When is it OK to throw in the towel?

The last few months have been rough. I never once thought about giving up or throwing in the towel. But when do I draw the line? If things don't work out next week I will quickly become a burden to my wife and son. My 4 year old now knows that I am sick. He asks me everyday how I'm feeling. I don't want to leave him with those negative memories. Is it possible that my resolve to stay alive has now become a negative for my son? My sons mental state is really all I'm concerned about at this point in my life. I've done my best to shield him from all that as happened and he was oblivious until recently. Perhaps I'm doing the wrong thing by drawing this battle out as long as I have. Any thoughts?
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Comments

  • ktlcs
    ktlcs Member Posts: 358
    Only you
    Can make that decision. My husband decided not to fight anymore and passed in July. As painful as that was for me, I supported his decision all the way, but it was his decision. I miss him every minute but I don't miss watching him struggle to stay alive for me.

    You do what is right for you and your family, but mostly for yourself
  • AnneCan
    AnneCan Member Posts: 3,673
    That is tough
    John,

    It sounds like your son is very caring + loves you. He wants you around. Perhaps your illness is teaching him compassion + you are showing him that you want to be with him + what it means to fight. You have had a rough few months + it sounds like you are feeling a little better; he will see this. This disease is tough, + we all want to protect our kids. Mine are older (17 + 22) but I still wish I could protect them from this. I am trying to show them life is worth fighting for and they + their Dad are worth fighting for. You are fighting in a way that any child would be proud of.
  • ktlcs
    ktlcs Member Posts: 358
    Only you sorry double post
    Can make that decision. My husband decided not to fight anymore and passed in July. As painful as that was for me, I supported his decision all the way, but it was his decision. I miss him every minute but I don't miss watching him struggle to stay alive for me.

    You do what is right for you and your family, but mostly for yourself
  • have2believe
    have2believe Member Posts: 134
    only you can make that decision
    I'm really sorry to hear that you are having a rough time. Treatments take on a physical toll, but I sometimes think it can't compare to emotional roller coaster one deals mentally. Have you talked to your doctor about various treatment options? Also, they have some very effective drugs out there to deal with pain. I honestly don't think that your resolve to stay alive can affect your son negatively. I was 8 when my dad died of cancer. I remember his smile, his love and affection, his determination. And his memory still lives on through stories my mom and my relatives tell me.

    You can never be wrong for fighting to live. And you can never be wrong for feeling vulnerable.

    My best wishes to you.

    - Lana
  • Buzzard
    Buzzard Member Posts: 3,043 Member
    Yes, I have thoughts.......
    What is a Marine and how is he trained?..Can a Marine be anything or any good to anyone if he is not around ?
    John Nimmons, you are a Marine, you risk your life for our country, you took an oath that you would serve your country at any cost to keep our nation free. You have the ability to decide what your fate is, you are a great,wise, caring individual, one that I admire just for the opportunity to be around you and listen to your honest, earnest, messages to your friends here.
    You also have a family that even if you are sick, everyday is another memory for them. He sees the fight in you, the same fight in you that he sees will serve him well someday, for I am sure he is his fathers son, and you wouldn't have it any other way, as he wouldn't. Your wife wants you to be here for as long as possible because each day on this earth is a blessing in itself, good health or bad health, it is a blessing.
    You will never become a burden to your wife and son. You married each other until death do us part, good bad or ugly, until death do you part. Put the shoe on the other foot..would you want her to stop because she was becoming a burden to you ?
    I watched my father die....but I also watched a man that was as strong as any mountain could be, become as weak as a kitten, and at that time was most likely the best times of my life, you see he was finished with trying to live and beat cancer, but he was there and slowed down enough so that I could actually begin to start to know the dad that I had lived around for 37 years but never knew because he always had things to do or work or drinking.
    So, John Nimmons, you will never become a burden to your family, just make sure that you let your son know that you may get sicker before you get better, and that you may (if you believe) see Heaven and be there when he gets there to pick up right where you left off. He will remember all of that as I do my father. My first kiss on my fathers cheek was when I was 37 years old and he was dying and I told him I loved him just before he passed away and he told me that he loved me too......I will never, ever, forget that day. It wasn't because he was pale,fragile, and sick. But because that was the day that my dad had the biggest hand in me becoming a man, he passed his love onto me and told me to take care of the family for him....
    John, I had a great friend an elder of our church pass away last night. I was called by his daughter today and was asked if I would be a Pallbearer for him, that he asked for me because he wants me to be OK with my disease and he took me under his wing as an elder and taught me right from wrong...I spoke with him in church Sunday, I told him that his journey would be a good one and asked him if he would tell my dad hi and I love him when he got there, and he said that he would.
    You have every right to decide your fate, as he did, he decided to go home and not do dialysis and become a burden to his family, and I respect that, but his family is grown and have families of their own...
    You ask for thoughts, and I will never be afraid to speak with someone if they asked because you never know when you might say just the right thing to reassure them that they need to really think about their thoughts more aggressively. In your situation John, Im like you I would not want my family to suffer, but then they should have a say in this decision also because it affects all of you.....My wife knows that there is no DNR for me. If I go, I go and that's it. If Im in surgery and something goes south then it just goes south. I even had a talk with my last surgeon to the effect that if something went wrong and my pulse stopped could I deny that it be started again...Hmm, I will never forget the look, and I will never ask the question again either.
    I don't believe in luck John, but I do believe in a mans right to make his own decisions and be justified in them whatever they may be...No matter what decision you make, I have and will always be admirable of you, in your manner, self esteem, and what you did for all of us here to keep us free.....whether you believe or not from me to you, God Bless you young man..............Clift
  • geotina
    geotina Member Posts: 2,111
    Ummmmmmm..
    When you look in the mirror, I mean really look, and say I've had enough, then you quit, but not before.

