• Should I continue to go to graduate school if I only have 2-3 years left to live (2 years of school left)?

    Asked by packerbacker on Friday, October 5, 2012

    Should I continue to go to graduate school if I only have 2-3 years left to live (2 years of school left)?

    I am currently in graduate school to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, and I will be done the fall of 2014. My oncologist told me I have roughly 2-3 years left to live. Does it pay to continue school? These "predictions" can be wrong. I probably should drop-out, due to cost and time demands, but then we have to start to repay the student loans, which will be very difficult to do, as I am on leave from work right now due to the cancer and back surgery. So, our income is limited. The news of my time left is new to me today, and I don't think it has totally sunk in yet. Think good things! For ALL of us!

    14 Answers from the Community

    14 answers
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      Take out a big pad of paper, and write down all the things you really want to do with your time. If that's not on your list, dump it. If it's a dream of yours to complete it, then go on with the dream like you're going to live forever. Determine if it's something that you really value. Do not give something up just because you were handed a timeline. You were already on a timeline before-- you just didn't think about it. Now that you think about it, use it to eliminate the things that you really don't care whether you do or not, and grab onto what's left.

      over 8 years ago
    • teddyfuzz's Avatar

      Hi packerbacker. I see your dilemma. One one hand, you have already invested your time and money into becoming a nurse practitioner and you would like to see this through to completion (as well as deferring the loans). On the other hand, you have more important things to deal with than schoolwork right now but dropping out of school would mean that the loans would become due. Not an easy choice to make. The doctor says that you have 2-3 years left but that is just an estimate based on numbers. You could be around for a lot longer than that (and I hope that you are!) Is school something that you really enjoy? If so, I would say stay in school (if you feel good enough to do so). If it's not something that you enjoy, then you may want to focus on other things that are more important to you - regardless of the amount of time you have left. 2 years or 20 years...life is short and our time should be spent doing the things that bring us pleasure. I wish you well my friend. Lots of hugs, Jamie

      over 8 years ago
    • sbmontgomery's Avatar

      What is known today about treating cancer will be different than what they know tomorrow. I can't count on one hand how many people told me they where told they had so long to live. They are still here. This is your live and you must live as if you will live forever. Cancer is just a fork in the road of life and now you choose what direction you what to go. Go the direction that makes you the happiest. It doesn't have to be a big thing it can just be little things. What is important is WHAT MAKES YOU THE HAPPIEST.

      over 8 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I have a friend who was told about a month or so ago that she might have a year left to live. I've told her that one year to live probably means 10. Even though you received some of the worst news possible, that doesn't mean now is the time to stop living. If it were me, I would continue that dream of becoming a Nurse Practitioner. Especially considering Your 2-3 years could be 4, 5, 6....10 Years....

      over 8 years ago
    • abrub's Avatar

      I was told in no uncertain terms that I'd be dead by now. Unless there is something that someone hasn't told me, I'm very much alive, and very healthy (been kayaking and bicycling recently.) Follow your dreams, and live for a future. We never know if we will be here tomorrow, but we need to live as if we have forever.

      over 8 years ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      You are not a statistic, which is what your doctor is going by. There is no 100 % certainty. Given that, I would ask myself: What is important? What do I enjoy? Whether you have 2 years, or twenty, or more, these are the things to focus on. So if your dream is to be an NP and you're only two years away from realizing this dream, I say go for it! <3

      over 8 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      If this is one of your dreams and you have the physical and emotional energy I say go for it. keeping your mind and body active and doing things you love is part of your treatment too. BTW have you gotten a 2nd opinion - I would strongly recommend that you do, another set of eyes, is always helpful, even if only to confirm that your team is on the right track.
      Hugs to you and your family.
      One last thing. A friend of mine's mother was given 2 years to live when she was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma about 20 years ago, she lived for 11 more years.

      over 8 years ago
    • nobrand's Avatar

      I can't but echo each answer above me. I would also like to add that, even if it is true about the 2-3 year thing, you aren't guaranteed those years either. Life is too unpredictable, and buses are careening around corners dangerously near pedestrians on a daily basis.

      If anything, this is a wake-up call to pursue your dreams while you can. If you feel sick, pursue feeling better before even worrying about your student loans. Call them-- defer, and forget. (at least until you feel better!)

      over 8 years ago
    • scintilate's Avatar

      Hi packerbacker, I really like the answers you have already received. I recently completed a degree in IT and buried myself in my studies while I was in the denial phase of my grief. I have to say that my studies took my mind off of my diagnosis since I did enjoy what I was learning. I have questioned myself since graduating whether it was a good choice or whether I should have been doing other things such as travelling with that money. My thoughts are that I needed the studies as it helped me not focus on the negative.

      over 8 years ago
    • dvdbriansr's Avatar

      I'd have to say, what ever makes you happy. If graduating is high on your list of priorities, then go for it. As for the student loans, if you had no co-signers what difference will they make. QUALITY of life over QUANTITY of life that's my thing. Going to college when all hope was lost was my saving grace. It well may be yours also. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

      over 8 years ago
    • LuvinSis' Avatar

      You should follow what makes you happy but keep the financial considerations in mind. Are you able to pay for all the treatments/medical costs and continue with your education? If you have private loans and are married the loans don't go away, they would remain for the spouse to pay off (just like a car loan or credit card would). Public /government backed loans would be forgiven.

      over 8 years ago
    • PennieEckard's Avatar

      If this is goal of yours, then yet you should finish. Even if you can only work a short time, it will make you feel successful.

      over 8 years ago
    • Lirasgirl33's Avatar

      My doc tor told me I have 1-2 years. I refuse to accept that and I will not let cancer stop me from living my life. Each day is precious. Hang on in there. Sending you hugs and healing thoughts.

      over 8 years ago
    • izzysmom's Avatar

      Making a bucket-list has really helped me to be mindful of my time. I have had to re-do it many times due to finances and illness-the reality of this disease, but it helps put life in perspective for me. I HOPE you don't beleive that the Dr. knows when your time is-you may find you have lived only for these next few years, when you had MORE TIME to come. God bless....

      over 8 years ago

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