survivorship crisis

katenorwood
katenorwood Member Posts: 1,912
edited October 2014 in Head and Neck Cancer #1

I encountered an issue today, and didn't handle it with my usual diplomacy.  I was pissed.  And shame on me.  Another survivor that has been told the outlook is bleak and the end is near, was talking suicide.  And assisted suicide to boot.  People were telling the person to do it, and saying they couldn't imagine how they would ever endure what this person had gone through already. 

Not me, I asked where the support system was ?  I asked about pain control, and why the doctors were letting this poor soul endure uncontrollable pain.  I told this person to reach out to someone, anyone and let them know the feelings of despair and hopelessness.  I also commented that for myself I could never leave this kind of legacy for my family to deal with.  I also contacted someone that could reach this person right away. 

My question for the entire group is was I wrong ?  I know we are all about surviving.  But I also know we have lost some brave souls on site here.  I can imagine the pain, I know the feelings of being told nothing more can be done.  It sucks plain and simple.  Where do we find the words to help ?  My soul deep down is just aching for people in this position.  My tears are still wet upon my cheeks.  Venting doesn't fix the wrongs, but thanks for listening.  Katie     

Comments

  • wmc
    wmc Member Posts: 1,804
    Were you right or wrong.............

    For you, you did what you felt needed to be said. Where was the support and they should never be in that much pain. I hurt when I hear someone gets the news, there's nothing we can do anymore. Just because there is nothing they can do does not mean you can't do anything. My wife has severe fibrositis and was told to do nothing and even stop exersizing because the muceles were wasting away also, and she will soon be confined to a wheelchair. Well she didn't listen and did her exersizes and over 20 years later, she walks 2 miles every day and rides a bike five miles a day, no wheelchair. Yes the doctors did all they could, but she did the rest.

    I'm glad you spoke up. No one should encourage someone to give up, ever.

    However I do see the other side as well. Quality over quanity does matter as well. I have been told they are proud of me and how I fought to beat this. I still have emphysema and I can't beat that, only make it take longer, which I am doing. I have bone spurs in my neck that hit my nerves and was told to NEVER ride the rides at asmusment parks because it could paralize me from the neck down, Have bone spurs that go the other way now and are hitting my esophagus and it shows up when I swallow, COPD, GURD, and osteoporosis, and a few other's. I have had a good life, and few regreats, so If it is my time i'm ok with it. I'm not done yet because I want to see tomorrow, but I understand.

    My Mother fought kidney failure for many years with three differant ways to do dialysis and what she went through. I took care of her every other weekend for years. She had enough, and told me she was stopping dialysis, and need my blessing. I knew what stopping ment, she would be gone in 14 days. I was with her every day and stayed up at night with her because that was the worst time for her. It is quite and she remembers her husband. I understand her more now then I did 20 years ago.

     

    Bill

  • Ladylacy
    Ladylacy Member Posts: 773 Member
    You did the right thing

    As a caregiver for my husband, you did the right thing.  He was told almost two years ago that there was nothing else that could be done after a 2nd primary, treatment, reoccurrence and spread.  He is still fighting but loosing ground daily.  Never once has he said anything about suicide nor does he complain.  He has been on hospice for a year now and they have provided all that he needs.  They make sure his pain and anxiety is controlled and thankfully his pain level is not that bad.  I see how depressed he gets when he is unable to do what he loved to do all day and that is being out and working in the yard.  

    Yes cancer is a beast and a horrible one at that, but  I can understand this person's feelings, but to have an assisted suicide, I do not agree with.  For people to tell this person to go ahead and do it, they are wrong.   For me,  I know it would be hard to go thru what cancer patients go thru and after watching my husband I don't know if I could do it but am sure in the end I would try my hardest.  My aunt fought esophageal cancer and spread as hard as she could for almost 3 years but in the end lost her battle.  Just recently one of our granddaughters' husband lost a battle to brain cancer and he fought as hard as he could.    