    I told my George from the start of this journey, that when he looks at me and says, I've had enough, no more, then I will not ask him to continue.

    His prognosis at diagnosis was about as dismal as it gets, no one had to say the words, the medical reports spoke volumes. Well, here we are, in March it will be 2 years. He doesn't want to quit at all so I am there 100%. If he tells me no more, then I am there 100% for that also.

    Make some memories for your son, for his future, a video diary, he will treasure it.



    Hugs - Tina
  • pepebcn
    pepebcn Member Posts: 6,331
    geotina said:

    Ummmmmmm..
    When you look in the mirror, I mean really look, and say I've had enough, then you quit, but not before.

    I told my George from the start of this journey, that when he looks at me and says, I've had enough, no more, then I will not ask him to continue.

    His prognosis at diagnosis was about as dismal as it gets, no one had to say the words, the medical reports spoke volumes. Well, here we are, in March it will be 2 years. He doesn't want to quit at all so I am there 100%. If he tells me no more, then I am there 100% for that also.

    Make some memories for your son, for his future, a video diary, he will treasure it.



    Hugs - Tina

    Hi my friend John , I don't think you are a burden
    to your family but the opposite , if you would ask your son , what do you think would be his answer?.
    I'm sure you know it , Hang there my friend do it for him!
    Hugs!
  • Lovekitties
    Lovekitties Member Posts: 3,364 Member
    Only you can know
    You mention that your son's mental state is really all you are concerned about and that you want to shield him. Yet if you fight on and end up losing or if you give up now, isn't it all the same in his life?

    You will no longer be there.
    He will remember that you were very ill.

    As much as we want to spare our loved ones from the fallout of this disease, it just isn't possible...because they love us.

    Before you consider throwing in the towel, at least write some letters to your son so that as he grows older he will have those special words of advice and love from you.

    In the mean time, just cherish every moment with him.

    Hugs,

    Marie who loves kitties
  • pete43lost_at_sea
    pete43lost_at_sea Member Posts: 3,900
    only after your son has learned chess, surfed, kissed and gradua
    hi john,

    glad you shared your question and sorry you have to ask it.

    if its bearable, stick around. as long as you can smile, tickle, hug and love your son and wife.

    you will know the truth in your heart, but meditate and consider.

    my family drives my desire to live, i thought i'd share why i love my life cancer and all'

    so my wife runs our business and is out nights, so i am full time cancer dad carer.

    i cannot have serious chemo complications as who will pickup the kids from school ?

    after school, every arvo i take them swimming lessons and i do laps, i am really feeling stronger. aiming for 40 laps tomorrow. my son keith 5 years old. holds on to my rash shirt and gets towed while i do laps. he says up, i stay up. he says down and i take for a little dolphin ride. my daughter races against me and wins ( she cheats and uses fins )

    we jump in the car wet go home getted showered and dressed for dinner.
    we walk the dogs down to tepanyaky japanese 15 minutes away. mel skates and keith scooters. i walk more exercise for me. we all have fast and tasty and healthy dinner. walk home.

    at home brush teeth, prayers, jump into the kingsize all of us. and play chess boys against girl. my son can almost player and my daughter almost beat me. we all read the complete rules of chess had a pillow fight and went to sleep.

    i would have to be in an inconceivable amount of pain to consider leaving my wife and kids.

    i would miss you if you throw in the towel and hope we can be dads on the forum for a long time to come but respect your right to choose your care decisions.

    prayers for you and your son , wife and family,

    pete
  • tootsie1
    tootsie1 Member Posts: 5,044 Member
    So strong
    John,

    You've been so strong for so long, and you've reached a point of vulnerability, where you are wondering if there is a positive in it or not. I think if you're still capable of having good conversations with your wife and son, it would be sad to think of taking that away from them.

