• Best way to die

    Asked by sherry1352 on Thursday, May 19, 2016

    Best way to die

    I have terminal esophageal cancer with mets to bone and lungs and have been offered lifetime chemo. If I quit the cancer in lungs will kill me. The chemo is causing the torture of either diarreah or constipation. I have a painful anal tear. Should I quit chemo and go on palliative care when I have difficulty breathing. Or should I start proceedings for death with dignity.

    19 Answers from the Community

    19 answers
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Sherry only you can make that decision. And it should be made with the advice of your spiritual advisor.
      I shall pray for you

      almost 5 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar
      barryboomer

      Quit the Poison and bring the Angels at Hospice.....Why not do surgery on the colon and not have to use the rectum anymore...ALSO check into Ketogenic diet for cancer and Dr. Mercola's take on it...Good Luck...high doses of Fentanyl Patches plus Morphine for break through pain....

      almost 5 years ago
    • Lauraandmary's Avatar
      Lauraandmary

      Palliative care does not require quitting chemotherapy. Palliative care is care that alleviates suffering, so should be consistent with addressing the painful side effects (such as diarrhea, constipation and an anal tear) while continuing the chemotherapy should you decide.
      Hospice care and palliative care are not the same.

      almost 5 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      My heart breaks reading your post, Sherry. I agree that only you can make these decisions. I was going to tell you exactly what Lauraandmary did palliative care. I listened to a broadcast about it just yesterday. There are palliative care specialists, if your oncologist doesn't have the knowledge to get you the drugs you need to offset the side effects of chemo.

      I would ask too if your tumors have been genetically tested. Depending on what mutations, there might be some kind of drug that is far easier to take than chemo that would be more effective. I know far more about lung cancer than esophagus cancer, but there are all kinds of targeted therapies and immunotherapies available for lung cancer. Maybe there's something like that for you.

      Best of luck and prayers for peace and comfort!

      almost 5 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Live With Cancer EC is a rather uncommon cancer therefore it does not get the research that Lung cancer gets. This is sad for those of us who have EC but it is only logical that the cancers with the more numerous patients get the most research. EC has few advocates in fact @chiefomni here on what next is one of the most active advocates, Three years ago when I had a reoccurrence, I shamed my Dr. into doing research on clinical trials. He became very diligent in his research and was woefully disappointed. EC has a woefully low survival rate.

      almost 5 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      Genetic testing of the tumor might show that there are mutations that can be treated with a drug developed for another cancer. Before I gave up, i would surely try that option.

      almost 5 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      No advice. Just cyber hugs. I'm sorry you are facing this situation. May the Higher Powers (whatever you may believe in) guide you through this difficult time and help you decide what is best for you.

      almost 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      Dont be in such a hurry to book passage to the Undiscovered Country. Have you gotten a second opinion yet? Just because one doctor is out of options doesnt mean that another doctor might not have another way to try.

      http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/6482

      See if you can get an appointment to consult with the very best who happen to be not so far from Hemet.

      http://esophagealcenter.ucla.edu

      Best wishes from a gal with hope.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Ejourneys' Avatar
      Ejourneys

      (((Hugs)))
      This page from the National Cancer Institute explains the difference between hospice and palliative care. All oncologists are trained in some palliative care (which begins from the day of diagnosis), but there is a palliative oncology specialty geared toward alleviating suffering in all its forms.
      http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/advanced-cancer/care-choices/palliative-care-fact-sheet

      The site includes a link to a directory of palliative care specialists.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Overlyaverage's Avatar
      Overlyaverage

      As I reflect on your questions they seem to be focused on pain management, anxiety, some fearfulness and the question we all face-should we hang in there or not. Pain management seems to be a very important issue to address and there seem to be reliable pain management available. Seems to me the pain management might reduce some of your anxiety and fearfulness. At least it has for me. If you could achieve pain management and reduced anxiety and fearfulness, you would be in the driver's seat as you look at your options. The treatments that that excites me is the immunotherapy approach. I am taking a drug that is targeted to the cancer cells (Cyramza) with the hope one of the immunotherapy drugs might be available down the road when and if this drug is no longer helpful. I hope you will continue to come to this site for support, ideas and the experiences others have had that might benefit you.

