General Question

cak's avatar

If you had to make the decision to either live as a medical guessing game or to walk away from medical treatment and live out whatever time you had, what would you do?

Asked by cak (15748 points ) August 15th, 2008

When left with very few choices about medical care and faced with a very uncertain (as all futures truly are) future, would you just want to live your life and stop looking for the answer or cure? Say the “fight” has gone on for several years. When is enough, truly enough. When do you say, I need my family and my life – if you find something, let me know. Until then, I’ll be at home, playing with my family.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

30 Answers

winblowzxp's avatar

When it’s my time, it’s my time. But I’m not going to go without a fight.

augustlan's avatar

This is such a difficult question to answer, cak. I’ve picked up in other threads that you’re in the hospital for cancer treatment…I’m kind of worried that you’re thinking about giving up your fight. Is that the case? If so, what has precipated this idea?

tinyfaery's avatar

Only the individual can make that decision. I understand that acceptance can be very cathartic in these situations, but acceptance does not mean one has to stop trying. If it’s been a long time, and treatments are causing unnecessary duress, I can understand wanting to stop the treatment, and live out the rest of one’s life without the hassle.

I can’t really answer this for another, nor myself really, because I have never been in such a situation. I would hope that such a decision wouldn’t be made in anger, fear, or depression. But it is up to the individual to decide when enough is enough.

Now I’m sad. :(

cak's avatar

It’s been a rough road, so far. It’s getting rougher. I’ve had multiple surgeries, Bone marrow transplants and very intense treatments. I’m facing a new complication.

I’m not one to give up, but I can’t say that it hasn’t crossed my mind, this time. I want to raise my children and be a mom. I want to sit and laugh with my husband.

When you run out of answers. Your doctors finally say, “I don’t know.” It’s hard. I’m not saying I’m throwing in the towel. I just am tired. That’s the word, tired.

I’m 37. I don’t think it’s my time, yet. My list of things to do is far too long. But, for the first time, I was finally asked by a loved one if I just wanted to go home and see what happens. I don’t know if it was in my voice or if it was truly something they just thought about, but it’s someone that knows me, almost better than I know myself.

I’m just curious. I feel it would be so damn incredibly selfish to quit. How do you look at your family and say, “OK, well, it’s been real, but I’m done.” I think I’m not there, but it’s just something I have to reason out…and, at 2something am…I reason it out online.

cak's avatar

@tinyfaery, don’t be sad! I’m sorry!

tinyfaery's avatar

Please don’t apologize. It’s not your fault.

I can’t imagine what you are going through. We are so close in age; and though I joke about being old all the time, we are still so young.

My good thoughts are with you. Hold onto the things you love, and allow others to help you through the rough times.

augustlan's avatar

If I knew there was no hope, I’d definitely be inclined to go home and enjoy the last of my time with my family…I don’t see the point in “extending” life by a month, or even a year, if that time was sure to be miserable due to the treatment required to do so. If my odds were fair to good, I’d keep right on fighting. Cak, I hope that you are in the latter situation.

shilolo's avatar

Cak. You raise a very, very difficult question. I have counseled many patients and their families with these issues, and it is never easy. There are no simple answers, and I’ve been on both sides of this issue.

Only you know what is in your heart to do, but, at such a young age and with so many things to look forward to in life, I would encourage you to keep fighting! My thoughts are with you, no matter what you choose.

Kar's avatar

That is so hard for someone as young as you cak. For me, well, I have raised my children, and they are all out of the house. My life has been centered around my grandson, whose father is pretty much absent, but my daughter is making it O.K.
The thing is, I am a Christian, and I do believe in heaven. At my age (58), facing some health problems on my own, I think I would let go, but it’s hard for me to relate to someone 20 years younger and I think at your age I would probably keep fighting and praying, as long as my quality of life was still good.
I think you are too young to let go. Keep believing, and fighting, and if it ever comes to a time when you just have to let go – let go. Only you can decide that. My prayers are with you.

cak's avatar

shilolo, I gotta tell you, I love my medical team. Sure, there have been a few to walk away, recently saying that was all they could do, but I do understand them and I’d always rather someone be honest, than to lie to me. I cannot imagine being in your shoes.

