Tough Day - Friend Dying of Cancer -- UPDATE: Final Prognosis Given

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 12, 2015 9:00 PM GMT
    We visited him again today in the hospital. He's got a close friend empowered as his Health Care Surrogate, another friend of ours. He's a hero for what he's doing.

    He confided to me a little while ago, outside the hospital, that our friend knows he's dying, and doesn't want to do anything more with treatment. His only wish is that he go into a care facility in Wilton Manors, and pass away among his friends.

    I said we would make that happen. He'll be given passes outside the facility, and we'll take him wherever he wants, as will his Surrogate. He lives all alone, but he won't die that way.

    That's what gay family is all about. I hope everyone here does that. I fear as universal gay recognition is coming, gay support may be flagging. Yet it's still needed in some cases.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 12, 2015 10:41 PM GMT
    I can't be there in person, but I can be there in thought. Give him my best wishes for a peaceful end with lots of "family" around for support.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 13, 2015 12:23 AM GMT
    My condolences on the impending loss of your friend. I am glad that you and his chosen family are able to be there for him.May he go peacefully..icon_cry.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 13, 2015 12:37 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    I can't be there in person, but I can be there in thought. Give him my best wishes for a peaceful end with lots of "family" around for support.

    Thank you, Paul. Will do.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 13, 2015 12:54 AM GMT
    bri_66 said
    My condolences on the impending loss of your friend. I am glad that you and his chosen family are able to be there for him. May he go peacefully..icon_cry.gif

    He's got cancer everywhere. Prostate, lungs, liver, bones. Same as my late Father. And tests being done in the hospital may reveal if it's in his brain, too.

    Bottom line is he's terminal. Totally hopeless, and he knows it.

    His only request is that he have as little pain as possible, and that he die in Wilton Manors, among his friends. I don't know about the pain part, nothing I can influence. But the Wilton Manors and friends part we can make happen.

    We've already started putting things in place, to make sure his passing is among his friends. As his Surrogate is also doing. Putting him into a home right here, where we can all visit him.

    But tough stuff, it tears your guts out. Well, that's what yah do I guess. Not something young kids know anything about, but as you get older, an almost routine occurrence.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 13, 2015 1:22 AM GMT
    bri_66 saidMy condolences on the impending loss of your friend. I am glad that you and his chosen family are able to be there for him.May he go peacefully..icon_cry.gif

    Thanks. May we all go peacefully, I suppose. Or so suddenly we don't even know it.

    But he does know it. Tough to see him in the hospital, and we don't talk about his condition. You keep a happy face, but inside you're crying.

    Ah, well, this is the way of things. It's gonna happen again, I'm of that age when it does all around me.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 13, 2015 1:31 AM GMT
    Sorry to hear about your friend's condition. It's really tough to watch someone slip away that was once your peer.
    I remember when there was no quality drugs for HIV and it was heart breaking for me to loose my best friend (never replaced.. somethings are irreplaceable I guess) and I knew each time we visited it could not only be our last, but that there was nothing I could do to make things better, just be there.

    Once all our family is gone (I'm lucky to still have mine) and we're all alone, I'm hoping to have close friends then as well, like your friend. All it takes is one good one.

    just one.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 13, 2015 1:48 AM GMT
    TheGuyNextDoor saidSorry to hear about your friend's condition. It's really tough to watch someone slip away that was once your peer.
    I remember when there was no quality drugs for HIV and it was heart breaking for me to loose my best friend (never replaced.. somethings are irreplaceable I guess) and I knew each time we visited it could not only be our last, but that there was nothing I could do to make things better, just be there.

    Once all our family is gone (I'm lucky to still have mine) and we're all alone, I'm hoping to have close friends then as well, like your friend. All it takes is one good one.

    just one.

    I've been trying to write something, but my emotions are too overwhelming. Perhaps later.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 13, 2015 1:51 AM GMT
    He will be in my thoughts.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 13, 2015 3:45 PM GMT
    woodsmen saidHe will be in my thoughts.

    Thanks. We may see him later today. He was supposed to be discharged from the hospital today, but they didn't complete all the planned tests. His Surrogate should have finalized the arrangements for him to be moved into a convalescent home in Wilton Manors. So that'll probably happen tomorrow now.

    Not a bad place, another of our friends was there 2 months following an accident, before going home. But we all know this other guy isn't going home, maybe moved to some kind of hospice care at the end, which can't be very far away.

    And to compound problems, the landlord where he rented went bankrupt last month, and all the tenants were being evicted. So he doesn't have any home at present, though his stuff is still there.