      almost 5 years ago
    • vietnam1968's Avatar
      vietnam1968

      We too are looking at palliative care as recommended by the oncologist. I keep praying for a miracle for this crazy cancer. I would say that your comfort is the main thing A friend of pur's just went thru this with her husband and said he died at home. God be with you.

      almost 5 years ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      Hopefully you can talk to your doctor. That can be hard. My husband had a sweet and quite elderly aunt that was facing another pacemaker and multiple pacemakers. She asked me if it would be suicde if she refused care-being resusitated, as her heart had stopped several times. She asked how could she get her doctor to respect this. We talked about medical care in the past and the modern age. She had tried to talk to her spiritual leader-but it didn't work well.

      She decided to tell her doctor that she wanted a DNR. She went in, and her doctor was glad to accommodate her. He didn't talk to her because of the strict religous values in the area. She called me up so happy that she had her DNR. For what it's worth, it took me 2 years to get a DNR, as the stupid Adavantage Plan considers a DNR as a form of suicide. Then I managed to get up with a doctor that probably went to Aunt Gladys's church. He would not sign.

      Cancer and other conditions are different, as we have a slow death. Have you talked to your doctor? Your doctor might be very compassionate. I started out with a poor prognosis, and my radiation oncologist and ENT told me that when it was time-they'd help me.

      Get a DNR if you want. They have living wills, where you can refuse to be tubed, where you can stay tubed, or you can be tubed for a few days. They seperately list oxygen, feeding tubes, and IVs. Part of this is my nose and IBS---my stomach probablely won't tolerate the feeding mixes. My nose probabley won't tolerate oxygen- my nose hurts now. I think that I have it listed as being hooked up for 3 days, if I go into a coma.

      I'm OK- cancer free, but I hear you and I understand what you're going through.

      almost 5 years ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      I guess that we are avoiding your question. Go to Oregon---It shouldn't be this way. I live in a state that has a high "attempted suicide" rate. I've seen quite a few people that lost their lower jaws from the gun kicking when the trigger was pulled. They were pretty much on a very soft diet for the rest of their lives. Lots of people throw up pills, especially if they mix alcohol and pills- any type of pills. Research it online, look up the Hemlock society. I just know that a person is often left in more pain after a suicide attempt.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Overlyaverage's Avatar
      Overlyaverage

      I would also like to add that I am planning to end my life on my terms when I decide. I have several means already in place to make that happen which include a person who will assist me in following through on one of those options. One option is the use of a substitute gas for helium which has now been reduced in quantity with the increase in oxygen so it is no longer effective. I have another plan that includes stockpiling medications. The New Mexico State Supreme Court has a case before it seeking a right to die law that would provide people who want to die with medical assistance.

      almost 5 years ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      Glad to hear that about the NM Supreme Court. I live in NM-Bernilillo County. I just fear that if assisted death is allowed, that legally getting the help-assistence will be so tied up in red-tape, medical standards, and so expensive and time consuming that it really won't help anybody.

      geesh! It took me 2 years, and then a terninal -incurable cancer diagnosis to get a DNR order. Presbyterian took the stand that I was suicidal. I told them that If I was suicidal- I would have done it years ago- and I did not need their permission to commit suicide. I don't know if they still do that with DNRs.

      I was fairly comfortable mentally, because I thought that I could stop my stomach med, and my IBSD would kill me. Painful, not pleasant, but much quicker than many cancers. My stomach med was removed from the market in late Nov. It was replaced with a $1200+ a month med with a discount coupon. Financial assistence is not given to anybody on Medicare. To my surprise- I'm alive. My stomach hurts a lot. Pres won't give me a mild child's tranquilizer as they did in the 1960s, They say 68 is the cut off age for anything. They don't want me to fall.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Overlyaverage's Avatar
      Overlyaverage

      I fired oncologists at Presbyterian Kaseman twice because the first one offered no hope and no compassion. The second one was annoyed with me for firing the first one because he thought the first one responded appropriately so I fired him before I was assigned to the Director of the program, Dr. Mitchell Binder, who said he would not be able to help me die. His treatment otherwise has been beyond reproach. if I have pain or discomfort of any kind he is immediate in his efforts to provide medications or tests or whatever. I appreciate his complete honesty when I ask a question and his wry sense of humor that reminds me there is much to find amusing. If you have an opportunity to be seen by him I would certainly encourage you to check him out.

