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Posts: 158
Joined: Mar 2012

I had one of my husband's family members want me to talk to the doctor and ask for a prognosis for my husband. His doctor has been wonderful and has said he will tell us as much as we want to know. I know I can't ask the doctor this in front of my hubs but do any of you suggest I call the doctor beforehand and ask? I know that everyone lives and dies in God's time but didn't know if I should call and just talk to the doctor to see what he says. Any suggestions here?

Posts: 85
Joined: Aug 2012

A few thoughts.

The MD is likely to be coy about percentages of recovery and life expectancy. This is not out of nastiness but part of the common MD philosophy that these are basically unknowables and in any case vary so greatly across individuals that no macro estimates for larger populations are reliable.

Because you are unlikely to get a straight direct answer, I do not see the problem with discussing it in front of your husband. Most MD's prefer to give maximum disclosure to the patient himself anyway, although I am not sure this is always the optimal way.

I am a statistician and try to pin down statistical projections of my own (4th stage RCC) situation with MDs and these usually refuse to cooperate. Maybe they are right in doing so.

In any case, even if the statistics were not encouraging, the doc will say, and he will be correct, that statistics do not matter, what matters is just that in your individual case things improve or work! Hard to argue with that!

Even if things look gloomy, a bit of optimism in the patient can still translate into real physical improvement. Trust me, I know this the hard way!
Depression releases real chemicals in the body that reduce recovery and prospects, while laughter releases chemicals that do the opposite!

Happy thanksgiving!

Posts: 158
Joined: Mar 2012

Thank you for your advice. I have thought about bringing it up in front of him but know he is a very quiet person and a loner and I didn't want him to get depressed. I know everything they tell us are just statistics and I have read a lot on stage IV on my own, his family just wants to know what the doctor says. His doctor is very through and that is why I think he doesn't want to mention a prognosis unless we ask.

Everything depends on my hubs and I try to keep him as upbeat as possible all of the time. We are just praying the chemo helps and he will be okay.

Thanks for your input! I really appreciate it.

Texas_wedge's picture
Posts: 2803
Joined: Nov 2011

Has that family member explained what (s)he thinks would be gained by pressing the doctor to make a guess about Hubby's future? Have you explained to her/him how important it is for your Hubby, and for you, to remain as upbeat as possible?

You can point out that it would be unhelpful for the doctor to make unjustified optimistic predictions that would cause despondency if they started to look wrong. On the other side, if the doctor isn't optimistic but can't be certain, it wouldn't help for him to be forced to voice a judgment that would be a downer. You should explain how crucial it is to remain positive and that the doctor is being as forthcoming as he is able to in the current circumstances.

Perhaps you've done all of this already, in which event you must just stand your ground for Hubby's and your sake and assure his family that you'll keep them informed of the information the doc does give you, so long as the two of you are happy for you to do that - it may be that Hubby, being a private man, doesn't want his family to know all that's said.

Posts: 158
Joined: Mar 2012

I agree with you Tex and since my husband is a very private person I will not call the doctor and talk to him. I personally would rather just remain upbeat and as positive as I can and if the doctor doesn't tell you what you want to hear we may both be down and he doesn't need this while dealing with this.

This is why I come here for advice because cancer is new to our family as well. I hope you had a great holiday! Thanks again

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