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My Hiusband has Terminal Hodgkins Lymphoma

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Hi there

i just wanted to ask a question as I have searched and searches the internet but can find nothing. My 60 yr old husband has been given a terminal diagnosis - he has stage 4 widely disseminated Hodgkin’s lymphoma with lung and liver involvement. He was given between 1-6 months to live, that was 5 months ago and he has been doing really well until the last week. He has sharp pelvic pain at the back on his right side which is extremely painful and noticeable when walking but eases when sitting. When he sleeps at night, he says he feels as though he has tennis balls behind his lungs and the sharp pain returns in his pelvis even though he is lying down and relaxed. He doesn’t want to speak to his consultant or the hospice as he is terrified they will put him on morphine and he will be a zombie. In all other respects he is doing well with good appetite, no weight loss and managing fatigue really well. Is there anything I can do to help him naturally or in a physio way that might ease this sharp pain when moving? Traditional paracetamol or naproxen are no longer working for it. Thank you and sorry for the long message.

Ellen M-Macmillan
Posted by


Thanks for getting in touch with us and welcome to our Online Community at what sounds like a difficult time for you both.

Please don’t apologise for the long message, it helps us to get a clearer picture of what’s been happening to your husband.  

Watching someone you love in pain can be difficult. It’s natural to ask what you can do to help. It’s because you care that you want to know what to do for the best.

It’s understandable why he’s terrified and doesn’t want to let his consultant, or the hospice know about his pain. But it’s very important that he lets them know today. Or, you give them a call and let them know.

It’s difficult for us as nurses on this type of platform to recommend things for you to do naturally. But there are practical tips Pain needs to be properly assessed by a doctor or specialist nurse, We wouldn’t want to recommend types of physio for you to  try in case it causes him more harm.  

The cause of his pain and type of pain needs to be properly assessed so that the right medicines can be prescribed. The doctors won’t automatically put him on Morphine There are different types of painkillers as well other medicines that can be prescribed to ease his pain.

We have this general information about managing pain that can be help for you both to read.

There are various non-drug treatments or complementary therapies that may help with pain. Some people find they work well, but they don’t work for everyone.  

Some treatments or therapies aim to help someone cope better with pain, for example by teaching you techniques that relax and de-stress your body and mind. Others use physical therapies to relieve the pain

If your husband does decide to try these it’s important that he talks to his healthcare team first and uses a qualified therapist. Some hospice provides these alongside conventional medicines. It would be worthwhile talking to the hospice about what services they provide.

Looking after someone can be tough at times, but it can be rewarding, so it’s equally important that you get support and look after yourself too. I know this can be easier said than done, but it can help you to keep doing what you’re doing so well.

It can help to talk to others going through a similar experience. We have a very welcoming carers group and one that supports each other when they are looking after someone with a cancer that can’t be cured.

You can also give our Support Line a call on 0808-808-0000 and talk to one of our nurses. Our lines are open every day from 8am till 8pm.

Best wishes and take care.

Please don’t hesitate to get back in touch.

Ellen-Macmillan Online Digital Nurse Specialist.