It's been a month!

I have been out here taking care of my grandmother now for a month. In that time she has lost an additional 8 lbs. She has lost 20 since the middle of May. She had a CAT scan done a couple of weeks ago. The main tumor (pancreas) has gotten bigger, but hasn’t spread yet. She needs help walking and getting to the bathroom. I am doing the cooking and light housework. Fortunately she has someone that cleans the house weekly and a home health aide to help her bathe 3xs a week. She is still up and about. She spends most of her time in her chair watching old movies. I never realized there were so many movies made with WWII as either the main plot or a background plot. biggrin.gif For the past 6 days she has been very alert and awake most of the time. I don’t know whether to be thankful or slightly fearful. Someone told me that they tend to get “better” right before they start a rapid downhill slide.
She is talking about starting hospice. She is kind of pissed that the cancer had not spread more rapidly. She is ready to go and doesn’t want to linger. She says that right now she is just existing, not living. She was hesitant to start hospice because she thought that it would be the same as the home health care. I think with hospice we will have access to trained volunteers that will allow me some breathing space. Right now, I rarely leave the house. Yes, I am starting to go slightly bonkers. I admit. Anyway, just wanted to drop a brief update.

Just wanted to let you know that my thoughts are with you. Taking care of your grandmother must require tremendous strength in all senses of the word and it sounds like you are handling it as well as can be expected. I'm sure she greatly appreciates all you are doing for her.

have followed your journey with your grandmother through your posts.
what a good and kind thing you are doing. i only hope that someday my kids would feel the same about their grandmothers.
i hope that the remainder of time you have left with your grandmother is peaceful.
be well. keep your chin up. hug your grammy tighter.
i'll keep you two in my thoughts.

I'm really sorry to hear about your grandmother. I think this is the first post I've read on the situation but I'm sure I can search the back story. She is very lucky to have such a thoughtful, wonderful grandaughter taking care of her.

Please know that we’re thinking, praying, and hoping for your grandmother and you. Hospice can be a wonderful thing…and includes “relief care” for family caregivers, so you can get relief from cabin fever that creeps into one’s life.
Know also that you are doing something extremely commendable, something that many would not do for someone else. And know that kindness and deep compassion are a way of being; doctoring will come your way later. Take care!

Your grandmother is indeed fortunate to have you for support of all kinds. I echo Mary B-B's praise of hospice as a wonderful resource. Please do talk to them - they will help you figure out what sorts of support YOU need as well as the appropriate level of care for your grandmother. My mother-in-law is currently getting care from hospice after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer a few months ago, and they are wonderful in making sure she is comfortable and well-cared-for. What I've observed with relief is that they are just as helpful to my father-in-law in helping him make decisions about what sorts of help they need. He tends to want to take on all these responsibilities himself and so I don't envy them the conversations where they urge him to let them help! But it is working.

Today she decided to quit chemo and let nature run it's course. The oncologist told her the chemo was keeping the tumor at bay and she could go on and live a year or two like she is now. She told him she was ready to go and she wasn't doing chemo anymore. SHe says that what she is doing now isn't living, it is just existing. She started hospice and we should be hearing from them sometime soon.
I feel guilty because she said that part of the reason she was doing it was that she wanted me to be able to get on with my life. She doesn't want to be a burden. She is ready to go and I know that, but I still felt a pang of guilt when she mentioned that I was part of the reason she chose hospice. I mentioned hospice and the services that they offer, but I have been willing to try other arrangements. I just mentioned that I needed to be able to get away from the house once in awhile and not be worried about her being here by herself. My wife also calls me every night and comes out on the weekends.
My grandmother doesn't want to interfere with our marriage any more than she has. She has latched onto the fact that I am unhappy here without my wife…she won't believe us when we tell her that we are fine and will be ok. It's like she is focusing anger at me right now. I don't know. I do know that I don't want to be the reason she goes into hospice and that she needs to do what is right for her… She says that she is doing what is right for her.
Sorry for the ramble. Just needed to get some of this off of my chest.

Please do not apologize. These are trying times for you and your family. Preparing oneself for the death of a family member, can be tough on the heart and the soul. We are here for you to be able to clear your mind and get information that you would need or want.
Peace be with you and your family. If you ever need someone to listen, please do not hesitate. We are here for you.