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emo End Stage Symptoms?

Hello and thank you for your help. My mother has bladder cancer; was diagnosed in February and had some surgery to remove what was in the bladder but it had already gone through the muscle wall and the urologist said it was a very aggressive form. We went to oncologists but, at her age and with the cancer having already gone through the wall and into the tissue, we didn\'t really have any options. Urologists gave her between two and four months to live. She\'s now at six months from diagnosis, starting to have more pain (lower back - kidney), and the hospice doctor just a week ago said she should start watching for blood in her urine. Three days ago her urine started becoming pink and red.

She is a very positive person, always smiling and cheerful and not a bit afraid of dying. She\'s up in a recliner every day writing on her laptop (she\'s a writer), and tries not to lie down during the day except to ease any pain that breaks through the pain meds.

I\'m just trying to get a grasp on what I should expect symptom-wise. When the blood started in her urine this week, hospice seemed to take that as a sign that things were really progressing with her cancer but I don\'t know if this can last months more or what to expect. My mother is the most joyful person I know; she is in an assisted living with a hospice nurse coming in twice a week and my husband and I visit her daily.

Can someone help me with what to watch for? And, what does the blood in the urine mean at this point? Thank you so much for your help and for having this forum.
Private Message 2014-12-22 20:36:24
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  • mmc
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    • Mike

Re:End Stage Symptoms?

So sorry for the situation.

Blood in the urine could mean many things. Actually, sometimes it is the first symptom that people see even when it is at a very, very early stage.

In the case of your mother, it sounds like it was extremely advanced before they even found it all.

Blood could be coming from the bladder lining, in which case it may not really mean anything. It could be from the kidneys, which could be worse.

My suggestion would be to ask her urologist the end stage questions. Likely, the pain will get worse and the need for pain meds increase.

Wish I had more to tell you. I think it may be somewhat different for everyone, depending on where the cancer has spread.

Mike
Age 54
10/31/06 dx CIS (TisG3) non-invasive (at 47)
9/19/08 TURB/TUIP dx Invasive T2G3
10/8/08 RC neobladder(at 49)
2/15/13 T4G3N3M1 distant metastases(at 53)
9/2013 finished chemo -cancer free again
1/2014 ct scan results....distant mets
2/2014 ct result...spread to liver, kidneys, and lymph...
Private Message 2014-12-22 20:36:24
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Re:End Stage Symptoms?

Thank you, Mike! We don\'t actually have a urologist or other doctors anymore - just hospice. I\'ve asked hospice a couple times what it indicates and they keep just saying they\'re sorry but she\'s in the final stages. It\'s just that she\'s so cheerful and always says she\'s \"just fine\"! Even her nurses tell me that it\'s hard to tell with her because of her attitude so I appreciate your help.

She\'s on Oxycontin during the day which really keeps her kidney pain at bay and she has Vicodan for break-thru pain. They\'ve tried to get her to take morphine but she doesn\'t want to.

One more question, if you don\'t mind. You mentioned the kidneys and I know that they keep saying her pain is coming from her kidneys; does that usually indicate that the cancer has spread there?

Thanks so much for your help; I feel like I\'m asking really elementary questions but they\'re always lurking there in my mind!

with peace,
ann
Private Message 2014-12-22 20:36:24
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Re:End Stage Symptoms?

Thank you, Joseph, for your information; I don\'t know how to get to it through \"messaging\" so am answering here. I so appreciate your help but she doesn\'t go out at all anymore. Take care, ann
Private Message 2014-12-22 20:36:24
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  • mmc
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    • Mike

Re:End Stage Symptoms?

Ann,

I don\'t even know her but I admire your mother. What a lucky person you are to have a mother like her.

From your messages, my guess is that she is handling the last part of her life with all of the grace and dignity that she knows how. My guess is that she likely lived her life that way before as well and this is no great surprise to you that she is baffling the hospice folks with her fortitude and attitude.

If they say she is in end stages, then I would have to just believe it. If the bleeding is coming from the kidneys, then it is likely that the cancer has spread there.

While I am sorry for your loss, I am happy that you had a woman such as her to raise you and guide you through life.

Give thanks for the time you have had together and spend as much time with her now. A woman such as her should not die alone without having the comforting hand of family.

When my mother died at the age of 47 from breast cancer, I did not sleep for 5 days and I held her hand the whole time (except for bathroom breaks). I just couldn\'t let her be alone at the time of her death after all she had done for me and our family. Somehow, after she had lost all communication (even the just hand squeeze communication we worked out) I knew it was time and called my father who had gone home for some much needed rest. He came to her bedside, kissed her the forehead and told her he loved her and goodbye. That was the exact moment of her last breath....

That was a lot of years ago and I have to admit that my eyes were already tearing up while I was typing the part about the grace and dignity of your mother and it was darn near impossible to see through the tears in my eyes when relating the memory of my own mother\'s death.

I wish you, your wonderful mother, and all of her friends and family peace and comfort during this time.

Mike
Age 54
10/31/06 dx CIS (TisG3) non-invasive (at 47)
9/19/08 TURB/TUIP dx Invasive T2G3
10/8/08 RC neobladder(at 49)
2/15/13 T4G3N3M1 distant metastases(at 53)
9/2013 finished chemo -cancer free again
1/2014 ct scan results....distant mets
2/2014 ct result...spread to liver, kidneys, and lymph...
Private Message 2014-12-22 20:36:24
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Re:End Stage Symptoms?

Ahhh, you said just what I needed; thank you, Mike! I don\'t know why I\'m even asking questions at this stage - it\'s just the unknown and wanting answers where there really aren\'t any. Thank you so much; what an amazing mother YOU had - and what a wonderful son she had. Thank you again.
Private Message 2014-12-22 20:36:24
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