Blog 2: Letting Go

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The “Letting Go” article really opened my eyes. It makes some decent points about medicine and end of life care. What is medicine supposed to do for you at your end of life if it cannot cure you? In my opinion, I feel it should make you comfortable and pain free for as long as possible. Some people are willing to go through a lot, especially Sara Monopoli from the article. She went through tremendous amounts of chemotherapy and radiation to extend her life, but ultimately cancer won the battle. Like they said at the end of the article, she may have lived longer if she did not go through all those treatments that wore her body out. But then again, you have no idea what would have happened if she did not get the treatments. It may seem easy from an outsider’s point of view of what to do, but when you are actually in that situation it can be hard to give up. My aunt is battling breast cancer for the fourth time and she is doing surprisingly well with treatments this time around. There were many times through the treatment where the pain was almost too unbearable for her. She said numerous times that she does not know how much more of it she can handle. However, she kept on with the treatment and is feeling the best she has ever felt with cancer. So even in Sara’s case, it was always possible that she could get better. You never know unless you try.

In the event that there is nothing medicine can do to cure your illness, palliative care or hospice care would be the best option. Nobody wants to suffer, but this type of care can make dying a little bit easier. If I was in this situation I would want medicine to keep me as comfortable as possible, and allow me to eat my favorite foods and spend time with my friends and family while I am still my coherent self. Just like in the article, Jack Block said he would go through treatment if he could eat chocolate ice cream and watch football on TV.  If I ever got to the point in my life where I could not swallow and needed a feeding tube for the rest of my life, there is no way I could do that. To me, there is no point in prolonging an inevitable death by a couple months if it means I would be in pain for the majority of it or never have any independence. Doctors only focus on prolonging life; however, I think it should be based on the quality of life and that is what palliative and hospice focus on. Doctors should work on approaching patients with this option sooner, rather than later, to make sure they are comfortable in the dying process.

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