    However this transpires he'll be insulated from the drama of it, his friends will make it go away. I remember when I was treated exclusively by the US Veterans Administration (VA), and they always asked me: "Do you have a support network of family and friends?"

    I didn't realize how many veterans, and old people in general, live alone and have no one they can rely upon in times of illness or general need. Keeping that in mind, my husband & I watch very carefully over our oldest single friends.

    We take them to their medical appointments, and other errands, give them additional referrals as needed. And are at their hospital bedside the moment we know they've been admitted, to check on their status, and assure them they aren't forgotten and alone.

    Just yesterday my husband brought our friend with cancer one of his wonderful quiches, along with some pasta dish I can't spell or pronounce. The nurses said it was allowed.

    He's had them before, loves them. And he can also share with his nurses. A great way to bribe them to be extra helpful, that we've done during our own hospital stays. Hey, those nurses control your life, make it nice or nasty. Get on their good side and you've got it dicked. icon_biggrin.gif

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 13, 2015 4:15 PM GMT
    It always is very difficult to let a good mate go , follow his directives , keep him comfortable and happy , those last moments with all his good mates will be the last memories of his life , please made them memorable ..
    You all are in my thoughts .
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 13, 2015 4:22 PM GMT
    Sorry to hear about your friend. It is hard to lose people that are close to you.
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4435

    May 13, 2015 5:00 PM GMT
    I stayed with my sister in her home while she was dying of cancer. We used Hospice. I also managed for an Aunt dying of cancer in another town so I put her in a Hospice facility. I hope your friend is working through that organization because they stop with all the tests and simply work to make the whole process as painless and comforting as possible. Good luck and try to stay chipper. Your friend needs to laugh some, too. I know how hard that can be.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 13, 2015 11:59 PM GMT
    Destinharbor saidI stayed with my sister in her home while she was dying of cancer. We used Hospice. I also managed for an Aunt dying of cancer in another town so I put her in a Hospice facility. I hope your friend is working through that organization because they stop with all the tests and simply work to make the whole process as painless and comforting as possible. Good luck and try to stay chipper. Your friend needs to laugh some, too. I know how hard that can be.

    His Surrogate is making these arrangements. We are trying to assist, but we are basically bystanders.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 14, 2015 12:21 AM GMT
    Dealing with the dying isn't easy. I spent the last 6 weeks of my Father's life with him. I knew he was terminal, but he was in denial.

    He had several heart attacks right in front of me. One time I had to give him CPR until the EMT arrived. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to give CPR to your own father? I hope none of you ever have to face that.

    And then being coldly told at the hospital: "Why did you bring him in again? He's gonna die anyway."

    WTF??? You really think I'm gonna let my Father die right in front of me, and do nothing? Are you crazy? He did finally die at home, in bed at night, of his 6th heart attack. He was a tough old bird, I hope I have those genes.

    But I did have this reward, before he died: "Robert, I was very impressed with how you handled the 911 call. You sounded very professional, and knew just what to say. You didn't panic." (He remained conscious during his several heart attacks)

    "Well, Dad, I was an Army Colonel. I know how to deal with emergencies." But I didn't know how to deal with praise from my very harsh & reserved Father, love & admire him though I did. Who never praised me for anything.

    I had to step out into the hall, outside his bedroom, where I cried & cried, at 48.

    And then my first partner died of AIDS when I was 55. I was with him for 2 months in hospital and in a care center. At his side 12 hours or more a day. And I held his hand as he passed after midnight, 3 other of our friends at his bedside, too, bless them.

    Can you even conceive what those things do to you? Traumatized me, no doubt, but I'm tough & resilient. How I was built. But still, it's taken its toll.

    And so I apologize to my husband that my ability to express affection is kinda burnt out of me. But I also tell him he's helping me to regain it. icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 14, 2015 1:36 AM GMT
    bri_66 saidMy condolences on the impending loss of your friend. I am glad that you and his chosen family are able to be there for him.May he go peacefully..icon_cry.gif


    Yes.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 20, 2015 1:57 PM GMT
    UPDATE: Final prognosis from the oncologist: our friend saw the cancer specialist yesterday, who said he won't last 6 months. After the office visit his Health Care Surrogate brought him in a wheelchair into his favorite gay club, where we met him, about a mile from his care home where he lives now.

    He's too weak to do much of anything else, and he can meet most of his friends in the club, who can also go to visit him at the home, which they've been doing. He's single, doesn't have anyone else. This Friday will be our turn to drive him over to the club.

