Each of us has a grant of time. Of course, we don’t have any way to predict how long our grant of time will be. Each of us eventually will face our end of life. When death approaches, whether due to cancer or other causes, we have choices.
Choices about care
Choices about approach
Choices about attitude
Choices about dealing with relationships
Choices about pain control
There are times when all available medications, treatments, trials, and options have been exhausted and it becomes clear that the cancer is not to be cured or held in check. After thoughtful consultations with the medical professionals, each survivor dealing with the reality of the impending end of life will make extremely difficult decisions. It is very hard to balance the need for the quantity of time and quality of time.
Should one keep trying to beat cancer or acknowledge that there are no more options and begin to plan for death? Some survivors choose palliative therapy to keep the cancer at bay for a short time. Others choose to discontinue treatment and use medication to control pain to be as comfortable as possible. There are no right or wrong decisions. Each person weighs their options and comes to the best answer for their particular set of circumstances.
Professional help is available for people facing end of life and many folks find it helpful to talk about their feelings. Often modes of relaxation, yoga, or visualization are found to be useful. There are trained mental health professionals as well as hospice personnel available to assist in facing these tremendous challenges.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization can be reached at www.nhpco.org or 800.658.8898 for support and care. If time allows, there are things that some people choose to do to prepare themselves and their loved ones for their end of life.
Some spend time doing things that they have always wanted to try; something new and perhaps lasting like ceramics, painting, scrapbooking, visiting a place they have wanted to see, planning or planting a garden, writing, or knitting. Many want to spend as much time as possible with loved ones. Some people choose to give gifts of their special possessions or establish a special scholarship or memorial fund. Some want to be as physically active as they possibly can. Some choose to write to loved ones or prepare gifts for loved ones to receive from them after they have died. Some people may want to be more solitary.