     

    Sharon

  • phrannie51
    phrannie51 Member Posts: 4,716
    It's a sticky position....

    at far as where the person in question feels he'd rather not bear the pain and suffering any longer.  We've heard of many who decide to let nature take it's course, annd refuse further treatment.  Ok, that's a decision only the person suffering can make. 

    When it comes to suicide.....assisted suicide.....well, first of all, it's illegal in most places so it's not just his life any more....he's talking about somebody else's life, too.....I can't imagine encouraging someone to do it.....that's like standing at the bottom of a building yelling JUMP!  I feel that you did the right thing by trying to put some things in place to help this person maybe get a different perspective.....better pain meds, and possibly getting help from some one who is there.

    p

  • Carrying the Hope

    I'm a psychiatric nurse, and I say you did exactly the right thing. Here's why:

    Sometimes people who are down 'explore' the question of suicide because they need people around them to reassure them that there is still hope. If that reassurance doesn't come, it is very damaging and discouraging.

    I am not against assisted suicide. I believe it is up to the person, however, we have to be very careful, because often the person is just needing reassurance that OTHER people still have hope, even if at present they feel no hope.

    We call it "carrying the hope".

  • hwt
    hwt Member Posts: 2,328 Member

    It's a sticky position....

    at far as where the person in question feels he'd rather not bear the pain and suffering any longer.  We've heard of many who decide to let nature take it's course, annd refuse further treatment.  Ok, that's a decision only the person suffering can make. 

    When it comes to suicide.....assisted suicide.....well, first of all, it's illegal in most places so it's not just his life any more....he's talking about somebody else's life, too.....I can't imagine encouraging someone to do it.....that's like standing at the bottom of a building yelling JUMP!  I feel that you did the right thing by trying to put some things in place to help this person maybe get a different perspective.....better pain meds, and possibly getting help from some one who is there.

    p

    Katie

    sorry you found yourself in this position. I believe, I would have dealt with it in the same manner you did. I was recently told, by all rights I should be dead. But I am not! The most difficult time was my first recurrence when my hope was taken away only to be restored by Mayo. If hope is lacking then you did the right thing. If uncontrollable pain is involved it becomes more of a personal decision for the individual. For others to encourage suicide is not conceivable to me.

  • donfoo
    donfoo Member Posts: 1,771 Member
    no right or wrong...

    You did what you felt in your heart and soul and if nothing else, it might give the person another opportunity to pause and think through their position and outlook for the remainder of their life. There is no right or wrong to you ffering your thoughts or no right or wrong about what the person does with their live; it is THEIR live not yours.

    Not going to rehash both sides of the issue other than to say the only person who matters in making an informed decision is that person. All we can do is offer our view on the matter.

  • meaganb
    meaganb Member Posts: 244 Member
    I recently watched a

    I recently watched a documentary called How to Die in Oregon. Apparently in that state & a few others I believe it is legal to have a medical professional assist you in ending your life. The main woman they followed had cancer & after being approved & getting the medication used to end her life she actually set a date to kill herself. Well that date came & she still felt good & so she didn't go through with it then. She did end her life later on though. But, they did a really good job of showing how devastating it was to her family that she was making this choice, especially her children, and they were adults. I have never been in a position where my pain couldn't be controlled with medication so my heart definitely goes out to those who are in that place. But, I can't imagine giving up even one day with my husband or my children. I think you did the right thing Katie. It is always devastating when someone dies too young, & it is especially hard to deal with when you know they made that choice on their own.

  • Noellesmom
    Noellesmom Member Posts: 1,859 Member
    suicide survivor speaks

    Katie, being a suicide survivor means I've had a loved one commit suicide, and, in my case I've had several.  It would comfort me to know someone offered my loved ones a reason to stop and consider alternatives one last time.  Katie, compassion is never wrong.  You must follow your heart and you did.  

  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,721 Member
    legal here

    Katie,

    No, you were not wrong (Matt’s opinion).

