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TO TELL OR NOT TO TELL

MR_SAD's picture
MR_SAD
Posts: 91
Joined: Nov 2008

My wife has stage 4 lung cancer and was given 6 months to live in
sept 08. The Doctors never told her and it took a lot of questions from
me to finnally get a prognosis. They finnally told me about the six months
in Oct and suggested I contact Hospice. She is still in good spirits and
makes plans for the future. She has good days and bad days. Now I can tell
the Time is approaching. Do I tell her? She still thinks all the treatments
have cured her of the Cancer, But they told me that all her treatments were
Pallative Treatments only. I don't want to make her more depressed. Any Help-
info will be greatly appericated.

hunpot's picture
hunpot
Posts: 90
Joined: Nov 2008

Hospice is a great support system for her and yourself and the rest of family or friends. I would suggest if you havent to call them ASAP they can help you with many issues. They have social workers, pastors, greif support counselors, volunteers,24 hr night vigils toward the end if needed. They are there for support and will control her pain and symptoms they will come out everyday if needed, they have volunteers to help do errands, just sit with her for 10 min-3hrs if not longer if you needed a coffee break make a phone call, go to lunch, they are there to help and make things easeir for you and your family, they have homemakers to help with cleaning(so you can spend quality time with her and not worry about the home messy)they have grief counselors for after which will help you to go on and face what has happened.
My mom just passed away in Aug 08 at age 58 and some day prob next year i will be volunteering at the local hopsice to try to help others and be a support as i have been through this and see if my story can help others have hope and faith.

It is terrible thing to go through but to have outside support from people who have been through it extremly helps your feelings and worries and i believe makes things easier for us as caregivers to know what to expect and what to look for and what to do in that time. They will help you tell her and explain and make things seem all okay they were great with mom and she really liked her nurse alot she had faith and trust in the nurse and that always made her feel more comfortable and secure when she came over. Their goal os comfort and they strive to make sure every patient is comforatbale and not scared. It also gives them someone to talk to about their feers and worries that they do not want to tell you their caregiver. They tend to make things easier for us and not tell us there scared, worry and fears, my mom used to tell her nurse things that i never new but she told the nurse she didnt want to worry or bother me anymore because i was going through enough already. It gives them support and helps them to know things will be okay and im sure would make her feel better that yo uhave some help and support beacesu im sure she knows whats going on most are in denial at first and thats normal. But their may be things that she may want to do before it too late so i suggest if you dont want to tell her then you have her doctor or other family member or hopsice hel you. My mom wrote us all letters and gave them to a friend to give to us at her burial, we never new it. She made out birthday cards in advance for the ones she needed to. She wrote a letter to me with information on it that i would need to cancel differnt things for her and places to notify people to call, account numbers etcc. that i never would of thought of. She wanted to think ahead she was always prepared. I hope this may have helped.
I wish you nothing but the best and GOD BLESS YOU.

MR_SAD's picture
MR_SAD
Posts: 91
Joined: Nov 2008

I will take youe advice
Thanks again

dukeskid
Posts: 24
Joined: Jun 2006

There is a lot to be said for positive energy, but if your wife is going to lose the battle, at some point, you must tell her. I agree with others that there is much to be said about preparing for passing. Passing with SOME peace is worth so much. My father knew he was dying, and in much denial, and we kept it from him for months. Finally, he found out 2 months before he died that it was terminal. He wept. He was angry. His mind was too far gone from the chemo that we couldn't have the conversations with him we wanted. But we at least were able to talk to him about what was happening.

You must do best for your family. Only you can make the best decision. If it is better to keep it from her, that is what is best.