I think it is just the shock of it, still settling in. In a few days, I’ll be back in fighting form…hey, maybe this is all repressed PMS. :)

I am a fighter, but I am logical, too – sometimes, those conflict. Then, my 5 year old tells me to stop messing around and get better.

Thank you for weighing in – I appreciate it, very much.

cak's avatar

Kar, you know me. I’ll get over myself and put on my big girl undies and move ahead. I’ve just been sucker punched and I don’t like it!

Thank you, as always, for your thoughts and prayers. :)

cak's avatar

@tinyfaery – thank you – we are young, aren’t we! ;)

Thank you for your well wishes.

shilolo's avatar

Cak. Having never been through a serious medical illness such as yours, it is impossible to empathize. I can understand the draw of just living a normal life and allowing nature to take its course. But then, I would think, like you, of my family and children and just not be able to do it, unless I was faced with truly insurmountable odds. Even then, the drive to live can be overwhelming. I suggest that you seek support as well from your close family and lean on them as much as possible. In the end, it is your choice, but having deep, meaningful conversations with loved ones can really help everyone clarify their thoughts and feelings. It is not selfish to not want to suffer anymore.

Edit: I didn’t mean to imply that you weren’t involving your family. More to the point, I meant that the more everyone around you expresses their true feelings, the more comfortable everyone can be with your decisions.

cak's avatar

@augustian, thank you. It makes sense.

@everyone – thank you all. Sometimes, it helps more to throw things out to people that aren’t so close to you. It’s hard to think about things. I will say this, I’m not crying (huge improvement!) and I can see the screen, again. It makes it easier to start listening to your husband and family, when you can just clear up some thoughts.

I promise, I do base my decisions on my family and me – not off of this, I truly use it as a way to move me along and to help me to really deal with things. Thank you,everyone.

jlm11f's avatar

To answer the Q, I think when it’s time to say “that’s it, i am done with this, i just want to be home”, you will just know, in your heart. No one can answer this Q since it’s a very individual and situational problem.

That said, cak, you are a great inspiration to many of us. I know you are a fighter, and I know you can combat this. With all your problems, you are able to put a smile on your face and always be cheery (whether it’s online or off). That is truly admirable. I know you will always be considered a great mom and wife irrespective of your decision. We are rooting for you hun, and have full faith in your recovery. <3

cak's avatar

PnL, thank you. Normally, I can just deal with things! I guess we all hit our wall, I slammed into mine, late last week! Tomorrow, will be a good day. I will have more time to talk to my husband and then, again on Sunday. By then, we’ll have answers for what choices are being made and how to proceed.

What I can say, the doctors that I am working with, now, are willing to search for options, but are being very cautious and I do like that, they understand that I am just a tell me how it is person, don’t mess around with any answers!

I am a very, very lucky woman. I have a husband that despite everything that has been thrown at us, he just doesn’t give up. I have a daughter and son that just seem to get it. They understand that there isn’t a perfect answer, but that I refuse to let this rule their lives.

I’ll pull it together, I just needed my breakdown, to be able to ge to the other side.

Ok…bedtime. I’ll see you over the weekend – again, I appreciate everyone taking the time to respond to my question.

lefteh's avatar

Cak: It is very beautiful that you recognize the blessings in your life, such as your loving family, and consider yourself a lucky woman. I hope you hold on to those blessings and continue your fight.

PupnTaco's avatar

Cak: I can’t really add beyond what’s been said here. Thank you for sharing your trials with us.

If I were in your shoes, I’m guessing I would weigh the pain of continuing treatment vs. the pain of discontinuing and consider any effect on my family. I’m guessing because I don’t know how I would behave in your circumstance. :(

Randy's avatar

Cak, I wish you the best of luck. I know it’s tough to be in those shoes. Your in my thoughts and prayers as is your family and medical team.

Just remember to make the best situation out of every moment your given. Life is precious. Again I wish you the best in your trying times.

Larssenabdo's avatar

Sweetheart, I’ve had times where I’ve wanted to say “Enough”—over much smaller hurdles than those you’ve faced. So even though there’s no way I can say that I understand what you’re going through, I understand the feeling of “I’ve had it!” on a lesser scale.

