Together we will beat cancer


Realistic life expectancy

14 Jul 2019 19:10

Hi everyone, this is my first post. 

Quick backstory : my father in law was diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer in 2007. After surgery, chemo and radiotherapy he went into remission although suffered from longlasting health issues due to everything that had gone on.

Back to now : he has been poorly since March with acute chest pain, fatigue and breathlessness. After being given the runaround by the doctors saying it was an infection, given ABs then steroids then super strength ABs after they failed to help he was eventually diagnosed with cancer again in May.

After investigations they said it was Stage 4, with secondary spread into the abdomen. He also has fluid around his heart. Radiotherapy is not an option as he's had all his body could take first time round and they were gonna do a consult on the chemo after running tests to see if his body could process it.

Fil has been incredibly ill since being diagnosed, he's not sleeping properly, can't breathe properly, and the amount of pain he's in is really getting him down. Trying to get his morphine right has been a struggle and he was really ill at the beginning of starting it, I thought we were going to lose him then. 

He was at the hospital this week for a pre-chemo assessment and was due to start the chemo the next day but the nurses were alarmed at his vitals so he was admitted to hospital where he stayed until yesterday. Fil did say prior to this that if he was to have chemo then it would be a reduced dosage with him being so poorly to start with and that if he continues to be so ill, they might knock it on the head altogether. 

The in-laws haven't exactly stated what's going on internally with him but all I know is that the consultants have all decided not to proceed with the chemo as he is so very poorly. They're trying to remain positive but it's getting a bit much for my mil, who is trying to process that she is going to lose her husband of 40+ years.

Fil was desperate to come home so he did yesterday and he's getting a stair lift fitted this week to help getting around the house and his sister mentioned "end of life care" which although I knew was the case, it's hard to actually hear someone say it. 

Obviously, not having chemo is going to have a big impact on possible life expectancy but I was wondering if you could give me your opinions /experience on what kind of timeline we might be looking at. I can't discuss it with my spouse as they're completely torn up about it. All I know is I've never seen anyone look as poorly as fil does now. We visited him at home yesterday and he couldn't stay awake. He also struggles to talk, replying only 1 or 2 word answers as it's too exhausting for him to talk . 

Thanks in advance. 


Realistic life expectancy

14 Jul 2019 20:53 in response to D1x3ych1ck

Hi Dixey ...

So so sorry your going through this heartbraking time at the moment.... it must be heartbraking ...

I k ow people just want a clue how long .. his team may be able to give you a rough estimate on the "average"  but in truth ... some hold on a lot longer .. some go very quickly ... no one actually knows ... you could call Marie Currie... they specialise in these sercomstances.... they maybe able to give you a bit more info ...

If l were you, I'd just take things as and when they come up ... live in the day .. all hold each other's hand and know even when you think he can't hear you, he may still know what your saying as hearing is the last thing to go ... so keep talking to him ...

Sending you all a vertual hug ... you sound like a wonderful son / daughter in law ...  Chrissie x

Realistic life expectancy

14 Jul 2019 21:46 in response to Chriss

Dear Chrissie, 

Thank you so much for your reply.

Its a tough situation as although fil and mil have most probably been told an approximate timeline I don't feel I can broach the subject with mil to ask her as she is so fragile at the mo with everything going on, and to be honest fil is just exhausted from everyday living. I can't ask my spouse as I think mil and fil are actually trying to protect them from the finer details - they even asked me to pass on the latest news regarding knocking the chemo on the head as they just didn't have it in them to break the news to their only child.

Whilst talking to my fil's sister, she seemed to be under the impression that fil only has weeks left. She has attended all of fil's hospital appointments along with mil so I'm wondering if something has been said during those which has made her think that. I think she doesn't want to overstep by saying more, and mil and fil obviously don't want to share the extent of everything that's happening so I'm kinda at a loss, but non more so than my poor spouse. 


Dixey x 

Realistic life expectancy

14 Jul 2019 22:52 in response to D1x3ych1ck

Hi there ..

It seems to me, they are all wanting to protect your spouse ... if that is their only child , they are more then likely just trying to soften the blow .. when I was young everyone held feelings in ..  now its a more kinder world where we are learning to be more open with feelings ... they are probly from the old school of thought ..

All you can do is be there .. just hold your partners hand and let her know you'll listen if she wants to talk .. just know you can't make it better or make it go away ... just listening and a gentle hug will mean the world to them ... this is the hardest part of cancer ... wer helpless .. 

Just let m i l know your both there if needed .. I'm glad he's stopped his treatment .. there's a time to hold on... and a time to let go ...  take every problem as and when it comes up... go with the flow .. and know everyone's just trying to do the best for everyone else...

Always here if you need a chat ...  Chrissie x