    Don't rush into any decision. Give yourself (and your loved ones) more time to see whether the positive outweighs the negative.

    *hugs*
    Gail
  • Nana b
    Nana b Member Posts: 3,030
    tootsie1 said:

    So strong
    John,

    You've been so strong for so long, and you've reached a point of vulnerability, where you are wondering if there is a positive in it or not. I think if you're still capable of having good conversations with your wife and son, it would be sad to think of taking that away from them.

    Don't rush into any decision. Give yourself (and your loved ones) more time to see whether the positive outweighs the negative.

    *hugs*
    Gail

    Me - never.
    Never. My kids would rather the memory of me sick, and in my bed, then to quit.
    As long as I can give them a hug, I will never quit.
  • TMac52
    TMac52 Member Posts: 352
    Stick it out John.
    You still have a lot of good memories to create for your boy an your wife and any other loved one in your life but espeacially your son. He knows your a tough SOB, OOH RAH, he knows you love him. But I know he doesnt want you to give up yet. You are way too important to him. I have two boys and they hate to see me sick but they would rather see me sick than in a box being waked. I dont know your entire story and maybe i should just keep my opinion to myself. but I just hate to see anyone give up to this rotten disease. I am going to pray for you and I hope you make the right decision for you (whatever that may be)
    only you know when enough is enough. SEMPER FI Tom (marine 1978-81)
  • LivinginNH
    LivinginNH Member Posts: 1,456
    Oh John, you've made me cry.
    Oh John, you've made me cry. Speaking as a devoted caregiver, please don't ever give up! Please stay strong - your loving wife and darling child need you - now more than ever before. They need to see your strength, continue to feel your unending love, and most of all to simply be with you each and every day. Think of all the wonderful things that you can teach your son from the time the sun rises and until it sets! You can cuddle up to enjoy his favorite storybook, or tell him stories of your childhood - he will always remember these memories of his Dad, and smile fondly. This will help him, not hurt him. And you are NOT a burden John, you are not a burden. You are adored by your family, and I know that they would want you to fight - just to spend one more blessed day with them... I wish that I could give you a big hug... Luv to you and your family, Big Hugs (()) Cynthia
  • lisa42
    lisa42 Member Posts: 3,625
    It wears you out doesn't it
    Hi John,

    As the others have said, that's a decision you have to make. I know it must be so wearing and tiring and painful to see that your son is now aware of you being ill. He already has the awareness, so now he'll be all the more aware of you trying to fight. I fully believe that him having memory of you as long as possible trying to fight is much better than vague memories of you at just age 4 and under. You've got to keep trying so that his memory of you goes beyond age 4, right?! I know you must be weary, but I believe you still have it in you!

    Take care John,
    Lisa
  • HollyID
    HollyID Member Posts: 946
    John T....
    I have to only echo what everyone else said. Only you can choose when that time is. I totally don't want to think about anyone giving up, but I would totally respect anyone that does. It's a personal choice that every one of us cancer patients make. Do we or don't we?

    At four years of age, I wouldn't worry too much about his mental state. Keep talking to him age appropriately so he'll understand. I think it's when parents try to hide something they start to suspect something is up and then they start to worry and then I can see some negativity from that.

    John, I so admire you and your fight.

    Love and many Hugs,

    Holly
  • herdizziness
    herdizziness Member Posts: 3,624
    When it is time
    When you have nothing left to give, when you have no wisdom to impart, when you can say "Goodbye, I wish you well" without a tear in your eye, when you know you cannot travel the long road anymore, only then, can you say goodbye. And John, if that time has come, then no one will wish you ill, only "Good trip, my friend, good speed on your journey".
    I have the feeling you're not there yet, but who am I, but a stranger weighing in on your life from a far distance. What matters most is your family, your son, his memories. If you are ill and those are memories you worry about that he is left with, he's too young to even remember that for very long. Which I guess is why we encourage you to try a bit longer, to give him memories of his Dad to cling to. His Mom, can always fill him in on the aspects of your life with him, but only you can provide the physical memories, even if it's tossing him a ball when your laying on the couch, or quiet moments reading him a book, a kiss on his head, or a whispered "I love you".
    I have no right to interfer, I wish you the best always. I guess I'm just not ready for you to give up, and I'm a stranger, I wonder how your family feels?
    John, the decision is yours, it always will be yours, and yours alone.
    We care, and shall always care.
    Winter Marie
  • jararno
    jararno Member Posts: 186
    John
    Wow! This is a hard question that we all face. I think that it is a question that only you can answer. Being human we all have those times when we feel that there is no point or purpose to go on. Cancer really makes us so much more vulnerable to these thoughts.

