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I don't know how to die...

Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2009

Hey guys. I'm brand new to the site. I've just been diagnosed two weeks ago with small cell lung cancer. If it wasn't already extensively metastasized I think I might be coping better, but both my doctors and ever resource I've found have given me about a 40% chance of surviving to see five years from now. Yesterday afternoon just gave me the news that it has already spread to my lymph nodes, rib bone, brain stem, and intestinal tract. I suppose it explains why I've had migraines this past year. Only being twenty two years old my doctor was as shocked as I was to see it this far advanced. I don't even really know how I'm reacting. It's just barely sinking in past the surface that I'm probably going to die. Hate to put it this way, but I suppose it's my lot for starting to smoke at 12. I'm glad I'm a very spiritual person. It's given me the one crutch I have to fall back on. I just get the feeling that, as much as I consider the three friends I have told to be closer than any family I've had, they don't understand this at all. Hell, I don't, but it's making me feel I have to push the four closest people in my life away and I still have no clue how to break this to my fiance or parents... HELP!!! I don't know how to do this... I've never done this dying thing before. (Sorry, the slight morbid sense of humor is all that's keeping me sane right now) I've spent my entire life in school for nursing, now those dreams are quite possibly never going to be anything but dreams. I just feel like... what was the point of everything up to this point?

tiny one
Posts: 467
Joined: Jan 2009

I'm so sorry to hear your diagnosis. None of us that have been diagnosed knows how to die. We only know how to live. Doctors don't know how much time any of us have and have been wrong many times. People have lived and beat cancer when the Doctors thought they wouldn't. Prayer can do things that medical science can't. Start doing the things that are most important to you now. You might be the person who beats this cancer and will be the one to give hope to others who have this. Never give up fight to the end. God bless

lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

You could be one of the 4 out of 10 who LIVE; never forget that! You are young and strong, and so have a very good chance that you will be on the GOOD side of that statistic. Think of all the people who are lumped into that statistic: people who are OLD and have concurrent other medical conditions that will prevent them from finishing their treatments. When you are YOUNG you can withstand aggressive chemo and radiation that would kill an older weaker person. You have to start believing that you will be on the SURVIVOR side of that statistic. Why wouldn't you be?

The prognosis for the cancer I have is very poor, but my oncologist always reminds me that MY personal prognosis is GOOD. I plan to be in that small percentage who get CURED and live on. Don't give up. We're all terrified when we get our diagnosis. I cried harder for myself than for anyone else in the world. But, just like any grieving, you will go through the stages of dispair, denial, anger, and then finally you'll come out of this shocking nightmare and find acceptance, determination, and hope. Then you'll have your game face on and be ready to fight. You're young; that's a HUGE advantage. (((RAV)))) You don't need to know how to die; you need to get ready to fight for your chance to LIVE.

slickwilly's picture
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Linda is right and it reminds me of the phrase "get busy living or get busy dying". I survived my 50% odds at 48 years old. The chemo I took makes 95% of the patients sick and they had a hospital room reserved for me. I never needed it as I fought with every fiber of my body to be in that 5% that didn't get sick. Don't give up before you even get started. Decide you are going to fight and win with your families support. Giving up is the easy way out and I will admit there were times I wanted to quit treatments. But then someone would remind me that I was not just trying to survive for myself. Its easy to get self centered and forget that there are people that love you and want you around. Believe in miracles and the power of prayer. This loving and caring group of people will be here to support you. Bless you Slickwilly

hollyberry's picture
Posts: 176
Joined: Nov 2008

Dear RAV,
I was diagnosed with a very rare form of melanoma and give only a 24% chance of living 5 years. I have had 4 surgeries and multiple chemos and I am still here 17 months later. I had bad days, very bad days and days that God gave me hope. So, if you are a person of faith, now is the time to start praying and trying to keep a positive attitude. It will not be easy, but then, nothing worthwhile ever really is.
I don't know how much research you have done, but I would stay away from internet statistics,a s they are usually very old. Try to rely on your docs for information- they have the latest info on treatments and clinical trials, as well as new technology that can treat tumors in very difficult places.
I am stage 4 and have gone through many treatments and have not completely given up hope and I don't think you should either. I have wide-spread metastasis and am looking into the DaVinci radiation machine that can treat tumors in very bad places, as well as the cyber-knife to get rid of some of the bigger tumors in kidney and stomach. I don't yet know if these things are viable but, like Slickwilly said you've got to decide to "Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'!" It's never easy and sometimes you will get down and scared but, you will find friends and support here and hopefully you have a good team of docs that can find ways to fight that you never thought were possible.
You are in my prayers,

Posts: 318
Joined: Feb 2008

I have had cancer known,probably longer, 7 years- I still take chemo off and on. Linda is absolutely right. Treatments may get rid of your cancer, I seen that a stage 4 lung cancer woman in 40's beat it! YOur age you may too. NOne and I repeat none of us know when we will die and what from. Because they say cancer does not mean a instant death sentence. We do what we can do to stick around as long as we can there may be a cure soon. And doing what we can and what we want to do and saying we will fight and possibly beat this will maybe keep you from thinking of death. I hope you have good cancer drs. and they have positive attitudes and help you fight this. Don't give up. I am 51 and I hope to see 85 or more. Statistics are just that. Many have proved Drs. wRong. My dads cousin in the 1960's when they knew little about cancer was given a year to Live that was 40 years ago He was cured and is still living healthy. So who knows when its our time. Fight live and be positive
Prayers and Hugs

Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2009

Hey. Thank you everyone that posted back to me. The longer I'm on the site the more amazing stories I'm hearing, and it's giving me some hope. As is usually the case I find I've ended up right where I need to be hearing just what I need to hear. I've taken a bit of hope from every reply on here. Thank you very much!

zahalene's picture
Posts: 680
Joined: Nov 2005

RAVnari, since you are a person of faith I think you will appreciate a quote from one of my pastors which he gave when I was fighting cancer (I had 3 diagnoses over a span of 10 years - beginning in 1986 - and I am still here!). My pastor said, "God does not give dieing grace on a non-dieing day".
We know that our Lord gives us grace for every trial and there is no reason to think he will not give us all we need in our last hours. On that day the grace He gives us will be exactly what we need in the moment and for the challenge.
We would all choose to go quickly and painlessly if we had the choice, but for those of us who can not go in that way, God's grace is (and will be) sufficient.
God bless.

Cindy54's picture
Posts: 454
Joined: Aug 2006

RAVnari...you have your age on your side, and it sounds like a good team of doctors. Plus, you have your faith. There are many here who were not supposed to be here, and yet they are still with us. Only God can say when your time is up. I do agree, it is hard to just keep going. Last year I went through two kinds of cancer. The year before another. Lost my Mom to cancer two years ago. But this year I will finish my degree. Some looked at me as being too old...54. Some looked at me as why bother...you have so much else going on. Yes, there were day, weeks, when I thought this is all for nothing. Every time I would start moving forward, something would come along and push me back. But I met a lot of encouraging people along the way. And they have told me they are in awe of the fact I did not give up. You don't know how much of a positive impact you will have on how many people, not by what you say or do. But just by being yourself and doing what you need to do to beat this cancer. Take a breather if you must. But keep going and do what you know is the right thing for you to do. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and encourage you...faithwise and who will just be there and not tell you what they think you should do. Please write again and let us know how things are going and about your decisions. Hugs, Cindy

blueroses's picture
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

I am going to start at the end of you posting if you don't mind, with the part where you said 'what was the point of everything up to this point?' I know you were talking about nursing at that spot but if you look back on what you have accomplished to this point - a career chosen to help others (dedicating your life to that) is a noble goal indeed and your soul has benefited from that goal. Too you have a loving fiance and friends and family and that shows a life well lived as well. I am so sorry for your diagnosis and I know that what you are is in complete shock right now but soon that stage will wear off a bit and I hope you can see all you have succeeded in to this point. I am a 20 years survivor of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and had one recurrance - opted for a bone marrow transplant that I nearly died from but I am still here. I am so glad you are a spiritual person because that is what got me through as well with praying with a goal to the future - to see my kids grow up. You have the goal of helping people through nursing - include that in your prayers, it's part of who you are and I know God is proud of you for that. You called your posting 'I don't know how to die' but I don't think that the how to is meant for human beings, it's for God to decide and our job here on earth is to learn how to live, each and every day, even in illness til we are called home by Him. Keep loving those you love, caring for those you care about and studying in your field, that's living and it's up to us as to how to do that while we are on this crazy planet. Please keep us informed of how you are doing and if you are able to take part in any clinical trials. Cures are right around the corner, I am considered a cure - who would have thought that possible 20 years ago when they didn't have what they have in treatments today. God Bless. Blueroses.

Posts: 318
Joined: Feb 2008

Bluerose is right and I couldn't have said it better. When we get a disease that doesnt mean its written in stone we are going to die from it.Nobody but God knows that answer. I have heard people looking at me after seven years and I still take treatments but they assume you wont be here long because its cancer well excuse me but Look at Bluerose when like she said they didnt have what they have now and there is always hope. I hope you continue to live what you want to do and can do. I push myself thru the tiredness and refuse to let cancer defeat me.
Prayers and Hugs

terato's picture
Posts: 383
Joined: Apr 2002


In 1971, teratoma (embryonal testicular cancer)patients had a mortality rate of 70% within 5 years. However, in 1980, when I was diagnosed, that mortality rate had been reduced to 30% because of a new and highly successful combination-chemotherapy protocol. Radical improvements in diagnostic and treatment technology are occurring at much faster rates today, thanks to quantum innovations in technology, who says the next breakthrough can't come for you? BTW,next month I will celebrate my 27th cancer-free year.

Love and Courage!


Posts: 318
Joined: Feb 2008

Congrats Rick those are the type of news I like to hear. Ya never know what med is around the corner or what maybe a cure.
Prayers and Hugs to all

blueroses's picture
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

Wow, 27 years cancer free, that's awesome Rick. Just saw the post, not on that much these days, and just thought I would send you my congratulations of your survivorship. I am at 20 and hope to be able to welcome in 27 myself in not too long a time. Blessings Rick, Blueroses.

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amandaleegr's picture
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi there i dont think any one can tell you how to die that is up to the lord just know that you wont have any pain my husband passed away 2months ago and he was 27 i could see that he was happy and you never know god could bless you with a miracle i knows its easier said than done but try not to think about passing on think about the time that you have on earth with the people that you love tell your fiance enjoy the people that you love dont push them away my husband tried that so i would not have to have to endure the pain anymore of knowing that i was going to lose him and trust me it does not work.This is a scary thing to go through because you dont know what is going to happen but as long as u have god with u everything will be alright it is not your fault that you are sick many people smoke at a young age and live to be 80.This is just gods plan for you
God bless!!!!!
if you eva want to chat more message me and im there
hugs and kisses

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