    Oregonian,

    Matt

  • Hondo
    Hondo Member Posts: 6,636 Member
    Hi Katie

    If you can please see if I can talk to him, I too live through hell and I too was told back in 2006 there was nothing the doctors could do and they gave me 6 months to a year at best. I am still alive I am still working full time and I have a shop outside where I still do repairs. Believe me I know how hard it is and there was times in my life that I just wanted it to end but my God reached down to me and pulled me back out of the pit I was in. So I now do all I can for someone else who might be down in the pit, love and pray is all we can do sometimes.

     

    Tim Hondo

  • debbiejeanne
    debbiejeanne Member Posts: 3,102 Member
    Kate, you did exactly the

    Kate, you did exactly the right thing.  I believe God put you there at that very moment to give that person hope.  The doctors only know medicine and science, they do NOT know GOD'S plan.  Just like Hondo, the docs said 8 yrs ago he had 6 months, 8 MONTH AGO!  He is still here.  So, that person could live for another 40 years and with the right doctor may be able to get the pain controlled so he can live a decent life.  I'm sure others here may have felt like giving up at some time but are very glad today they did NOT.  I am one of them.  I also lost 2 nephews to suiside and I can tell you that one never recovers from that tragedy.  I'm going to include that person in my prayers and ask God to talk to him and reasure him that as long as he believes in God, then there is hope!  May God bless him with family and friends who will encourage him and be there for him and remind him that there are many reasons to live.  Thank you Katee, for talking to this person.  You are probably just what he needed at that very moment in his life!  You may have saved his life.  God bless you Kate for caring and not being afraid to show it.

    God bless everyone,

    dj

  • Kent Cass
    Kent Cass Member Posts: 1,898 Member

    Kate, you did exactly the

    Kate, you did exactly the right thing.  I believe God put you there at that very moment to give that person hope.  The doctors only know medicine and science, they do NOT know GOD'S plan.  Just like Hondo, the docs said 8 yrs ago he had 6 months, 8 MONTH AGO!  He is still here.  So, that person could live for another 40 years and with the right doctor may be able to get the pain controlled so he can live a decent life.  I'm sure others here may have felt like giving up at some time but are very glad today they did NOT.  I am one of them.  I also lost 2 nephews to suiside and I can tell you that one never recovers from that tragedy.  I'm going to include that person in my prayers and ask God to talk to him and reasure him that as long as he believes in God, then there is hope!  May God bless him with family and friends who will encourage him and be there for him and remind him that there are many reasons to live.  Thank you Katee, for talking to this person.  You are probably just what he needed at that very moment in his life!  You may have saved his life.  God bless you Kate for caring and not being afraid to show it.

    God bless everyone,

    dj

    specifics

    Suicide is a tricky subject matter, no doubt, but it all depends on the specifics of why one is considering it. For us in the H&N community, so long as there is hope that one can recover to a life that is acceptable to them, then one should not consider it. As we all know, the vast majority in the medical community do their upmost to deal with the pain (though apparently there are exceptions), so even sticking it out to the end by means of H&N C might be acceptable to many/most. And, trust me because I have first-hand experience with seeing what kinda end that can become, we all have our individual definitions on what "acceptable" is. Heck, some could even consider it out of fear of going thru the rads and what they do w/concurrent chemo, but that would simply be cowardice.

     

    To me, if all hope is lost and the C is gonna do it's very ugly thing to one in the process of killing them, and it was getting advanced, then I would not blame someone for ending it, themselves, while they still can. Only suffering is to follow, along with the grotesque physical part of it, so why continue?

     

    In the past I have heard the arguement that it is "selfish" of one to take the easy way out, but I see it as the opposite. Don't kill yourself for our sake? So we can watch you suffer and physically deteriorate/decompose? That's what's gonna happen, so those people should wake up to reality. Seems logical that the selfish ones are those who have a problem with the fact of mortality, and losing a loved one. And when one factors in the enormous money part of it- money for what, and who will have to pay that money?

     

    Our C is different from, say, lung C, which I also have witnessed a couple times. Our's can be much worse, I'm afraid to say. I only come out of the closet to write this because of personal experience with three family members who C took, two by lung and the other by H&N. The H&N had esophageal that they never really got it all out of him, and I've often wondered why he let himself die the very ugly death he did. I would not have, I must admit, and let my loved ones see the ugliness C can do to the H&N in it's last month+. Description of what his last two weeks, physically, were- it is beyond description.

    Hope and acceptable are the key words, to me. If either of those two words still exist, then suicide is not the way to go. 

    kcass

  • katenorwood
    katenorwood Member Posts: 1,912
    Kent Cass said:

    specifics

    Suicide is a tricky subject matter, no doubt, but it all depends on the specifics of why one is considering it. For us in the H&N community, so long as there is hope that one can recover to a life that is acceptable to them, then one should not consider it. As we all know, the vast majority in the medical community do their upmost to deal with the pain (though apparently there are exceptions), so even sticking it out to the end by means of H&N C might be acceptable to many/most. And, trust me because I have first-hand experience with seeing what kinda end that can become, we all have our individual definitions on what "acceptable" is. Heck, some could even consider it out of fear of going thru the rads and what they do w/concurrent chemo, but that would simply be cowardice.

     

    To me, if all hope is lost and the C is gonna do it's very ugly thing to one in the process of killing them, and it was getting advanced, then I would not blame someone for ending it, themselves, while they still can. Only suffering is to follow, along with the grotesque physical part of it, so why continue?

     

    In the past I have heard the arguement that it is "selfish" of one to take the easy way out, but I see it as the opposite. Don't kill yourself for our sake? So we can watch you suffer and physically deteriorate/decompose? That's what's gonna happen, so those people should wake up to reality. Seems logical that the selfish ones are those who have a problem with the fact of mortality, and losing a loved one. And when one factors in the enormous money part of it- money for what, and who will have to pay that money?

     

    Our C is different from, say, lung C, which I also have witnessed a couple times. Our's can be much worse, I'm afraid to say. I only come out of the closet to write this because of personal experience with three family members who C took, two by lung and the other by H&N. The H&N had esophageal that they never really got it all out of him, and I've often wondered why he let himself die the very ugly death he did. I would not have, I must admit, and let my loved ones see the ugliness C can do to the H&N in it's last month+. Description of what his last two weeks, physically, were- it is beyond description.

    Hope and acceptable are the key words, to me. If either of those two words still exist, then suicide is not the way to go. 

    kcass

    personal choice

    First of all, thank you everyone for your opinions.  It is a sticky uncomfortable subject for many.  Kent I agree with your accounts of the end being incrediably horrible for some of our loved ones that passed from cancer dx's.  (of all kinds)  I lost 3 within months of one another, including my Mother who wished to pass at home.  I guess if someone is talking about it, and reaching out I will always play the devils advocate and try to get them some help.  (one form or another)  Sure not going to say I have any answers other then relaying I hear them, and understand them. 

    Wanted to let everyone also know this person I was referring to is o.k.  Getting what I call the long face from the medical community is a tough road to hoe.  Acceptance takes a bit of time to digest.  Warmest regards to all.  Katie 

  • Hondo
    Hondo Member Posts: 6,636 Member
    Kent Cass said:

    specifics

    Suicide is a tricky subject matter, no doubt, but it all depends on the specifics of why one is considering it. For us in the H&N community, so long as there is hope that one can recover to a life that is acceptable to them, then one should not consider it. As we all know, the vast majority in the medical community do their upmost to deal with the pain (though apparently there are exceptions), so even sticking it out to the end by means of H&N C might be acceptable to many/most. And, trust me because I have first-hand experience with seeing what kinda end that can become, we all have our individual definitions on what "acceptable" is. Heck, some could even consider it out of fear of going thru the rads and what they do w/concurrent chemo, but that would simply be cowardice.

