Quality of Life

  • riverwild

    Posts: 40

    Dec 14, 2011 2:36 AM GMT
    At what point do you balance quality of life with time of life? I have a grandmother going through an intensive chemo treatment to help keep her in remission. However, the treatment (as expected with chemo) is making here quite ill and her mind is slowly deteriorating.

    In my opinion, I would enjoy another year of quality life then three years (bc of the added treatment) but with extreme illness and no mind...
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    Dec 14, 2011 2:40 AM GMT
    A good friend of mine recently made a decision that leaves her only a few months to live.
    The alternative was a possible year of 4-5 days a week in the hospital...

    I definitely understand and support her decision... I couldn't tell you what I would do. I hope I never have to make the choice.
  • riverwild

    Posts: 40

    Dec 14, 2011 2:51 AM GMT
    For me personally I would make the decision to enjoy what life I had left...but it's so much harder to help someone else make that decision for themselves
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    Dec 14, 2011 5:56 AM GMT
    Able to maintain intact much of her personality throughout her ordeal, mom put on a happy face for just about everyone who visited, especially her grandchildren, even as her brain shrunk, even as she lost control of her own body. But she & I lived honestly with each other and so one night, towards the end, she struggled to construct a sentence confiding in me about her experience that "this is horrendous" and she asked me, pointedly, "what can you do?" I said, mom, there is nothing that I can do. All I can do is keep you as safe and as comfortable as possible. I don't know what else I can do. Mom looked at me and said "I don't know what I can do either."

    She wanted to die. She'd had enough. But she missed her window of opportunity and I could not kill my mother nor would she, in a nondemented state, ask that of me. She had seen this coming. She volunteered herself for testing and experimental treatments for almost a decade before that became too much for her to handle. I was intimately involved with her struggle from very early on. She held out hope for a cure. She loved life and did not want to leave life early nor to leave me at all.

    Though many of my relatives live healthy lives into their 90s, I've just one bloodline which came down to my mom who died early of Alzheimer's. I think to myself now that I'd prefer dying by my own hand than experience my brain deteriorate so horribly, especially as I've put a life's worth of work into expanding my own consciousness. As far as I'm concerned, when I'm done learning, I'm done living.

    Though we can ask healthcare providers not to take extreme measures to keep us alive if we are near death, because it is unacceptable for advanced directives to instruct another person to end our lives early--if for no other moral reason than to avoid laying that guilt on them--we never quite know how the end of our lives will play out. You could suddenly find yourself stroked into paralysis, unable to reach that rat poison you've been stocking up on. Or where you think you have the will one day, dementia might rob you of it the next.

    Also, being in your 20s now, you don't know how you will feel about life in another 20 or 60 years. So you might think you would take certain actions, but you won't know until you get there, even if you are able.

    Love your grandma while you have her here. That's all that matters.
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    Dec 14, 2011 6:39 AM GMT
    riverwild saidFor me personally I would make the decision to enjoy what life I had left...but it's so much harder to help someone else make that decision for themselves



    I think she's entitled to her desire for an extended, if compromised life. For some, compromise is something they're willing to chance.

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    Dec 14, 2011 11:59 AM GMT
    I work with Cancer Pt's and from my experience the main factor seems to be " their not wanting to cause other people pain by their dying earlier then "at all possible". So many of them do Everything to hold onto longer lives. I have had many tell me in private that this is the case. You can even see it in the Pt's who are no longer responsive to people and while their bodies are " running" they are not really " there". And Again often ( as creepy as this sounds) if someone they know tells them that they can " Go" within an hr they die..... I have always maintained if someone said ( you can trade 5 years of your life for perfect health etc) that I would take it because life isn't always about quantity but rather quality.
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    Dec 14, 2011 12:33 PM GMT
    it comes down to the feelings of the patient...some are willing to stay around as long as they can...me,personally....i would get tired of the misery,and would want to go..especially,if my mind were going..and my body was so weak,that i could not do or enjoy anything.....
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    Dec 14, 2011 4:13 PM GMT
    lookinforcars1 said...if someone they know tells them that they can " Go" within an hr they die.....


    Reading that, I wonder if this doesn't work both ways.

    Often we think about our own mortality when someone we love dies or is dying. When we see how their quality of life has so terribly deteriorated, in wondering how we would feel about living that phase of life, about dying that way, maybe there's a rationalizing process whereby we seek to come to terms with their dying by justifying the death. Losing those we love is so difficult that our minds create new structures so that we do not fall entirely into the abyss.

    You don't want to let your grandma go. But it is a little easier if you think "it's okay for you to die, grandma, because I would want to die too." In that way we learn to accept their fate and our inevitable own.
  • tuffguyndc

    Posts: 4437

    Dec 14, 2011 4:26 PM GMT
    riverwild saidAt what point do you balance quality of life with time of life? I have a grandmother going through an intensive chemo treatment to help keep her in remission. However, the treatment (as expected with chemo) is making here quite ill and her mind is slowly deteriorating.

    In my opinion, I would enjoy another year of quality life then three years (bc of the added treatment) but with extreme illness and no mind...
    I agree with you. I think I would rather have the quality of life rather than the later. However, if I could be treated naturally without causing harm to my body than I would be all for it.
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    Dec 14, 2011 4:34 PM GMT
    riverwild saidAt what point do you balance quality of life with time of life?

