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When is it OK to throw in the towel?

snommintj's picture
snommintj
Posts: 602
Joined: Mar 2009

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?

ktlcs's picture
ktlcs
Posts: 360
Joined: Jan 2010

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

ktlcs's picture
ktlcs
Posts: 360
Joined: Jan 2010

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
Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

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.

have2believe
Posts: 135
Joined: Dec 2010

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's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

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

C Dixon
Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2010

I like this very much. Amen to it, Buzz.

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

Fight the good Fight! That was one of the many lessons you learned from the military. Coming off of the chemo to have a better life, is not a bad choice. Keep the strength for your family, this is the lessson they will remember from you.
Best Always, mike

geotina's picture
geotina
Posts: 2120
Joined: Oct 2009

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's picture
pepebcn
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

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's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3348
Joined: Jan 2010

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's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

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's picture
tootsie1
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

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's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

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's picture
TMac52
Posts: 358
Joined: Aug 2010

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's picture
LivinginNH
Posts: 1458
Joined: Apr 2010

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's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

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's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

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

tanstaafl's picture
tanstaafl
Posts: 1292
Joined: Oct 2010

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.

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

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's picture
jararno
Posts: 189
Joined: May 2010

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
Posts: 23
Joined: Nov 2010

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
Posts: 63
Joined: Jul 2009

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.

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Hey John,

You've gotten a lot of thoughts and opinions for what is a very tough question, especially out on a public forum. It makes us all look at the question and wonder how we are going to answer... are we going to answer the question with regards to YOUR situation and how we think YOUR situation should be handled, or are we going to use OUR own situation to answer your question. There are way too many emotions involved.

I could tell you it's your choice, if you feel you just can't fight anymore, then you are the one who has the right to make that choice and everyone else should be supportive of that right. On the other hand, I could tell you no, you don't have that right because ever since you became a father and have brought this incredible young life into this world, you have to be around to give him everything he needs to remember the love and strength of his father. When the time comes that you are not around, he should not be left wondering, "Who was my father and what was he like?" 4 years old right now is still very young and so much of what he sees/hears today he is not going to remember... although there will always be "memories" back to his very first one, whatever that may be. I think my first memory that I can recall, I was about 5 or 6... pre school, but not very much... yet I'm sure a lot of why I am who I am today was because of my childhood from age 1-5. That is such an important age for development, even if we, as adults don't remember it

Ok, so all of the above could be pure bs... after all, who am I to give advice on parents and children? I don't have a child. If ever I have to come to making this same decision that you are thinking about, whatever my decision is, it won't be based on a biological or adopted child because I don't have one. So my reasoning and thinking will probably be totally different than what you are having to ponder. I'm not a wife or spouse, so I also don't have any idea what it would be like to be in your wife's shoes and what she is feeling about this whole situation.

Am I anywhere close to assuming that you have had this same discussion with your wife and gotten her feelings and opinions on it? Has she said, "Yes, John... you are such a burden, and I don't want our son to get used to an ill father is such a cramp in our lifestyle." Something tells me, she hasn't indicated that in any discussion you may have had with her. From the pictures you have shown us of your family, she is a beautiful woman and your son is absolutely adorable. In the long run, obviously looks mean nothing, but when I've seen your pictures I see a very happy family who obviously love each other... and to lose a member is going to change the dynamics drastically for everyone who remains.

So what you are deciding has way more impact than just, "Well my suffering will be over and my wife and child will be relieved of the constant caring they've had to do". Perhaps having you around is way more important to them than the care that comes with keeping you around. Maybe the caring is a gift that your wife is more than happy to give to you to show she loves you... so do you really want to spurn that gift?

Like I say... I have no degrees, no experience and no children/spouse to be giving you any kind of advice. I'm just responding to your very personal question that affects all of us. To tell you the truth, I still don't know when the time is that I will even have to think about it. I've had a rough week with this new chemo, but as rotten as it was, there was never a nano-second that I thought maybe I should give up... maybe this is just not worth it. I know there will be another good day, good week, good month... the sun is going to come out again just as much as the rain, wind and snow.

I sincerely hope you get some peace knowing that we all are behind you... whatever you choose to do.

Cheryl

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

I do not know all you are going through and your journey has been different than mine. I can understand having those feelings John but how would you rather have your son remember you? As a strong Dad who was there for him as long as he could be or as someone who quits when the going gets tough?
I think YOU know the answer to that one.

