Preparing for Dying - to live as fully and as richly as can be There's nothing more we can do? Let’s stamp out that phrase!



 “Instead of telling a terminally ill person "there's nothing more we can do," what if doctors actually said something more like this:

 

My Dear Patient, we've come to a point in this journey where to continue with traditional interventions will more than likely not stop the progression of your disease and in fact could do more harm and potentially shorten your life. Having said this, please know that there is much that we can do now to manage whatever symptoms you might experience. I know this news may not be what you had hoped to hear, nor one which you would view as having opportunities. But let me share what I believe might be beneficial to you at this time.

As your physician, I will continue to support you, provide resources to you and discuss your wishes, your goals and your preferences for your care. My goal for you will be to help you make a plan that promotes the highest quality of living for however long that might be. I have seen that this time in a person's life can be one of profound growth and deeper meaning than ever before. The opportunities I would ask you to consider might include the following: looking closely at your relationships, considering the legacy you will leave for your family, accomplishing goals which you might have put on hold until a later date and time, making decisions about your financial affairs, and making informed choices about how you want to spend your energy and time on any given day.”

From: Let's Stamp Out the Phrase 'There's Nothing More We Can Do by Cindy Finch, Huffington Post article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cindy-finch-msw-licsw/lets-stamp-out-the-phrase_b_5652712.html

 

If you agree with the above quote, you will love this book Cancer as a Turning Point: A Handbook for People with Cancer, Their Families, and Their Health Professionals by Lawrence LeShan.  It is my all time favourite and has inspired all my death education work. It is how we live that matters much more than how long we live. Death education is life education. Embracing death as part of life can help us lead a more meaningful life now so that one day we can die without too many regrets, Never more so than when being ill and having come to the end of the line of life saving interventions.

“What kind of life would you be living if you could adjust the world to yourself instead of – as most patients generally have done- adjusting yourself to the world? What kind of life and lifestyle would make you glad to get up in the morning and glad to go to bed at night? These are the questions Dr. LeShan asks his patients in order to open their eyes, to make a difference in their lives and their cancer treatment.” Lawrence LeShan, Cancer As a Turning Point (1989).

‘It is difficult to think of anyone with cancer who will not profit from this book’ Norman Cousins

 

Why wait to face death when being given the diagnosis of a life-threatening or terminal illness? We are all’ terminal’ and have much to learn about life and about living a meaningful life now.  This book is for every mortal. It helps you think about what really matters to you and about how to best use this precious time.


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