Peace -

Duke's kid

MR_SAD's picture
MR_SAD
Posts: 91
Joined: Nov 2008

Thanks for the Advice. I guess I will just put this decision off for a while.
I don't want to destroy her positive energy which she has a great deal of,She is a
tough, strong, Woman. Her attitude has been to think positive thru all of this
Thanks for your response. It helps hearing other peoples experiencies.

arbrab's picture
arbrab
Posts: 55
Joined: Nov 2007

I LOST MY HUSBAND TO LUNG CANCER IN 07. THE SATURDAY ( he passed away that tuesday) BEFORE HE PASSED AWAY, A DOCTOR ASKED IF ANYONE HAD EVER TOLD HIM HOW LONG HE HAD TO LIVE. I TOLD THE DOCTOR "NO, AND WE DON'T WANT TO KNOW". HE HAD ALWAYS BEEN IN GOOD SPIRITS, AND TO TAKE THAT AWAY FROM HIM WOULD HAVE TAKEN HIS LIFE SOONER THAN IT DID. WE KNEW HE WAS DYING AND THAT ALL THE TREATMENTS WERE DONE. I'M SURE YOUR WIFE KNOWS THE SAME THING, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO THE DOCTOR AS MUCH AS YOU WERE. SHE'S WELL AWARE OF HER FATE, ME PERSONALLY WOULDN'T WHAT HER TO GIVE UP ON LIFE. SHE MAY BE GOING, BUT WHY MAKE HER SAD. SHE IS HAPPY? IS SHE NOT. IF YOU REALLY FEEL GUILTY, THEN TELL HER. BUT I DO BELIEVE SHE ALL READY KNOWS. BE HAPPY WITH HER AND ENJOY THE REMAINING TIME WITH HER, HAPPY AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST WHILE YOU CAN

BARBRA

MR_SAD's picture
MR_SAD
Posts: 91
Joined: Nov 2008

Barbra
Thanks for your advice. I agree with you why make my wife sad by telling
her She only has a few months left. She is still in great spirits and is
trying to beat this Cancer. I was sad to hear about you!(Heart) how are you
getting along? how is your sister?
Take care of your self

arbrab's picture
arbrab
Posts: 55
Joined: Nov 2007

Well , I take one day at a time, don't fret the big stuff and trying to live life to the fullest. My sister probably has started her radiation and chemo again. She looked great at Thanksgiving, regardsless of what my brother said. Hey, she's going through chemo, what do they want. I give her POSITIVE ATTITUDE. She can beat this if she just doesn't give up hope. And the same goes for you too. Take Care of Yourself. We as caregivers seem to forget that we need to eat. Keep your Spirits up, and Hug your Wife. It will greatly help you both.
Thanks
barbra

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I could not disagree more with the general sentiment expressed in response to your question.

Let me start by stating that my wife is a nurse of longstanding at the hospital where my doctors do some time, and I tell you this with absolute conviction: if I found out that my doctors EVER gave her information about my situation without first telling me, without getting my permission, in fact, their butts would be in court and I would have lots of money to spend.

I find it unconscionable that doctors would provide you with information that they did not provide to the person they actually work for. In fact, I cannot believe it, unless your wife, their customer, is unable to process the information. You seem to indicate that is not the case, and I therefore find this to be an incredible tale.

If it happens to be so, then I would add the following: you are robbing your wife of the chance to enjoy her last days, regardless of how many there are, to the fullest. I do not think there is any doubt that knowledge of impending death increases our desire to spend our time more expeditiously, with those we love, doing the things we cherish most.

If my wife, or anyone, hid this sort of information from me and I discovered it, I would go to my grave a bitter and spiteful man. I do not think my wife would want that, and I do not think you want that either.

I do agree with another respondent who suggested that your wife knows. She probably knew before you. Frankly, she'd BETTER have known before you! The dishonesty, the obfuscation, is only robbing you of precious time, my friend.

I strongly suggest that you two have a talk and that you put your cards on the table, both of you, and that you then proceed to make the best of the time you have left, without pretense.

Knowledge, after all, is power. Together, openly, you can make this a better thing. And you never know...do not give up hope.

