Posted by: Justme | 2004/10/20

First Breast Cancer, then Heart Attack, then Collapsing Lungs

My mother had breast cancer 2 years ago and after recovery suffered from depression which she seemed to get over. A few months ago she had a massive heart attack. Since then she has been in and out of hospital. She is very short of breath and was having treatment for liquid on the lungs which seems to have cleared up although doc says that she has only 40% use of her lungs. She is very short of breath and can only walk a few steps before stopping. She was a smoker up until a few years ago and has never been fit. We readmitted her to hospital 2 weeks ago because she was dehydrated due to the duretics that she was taking for water retention. She is very, very swollen. The hospital staff sorted that out and she was sent home. Thursday last week she was readmitted because the dr was concerned that her kidneys aren't functioning properly since she has swollen up again. They have done a lot of tests. Last night she started vomiting and today they are going to do a sonar on her stomach and check her mucus (xrays and sputum?) before the dr can say when or if she can come home. She cannot sit up by herself and needs 24 hour care. I hate to disturb the nursing staff at the hospital so I contact them once a day to hear what the doctors comments were that morning. I need to know what her chances are (an educated guess will suffice) of getting better and whether her body is giving up. She is 69 years old and very frail. I live a way away from her and need to consider whether I should fly to see her. I would also like advice on home care. If any of your readers have suggestions for me that are not ludiciously expensive in the Cape Town area. I would prefer a live-in carer.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberDoc

Justme, it doesn’t sounds to good from this side of the screen. It seems that the is getting more ill more often and that the doctors aren’t really able to turn it around. The problem is that I don’t know enough to tell you more or less when it is going to end. The best would be to phone her treating physician and ask him if he thinks you need to fly down to see her. Good luck.

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