    As humans we are selfish....we don't want to lose our loved ones, but the reality is that sometimes we have no choice. You have been trying as hard as any man can to beat this disease, be there for your family and try to make the right choices. Mentally, physically, spiritually you have been through it all. You have the strength and willpower to "keep on keepin on"!

    As far as your son, your journey is "normal" in his eyes. He is very young.. each day is a new adventure to him. Be as up front with him as you can about what is going on. I think hiding the truth is more harmful and in all honesty trying to shield a child from everything makes it more scary for him. ( They catch on pretty quickly anyway even if they don't say a word ) Let him "help" with your care....make sure that he knows that he is important by sharing in your life ( good or bad ).

    I grew up with cancer being hidden from the world. An unspoken word. The big "C". The secretive nature of it all was probably worse than the disease itself. Being open, upfront and honest with your son and wife is the best advice I can give.

    I am hoping that you are there for all of the milestones in your son's life, but remember that your life lessons now will help guide him throughout his journey.

    Will be thinking about you and hoping for the best.

    Take Care,

    Barb
  • kluong
    kluong Member Posts: 23
    It's never ok
    We also have young children. We have two boys (8 years old and 7 mos baby). I do know this. A day spent with the kids beats spending it in a box. When it is all said and done, your son will only remember your laughter, kindness and love. He will not remember this disease and all its ugliest. My husband has been in the hospital for about 75% of the time since he has been dx in Nov '09. I shuttle the kids back and forth from the hospital and home. My oldest son hates it when he has to come to the hospital to see his daddy but I make him go because I know one day we will look back and remember these trips.

    Hang in there and know you are not alone.
  • kersha
    kersha Member Posts: 63
    I am a caregiver for my
    I am a caregiver for my husband stage IV cc mets to liver and lung. I know that at times this cancer knocks you down but as long as there is life in you, you have to fight. I know ultimately it is your choice and your wife would honor your wishes, but deep down if she is like most of us caregivers and I am sure she is, she would rather you to be around no matter what and she would take good care of you and not think you are a burden, because our loved ones are never a burden no matter how difficult things get. So keep strong.
  • tanstaafl
    tanstaafl Member Posts: 1,299 Member
    Maybe not, we "home launder"
    We use the University of Kansas IVC protocol, faxed free directly to our doctor, 3-5x a week, along with advanced nutrition. Many are happy, stabilized at once or twice IVC per week long term, with large oral supplement. No, IVC didn't "cure the cancer" although many circulating colonies and tumor mass have been diminished or delayed. Certainly doing a lot better than a big regional honcho said he could promise for a fraction of a million, assuming 2-3 tx series. For many, the big deal is fast tissue recovery, active functionality, energy and fast pain relief even starting from agony.

    We have been able to maintain continuous chemo this way, including reversing onset mucositis that did require a slight change of the (pro)5FU chemo cocktail's formulation.

    IVC is a small nuisance when things are going well, but a boon and a great pain killer when things get rough. My wife threw away her morphine drip, most of the big IV bag for 5-6 days supply, after colon surgery with the first ascorbate infusion. And then checked out of the hospital two days early, and walked to the mall. Since we are buying supplies direct, foreign wholesale and bulk, we spend less than $6 per infusion on generic supplies (approaching 200 infusions). If really pressed, with a sterilizer for sterile water and recycling disposable parts once, ~$3 of supplies, but $20-25 wholesale may be more typical. The big committment points are basic aseptic technique and IV insertion. We have been blessed with an available, IV ready geriatric nurse, and a supportive doctor.

    The published, early predecessors to the U Kansas protocol have documented that it has been possible to maintain high activity and quality of life up to within the last 2-3 days when actual critical organ/circulatory failure occurred, due to tumor burden, long after the previous "expiration date(s)". Our doctor claims several advanced pancreatic cancer patients (all his IVC pancreatic tx), after exhaustion of prior chemo, had immediate (first infusion) pain relief. We think that IVC is a leap forward in supportive and adjunctive care.