• How do you deal with a terminal diagnosis mentally and emotionally

    Asked by bendooling on Friday, May 24, 2013

    How do you deal with a terminal diagnosis mentally and emotionally

    Ive decided to leave treatment after 24 rounds of chemo, my body can't take it anymore. any advice would be helpful...

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • carm's Avatar

      I am an oncology/end of life nurse so if it were me, I would try to find out what path awaits me from people who work in end of life care who can counsel you as to what to expect and can journey with you. We know the path that lies ahead of you because for us, it is one we travel quite often. I can tell you two things however, when the time comes you will be ready and you will not be afraid. If you need someone to go over it with you, you can contact me here and I will send you my contact information. Best of luck, Carm RN.

      over 3 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Hugs - I'm with carm, seek out the advice of people who specialize in hospice and end of life care.

      over 3 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar
      Peroll (Best Answer!)

      Have you had just one chemo regimen? There are several for colon cancer and often one will have bad side effects and the others will not, so it might be reasonable to ask your Oncologist about other regimens. Also I see you are stage IV like I am. After my cancer spread to my lungs I had about a year of chemo that kept things stable before I convinced my Drs to try a different approach. There are several other treatments available like surgery, radiation, radio frequency ablation, cyber knife and others that may help you and eliminate the need for chemo. I recommend that you do some research and then talk to your Drs about the alternatives. If your Drs wont consider the alternatives then you might consider a 2nd opinion. You are much too young to give up without more of a fight. Good Luck and let us know if we can be of more help.

      over 3 years ago
    • abrub's Avatar

      Look for quality of life. I know that my chemo was XXX, and I couldn't have done it indefinitely. I understand the feeling that you're not really living, but merely existing. I was fortunate. Despite quitting chemo after 7 cycles of Folfox (plus 5 cycles of IP FUDR) I am doing very well.

      Carm is a good person to contact - she has the real information.

      The fact is no one gets out of here alive; we need to make the best with what we've got.

      over 3 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      I'm sorry to see about your health problems. My dad was told in June 2012 that he probably had about six months to live. He stopped chemotherapy late last year after seven infusions when the first line chemo failed, and decided that the time he had left was better spent outside of an infusion room being made to feel worse than he felt without it at the time. He has been in hospice since January, and it was a great decision to start early. If you can get that, go for it. It has made a huge difference with managing the pain, keeping out of the hospital, and banging down symptoms when they pop up. The drug resources are fantastic. I've got a huge drawer of medications here with everything from liquid morphine for pain, to nausea, to anxiety, to nightmares and hallucinations, to constipation. We're waiting for Walgreens to show up to ask to borrow something. Here, they have clergy available if you're religious or spiritual minded, social workers, nurses on call 24/7, doctors, delivery people, equipment, aides, volunteers if you request them. Going with hospice early has probably extended his life, and definitely improved his quality of life during these difficult months. It makes a big difference mentally and emotionally to know that there are people to maximize comfort and minimize suffering.

      The second thing I would say is to remember that 100% of us have a terminal condition with our bodies in life. We're only visitors for a short time. We're part of something eternal, and bigger than anything that can happen to us or to the cells of our bodies. All suffering is temporary, even when it feels that it will last forever. We cannot do anything to change many things in our lives. But we can focus our minds on what we do have, and we can focus our minds on this moment right now... on the things to which we have to look forward today, and on the things we do have for which to be grateful today. That's all any of us really have for sure. The future will take care of itself, if we focus on right now, make the most of this moment, and take one day at a time. Turn down the high beams. Turn on the low beams and grab onto today.

      over 3 years ago
    • Blue's Avatar

      I had pancreatic cancer which was cured by Whipple surgery. there is a chance that it will return,
      Metastasis in some other area of my body, at present, I don't have a terminal diagnosis, yet I understand that I could face it one day. It feels too profound. One probably does move through different stages of denial and acceptance. However, taking that last breath at the end of the journey is mind boggling to grapple with. I appreciate Woody Allen's statement that he doesn't want to be there when it happens. Maybe a morphine/marijuana cocktail would be the key to escape.

      over 3 years ago
    • glam's Avatar

      Dear Bendooling, please be faithful, never to give up!!!!! keep fighting.........if you have just tried one chemo protocol, look for a different one......I did so, because with firts protocol I have almost died from imunodepression so I was to give up but decided to give a second chance to a different protocol and that worked much better. I am still on it, fighting and I am also a colon cancer stage IV fighter.....If your KRAS is not positive you can also try some monoclonal drug together with your chemo (such as cetuximab).......move forward, listen to different doctors, research and discuss with your doctors.........and count on us, ever.............best wishes and GOD bless you

      over 3 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      Peroll and others who have suggested you seek other opinions and other treatments are right on target. You need to investigate clinical trials and other options if the chemo is too difficult for you. Radiation therapy is for the most part painless and proton even more so. if you cannot advocate for yourself you need to fond a relative, friend somebody to help you with it. When you fight you help all of us. Your data and your medical details go into the big data picture to help us all.

      We need your help, you are important and you deserve to live. I would like to see you try another course of treatment or another specialist in Colo Cancer. I think you still have many many options ahead of you. Your tired and your discouraged..

      Understandable. Take a break and try again. Ask this Aliza M from this group to do the research for you. This is what she is offering to do for people. Have her find you that data, Dr's, and clinical trials.

      Keep posting on your progress.

      over 3 years ago
    • bendooling's Avatar

      Thank you for your responses. Because the cancer is in fact me, myself, how can I expect to win a fight?

      over 3 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      bendooling, the cancer is not you. Yes you host it and yes it started out as cells from your body that mutated but it is only a small portion of your body and definitely not all of you there is much more of you that is not cancerous than there is of you that is. Some new forms of cancer treatment are actually training the immune system to attack and kill the cancer just like it attacks and kills viruses and bacteria. This is using you body to fight the invading cancer cells. Cancer is a fight you can win and that lots of people win every day. You just need to decide that you want to win and do what ever is necessary to win. Good Luck and let us know how we can be of help.

      over 3 years ago
    • akc1213's Avatar

      Hi Everyone, I am a very close friend of Ben's...I wanted to thank you all for reaching out to ben- I wanted to give you an update on how he is doing. He has tried to get back onto the site to respond, but is having trouble navigating his way thru it. Chemo stopped working for Ben about four months ago or maybe a little more... He switched oncologists, got other opinions, tried different chemo treatments with no success. He did try a clinical trial thru Dana Farber, but his body just couldn't take it. He and his team of docs and family have felt its time for Ben to enjoy life, side effect free. Since he made that decision a few weeks ago, he is at peace, so relaxed. He is receiving hospice care, and is so much more comfortable. I've been telling him that all of you have written to him, and that means so much to him. I am going to make sure his username and password are stored into his computer so he can easily get on and talk with everyone on this site. Ben has been keeping a poetry blog about his experience with cancer for a while now. He hopes that his writing will help other people in similar situations as him. His website is www.bendooling.com , maybe he can help you all in some way. Keep the faith...

      over 3 years ago

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