I think when this occurs for me, it’s a question of needing more time to adjust to the situation. You’ve had a lot of hits lately, after two years of hits. Maybe that is what you’re feeling, the need for a break. No one deserves it more.

Any decision you make will be the right one.

(((((Chris)))))

whatthefluther's avatar

@cak…my heart goes out to you. The disease I have (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease) has no treatment and is fatal, but I consider myself fortunate and lucky because I made it through the frustrating and painful guessing game. Only then was I able to thoroughly research my condition, review it with doctors and discuss it with my family. Once I understood what was happening to me and the course it would take, I fairly quickly came to accept it to where I am now at peace with my fate. But to not know, as in your case, must be utter hell. I don’t know what to say. Ultimately, the decision must be yours alone. Carefully weigh your options, try to be positive but in the end you’ll have to be realistic. Again, my heart goes out to you. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you the best…wtf

Judi's avatar

I haven’t stopped praying cak!

cak's avatar

@Lefteh – thank you! I can’t make any decisions without them! Nothing, long term, is ever decided without them in mind. If I even thought of making a decision without them, that’s about the time they would vote me off the island. :)

@PupnTaco (cool name!) I never thought I’d be in my shoes and it just plain ole sucks! I think, this helped though. At times, you just have to throw a thought out there and see where it goes. After I did this. I slept, last night (early this morning), for the first time, all week. It’s not an exact thing and I am still finding my way, but I am able to think things through, much better now!

@ Randy. Thank you and you are correct, ever moment is precious!

@Lars – don’t worry, your fat catus woman isn’t giving up, yet. I just really had to hit that bottom, it’s been a very long, very wearing week. (on so many fronts!) You know how I work – backwards. This week, very backwards. You just get so damn tired of every curveball being thrown your way. One day, my biggest worry will be to color my growing hair or not to color my growing hair! Love you too! Hope the kid and the dog are good!!

@whatthefluther(awesome name!) Wow. My Aunt and my cousin, came flooding back to me when I read your post. They both had ALS and they both taught everyone how to accept life, however it is. Today, I am thinking more clearly and have talked to my husband and we’re on the same page. We understand where we are going and what our next decision will be. Thank you for this post. It was like my Aunt sitting me down for a good talk, all over again.

@Judi. Thank you! Don’t stop! :)

@Everyone. Thank you, I appreciate the posts!

autumn43's avatar

Aww cak – you are the best! You are truly an inspiration and I just wish I could give you the biggest hug. I will pray for you and your family and thank God for letting you be a part of my life.

marinelife's avatar

Dear cak, I am deeply, deeply sorry that you have been tasked with such an ordeal at such a young age. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to go on, and to think about your small child as you battle this disease.

Whatever you decide, I will be thinking of you and sending positive energy your way. During a recent ordeal (that did not come close to yours), I got some inspiration from Randy Pausch and his last lecture.

You have dealt bravely for a while; I know you will find your center again.

Best,

Marina

McBean's avatar

cak, you are a beautiful jewel in this world. I am sending you more energy and love and ammo to fight with. And I’m praying for you, dear.

cak's avatar

@Autumn. Another cute bunny pic! Thank you for the continued prayers.

@Marina – Randy Pausch had so much courage, he certainly is one to really think about, when you just need to dig deep! Thank you for your kind words and thoughts!

@McBean – thank you, my friend! :)

feistyismad's avatar

cak….how could someone really answer this question that has not been in you shoes. ok, i am a Christian and i know that when my time on earth is through i will leave here and join my husband, so with that said, i have 2 children and a 3 year old g-daughter that just lost her pa-pa 15 months ago and i believe that for their sake i have to do what i can for them, but when every thing has been done and nothing is working i would like for my time to have quality not quanity. this is not advice to you but just my opinion. i will say that since i love you very much…....please fight, fight, fight. it comes down to this being your decision. just know that i will continue to pray for you everyday and pm me if you ever need to talk.

nina's avatar

I know how it sounds, but extreme times require extreme measures. Have you tried praying for the answer?
And I do think that PNL is right, if you are asking this question, you should go on fighting.

punkrockworld's avatar

If I had kids, I’d try to be strong and wait for a treatment or whatever.
If I had nobody to look after or care for I’d just walk away and enjoy my last days..
it depends on where my life’s at the moment it strikes.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther