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Who really knows how long you will live?

kado4
Posts: 80
Joined: Jul 2011

Good evening all...I am just frusrated this evening..its been brewing for a few days...my dad is 77 yrs old with stage 3a non small cell lung cancer.I am so upset with some doctors who say he has 18mo to live, then I hear possibly 2 years to live,once I heard 12 months w/o treatment.My dad,mom,husband and myself have been through hell since June of this year.He has endured chemo and radiation concurently, then some chemo alone after the radiation,which according to my dad was worse..higher dosing,etc..fatigue,loss of appetite,now he's losing his hair/thinning.For once, I would like to hear we really don't know...who really knows....I believe in God.I've been told,doctor's treat and God heals,my aunt sybil told me god makes the crooked path straight, and I believe her.My dad has completed his therapy for now, and his pet is clean for now.I just long to hear some positive words.My dad is strong.not weak.Stronger than many,including myself in many ways.I am tired,emotionally and physically.I just am not happy anymore.I give you all so much credit for being strong caregivers, and/or cancer patients/survivors.Doctors mean well, but ...who really knows......Thanks for letting me express myself in this forum...

Goodnite,Kado.

DrMary's picture
DrMary
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2010

On the H&NC list, I mentioned that I once thought (as a kid) I would die by now, as cancer seemed to run in my family. As I got older, medical science progressed and we found out that none of my relatives had cancer (except my father, whose brain cancer was not genetically-based) but either a misdiagnosis or a genetic kidney cyst disease (which I did not inherit, I recently found out).

So, there I was, doomed to live into my 90s easily, with a husband who had cancer. Interesting turn of events.

He is currently clean, but no one will venture a guess as to his life expectancy. I wish someone would reassure me that we'd be together for a long time, but I know they can't.

However - I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Any of us could - we just don't think about it, unless something like the big C makes us realize we are all mortal.

I understand your frustration - I hope your father stays healthy and is able to enjoy each day, no matter how many he has. And, likewise, I hope you get some rest and are able to enjoy each day with him. You don't need a doctor's assurance for that.

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2019
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Kado,

I agree with DrMary - any one of us could get hit by a bus tomorrow.
In my case, it will probably be a 1960's VW bus full of retired hippies
on their way to relive "Woodstock" and the last thing I'll hear is
"Groovy" or "Far out, man" :).

From what you have stated, your dad has done very well with his treatments
and I'm so glad his PET scan was clean. These are things I celebrate and
am thankful for.

It ticks me off when I read the doctors said he/she has "X months to live".
They might as well be saying "Hope has 18 months to live" or killing hope
itself. I can tell you without doubt, read a few posts here and
you'll find hope is alive and well in these parts :).

Some good advice I've read here is take things one day at a time, sometimes
even one moment at a time. You've reached a milestone in your journey
in that your dad has finished therapy and has a clean scan.

I know how hard this has been for you guys. Maybe it's a good time to
give yourselves a much needed break from cancer.

Thanks for sharing with us and you guys are welcome here anytime.
Please keep us posted on your dad's progress as well as yours.

Big hugs and hang in there!

Jim

I found this quote and decided to paste it not that it's incredibly profound
but it's from Steve Jobs:

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Steve Jobs

catwink22's picture
catwink22
Posts: 239
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Kado,
So many people get hung up on the "number", the "statistics", the "chances", the "odds", but they are just that.

I was writing on another post and realized these doctors are like the weatherman. They "forecast" the weather (life expectancy) and guess what? Most of the time they're WRONG. Granted, they make their best educated guess and maybe we take it as an exact science.

But another thing to consider is, is that what we're looking for? Did we ask "how much time do I (they) have?" Is it something we want to know? Yes and no. We want to know "how much time" so we can plan, prioritize and savor every moment, but we don't want a number stuck on our forehead.

Can we have it both ways? Yes. If we think of it as a warning or a guide to get things in order and not an exact limit. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Hope you have less frustration, but know this is the place to let it out.
Cat

LilChemoSmoker's picture
LilChemoSmoker
Posts: 192
Joined: Oct 2011

Hey Cat!

Forecasting they are, but that is precisely what they were taught to do. That is why they call it "practicing medicine". They are doing their job and every single one of them are limited to seeing through their own lenses. We have to look through our own looking glasses and see what we can to navigate through the maze called Cancer. I am a statistic of one and can only represent my journey. I am individual and I am standing in my space. Live each day with intention, and prioritize your efforts carefully and mindfully. Each milestone (like reaching the end of treatment and receiving a clean scan) is a reason to celebrate and re-prioritize. As I have pointed out several times before, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, yesterday is passed, and all we have is NOW. Go rejoice for your NOW.

