Aunt dying

My aunt who was originally dx with breast cancer 18 years ago…bone secondaries 3 years ago and stomach secondaries 6 months ago…was told yesterday by a Pallative Care Consultant she has approx 6 months to live.

She has been seeing her oncologist every year since dx…[her choice]…he has never discussed her present condition with her, she didn’t even know what Pallative Care was…she was just sent the appointment…she has been told to cancel her appointments for bone strengthener she has been having every 3 weeks as it is not going to make any difference to her condition as the stomach cancer is the problem…the Pallative Care Consultant was shocked that she had not been told anything by her oncologist he just referred her to Pallative Care…he actually rang my aunt last sunday and apologised for not being in clinic the last time she went and said the x-ray she had showed ‘’ nothing untoward ‘’!!..

I think its disgusting that her oncologist let her find out this way…not that him telling her would of made it any easier, but out of decency I feel he should of explained things.

She is still trying to carry on as best she can, but as you can imagine her head is all over the place.
I just pray her last months will not be spent suffering too much.

my aunt did try oral chemo back before christmas, she had the lowest strength because of the possible side effects and her severe weight loss…unfortunately she ended up hospitalised for a week…therefore she won’t try it again.

Spoke to her today and she was sorting out her insurance policies, her son and daughter who both live away have come up, though I think she’s frightened of them going back home as she has said when they do she will feel alone…she is married but her husband is in his early 80’s…she’s 68…and recently his children we’re talking about my aunt going into care/hospice…this she does not want…she has already said she wants to stay at home…at present she is still able to potter around doing bits and pieces…although gets very tired.

Unfortunately when she was dx there were no BCN’s or as much information available as there is now…she was amazed when I was dx how different things were.

Saw my aunt yesterday, she looks awful…like a skeleton…she has pallative care nurse going to see her today…she is so frail, she said to me she has been told she will know when the end is near…she said she wants to know how she’ll know but also doesn’t want to ask…she said she wants to know what will happen between now and then…but again is also scared of asking.

Unfortunately her son and daughter live in Devon …though they do come up every weeek, so only family besides her husband she has here are my mum, me, my sister and brother…she does have her husbands children…but she isn’t very happy as when they come in she feels their taking over…which is an area I wish we could help her in …but how do you say to them…''hold on she doesn’t want to go into a hospice and doesn’t want anyone else making decisions for her ‘’…without causing upset???

Hi Karen

I’m sorry to hear about your aunt and appalled at the way her oncolgist handled the news. Unfortunately some medics seem able only to handle the symptomatic care of patients and lack the additional skills required to treat a person as a whole and thus be sensitive to our emotional needs.

I think your aunt is very lucky to have such a supportive and caring niece looking out for her. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to know that the end is nigh. The questions your aunt is asking often cross my mind but I wonder whether having the answers will then distress me as I become aware of my own demise by recognising the symptoms. On the other hand, perhaps I would want to make decisions accordingly if I knew I were at the stage beyond hope. It’s so hard. I imagine the palliative care team have the experience to handle these questions delicately.

Your aunt is very clear about what she wants and obviously knows how her children will react. I’m sure they only want the best for their mum and think she will be more comfortable in a hospice. Your aunt, however, has a different view and I think it is paramount for family to remember that when you have his crappy disease consuming you, it is really important to be able to retain some semblance of control over our lives, however small that may be. Perhaps your aunt will change her mind in the future, but for now I think it is fine for you or your mum (her sister) to be able to fight her corner by simply stating her wishes - it seems you are very close to each other if she feels able to talk about her fears so candidly. Perhaps the palliative care nurse may be able discuss this with them.

I hope that the family can unite and reach an agreement that respects your aunt’s wishes. I also hope that the visit from the palliative care nurse is helpful for your aunt.


Hi Karen,

Thank you for you post!

I have been reading your thread, i’m so sorry to hear about your Aunty too!

Your Aunty is very lucky to have you around for support, and this is something she will need more of, which i have learnt along the way.

I will post again soon, i’m a little emotional today and doesnt take much to set me off.

All my love and prays for you, your Aunt and family
Kerry xx

Tinks05 and Ripley…
Thank you both for your posts.

Pallative care nurse went in today,…told aunt if she doesn’t feel like eating not to bother and not to let anyone try and bully her into eating when she doesn’t want to.
Aptly this is part of the end process when the body says enough…that along with the fatigue.

Bed will be delivered in next few days and she can have it moved if she’s not happy with where its put…that was bothering her incase she had it put upstairs and then wanted it down.

She’s applying for Attendance allowance…as my aunt is so proud she hasn’t claimed any of the benefits she’s entitled to.