When it is time to let go…

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Nobody really knows the right time to let go. Even letting go a pet kitten that I had for two days was one of the hardest things to do in my life when I was six years old. Yet, it doesn’t matter if your are 80 years old or 21 years old, being told that you have inoperable cancer is shattering. Basically what you are being told is that right now there is nothing that medicine can do for you, so in turn you basically have two options. The options are, either seek aggressive treatment and only gain two to three months of life or seek palliative treatments and gain a better quality of life. The choice is left up to the patient. What should they do? What should MEDICINE do when it cannot save your life? Questions such as these are not as clear as they seem, but I will try and answer as if it where me who was dying.

I believe that if I was at my end of life and there was nothing that could cure my cancer,  I would chose the path of palliative care. I want to be able to die free of pain and discomfort. What I fear most is that I am stuck on a ventilator, being fed by a feeding tube, stuck in the same position and looking up at the same boring hospital ceiling day after day, with no drive or no hope of getting better. I refuse to be a vegetable. Truth be told, I would want to be in my home being active in the family for as long as I can and hopefully (and I am old beyond my years at this time) play outside with my grandchildren. Not even, if I could just watch them play like my grandmother watched me it would make my cancer easier to bear with. There is hope at the end of the tunnel even if it is death. Hope that you can still be involved in life and still can make a difference. Yet, in the case I am unable to fulfill my dream, I refuse to be a lab rat to constant experimental medicine. If medicine could do just ONE thing for me, please just let me live life the best I can and let death reap me in my sleep.

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5 thoughts on “When it is time to let go…

  1. The point you made about rather being at home than lying in a hospital bed day after day, is an option that many people, I assume, would love to have. No one wants to be spending their last days in a hospital with doctors throwing medical jargon at them, asking them what sort of treatment they want next, which may actually cause more discomfort and side effects. People want to spend their last days in a comfortable setting, surrounded with people that love them, and enjoying the company of their family. I can only assume that having a positive attitudes and being in a comfortable setting will bring a peaceful death, and that’s exactly what I would want.

  2. I feel the exact same way. If I had been told that I had a terminal illness and there was no cure, I would choose the option of just getting medicine for the pain. If there was absolutely nothing I could do, I would not keep letting doctors try new medicines out on me, just to see if they would work. I would also prefer being with my family and being myself, even if my life would be a few months shorter than if I had gotten treatment. In my opinion, life is about quality, not quantity, so instead of living a few extra months in a hospital bed hooked up to a machine, I would rather be myself and be with my family, even if it meant giving up a few extra months of my life.

  3. I feel like this was a very well thought out blog. There were many good points that you brought up that I fully agree on. I liked how you put yourself in the terminally ill person’s shoes, and that is exactly what I did in mine as well. I, as well said that I would choose palliative care over harsher treatments such as chemotherapy. I feel like if it got to that point of having a terminal illness I also would like to just live the best life I can that is free of pain and discomfort.

  4. I really enjoyed reading this blog. I admire that you were not afraid to give your opinion on medicine and how you want to die. I completely agree with your outlook on hospital care. I would also like to have a painless death rather than suffering just to have a prolonged death. I do not want to be fed through a tube or put on a ventilator either. I think your statement about being lab rats is also eye opening. It is honestly true; patients are lab rats. Doctors try all of these medicines to see what will improve their health and if it doesn’t they find that it’s either making them worse or not helping at all. It is cruel and unfair.

  5. I like that you say that “nobody really knows the right time to let go”. I think that this sentence is the most important factor of this much debatable end of life process and what is truly the right thing. We are human and we hate to see the people we love in pain or dealing with terminal illnesses, and because modern medicine has moved us away from experiencing illnesses it is hard for us to cope with the idea of death. I guess the best way to answer these questions is answering them as if it were yourself in that situation. So like you, I too wouldn’t want to be stuck on a ventilator, I would rather be comfortable and surrounded by the people I love, letting my death take its course, but at least I would be pain free and comfortable. But it is easy to say this now, when we are for the most part healthy and young, it can be a whole different experience when/if we or our loved ones get to the point of terminal illness, but I would expect that my opinions and wants would be the same, but you really never know.

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