Friday, 4 March 2016

Dealing with a possible diagnosis of terminal illness

Death would appear to be silently walking the corridors of our family unit once again, barring a miracle, but miracles do happen! I don't wish to say who it is but the news is not good and has almost come out of the blue and obviously a great shock to the person involved and to us as a family.

They went to the doctor's quite ill with what they thought was one possible illness, had bloods taken, expecting them to be a week before being returned but they were back the next day! For the family of the person involved, they have been on a whirlwind tour of hospital appointments and nothing but praise can be heaped on the NHS for their speed.

More appointments to come, more scans, tests and either a treatment plan, or a possible time 'left' prognosis. I'm never sure about those as although they can be useful to allow someone to assimilate and possibly begin preparing, they are often not accurate. My friend B., was given a few months but died 3 weeks later.

Anyway, one thing is for sure, as hard as it is to accept, we are all born to die, there is no getting away from it. How we deal with these things is very much an individual experience, both for those actually affected, as well as their family and friends.

I ended a phone call the other day,  to another family member, with words something like: "we must continue to live our lives and not take on the life of the one dying". I am not sure where it came from but I think what I was trying to say was that we all process sad information differently, deal with it in different ways.

One way is not better or worse than another. What is right for one is not right for another. For those outside the immediate family involved, we have to try, where possible, to carry on living through the process and not give into it in such a way that we die as well, that we stop living.

Such an attitude might seem heartless to those who deal with things differently but that is their problem, not yours or ours if that is what you feel, it is what it is!

Do you visit or not? Sometimes, you can't especially if it happens in another country. That decision is yours and only yours!

Should you feel obliged to visit? I don't think you should feel forced into it if you feel you really can't.

Do you say your goodbyes in person or have no need to? Again, that is up to you. You may choose to remember them how they looked rather than how they look now, not everyone can cope with such a drastic change in appearance.

Should you do what you think is expected of you or what you actually want to do? Only you can decide but either way, don't be bullied into doing something you really, really, do not want to do. You and only you, are the one who has to live with your decision.

Are you crying non-stop or can't cry at all? Sometimes those who cry non-stop are told "to pull themselves together". Those who cannot or do not feel the need to cry are often accused of being heartless, putting their heads in the sand, ignoring the process, or not processing things "correctly". Gee, give us all a break, we are all different!

These and many more questions can buzz around heads making the process more difficult than perhaps it needs to be.

Each to their own self be true! 

I for one am going to indulge in a weekend of tennis, watching Great Britain start to defend their title in The Davis Cup.

If you are able, have a good weekend:)


  1. What a sad time, I haven't had much death in my family, but my when my husband's brother and dad were dying, he didn't want to say goodbye, he wanted to remember them how they were, it is a tough one, everyone is different x

    1. I'm sure things affect people differently depending on who it is and what their relationship is like.

  2. Thoughts are with you say, it's a very individual thing as to how everyone copes with it, we are all different. We have a family member who is facing the big 'C', no prognosis as yet and I am finding it difficult to assimilate my thoughts about it all.

  3. We have been lucky, our family medical history is mainly heart disease were death arrives quickly and they're gone. Even my close colleague at work who had cancer was told she was in remission after treatment, only to have a stroke and be taken from us quickly due to secondries in the brain. I would like to think I would visit the person if they wanted visitors and try to be of comfort to them. Sad times but life goes on.

  4. Yes, it very much depends on how removed you are from the situation. Gentle concern kindness and empathetic forbearance is what is called for. I am the last member of my original large family. I attended/organized funerals when I could and when I could nt I spent the day in quiet reflection to honour the family member who had died.
    These are difficult situations and people can feel "put-upon" to feel a certain way. Sometimes people make unsupportive remarks when they feel uncomfortable and not sure what is expected of them.
    Some people can t visit the sick and dying and their feelings should be respected.
    There is nothing wrong with watching the tennis as a distraction; I am sure your family know they can count on your love and support.

  5. I was sorry to read your news.
    I think it's very much an individual situation. I've only faced this once, and on that occasion I went on a journey which involved 3 trains, 3 buses and a taxi and was out of the house for 12 hours to spend an hour visiting my uncle. I knew when I saw him that it would be the last time. He lived for around 3 months after that, and I was glad that I had been to see him and told him that I loved him.
    You can only do what you think is best at the time.
    Take care and enjoy the tennis. x

  6. Sorry to hear your sad news. As you say, everyone has to deal with these things in their own way.

  7. So very sorry to hear this. I do hope that all will be as well as it can be, which by what and how you have written I am sure that you will understand. We all have to do what is right for us, I am sure that you will find the right way through, I hope that the 0person who is sick and the rest of the family can too. Hugs and all good thoughts to you. xx

  8. I am sorry to hear your sad news. You are so right, everyone has to be allowed to deal with this in their own way without criticism from others. When my boys lost their dad they all dealt with it in very different ways, one with him when he died, but the other two weren't by choice. I made sure that they all felt it was the right thing to do for them xxx

  9. Wise and your family are in my thoughts at this difficult


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