Letting go- When medicine can’t help

I  myself am only 21 and right now thinking about such a situation as terminal cancer scares the hell out of me. My initial reaction and instinct was to do explore every possible option on the face of this earth in order to prolong my life. My fear of the alternative makes me want to search every possible avenue of medical remedy, but as I thought a little longer I realized although it is a frightening reality, what can medicine really do? Just as mentioned in “Letting Go” the treatment to terminal cancer or any other terminal illness is very demanding and in most cases will inhibit a person. In order to fight such a strong and terrible illness there needs to be extreme medical action taken and in most cases the patient would lose so much of their autonomy to do as they please. In many cases terminal patients will try and take any treatment just as Sara Monopli did, but eventually how effective was it really? Every different round of chemotherapy failed her and the cancer spread throughout her body, but no matter how futile it was they kept fighting which I find admirable. I can only imagine how difficult it is for a family to just let their loved one die at the hands of such an illness, but the honest truth is that it would be much more comforting for the patient to go out that way.

At this point I feel that the medicine should be administered to give the patient enough time to get their affairs in order and say good-bye to everyone. Any medicine or treatment that keeps a terminal patient in the hospital surviving only on tubes and medical equipment should not be used. This is all easy to say, the hard part would be to get the family to accept this fact. The reality of letting their loved one slowly die is an idea hard to digest and accept. I have seen four elderly people who attended my church die of terminal cancer. Three died in their homes and one died at a hospice, but all four of these wonderful people were surrounded by their loved ones in their final days. It was such a terrible time for their family but they faced that reality courageously. Although it was so painful to die that way and to accept this fate they were able to die on their own terms, and that is something that can provide a little comfort.

Medicine is the ultimate weapon in the fight against death, but in the end it is only a stall at best especially in terminal situations. If there is any hope at recovery I would be wholeheartedly in support of trying any medicine to obtain that result, but if it is terminal and no hope remains medicine should be used to provide comfort for that individual in their final days. Maybe when I am faced with this situation I will react quite differently because just the thought of losing one of my loved ones is devastating, but God forbid I have to make such a decision I will have the courage to let my loved one go out on their own terms.

Seven Pounds

The media portrays death and dying in various ways. A prime example is news outlets. There have been a disturbing amount of shootings in this country and every time one happens and a news outlet covers the story the focus is primarily on the shooter. News outlets love to sensationalize the story of the killer. They almost make it sound like some new television drama character. News outlets love to sensationalize the story of the killer. When the initial news of the tragedy breaks they spend so much time talking about the past of the killer and what could of led them to such a heinous act, but the fate of the numerous murdered individuals are left as an after thought. Only hours or sometimes days later during a night time vigil or memorial does a news outlet report on those that were murdered. I don’t think the news influences our understanding of death per say because that they are very cliché and superficial in the analysis and understanding of death. There is no actual going beneath the surface to take a deeper look on the death of an individual. Instead the focus on emphasizing how said the family members and mourners are and how much support they need. Although that is a very important aspect that is not the only part of dealing with death and dying.  Television shows and movies are at more liberty to try and attempt to understand death. Countless movies show us how characters deal with the loss of those close to them dying.

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The movie Seven Pounds is the epitome of facing death.  The premise of the movie is that Will Smith’s wife died when they were driving in the car and Will feels that it was completely his fault and wants to repay his debt with his life. Will Smith prepares the entire movie planning his death and what will happen to the parts of his body. He spends the whole movie determined to die but at the same time to help as many people as he can, and by the end of the movie he has helped 7 good people by giving some of them a body part that they need to live. The guilt he has from his life allows him to face a painful death with courage.