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Tag Archives: death

Part 3 Hospice Series: The Final Ride “Home”

karenhinesserenityroomby Karen Hines, Caregiver

Read Part 1, Part 2


Thursday late morning Cassie said “see ya later” to the staff while the ambulance crew wheeled her to the elevator.  Cassie smiled, the nurses returned the smiles amongst tears, we even snapped a quick group picture.  Cass had written on one of the hospital’s white boards earlier that week, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.  Mark 5:36.” She pointed to it as she rolled past.  I tried to smile, but like a zombie, I slowly followed the gurney. Chris and the kids stayed back with our social worker Kathleen.  She spent some time discussing the emotional side of hospice and the idea of “dumping circles”.   She wanted to make it very clear to us that Cass was at the center of the circle, the rest of the Hines 5 were in the next circle, followed by Ashley’s almost fiancé, Jeff, along with the rest of our immediate family and close friends.  The final circle was “everyone else”.  Only support goes “in” and fear, whining, complaining etc. is dumped “out”.  This simple concept was how we were to control what was about to happen at our house for what would be the next 40 days.  Kathleen made it very clear that it is our job to protect each other.


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Part 1 Hospice Series: The Unspeakable Word

karenhinesfamilyby Karen Hines, Caregiver

Read Part 2, Part 3

It was a quiet Saturday afternoon, our social worker was stopping by to see how we were all holding up, or so I thought.  You see, our daughter Cassie had just had surgery to remove a large tumor on her spine, which was causing severe leg pain.  Cassie had been a kidney cancer patient for the last four years so we were all pretty used to the scan, surgery, recovery life of a chronic cancer patient.  Her last set of scans revealed several tumors on her spine so Cassie had decided to remove the largest of the tumors, causing leg pain, and join a trial to hopefully shrink the rest. The problem was, before she could join a trial, the pain and numbness in her arms was getting worse.  The remaining tumors were growing fast.


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Dying the Best Death – It’s not Cancer

Dyingby Janet Freeman-Daily

Richard Smith wrote a New Years Eve opinion on The BMJ blog titled Dying of Cancer Is the Best Death. Early in the piece, he asks, “How do you want to die? You must think about it.”

As a metastatic lung cancer patient, I have spent significant time thinking about my death, which will likely come sooner rather than later.  I believe it’s important for people to accept death as a part of life and discuss end-of-life preferences with loved ones while life is still pleasant.

But Smith’s piece is not about awareness of death and treatment options.  It is about the best way to die.  And Smith gets it entirely wrong. I cannot accept his conclusion that cancer is the best death.

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Even Death Unites Us

A Patient

by Terri Wingham, Cancer Survivor


Photos courtesy of Carolyn Taylor

Has my title scared you off yet? The topic of death, especially for anyone who has lived through hearing the words, “you have cancer” can make even the most resilient of us squirm in our chairs. With a chalky mouth and a thready pulse, we look for an exit from the room, the conversation, and the risk that one day we will wake up with an unexplained pain and a doctor will pull an x-ray out of its sterile envelope, slide it onto a lit surface, and show us a colony of little metastases hunkered down deep in our bones.

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