    Important lessons: one, have regular medical checkups. Our friend refused them, and what he initially had was prostate cancer, likely treatable. As my Father, my husband, myself and a number of my friends have had. Everyone talks about women's breast cancer, but what's also true and not much spoken about is that men have a roughly equal incidence of prostate cancer. Although at an older average age profile.

    Untreated prostate cancer can spread. It's what killed my Father, and is killing our friend. And what made me so uneasy when I got it myself, though now almost 4 years later I believe it was caught soon enough. See a doctor regularly.

    Second lesson: have Health Care Surrogate documents drawn. It enables your partner or a friend to care for you legally, make medical decisions when you cannot. And also to simply be at your side in the hospital.

    Even if you're legally married in some US States, other States will still resist recognizing that status, and bar you from his side. President Obama signed an Executive Order to allow access in Federally-funded facilities (one of his Imperial, dictatorial Executive Orders), but the reality remains uncertain. And if you're single and alone you'll have no advocate and decision-maker for you without a Surrogate document.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 20, 2015 2:16 PM GMT
    Art_Deco saidUPDATE: Final confirmation from the oncologist: our friend saw the cancer specialist yesterday, who said he won't last 6 months. After the office visit his Health Care Surrogate brought him in a wheelchair into his favorite gay club, where we met him, about a mile from his care home where he lives now.

    He's too weak to do much of anything else, and he can meet most of his friends in the club, who can also go to visit him at the home, which they've been doing. He's single, doesn't have anyone else. This Friday will be our turn to drive him over to the club.

    Important lessons: one, have regular medical checkups. Our friend refused them, and what he initially had was prostate cancer, likely treatable. As my Father, my husband, myself and a number of my friends have had. Everyone talks about women's breast cancer, but what's also true and not much spoken about is that men have a roughly equal incidence of prostate cancer. Although at an older average age profile.

    Untreated prostate cancer can spread. It's what killed my Father, and is killing our friend. And what made me so uneasy when I got it myself, though now almost 4 years later I believe it was caught soon enough. See a doctor regularly.

    Second lesson: have Health Care Surrogate documents drawn. It enables your partner or a friend to care for you legally, make medical decisions when you cannot. And also to simply be at your side in the hospital.

    Even if you're legally married in some US States, other States will still resist recognizing that status, and bar you from his side. President Obama signed an Executive Order to allow access in Federally-funded facilities (one of his Imperial, dictatorial Executive Orders), but the reality remains uncertain. And if you're single and alone you'll have no advocate and decision-maker for you without a Surrogate document.


    "roughly equal incidence of prostate cancer."

    one in three?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 20, 2015 2:28 PM GMT
    Very sorry about your friend but glad he has you and other friends there for support. Not everyone does.

    My best friend saved up his pain medication while he was terminally ill and took them all at once to save himself from all that suffering. I wish this country had a different outlook on assisted suicide. Hate to see your friend suffer so much.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 20, 2015 2:44 PM GMT
    freedomisntfree said
    "roughly equal incidence of prostate cancer."

    one in three?

    I've seen estimations of 1/3 by late 60s, and more than half of men by 70s. However, not all prostate cancer is aggressive enough to warrant medical action. Instead, the current approach, as I understand it, is often "watchful waiting" for men in their 70s. The idea is that if the cancer is slow, then the man will outlive it, dying of other causes first. And so no need to intervene, which can create other complications, and be an expensive & unpleasant proposition, ultimately achieving no extension of life.

    In my case, however, my prostate cancer at 62 was judged advanced & aggressive and urgent action was required. Without treatment I might not have made it to my age today, certainly not hit 70. Each case needs to be evaluated based on a number of variables, including patient age, the cancer itself, and other health issues.

    But this is a decision to be made in consultation with your doctor. The patient himself cannot opt for "watchful waiting" on his own if he doesn't know the extent of his cancer. And early prostate cancer doesn't provide very obvious symptoms the man himself can detect. By the time he does know something is wrong it may be very advanced and possibly too late.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 20, 2015 2:56 PM GMT
    Radd saidVery sorry about your friend but glad he has you and other friends there for support. Not everyone does.

    My best friend saved up his pain medication while he was terminally ill and took them all at once to save himself from all that suffering. I wish this country had a different outlook on assisted suicide. Hate to see your friend suffer so much.

    Our gay community here is generally very supportive. Especially among the older guys, for whom a euphemism for gays used to be "family". That's how many of them still think of it, what it still was when I joined that family, albeit very late in life.

    Pill hoarding by the terminally ill is not uncommon. Hospital caregivers watch for it, and nurses will often insist that strong narcotics be consumed in their presence when given. I've had it done to me during my own hospital stays, and I wasn't terminal, but the policy applied to all patients.

