Hi, Firstly let me say that this site has been a god-send because of the information it has provided me during this trying time!
My mother, age 67, was diagnosed with primary HCC in Feb 2011, with lymph nodes in her lungs. Due to her physical condition and her own desire, we decided to forego any chemo. As there is no palliative care to speak of in our country, we decided to take care of her at home with the support of doctors and pain management specialists from the nearby hospital. She stopped eating somewhere in June, was admitted to the hospital in July for draining ascites fluids. Though a small amount(3 ltrs) was drained out, this procedure proved traumatic for her and the 10 days following it, she showed every sign of being near the end. The following week however, she recouped and was almost back to normal - not eating, but drinking fluids, somewhat lucid, mostly awake and able to turn in bed. This was also the time we changed over from morphine tabs to fentanyl patches and we attributed her recovery to better pain management. The past 4 days, her condition has again deteriorated - shifting between sleep to restless tossing of her head and arms, urine turned from tea to coffee color, jaundice not yet set in fully(billirubin level 4), totally unresponsive, no strength to move her lower body except for her arms, not able to swallow any fuids, threatening to vomit but probably not able to do so, breathing through her mouth with signs of mucus accumulation in her throat. However, today again she is showing signs of pulling back from the edge. We are just wondering where she could be with regard to the end?
She is yet to show any major signs of pain or vomitting of blood that characterizes this disease. This may sound selfish, but we are hoping that she doesn't have to suffer more, as we are not sure we can handle her symptoms worsening.
I have read through the 'signs of dying' advise you have provided on this website and my mom has shown all these signs including the cheynes-stokes breathing pattern. Either she is one hell of a fighter(she refused for the most part to accept that she was dying) or there is much worse in store for her and what we've seen is just the start of it.
Would appreciate if you could advise where she is at?
Thanks in advance.