    You can make a decision to put an animal out of its misery because it can't make that decision for itself, but a person? Only they can answer that question - for themselves - and usually not until they already know the answer by reaching that point.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19119

    Dec 14, 2011 4:41 PM GMT
    I think it's really sad that we can treat are pets with more humanity than we can are loved ones. If I should ever be so ill that I am miserable, bed-ridden, or a burden to others due to my illness, just end it already. I'm not really scared of death, it's the act of dying that scares the crap out of me.
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    Dec 14, 2011 4:48 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidI think it's really sad that we can treat are pets with more humanity than we can are loved ones. If I should ever be so ill that I am miserable, bed-ridden, or a burden to others due to my illness, just end it already. I'm not really scared of death, it's the act of dying that scares the crap out of me.


    So u support legalization of doctor assisted euthanasia? How anti republican of u!
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19119

    Dec 14, 2011 5:03 PM GMT
    catfish5 said
    CuriousJockAZ saidI think it's really sad that we can treat are pets with more humanity than we can are loved ones. If I should ever be so ill that I am miserable, bed-ridden, or a burden to others due to my illness, just end it already. I'm not really scared of death, it's the act of dying that scares the crap out of me.


    So u support legalization of doctor assisted euthanasia? How anti republican of u!



    I absolutely do support this. I think we should have the right to end our life with dignity when the quality of life becomes a burden to ourselves and our family or loved ones.
  • riverwild

    Posts: 40

    Dec 14, 2011 5:35 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    catfish5 said
    CuriousJockAZ saidI think it's really sad that we can treat are pets with more humanity than we can are loved ones. If I should ever be so ill that I am miserable, bed-ridden, or a burden to others due to my illness, just end it already. I'm not really scared of death, it's the act of dying that scares the crap out of me.


    So u support legalization of doctor assisted euthanasia? How anti republican of u!



    I absolutely do support this. I think we should have the right to end our life with dignity when the quality of life becomes a burden to ourselves and our family or loved ones.


    +1
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    Dec 14, 2011 5:35 PM GMT
    I'm also fully in support of euthanasia in cases where the person wants to go. It is true - we are sometimes kinder to our pets than we are able to be to our loved ones, when the end nears.

    My grandfather contracted pancreatic cancer in his 80's and successfully fought the disease for a year with a fine quality of life. In the final months though, he was in increasing pain. Finally he was bedridden and wanted to go. My mother was a nurse and believed in euthanasia. So - we all gathered around his bed one last evening and said our goodbyes. He was allowed to pass away right after we left. She increased his morphine, thus ending his suffering. He might have lasted another few weeks or so, but I'm confident he wanted to go. I want this same treatment for myself when my time comes. Hopefully, I can find a nurse who will see things my way.

    By the way, my mother tells me that Mrs. Onassis went in the same manner - in her own time and in her own way, after having guests and family come by to say goodbye.
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    Dec 17, 2011 8:59 AM GMT
    riverwild said
    CuriousJockAZ said
    catfish5 said
    CuriousJockAZ saidI think it's really sad that we can treat are pets with more humanity than we can are loved ones. If I should ever be so ill that I am miserable, bed-ridden, or a burden to others due to my illness, just end it already. I'm not really scared of death, it's the act of dying that scares the crap out of me.


    So u support legalization of doctor assisted euthanasia? How anti republican of u!



    I absolutely do support this. I think we should have the right to end our life with dignity when the quality of life becomes a burden to ourselves and our family or loved ones.


    +1


    You should all watch on HBO How to Die in Oregon. It is a really good documentary about physician assisted suicide. It focused on one terminally ill woman and followed her all the way through until she ended her life because she was terribly sick.

    It also followed another woman whose husband died a long painful death and it was his dying wish she pass a law in Washington state so people have the choice.

    Very sad movie, but eye opening.

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    Dec 17, 2011 9:01 AM GMT
    My uncle died in hospital of leukemia... my family told me if they would have understood what all the medicine and hospital would do to him to keep him alive, they would have let him live out his final days enjoying life.... I would always choose quality over time myself too
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    Dec 17, 2011 11:10 AM GMT
    I would choose death over poor quality of life. The decision would be quite easy for me. In fact, I already have a living will to that effect.
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    Dec 17, 2011 11:16 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidI would choose death over poor quality of life. The decision would be quite easy for me. In fact, I already have a living will to that effect.


    Good on you! I recommend everyone to have it in writing what their decision is....

    I remember my friend's story of her grandmother dying in hospital... the doctors believed they could do nothing for her, and she was in a vegetative coma... the aunt held her mother's hand while the family and the doctor's convened in the room, and through out the process, the aunt says that she swears she felt her mother grasping her hand tightly.. the decision by the rest of the family was democratically to take her off the machines.. but that event of course stayed with the aunt.... these kinds of decisions can be dramatic and haunt you if you are not sure.... by having your wishes in writing... it gives those left behind much more peace of mind to know your true wishes were respected
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    Dec 17, 2011 11:31 AM GMT
    I wrote a paper on just this issue last semester. I personally feel quality of life is far more important than lenght. So what if you live to be 90 but aren't happy. I mean it's a personal choice and whatever... support and understand hers. Good luck and I will keep her, you and my family in my prayers.