    Suffering is the one thing our friend asks to avoid, not the dying itself. He's already on heavy pain killers, but some have made him disoriented, and his Surrogate (a mutual friend) has been working with the doctors to strike a balance between pain relief and quality of life. He wants him to enjoy his last days, not be semi-comatose.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 20, 2015 3:06 PM GMT
    Radd saidVery sorry about your friend but glad he has you and other friends there for support. Not everyone does.

    My best friend saved up his pain medication while he was terminally ill and took them all at once to save himself from all that suffering. I wish this country had a different outlook on assisted suicide. Hate to see your friend suffer so much.


    Smart move. After watching what my dad went through in his last few months, I would without question take that approach.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 20, 2015 3:15 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    freedomisntfree said
    "roughly equal incidence of prostate cancer."

    one in three?

    I've seen estimations of 1/3 by late 60s, and more than half of men by 70s. However, not all prostate cancer is aggressive enough to warrant medical action. Instead, the current approach, as I understand it, is often "watchful waiting" for men in their 70s. The idea is that if the cancer is slow, then the man will outlive it, dying of other causes first. And so no need to intervene, which can create other complications, and be an expensive & unpleasant proposition, ultimately achieving no extension of life.

    In my case, however, my prostate cancer at 62 was judged advanced & aggressive and urgent action was required. Without treatment I might not have made it to my age today, certainly not hit 70. Each case needs to be evaluated based on a number of variables, including patient age, the cancer itself, and other health issues.

    But this is a decision to be made in consultation with your doctor. The patient himself cannot opt for "watchful waiting" on his own if he doesn't know the extent of his cancer. And early prostate cancer doesn't provide very obvious symptoms the man himself can detect. By the time he does know something is wrong it may be very advanced and possibly too late.


    I'm sure these days are right in front of me. I do what I can with diet and exercise, but I think it's mostly just a game of chance regarding who gets what.

    I have been able to get my diabetes mostly back under control so that's one thing I'm able to mostly correct with diet. Although, I could stand to lose some major weight. I'm still addicted to weight lifting for the buzz and mental acuity and clarity I get from it.

    I think cancer is just a crap shoot. Some get it and some don't.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 20, 2015 3:37 PM GMT
    freedomisntfree said
    Radd saidVery sorry about your friend but glad he has you and other friends there for support. Not everyone does.

    My best friend saved up his pain medication while he was terminally ill and took them all at once to save himself from all that suffering. I wish this country had a different outlook on assisted suicide. Hate to see your friend suffer so much.

    Smart move. After watching what my dad went through in his last few months, I would without question take that approach.

    When my Father died at home (from a heart attack in bed around 4 AM it was estimated, but with a terminal prognosis of 6 months from his cancer), he was taking many pills for both his cancer and heart disease. In fact, I would line them up each morning and evening for his meals, to ensure he was taking the correct ones in the proper dosage.

    A county health official showed up around noon, flashed his authority and said he had to inventory my Father's pills and confiscate them. I was kinda surprised, because my Father was under private care, not a recipient of public health assistance.

    He counted out all the pills in the kitchen in front of me, and said there was 1 pill for his heart missing. Unknown to me why that was, and he started interrogating me in an accusatory & aggressive manner, as if I was guilty of something. Best I could imagine was that Dad had taken an extra pill on his own at some point, maybe earlier that very night if he'd felt the onset of his final heart attack.

    Finally I lost my patience, and said my Father is still lying on his bedroom floor all these hours later, he hasn't even been covered by a sheet. My sister is crying in her bedroom, no coroner has appeared to remove him, but instead we get YOU, to count pills and ask insensitive & insulting questions.

    He backed off, took the pills and departed. I never heard from him again nor anyone else on the issue. Stupid, officious lout to intrude on a family's grief just hours after I had found his body. And then start giving me a hard time, and demanding answers about a pill count off by 1.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 20, 2015 4:19 PM GMT
    freedomisntfree said
    I think cancer is just a crap shoot. Some get it and some don't.

    I believe that some people are more prone to cancer than other people are, and to certain types. I was a candidate for prostate cancer because my Father had it.

    And I was surprised when the doctors told me that when it appears in the next generation there is some evidence it occurs at a younger age. Because I told them I was shocked that I got it quite a few years sooner than Dad did, not something I had planned to worry about yet.

    But I also believe, and I think medical experts will agree, that the chances of cancer are increased with certain lifestyles, diets, and environmental factors. I'm not exactly a health fanatic, but neither do I want to needlessly stack the deck against me.