Take care,

Joe

MR_SAD's picture
MR_SAD
Posts: 91
Joined: Nov 2008

Thanks for your advice and opinion. I did want different points of view and you gave this
honestly. Thanks for your response

RE's picture
RE
Posts: 4606
Joined: Feb 2004

Hello Mr. Sad,

First let me say how sorry I am that you all have to go through this. Now that said in my opinion you truly should tell her as soon as is possible. I assisted in the care of my mom and my sister and both were well aware of the time they had left. They used this time to tie up loose ends, to express their feelings, to see things they wanted to see before leaving this world.

I myself have had cancer three times, the second time I was a stage four and knew time could be very limited. It really puts things into perspective and allowed me to determine what my priorities were. During good times I went to Mount Rushmore which had been a goal of mine. I also wrote down my thoughts and things I wanted my children to know, things I may have not been there to tell them. I was lucky I survivied that battle and am still here. But, had I gotten to a point that I would not have been able to do those things and realized others knew this was coming I would have been livid. I would have felt as if someone had stolen my last days and what I needed to do with them from me.
I realize this is very difficult for you, but your wife should know what the reality is.

Take Care,

RE

MR_SAD's picture
MR_SAD
Posts: 91
Joined: Nov 2008

Thanks for your response. Hope you have a Wonderful holiday

Rene446
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2009

I am a new member and I would like to share with you something that has bothered me for a few months. My sister was diagnosed with cancer in May of 08 a month after her 40th birthday. They spent the next few months finding that they could not figure out where the source of the cancer came from, but her liver was in the doctors words "like swiss cheese" meaning full of cancer that (matastasized?) from they dont know where. We did not accept that death was an issue and tried to keep fighting as the fight got so hard - and i don't mean each week - i mean a daily battle of er visits and life flights. She lost her battle on Sep 7th of 08 - just 4short months! Michelle (my sis) did talk of in case of her passing with each of the family members, but of couse said "i will never give up." Even though she fought (as did we) She did have 2 request that seemed almost impossible in the end. 1)to not know it was happening and 2)to not be in pain. She is the 7th of 8brothers and sisters. Me being the youngest and we have no parents. She was not married and had no children. My older sister was her caregiver and was faced with telling her the grim prognosis. She discussed this with me and it was hard to tell her, but she felt she had a right to know even though Michelle had been very strong and positive. Michelle of course cried and was mad and all kinds of emotions up to the very end.- But, she also got to have her "talks" with each of us and they all started with "you know im gonna fight this and we aren't giving up, but..." I am happy she had that chat with me and i know she was also. It seems like when it was her time to go, she slipped out of her mind all of a sudden and never came back to us. Thank goodness she was told so each and every one of us got our "special talk" (just in case she lost the battle) Hope this helps...We still have her website if you would like to check it out, it has daily/weekly journal entries and pics of her fight. She created it when she first got diagnosed and we updated it, sometimes with her telling us what to say. It is really a nice website. www.Michellesfight.com

MR_SAD's picture
MR_SAD
Posts: 91
Joined: Nov 2008

So sorry you lost your sister. I know it is a hard thing to lose a love one. Thanks for
your response.

Rene446
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2009

Just keep in mind that whatever you decide to do is right. You do what works for you and your family and have no regrets. Hope you get a chance to check out my sis's website, it is really informative. May peace be with you and your family

MR_SAD's picture
MR_SAD
Posts: 91
Joined: Nov 2008

Rene446
Thanks for your response. Un fortunately My Cathy passed away Dec.27th. She knew what was going on. She Just wanted to make it passed Christmas for our two sons, Which she did. Like your Sister she was a fighter. She keep a positive attitude all the way. The Cancer had just spread to too many of her organs before we relizied what was going on. If she had not had the Brain tumor We probably would have not known when we did. She had been walking around with lung cancer and cancer in her liver for at least a year the doctors said. It is so important for anyone that reads this post to get help as soon as possible. If a doctor tells you to wait and lets see if it grows find another doctor. The sooner you start fighting Cancer the better your chance of surviving. The doctors told my wife You have 6 months to Live. I should have right then got her into some kind of trial. When they tell you to go home and die, Do not except it. I just feel I did not do enough. Everyone kept tell us how grave our situation was. I guess i feel guilty for being the one still here.
Take care
MR. SAD