Love to all!
-Michelle

catwink22's picture
catwink22
Posts: 239
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Michelle!
I agree with your "statistic of one"! I am more than a number or a percentage, because you never know which part of the percentage you will be in so I don't label myself, but there are people who take those numbers to heart.

Oh wouldn't I love to "Live each day with intention, and prioritize your efforts carefully and mindfully", but sadly I get derailed with work, taking care of the house and yard, raising children and grandchildren, keeping relationships on track, make sure the cars are running, the bills, and on it goes, and being a little bit of a procrastinator lol (or maybe having too much on my plate?).

What I was trying to say is that the doctors are doing what WE ask. We ask "how much time" because for some of us it's a kick in the pants to live each day. Not because we didn't want to, but because we got wrapped up in life and forgot to pick our heads up and look around. They give us their best estimate based on their "lenses" or knowledge and we shouldn't be upset with them if they're wrong. It's a warning to not take for granted the time we MIGHT have, because we would all regret that.

Like the weatherman (or woman), they can't possibly KNOW what is going to happen, but on some days you better be carrying your umbrella!

Love back at ya!
Cat

ddpekks's picture
ddpekks
Posts: 162
Joined: Sep 2011

But, shouldn't we always live our life as if today is the last? Shouldn't we get things in order; be extra kind to others; go the extra mile to complete our bucket list?

No, I don't, of course. In an ideal world I would, but a trip to Zambia is out of the question right now, and my will consist of credit card debt and a mortgage I'm leaving my poor children (LOL). I try to be kind but just B!@*h slapped a co-worker for goofing off. I, like Jim, will probably get run over by a hippie VW bus because they were singing "....this is the dawning of the age of Aquarius, Aquarius, Aquarrriiiuussss...."

Doctors don't know and like the weatherman, are just guessing. Drs can only use statistics to scare us into doing what they think we should do and everyone knows that that is not a science....it's law of averages.

Enjoy your Dad while he feels good. Make as many memories as you can. But, take care of yourself in the meantime. Come here to talk it out where you will get a multitude of support.

Deb

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2019
Joined: Aug 2011

LOL, Deb. Gosh, I haven't thought of that song in a long time or Marilyn McCoo and
the 5th Dimension. Ah, I was so young then (mabye 12/13?).

Now the physicists think there are at least 11 dimensions - which totally fascinates
me - that, black holes and multiple universes. Topics for another time...

Anway, for those who'd like a "trip" down memory lane:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjxSCAalsBE

"Peace out",

Jim

janack's picture
janack
Posts: 4
Joined: Sep 2011

Hi
can I but in here I have been lurking for a short while.
My wife was diagnosed two years ago with overian stage 4 cancer after year & half remission
it returned and curently on doxil everey 4 weeks, which does not seem to be working.She was told by her doctor today that it is not certain she will be able to continue with the treatment.Apart from alternitve dimensions does any one know of a diffrent treatment?She thinks she only a few months left and I have no idea what I can do to help.
By the way my spelling is B***dy awfull becuase of dyslexea and my emotional input is flawed due to autism and I couldent find a new thread to put this post I am lost help
all the best Janack

ddpekks's picture
ddpekks
Posts: 162
Joined: Sep 2011

If you will click on "Discussion Boards" on the left of this thread, cancer specific titles will open up. Click on "Ovarian Cancer" and post your question there. I don't know anything about that subject, but there are many people there that do. They will gladly help you.

Then come back here to the caregivers board and tells us your problems, blow off steam, or just say hello. We are here to support one another through some really rough times as caregivers. And we don't care how you spell it ..... we will figure it out together.

Hugs to you, Janack, and welcome.

Deb

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2019
Joined: Aug 2011

"Amen" to what Deb said.
There are wonderful people here.

Sending positive thoughts and energy to you and
your wife.

Big hugs,

Jim

janack's picture
janack
Posts: 4
Joined: Sep 2011

hi all
thank you for your support
I am finding things a bit tough and trying to come to terms with the situation.true I don't know weather to scream , cry, or feel sorry for myself (I do feel very sorry for my wife) I know I should be doing something but what? I am totaly clueless,impotent and to feebleminded to think what, I suppose I should talk to my rabbi but not being religuos (atheist) and living out in the sticks (the sheep dont understand)I am truly on my own
all the best janack

LilChemoSmoker's picture
LilChemoSmoker
Posts: 192
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi Janack,

I have taken the liberty to copy and paste your post in the Ovarian board in hopes that someone from there may be able to reach out to you. I hope that you can get some of the answers you are looking for. Best to both of you!

Regards,
Michelle

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