pain through his sickeness fortunalty,he took the odd morphine pill,but never once was in any ecrutiating pain..which i thank god everyday for that...it will be a year in june for us since we said goodbye to my dad,and i miss him like crazy,but i know that he is looking down on his family and watching over us,and hes in our hearts forever....


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