Ask Dr. Giles: I’m not ready to let go of mom, is there anything I can do

Corina asks:

Dear Dr. Giles,
Nov.09 I took my mom with excruciating abdominal pains to ER. She had an ERCP and a plastic stent was inserted; while still in hospital in Dec.09 another ERCP was done to crash the stone- gallblader removed 15yrs ago- this time I was told a 2.7cm tumor, diagnosis:DISTAL BILE DUCT CANCER; the GI highly recommended WHIPPLE SURGERY- mom refused after being told is a risky procedure, not to mention 6-9h under total anesthesia. I took her home, she was improving and Feb.01.2010 I took her for another ERCP to replace the plastic stent with a metal one. (Between you and me I wonder why the metal stent wasn’t used the 1st time, I wasn’t consulted…) Took her home and on 2/2/2010 she woke up screaming of pain and shaking. Called 911 and at the hospital, after 6h waiting for results I was told she’s septic and was admitted again. Hospital put her on Flagyl and Levaquin, glucose via IV and as of 2/9/2010 I was told to take her home, she has CHOLANGIOCARCINOMA and to contact HOSPICE, her days are numbered I was told. I’ve asked what stage is her cancer and nobody can give me an answer since she refused the surgery I was told, she is to be on pain killers, Norco and possible Morfin which she is given in the hospital every 4h.

I’m devastated, and sad and can’t believe that my mom who’s always be healthy, optimistic and such a devoted Christian, she has to go through all these pain and suffering.
I will bring her home with all my heart, but I’m not ready to let go, not yet; is there anything I can do at this point? I still believe in miracles and if indeed is her time, I’m asking the Heavenly Father to have mercy on her and ease her suffering. My 8yrs old little girl is scared, frustrated.

I respectfully would like to know your input, and may GOD bless you and your loved ones.


I’m so very sorry to hear about your mother’s suffering, Corina.  It sounds like she has been through a lot in a very short time.  Your description of your mother’s condition suggests her circumstances are very grave and are getting worse.  In that case, it is important to consider that her time in this life might be coming to an end.  It is, therefore, very important that you capitalize on the time you have with her.  Concentrate on your relationship with her: the good times, the things she has taught you, the funny stories, etc.  Reminisce with her.  Point out the good and right and true in her life.  That may be the most effective comfort you can provide at this difficult time.  Spend time one-on-one with your mother, but also bring your daughter into the conversations.  This will help teach your daughter how to put life and death into perspective and the importance of celebrating life and important relationships.  This time of your mother’s life can be one of sweetness despite the pain and sorrow of impending loss.