      almost 5 years ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      I was quickly referred to the D team, D for Dispair and Dysfunction. I have Dr, Garg Radiation, and he used an experimental radiation treatment- and he kept at it in proving that surgery spreads this. 2 summers ago, he finally got the tumor board to prohibit a surgical biopsy if it pops up again. I guess they'll do a needle biopsy. I have that fabulous Dr. Bernard Agbemadzo. So far, I'm cancer free from the original or a secondary cancer.

      They wouldn't even let me fire my first oncologist, who was horrible--They were trying to run me out of the clinic. I somehow connected with others that had this online. They were run out and not even accepted at other clinics. Having facial disfiguerment that's combined with incurable--I know that tobacco caused cancers are horrible to look at, but they usually can be cured- and the clinic and doctor look good for treating these patients- and Everyone that sees them says- Don't smoke or chew. Do you know of Steve Schiff? He died in 18 months from a new SSC that was found on his congressional health exam. That was the only skin cancer they ever found on him. Mine was ignored for years and years. I begged Kirtland to take it off, UNMH to take it off, St. Jo, Pres, Lovelace-plastic surgeons, dermatologists-I just spent 5 months trying to get Pres to remove 2 bug bites from my arm they hurt-itched and kept changing size-lab doen't know what they were, anyway, they didn't want me looking ugly-dying- and me telling how it was ignored for over 20 years. I even sat naked at UNMH every semester for the dermatology students for 3 years. I got tired of being called names by what were supposed to be the best dermatologists in America. So Pres oncology tried to run me off.

      A person can accept rare, a person can accept incurable, but a person cannot accept 3 appointments on the same day- same hour and at 3 different clinics-Pill Hill-Kaseman Oncology-and MD Anderson Radiology- we know that MD Anderson is attached to oncology, but there aren't any connecting doors, and a person must catch the elevator, and run a block- walk around or drive around buildings--or the other way around. Then showing up for appointments and they say the doctor-whoever isn't there.

      The 3 of us have a good relationship. After what I've been through, I'm terrified of changing the relationship.

      almost 5 years ago
    • judyinflorida's Avatar
      judyinflorida

      This is such a tough question to ask and to answer. I know, because I am in the same boat. After fighting long and hard with every treatment I could take, I have finally come to the end of the road. My last chemo treatments knocked the stuffings out of me and put me in the hospital. My doctor and I decided at that point to stop treatment. Since I know a lot about hospice and their program I decided to take that route. Many people choose hospice only at the very end of their lives and miss the many benefits they offer along the way. I have known hospice patients that have lived over a year and even a few that dropped out because they got better! No one knows how long they will live when they stop treatment and go for palliative care.

      Right now I am feeling good. About a week ago I started feeling some symptoms that I recognized as progression. So that means the tumor is either growing, has migrated or is affecting some other organs. That being said, the discomfort (not pain) is easily managed with the pain pills I have. Otherwise, I am doing fine. This gives me time to get my ducks in a row and to do the things I want and need to do. In the end I plan on making my own decision as to the time, place and method I will utilize to accomplish death with dignity. Mine is complicated because my husband is terminal too and we plan to go together. I think I will know when it's time. So you can say that I'm "using" hospice, and I am, but I think they will understand. I'm taking it day to day and today is a good day. I treasure each good day and I'm hoping for many more, but preparing for when there aren't. Wishing you all the best.

      almost 5 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Sherry I believe we all have our definition of "death with dignity" and we all have our definition of "quality of life" For myself I would like to go out in a blaze of PAIN and glory. preferably alone or with a clergyman standing by. But I would like to have the option of screaming a bit without the Hospice Dark Angels coming after me with their pain relieving poisons. I really believe that a few screams does not diminish the glory, (or dignity if you prefer). That is my final desire. It is not for everyone. But it fits my belief that that the more we suffer in this life the less we will suffer in the next.

      almost 5 years ago

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