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Need some advice.....

Posted by marie on 6/30/03 at 19:04 (123250)

An old friend of my hubby's is termianlly ill. He is such a great person....and he's in the entertainment industry. He wants to come home but doesn't want his parents to know about his cancer...his dad is also close to the end. We are probably going to take him in and will let him use the cabin for a while. I have never really been through anything like this so I need some advice.....How long should we let him stay with us...I don't know that we can handle watching this sweet man die. But no way are saying no to him. Are we doing the right thing?

Any suggestions or experience on this issue is welcome. Thanks, marie

Re: Need some advice.....

wendyn on 6/30/03 at 20:10 (123261)

Marie, my husband's best friend died of cancer a few years ago. It was very hard to watch him deteriorate and then die (at home)

My mom came to babysit the first time I went to see him after his diagnosis. I was afraid to go...I didn't know what to say or how to act. My mom went through her best friend's slow death from cancer a few years ago...and she basically told me (it sounds a little harsh, but it's true);

This is NOT about you (and what YOU can or cannot handle). If you don't know what to say, then don't say anything - or just admit that you don't know what to say. It is better to go and just sit there - then to not go at all (because you think it's too hard for you).

It is a most profound gift - to give somehow to someone who will NEVER be able to do anything for you in return. And it is a profound gift to do something that is so painful for you - but so precious to the person you are taking care of.

Death is not easy - and you will not be the same person after you've gone through this. It's amazing how trivial most of life's problems seem when you're looking death in the face.

I did a lot of research on the net - on terminal illness and dying. I'm pretty sure I found some bulletin boards that were good. I'm not Budhist - but I seem to remember finding some really helpful information on some Budhist sites.

Feel free to email me anytime...(and yes, you're doing the right thing)

Re: Need some advice.....

Suzanne D on 6/30/03 at 21:01 (123269)

Your mother is a wise woman, Wendy. So often people shy away from doing something for others because they feel uncomfortable; they don't know what to say or do. She is right in that in those circumstances it is not about US but about them.

I understood this much more clearly during the time of my parents' deaths. Some people came to the funeral home apologizing about what they were wearing and explaining they had just come from work. I couldn't have cared less about what they had on. The important thing was that they CAME and stood beside me. They didn't have to have any magic words to say; there weren't any. Just to say, 'I'm sorry' or even to stand beside me for a few minutes and put their hand on my arm was indeed comforting.

I had a good friend who had a debilitating illness over a number of years which finally took her life. She told me how many friends deserted her. Her doctor explained to her that they were uncomfortable in her presence because she reminded them of their own mortality, and they wanted to put this out of their minds. So they cut themselves off from her when she needed them.

Marie, it seems to me always to be the right thing to be kind and to help someone. There probably aren't any set rules as to how long to let your friend stay, etc. I think you will know as you go along. Best wishes to him and to you all as you help him during this hard time.

Suzanne :)

Re: Need some advice.....

Dorothy on 7/01/03 at 03:04 (123281)

Suzanne ~ I think your notes and the tone that you express through them are perfect examples of what you wrote to Marie. Your notes always seem to be very kind and encouraging, or even just simply responsive. It's a lovely gift and particularly to those who are hurting or feeling a little - or a lot - desperate with their situation. Maybe a new saying is in order: sore feet, warm heart. This is your official welcome to July.

Re: Need some advice.....

Suzanne D on 7/01/03 at 06:55 (123283)

Why thank you, Dorothy! It was nice to read your message this morning. I like your saying, too!

Somehow it is hard for me to imagine that it is July already! I think it is because of our long, cool spring and the fact that school was not out until June 5th. Part of me will forever be on the 'old schedule' of school getting out the end of May and beginning late in August. With our new calendar, we will be back in school in a month.

When I turn the calendar to July, I always think of my father whose birthday was July 2nd. It was nice to be welcomed to July by someone whose relatives came from the same place as my father!

Have a good day!
Suzanne :)

Re: Need some advice.....

Kathy G on 7/01/03 at 08:11 (123292)


I have no words of wisdom in this matter. Wendyn said it all. From a purely practical point of view, however, make sure that you are not biting off more than you can chew. Will you become his primary caretakers? Do you have the time and energy to do it? Does his have any other friends and family in the area who will be able to help you out?