Unless you are carrying on with the "woe is me" stuff and being dramatic about being ill (which I really doubt is the case) I think you are setting a good example for your son.
It's all part of life, there are good times and bad times and I think that kids learn a lot from everything. What he will not learn anything from is from you quitting.

donnare
Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2009

John,

I am a cargiver to my husband, who was also a marine, and who has also expressed his fear of becoming a burden to me and our daughters. Of course, as everyone has told you, it is your decision, and I understand your fears for your son. But, I can say as a caregiver, wife, and mom that Brian (my husband) will never be a burden to us -- NEVER -- no matter how this goes, no matter how rough it gets. I'm pretty sure your family feels the same way. This disease, as awful and unfair as it is, has brought us so close as a family, and we want him to stay with us for as long as we are blessed and privileged to have him - no matter how bad it gets. I understand how tired you must be -- I see it sometimes in my husband's eyes and he hasn't been fighting that long, and of course I would rather he be healthy. But honestly John, but these past 22 months, as tough, scary and heartbreaking as they have been, have also been beautiful for what they have enabled us to share together. We might never have gotten to this place had it not been for this illness. Those are the memories my daughters and I will have, and cherish forever -- his spirited fight, his sense of humor, his wisdom, his courage, his warmth and love, his vulnerability, and I guess ultimately, if things take a turn for the worse, his example of how to die -- regardless of how bad it gets.

Please talk to your wife about this -- let her know how you are feeling. As a wife and caregiver, I would want to know so I could reassure my husband that I signed on for the "good and the bad, in sickness and in health", and that every day with him is a good day for me, as well as our girls.

I wish you peace in your heart John, and I am praying for miracles of healing for everyone on this board and everyone fighting this disease.
Donna

christinecarl's picture
christinecarl
Posts: 545
Joined: Sep 2009

I know we all have our own end point, when that time comes I hope to bow out with as much dignity and grace that I can (or that I have left.)

That being said I never wanted my mom to stop fighting, I think she fought as long as she did because of me. When she told me her Onc said there was nothing more they could do, a piece of me died that day. I do not think your family wants you to stop fighting, but they do not want to see you suffer either, sometimes you can't have both. What ever your choice is, do it because it is right for you, since you are the only one that can keep fighting and the only one that knows when to stop.

My prayers go out to you and your family.

dasspears
Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009

I don't have any great insight or words for you but I bet that since you are asking this question that you are not ready.

sfmarie's picture
sfmarie
Posts: 605
Joined: Aug 2009

Don't give up! Your family loves you too much, and no, you are not a burden. I see my neice miss her mom every day. She was also 4 when my sister passed away. She loved her mom and despite the bitter end, saw her mom as this wonderful loving caring person and never once thought she was soo sick she would soon leave her. Kids don't see you that way. They see their dad that they want to hold onto forever.
Hugs and more hugs.

chicoturner's picture
chicoturner
Posts: 285
Joined: Apr 2009

As I read your post it reminded me that I have felt the same way. I don't want to be a burden to my grown and married kids or my sweet grand babies, however, I remind my self often of why I keep fighting and I realize that they are the reason. No only do I want them to know I valued my life and time, but I want them to know how important they are to me. Please take time and really look at that 4 year old little boy. My mom died when I was 5 yrs old and at the much older age of 59 yrs. I would still give anything to spend another day with her. Please don't take that day away for him. Best to you. Jean

Love2Cats's picture
Love2Cats
Posts: 127
Joined: Dec 2010

You are a brave and noble man to be so selfless and caring. I think you should show what you posted to your wife, and let her tell you how she loves you, and you are not a burden. You should get a reference to a good therapist, and talk to them about how to best deal with the psychological effects to your son. Not that you aren't already doing a wonderful job with him, but a therapist who has dealt with issues like this with others, is bound to have some good insight into the mind of a child. I am planning on going to therapy, because I am having issues about shame and guilt for dying, and feeling that I am abandoning my partner and cats.

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

John,

Anytime that you feel that you have had enough. As I approach my 7th year of this fight, I've been asking myself this question constantly since I got my 3rd recurrence.

I made myself a promise that I would fight this time tooth and nail, but as the years wear me down, I just don't know where I'll "draw the line." Maybe if I get Recurrence #4, that will be it....I just don't know....I want to know, but I just don't know right now.

You've got more to live for than I do - everyone on this board has much more to live for than I do - I often ask myself why I keep going.

Your son is young and his life experience is young as well. In the event that something were to happen to you, he would only know that his Dad is gone - he would not be aware of the remarkable things you have done in your fight. This would come later in his life as his Mom, your wife, filled him in what a remarkable man and fighter that you are.

I've always believed that the Patient has the right to decide how long and how far we stretch one's fights - I still believe this. Afterall, you are the one who has endured the pain and suffering and only you know how you really feel - no one else.

The selfish part of me and that of others on the board, is to say "always keep fighting." We don't want to see anything happen to you and of course, your family certainly does not. Sometimes, guys like you and me, set the bar pretty high and when we come to our "moments of trial" people might disagree with our thoughts or decisions. And that's because folks are looking to you to show them the way out of this.

I don't have the easy answer with this question - it is a very thoughtful topic and one of our most personal and difficult decisions.

I want to thank you personally for sharing your thoughts so deeply - it takes a real man to do that. IMO, we need more posts like this one the board, something with some grit in it, that we can wrap our minds around and think about. I applaud you for your guts and couage to open this kind of post - it's the kind that I live for.

"Big Hugs" are nice, but there is more to cancer than that - there are real lives on the line, and all to often these days, we lose sight of that and go for the easier posts where we do not have to get so "emotionally invested." And that's a shame.

I've followed your story from the beginning and am proud to know you. I just want you to know that I would be proud to be a friend of yours. I just wanted to say that to you, before anything were to befall either one of us.

And BTW, thanks for still listening to me - you don't know what that does mean to me.

Semper Fi
-Craig

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3348
Joined: Jan 2010

You said "You've got more to live for than I do - everyone on this board has much more to live for than I do".

I wonder what you base that on...the number of family members...having young children...what?

I think you underestimate your value. If there is just one person who comes here and reads your ensightful posts, your value is off the scale to that person.

Determining our self worth is often difficult if not impossible to do. Why? Because we are looking at it from our side of the mirror. Our worth is not in what we have but in what we mean to others' lives.

You have much to give and much to share. The fact that you are still fighting gives others more hope for their futures than you can imagine.

Your value is beyond measure...

Hugs,

Marie who loves kitties

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

john and craig

who would and noone writes such thoughtful amazing posts as guys ?. i would miss them and the value and inspiration is lost. well i would say the posts are timeless treasures and you heard that before.

and john does have real balls, everyone who comes to this board evan the girls.
of course we have all been tested differently.

all i can say is its my life its my call. and same for everyone. i would say it takes balls to stay and fight and a different balls to checkout of this planet and explore the hereafter. i hope the jesus i pray to is there, my faith is pretty fragile.

i have told a few bowel cancer here patients about you guys and your courage. i hope none of my praises inhibits your freedom to decide your future. in some sense its the last power a cancer patient has. we are still people with some power, its our choice how and when we use it and for what purpose.

love you guys pete ( in a straight way )

bspangler47's picture
bspangler47
Posts: 145
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi, I havent logged onto this website very often. But I have been on here tonight 4 awhile. I read your post and I know how you exactly feel. In Jan 2009 I was told that I had colorectal cancer. In Mar 2009 had surgery to remove the tumor. Was told it was at stage 3 cat b. I am a single Mom and in the military. My children range from 25, 22, 17, 11 and 8. And now I have 2 grandsons, 1 will be 2 in March, the other one was just born in Oct. For the past 2 yrs or less there were many, many times I felt like giving up. But when I would see my children, grandsons, friends etc. I couldnt give up. I also being in praying which also gave me the strength. I was in and out of the hospital several times since 2009. My kids (22, 11 and 8) seen me leave the house many, many times via ambulance because I was so sick, throwing up etc. They seen me with needles out of my arms (PICC line) and getting the TPN when I was home. They seen a RN come to our house to admisister(sp) the TPN, flush the PICC line with hepain. They seen the dressing changes when I was reconnected, they seen me change and clean the site of the ilescompty(sp) several times. They also seen me coming home with a feeding tube for three months. When I started the chemo/radiation treatments, there were several times I was throwing up in the bathroom, they were right there beside me, giving me water and my meds. They seen me first put on a diaper since I cant control my bowel movements. I still wear diapers 24 hrs 7 days straight. They know that when we leave the house, I take my diaper bag with us. And all my medications. Now, they are seeing me going thru another medical issue due to the radiation. My kidneys dont drain probably. Now that I look back at things I am glad that I am still here. I cherish every moment that I have. When it is my time it will happen.

No one can tell you when to throw in the towel. My oldest daugther tells me that she would rather have me here the way I am then not to have me here. Dont give up.

I also had a uncle when I was in high school that had a brain tumor, he had 6 months wihtout surgery or 1 year with surgery. They chose 1 yr with surgery. I still remember to this day, seeing him healthy and unhealthy. In a wheelchair etc. But I am glad that I was able to see him for the amount of time I did.

Stay positive and stay strong

Barbara

karguy's picture
karguy
Posts: 1024
Joined: Apr 2009

I know how you feel,I have felt that way sometimes,but then I have to remember that you never ever give up.They taught us that in boot camp,don't you remember.In viet nam we had t-shirts that said "yea tho I walk in the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil because I'm the meanest sob in the valley".It will sometimes be the hardest thing you will do ,but you must stay strong for your family.Sometimes you have to be stronger than the cancer,and you can do it.Good luck,and semper fi.

ron50's picture
ron50
Posts: 1729
Joined: Nov 2001

Most of you have known some very rough times during your fight with cancer. Why is it that when we are finally so sick and tired of fighting and losing that we suddenly have to be so STRONG for everyone and fight on to the death. At this point in our lives why can't everone be strong and compassionate for us and accept.Ron.

bspangler47's picture
bspangler47
Posts: 145
Joined: Sep 2010

Hey Ron,

I read your post tonight. And I have to say I totally agree. I also felt that way. Barbara

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3348
Joined: Jan 2010

First of all, good to see you again.

In a way I agree with your take on things. When the situation gets right down to it, and you feel your mind and body can take no more, then we who care should support any decision made.

But what I took from our friend's post it wasn't his fight that was over, but concern for what his fight was costing others in his life. That is a whole different situation, at least in my opinion.

Our loved ones would never want to know that the fight was over because of them, or on their behalf.

Marie who loves kitties

buttons1's picture
buttons1
Posts: 22
Joined: Feb 2011

i'am a big beleaver in prayer. im so touched by your post. first of all i salute you for serving our great country, i have been praying a lot lately, because my big brother has the same question that you ask,, i pray that you both know that god carries us, when we need to be carried.[ like footprints in the sand, you never walk alone.. pray about this and please never feel like a burden to your family. they love you. im sure they will respect any decission that you make,,prayers to you and your family,, god bless you. buttons

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Hey Ron,

Good to see you posting again. As for your statement/comment, I would have thought the answer was pretty darn clear.

When someone lets their loved ones, or even their cyber friends, know that come hell or high water they are NOT going to give up the fight. They are going to fight because of their family and/or friends or they are going to fight for themselves, it doesn't matter what their reasons are for fighting, if they've let everyone know that they have made up their mind and don't anyone ever try to tell them otherwise, then guess what? Those who love you will work with you on this wish to their full capability. If you have a down period and say, "I just don't see the point of carrying on", they will remind you of all the reasons you said you wanted to carry on. If you say you feel you are becoming such a burden on those same loved ones that you are fighting to stay alive for and really believe it, then they will all pitch in and tell you how wrong you are... and mean it. Those who fight cancer are extremely strong, brave, blah, blah, blah people. How many times have we heard our friends and family tell us that? But hey, even us extremely strong, brave people have our down periods... and what might push me over the edge and I question whether I can go on, would be a piece of cake for someone else who says, "Hang in there, of course you can carry on!". Our loved ones have no idea when we just can't go on anymore, so their job is to keep our wishes at the forefront and until we say, that's it, I'm not going on anymore... they have every right to cajole and remind us why we thought this fight was so important.

Once, having made the choice to fight.... if we want to change that choice, then it's up to us to do so. Questioning "Do you think now is the time?" "When is it ok to call it quits?" That is NOT making a choice... that is soliciting opinions from others on what would they do if they were in my position. Obviously if you were to tell me, "Yes, Cheryl... I think now is the time for you to throw in the towel... you've had a good run", do you think I'm really going to listen to you?? You are not ME so how can you make a decision on my life, even though I have asked you the question? If I ask my loved ones the same question, I'm not wanting to hear them say "Pack it in kid, you are cramping our social schedule!" I am asking them because I am going through a rough time in my life and in that particular time, the fight is not easy. I actually don't want people to smile and tell me "You are so strong! You are so brave! Hang in there!" and I certainly don't want them to say, "You are causing me to miss my own life, could you hurry up and decide if you are staying or going?"

If someone seriously thinks that they can't continue the fight, then there's no need to talk about it and solicit opinions... just do what you have to do and want to do. Make sure you let your loved ones know how much you love them and then do whatever one does when they are no longer in fighting mode. No one can make you fight... that is still your ultimate decision, just as no one can make you fight for a reason you don't believe in or have never thought of.

I would be the first to tell everyone to back off if a patient had never verbalized that they are fighting for themselves, or fighting for their family because they want desperately to have as much time with their kids/spouse as they possibly can. That is a very strong self-survival trait and there is nothing wrong with having that. Others (myself inclusive) have this strong self-survival, not because I'm fighting for someone else... I'm fighting for ME. I want to survive. And if I have a particularly nasty period of pain and suffering, I certainly am not going to mind a BFF reminding me how much I want to survive because it's not my time yet.

If I seriously decided I was going to give up... I would not be announcing it on Facebook or on CSN or in a mass mailout. I would not be sending out a "Thanks it's been wonderful knowing you all but I'm going to check out now" email. I would give myself permission accordingly and once I'm gone, everyone can have their own opinions as to why I didn't survive another day. In the meantime, I know my closest friends would be there right to the end and they wouldn't make a judgement. Those that would be judgemental, would have been no matter what my choice.

Cheryl

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