     

    To me, if all hope is lost and the C is gonna do it's very ugly thing to one in the process of killing them, and it was getting advanced, then I would not blame someone for ending it, themselves, while they still can. Only suffering is to follow, along with the grotesque physical part of it, so why continue?

     

    In the past I have heard the arguement that it is "selfish" of one to take the easy way out, but I see it as the opposite. Don't kill yourself for our sake? So we can watch you suffer and physically deteriorate/decompose? That's what's gonna happen, so those people should wake up to reality. Seems logical that the selfish ones are those who have a problem with the fact of mortality, and losing a loved one. And when one factors in the enormous money part of it- money for what, and who will have to pay that money?

     

    Our C is different from, say, lung C, which I also have witnessed a couple times. Our's can be much worse, I'm afraid to say. I only come out of the closet to write this because of personal experience with three family members who C took, two by lung and the other by H&N. The H&N had esophageal that they never really got it all out of him, and I've often wondered why he let himself die the very ugly death he did. I would not have, I must admit, and let my loved ones see the ugliness C can do to the H&N in it's last month+. Description of what his last two weeks, physically, were- it is beyond description.

    Hope and acceptable are the key words, to me. If either of those two words still exist, then suicide is not the way to go. 

    kcass

    Hi Kent

    Glad to see you still here and posting. I asked a preacher one time why was it ok to put a Dog or Horse to sleep when they are dyeing and in pain with no hope to recover, but it is not OK to help a human who is dying of Cancer with no hope of getting better. He told me because man was made in the image of God, in a way I understand what he was saying but in another way I don’t. Like you I seen what my Mother went through with cancer and my brother. Out of work, no money, nothing but doctor and hospital bills and wanting to get paid, and the pain she lived in day and night. It is a very hard question, do I want my love ones to see me go like this. To me this is why we need to have a living will so our family will know just what to do when we can no longer make the choice for ourselves. It is not easy to stand by and see someone who you love die a painful death, like my mother did, but even with all that pain she was in she had a smile on her face none of us could understand.

     

    Tim Hondo

  • jim and i
    jim and i Member Posts: 1,788 Member
    I agree with Estelle, most

    I agree with Estelle, most people are just seeking comfort and assurance as well. I do not however believe in assisted suicide. I myself have contemplated suicide several times in my life; especially when Jim died. At those times I was desperate for hope and comfort. With the loss of Jim it was because I could not imagine life without him. When we are hurting physically or mentally we need someone to offer us hope and comfort, not death. I pray this person finds someone to give them comfort, pain relief and comfort.

    You did the right thing. Debbie

  • Crazymom
    Crazymom Member Posts: 339 Member
    sharing experience is great

    I think it is important for this person to hear your view and experience.  The survivor needs to hear different views on this issue prior to making a decision.  The survivor can weigh the different things heard and then decide.  You did the right thing.  You were honest and caring.  In a political correct society we are not getting the truth and people's experience out there.  I am proud of you.  Ann

  • wmc
    wmc Member Posts: 1,804

    personal choice

    First of all, thank you everyone for your opinions.  It is a sticky uncomfortable subject for many.  Kent I agree with your accounts of the end being incrediably horrible for some of our loved ones that passed from cancer dx's.  (of all kinds)  I lost 3 within months of one another, including my Mother who wished to pass at home.  I guess if someone is talking about it, and reaching out I will always play the devils advocate and try to get them some help.  (one form or another)  Sure not going to say I have any answers other then relaying I hear them, and understand them. 

    Wanted to let everyone also know this person I was referring to is o.k.  Getting what I call the long face from the medical community is a tough road to hoe.  Acceptance takes a bit of time to digest.  Warmest regards to all.  Katie 

    Good for you.

    At the end of the day you should know you did the right thing and did help. So sleep well, and we can just hope others will do the same thing.