I ask this not because I consider myself to be callous but because if you have him come and then find out that you are unable to cope with all that this may entail, you will never forgive yourself for having failed. You don't want to start something that you will find impossible to see through. It would be unfair to him and it would be unfair to you and your family.

I admire your compassion and your caring. Just don't let your good heart get in the way of your common sense.

Re: Need some advice.....

Necee on 7/01/03 at 08:39 (123301)

Giving of your time, love and support to someone who desperately needs it, is the greatest gift.
I admire you for wanting to help, and in the long run you will certainly be blessed.
I took care of my father who had cancer, and I don't regret it for one minute.
Just listen to your heart.

All the best...


Re: Need some advice.....

Aly R. on 7/01/03 at 08:40 (123302)

Wow, what a great message, and so true. I'm going to print that one out!

Re: Need some advice.....

BevN. on 7/01/03 at 09:22 (123311)

I understand too well how people deserted their friends during a long illness. I cared for my mother for many years before her death and for the first few years friends came to visit, then the visits became further and further apart until they stopped altogethter. She had no visits, even from the church family(except for the pastor), for the last few years of her life. I was so very sad that they felt it was too difficult to see her in that state of health , however I did understand. They all did attend her funeral and were there to comfort us .~~~~ Marie~~~~ I give you Gods blessing if you undertake the caring of one of His children during his last days. It is the most difficult of tasks you will ever do, however, you will be blessed for your loving care. You must have your whole family behind you 500% because you will need their love and support also . I could never have done it (cared for my mother) without my families support. You must be sure that your health will also be up to the task also . With your new job , you will have a lot of demands upon you mentally and physically . You sound like such a strong willed and super person that there is not anything you can not do that you put your mind to doing, right :) Have a lovely day :) Bev

Re: Need some advice.....

marie on 7/01/03 at 09:31 (123313)

Very good advice. There is no way I would say no to this man. I offered it to him before he had to ask. We don't want him far away. He has an older brother that lives here....he will go with him when it gets bad. I just need some help in figuring out how to do this. The date he was told by the docs that he would live util passed a couple of weeks ago. He looks well but has lost so much wight. It started as skin cancer, then a brain tumor which was successfully removed a few years ago. Now it is in his lungs and stomach and is inoperable.

Thanks for your kind words, marie

Re: Need some advice.....

Kathy G on 7/01/03 at 12:06 (123327)


I'm glad that his brother will be able to help. You are wonderful to want to make his last days easier. Your cabin sounds like a delightful place and your family is very generous to allow him to use it.

I will keep him and you all in my thoughts. Please keep us updated on how he's doing, if you have time. You are an 0:). Bless you!

Re: Need some advice.....

Dorothy on 7/01/03 at 12:06 (123328)

Yes, I know what you mean. My father's birthday falls sometimes on, other times very near, Father's Day and my mother's birthday in early July and, even though, they both passed away in very recent years, those 'marker' days always bring thoughts of them to the forefront. Of course, there are so many days that I just wish I could give them a call, but maybe that is what remembering is in its own way. My parents' gravesites are in Wayne County because Wayne Co., Kentucky is the only place they ever truly considered 'home' even though economic conditions forced them to migrate north for employment when they were newly married. My mother always thought that younger generations that came after WWII could not survive a depression like the 'Great Depression'. I'm not sure; I hope we do not have to test her belief.

Enjoy your summer days as they come - it is a fact that it is July, although I can't believe it either.

Re: Need some advice.....

brianh on 7/01/03 at 15:42 (123353)

The only suggestion I can make is that there may be alternatives that are worth looking into. Check out the website 'www.bloodrootproducts.com'. It may help...you never know. Also, there is another herbal product called Essiac, as well as the herbs Cat's Claw, Pau d'Arco, Red Clover, and Dandelion. Speaking just for myself, I wouldn't give up until I exhausted all possibilities. The above are just a few of the less exotic, herbal approaches.

Re: Need some advice.....

Dr. Z on 7/02/03 at 18:51 (123469)

You are very kind. You will know what to say and how to handle this. On another note you will probaby need home nursing care to come and handle your friends pain with morphine. So you will have to prepare ahead for this phase of Cancer