hollyberry's picture
hollyberry
Posts: 176
Joined: Nov 2008

Mr_Sad,
I am dx terminal, too, and like your wife, was hoping to have a nice Christmas with my family. I did and am so grateful to God that I actually had the energy to make a Turkey feast and give them all the gifts that they wanted ( via the internet, of course). My wonderful, amazing husband has helped me to get through all of this and, I can tell you truthfully, he is my rock like you were to your wife. I think I can speak for her in letting you know that everything you did for her was so appreciated, no matter how small. Even in her bad days when she couldn't speak or find the words to thank you, believe me , she appreciated everything!! You are in my prayers and on my hero list. Please take some time to take care of yourself now; you truly deserve it!
Much love to you,
Hollyberry

MR_SAD's picture
MR_SAD
Posts: 91
Joined: Nov 2008

Thank you so much. Please be strong, Eat as much as you can everyday and hang in there. Try any thing and never give up. Cathy was a real fighter like I know you are. I miss her so. I am glad your husband is with you and helping you. It is real Hard for me now that my best freind is gone. I just take one day at a time. I will say a prayer for you and your husband.
Your friend
Mr sad

hollyberry's picture
hollyberry
Posts: 176
Joined: Nov 2008

Dear Sad, I wish that I could find the words to comfort you during this very difficult time for you and your boys; please try to remember how much your wife loved you and the kids and that she is still watching over all of you. There can be no other way; why would God give us such a deep love for each other and then not allow it to continue. I know you are lonely for her and trying to comfort the kids is very difficult right now, but remember that she is a part of your children and you will always see a part of her when you look at your children. She left you that gift as a reminder of her love for you.My husband will see me in my daughter's eyes and in my son's sense of humor; I know that God will let me watch over them as sure as I know He will do the same for your wife. Please take some comfort in that.
I am trying hard to stay as long as I can for my family, doing a clinical trial and trying to take care of myself; it's getting harder but, my husband and kids make it better everyday just by the little things they do for me- getting me some tea or watching a movie with me. These are moments I cherish, as I am sure your wife did, too. You did so much for her, and I want so much for you to be at peace.
Take care my friend-
Love,
Hollyberry

Rene446
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2009

I am so sorry for your loss. It is hard.....so hard. I know. Just take it day by day. You will be in my thoughts. I belive this website will help. Its good to share with others and to know your not alone. Unfortunately, cancer has touched us all. What a thing to have in common! As different as we all may be..its strange how the way we feel is so similar in this situation. Peace be with you - and your family

MR_SAD's picture
MR_SAD
Posts: 91
Joined: Nov 2008

You are right Rene446 If it was not for this site I would be in real trouble. I try to take it one day at a time and slowly things are getting better. It is unfortunate that we all had to have such a terrible thing like Cancer in common. But having my friends on this site has made it bearable. If we all put our Thoughts and Prayers together I think some how we all can make a difference. Take care and thanks for your reply!

dukeskid
Posts: 24
Joined: Jun 2006

Mr. Sad,

I am so sorry for your loss. You did everything right. After my dad died, we too questioned = should we have changed doctors, did we find out early enough. were there other treatments? You cannot beat yourself up for not addressing a cancer you or your wife didn't Dad died when he was ready and we did everything we could. The cancer took him - not the doctors, the care, or us.

Cathy made it to Christmas. That was a wonderful gift for all of you. What a fighter.

Take care -

Duke's kid.

MR_SAD's picture
MR_SAD
Posts: 91
Joined: Nov 2008

Thanks for your reply. There have been many times I have felt the same way as you said. Did I do enough to keep her alive, Should I have put her on artificial nutrition, were there other doctors I should have contacted. God took my Cathy when he was ready. He gave her what she wanted, To have a Last christmas with her husband and boys. She had such a great smile on her face as she watched them open there presents on christmas day. I will never forget this past Christmas as long as I live. She is at peace now, with no suffering or pain. Take Care my friend.

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