My mum - how can I help her?

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My mum was fine, really busy and active until 8 weeks ago. Then she went to A&E with suspected DVT. I won’t go into the many days or tests but ambulatory care were fantastic and kind at every point. It turns out that she has gall bladder cancer which has spread to the liver. She then got phlebitis and an unbelievably harsh, non-stop cough.

Last night I called 999 as she was delirious and it turns out she has a ‘raging’ infection.again, everyone was so nice to her. She’s in hospital on intravenous antibiotics now, temperature is down. She has started continuous explosive belching again and bringing up bile.

Today, they mentioned a stent to unblock the gall bladder but said she needs to think about whether she wants this. The doctor is going to call me as they are worried about the infection. Mum is deaf, too, so it falls to me to give her all bad news and diagnoses. 

Does anyone have any experience of stents as I’m unsure why they are hesitating? I’d be grateful for any advice as I’m struggling with the speed it’s all happened. 

Thats. It feels strangely better for having written this down,

I wish all of you the best possible.

  • Hello Francesca

    I am so sorry to hear about our mum, I am in the simular situation with my mum and she had stents put in.  My mum had two plastic stents to put in and was ment to have them changed every three months for the rest of her life to by pass a 4cm stone in her duct that was causing her liver problems.  They put plastic stents in, with in a week she went down hill, 2 weeks later back in hospital. One of the stents had got infected.  New plastic stent put in. Within a week she went down hill, 2 weeks later back in hospital.  Stent had got infected She ended up having a operation.  A nurse at Kings College hospital said that with plastic stents the down full is they can get infected.  The metal ones can be left in twice as long as the plastic ones, and less chance of them getting infected.  They were very weary of putting the stents in with my mum, . I was told the stents were put in to make my mum stronger.  6 years ago they wouldn't take her gallbladder out because of her COPD Now she has gallbladder cancer which is advanced. But they said she flew through both prosedures and I was told she she flew through a 7 nearly 8 hour operation.  Good luck with your mum.  You could also post in the bile duct cancer forum for help. Be possative my mum had bad experience with stents that led to a life saving operation that has brought her time.  There are lots of people have had stents put in and they've worked.

  • Thanks for taking the time to reply. It seems now that stents are not possible as the blockage is in a duct in the liver. It’s all moving so fast. She’s still on regular intravenous antibiotics, fluids, antiemetic drugs and is dreadfully weak. I do hope your mum will be ok x

  • Hello Francesca

    Was just wondering how your mum is doing?

  • Thanks for asking. She's in a bad way, not responding to intravenous antibiotics and is on day 17. Legs really swollen and nothing they can do as it's related to liver. I cannot see how they will be able to send her home but that's the plan!

    How is your mum? I do hope she is able to enjoy the sun and your company x

  • I am so sorry about your mum Francesca.  My mum is in hospital, Saturday she seemed fine, started picking up, even wanted chineese take away, Sunday throwing her guts up all day, Monday phoned A&E, ambulance was here with in 15 minutes, straight to resusetation ward.  Septis, blood pressure 45/34, heart 97, tempature 40.  The infection took over her whole body, she was also having breaving problems.  They pumped antibiotics into her body luckily at the moment they've got it under control.  Still in hospital, she was told she can't have chemo, they have sent tests to the lab to find an antibiotic that will work on this new bug.  She will be on antibiotics long term.  She seems to going to hospital every 3 weeks with an infection, they get it under control until one day they can't.  Was told today she can't have chemo as its gone past the time after the operation when they can help her.

  • Hi, I am so so sorry. That sounds so hard for you both and such a difficult message to hear about chemo. I hope she is being really well looked after in hospital and is comfortable. x

  • Hello Francesca

    my mum has been told today there is nothing they can do today, she has a tumour that has grown out side of the gallbladder and attached its self to the bile duct and her liver, and its too dangerous to operate because its in an aquade possition.  told the reason why she keeps going down with infections is because that her emune system can't  can't handle the cancer .  They are sending her home with in a few days, that st. Christophers will be in contact with her to talk about her end of life plan and tell us what to do next.  But she has got over this infection, no idea if she will get over the next.

    How is your mum doing?

  • Hi, it's so kind of you to ask and I am very sorry to hear about your mum. I do hope St Christopher's provides someone lovely. People to choose to support others at the end of their life seem so kind and helpful.

    My mum has moved to a hospice and they could not get rid of the infection so have stoppped intravenous drugs and all other tests. The hospice staff are wonderful and it's a calm quiet place.

    All good wishes to you and your mum.

  • Hi Francesca

    So sorry to hear about your mum, we went through a very similar experience with my mum this time last year, it seems such an aggressive cancer and everything happens so quickly. I am pleased to hear that you have so far had a positive experience with the hospitals and the ambulance service and now a hospice, we were not that lucky but last year was a very different time with covid.  Hospices are such fantastic places which should help your mum but also you as you wont realise how much this will effect you but having the support will help you get through this difficult time.  Thoughts are with you and take this time to talk about all the fun times you have had with your mum xx