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pamik
11-30-2004, 02:05 AM
New to this site but would like to post a question/situation....

My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer 2 years ago. They were able to remove all the detectable disease but chemo was delayed due to 2 strokes, one occuring during the initial surgery and another while treatment with heparin. He also had massive diarrhea from a new colon(!) and overuse of antibiotics.

In April, his CEA was 629 and they switched him to his third chemo regime which did bring it down to 10 something in Sept but now it is, again, back up to 63.4. He is growing tired of the weekly chemo, the diarrhea that occurs due to the chemo and the fatigue. There is only one option left and that is still kind of experimential.

My question now..
Initially, I promised him that I would not allow him to suffer. If it appeared that the end was actually near, I would help him--ie, I would not allow him to just linger. I'm not sure if he remembers me making this statement but I remember. Now I'm not really sure I could do it. I have the means and, really, no one would be the wiser, but I'm not sure I could do it. I am a registered nurse and have worked in the hospice field for 2 years and have dealt with end of life patients for most of my career. I know the suffering that can occur at the end. I'm just not sure I could actually do what would be necessary to bring about the end and not suffer terrible guilt myself. Granted, it wouldn't be now....he still can walk, talk, eat....little pain but this is related to arthritis.
Could you do it???

MACE1610
11-30-2004, 03:24 AM
HI,

I FIRST OF ALL WANT TO WISH THE BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND. I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT IN THAT MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE AGREED THAT NEITHER OF US WITH LET THEN EVER KEEP ONE OF US ALIVE ON MACHINES. I HAVE BREAST CANCER AND MY MOTHER DIED OF BREAST CANCER IN 1978. AT THE TIME WHEN THINGS STARTED GETTING VERY BAD FOR HER A PA IN OUR FAMILY CAME TO VISIT MY MOTHER. BEFORE SHE LEFT SHE GAME ME A NEEDLE AND SOME MEDICINE AND TOLD HIM HOW TO DO IT. SHE TOLD ME NOT TO LET MY MOTHER LAY IN PAIN BUT SO LONG. MY MOTHER HAD ASK HER TO DO THIS AND LET HER KNOW THAT SHE WOULD TELL ME IF AND WHEN THE PAIN BECAME TO MUCH FOR HER. ONCE OUR FAMILY MEMEBER LEFT THAT DAY MY MOTHER ASK ME IF SHE HAD GIVEN MY ANYTHING. AS IT TURNED OUT I NEVER HAD TO DO ANYTHING. MY MOTHERS DOCTOR DID NOT LET HER BE PUT ON MACHINES OR DID HE LET HER FEEL ANY PAIN IN THE END. HE MADE SURE OF IT. WOULD I HAVE DONE IF IT HAD COME DOWN TO IT. I THINK I WOULD HAVE AND COULD HAVE BECAUSE I KNEW THAT IS WHAT SHE WANTED. I KNEW FULL WELL THAT I COULD HAVE GONE TO JAIL IF ANYONE FOUND OUT, YET I WAS ASURED NO ONE WOULD BE ABLE TO TELL BY WHAT I HAD BEEN GIVEN. I AM THANKFUL THAT I WAS NOT PUT TO THAT TEST IN THE LONG RUN. I DO NO THAT WHEN MY HUSBAND HAD BY PASS SURGERY AND WHEN I WENT IN TO SEE HIM THEY HAD A BREATHING MACHINE ON HIM. HE LOOKED AT ME, HE WAS FULLY AWAKE AND I KNEW WHAT HE WANTED. I SAID TO HIM DO YOU WANT IT OUT AND HE SAID YES. THEY NURSE SAID HE WOULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT IT THAT HIS BREATHING WAS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I LOOKED AND HIM AND THE NURSE AND TOLD HER THEY HAD 30 MINUTES TO GET HIM BREATHING ON HIS OWN AND IF HE WAS NOT IT CAME OUT. HE TOOK MY HAND AND LET ME KNOW I HAD SAID THE CORRECT THING. THE BREATHING MACHINE CAME OFF IN 1999 AND HE IS SITTING HERE WATCHIG TV RIGHT NOW BREATHING JUST FINE. I KNEW I COULD HAVE LOST HIM THAT DAY, BUT I WAS DOING WHAT HE WANTED NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE ELSE THOUGHT, THAT WAS WHAT WE HAVE PROMISED EACH OTHER. WE BOTH STILL FEEL THE SAME WAY ABOUT THOSE MACHINES KEEPING A PERSON ALIVE. THIS MAY NOT HELP YOU BUT YOU ASK IF I COULD DO IT AND THIS IS THAT BEST ANSWER I HAVE.

leo
11-30-2004, 03:57 AM
Hello

I have moved this topic to the colon cancer area, but it really is a very difficult situation. As you know, euthanasia is not lawful in the US. But physician-assisted suicide is legal in Oregon, so you can go there and have it there if you wish. Being such a controversial topic, I do not encourage people to inject anyone with anything. Imagine if it goes wrong and the person ends suffering even more. But this is a very personal opinion, and as a physician I always do my best to make patients as comfortable as possible.

best regards,
Leo

Martha Anne
11-30-2004, 04:11 AM
This is a question that I think everyone with cancer has thought about.

First I would like to ask you if you and your husband have discussed this again? If he is relatively ok now, as you wrote, then now is the perfect time. This way YOU are clear on what HE wants. And you will know that when the time comes this decision was not made in the heat of extreme pain or anguish. It is a difficult question for regular people - but once you enter the world of cancer you can ask anything.

Now please do not think I am belittling this serious topic at all by what I am about to write. But I had a dog for close to 18 years. He was like a child to me. He had arthritis very bad, began to go blind, and had developed cancer. I wanted to do whatever I could to keep him alive. The vetrinarian said to me, there is no quality of life left for him. He is trying his best to stay alive for you and you are trying to keep him alive because you can't bear to lose him. But a life in agony is not a life and you have the power to end his suffering in a gentle, loving manner before the pain gets worse and it is the most giving thing you can do. So the vet came to the house and we said goodbye with my precious lying in my arms.

I am bringing this point up because - why is it ok for a human being to live in agony tied to machines but considered heartless and cruel to let your family pet suffer by keeping him alive? A Vet will encourage you to take the pain away. Yet we don't know what our dog or cat or horse wants.

As human beings we have the blessing of being able to make the decision for ourself. We can say to our husband, dear if it ever gets THAT BAD please don't let me suffer.

To me- THAT IS HUMANE. It is loving and it is the gift of trust.

And if you have discussed it and are certain of his desires then you know what you have to do.

May God bless you both.

Martha Anne

Didee
01-13-2015, 05:03 AM
If people reply to this, please realise this thread is over 10 years old.

Buzzard
01-13-2015, 09:07 PM
It's a zombie thread! I've seen some old ones, but ten years takes the cake.
It might be because of my religious convictions, but even knowing what the last few weeks will be like, while I would want the docs to help me be as comfortable as possible, I would not want affirmative action taken to end my life. That is up to God and nature, not me.
I realize that YMMV.

VickieKay
01-13-2015, 09:51 PM
As someone is nearing the end of this life Hospice can take over and dying can be virtually painless. My mother was in agony prior to Hospice. I have strong Christian beliefs and feel God gives life and its his decision as to when to take us home. He can give you peace to endure what you need too. His yoke is easy.

Victoria