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Tag Archives: end of life

On Death and Dying: Opening the door to discussion

TaraBaysolby Tara Baysol, Living with Cancer

 

After I was diagnosed with brain cancer, I developed a desire to have really tough conversations about death and dying with my family so that I could share my thoughts with them and feel less alone on this journey that’s been full of uncertainty. At first, this was quite challenging for me and my family, but one of the things that has really helped us to be able to have these tough conversations was my realization that this topic was not something unique and exclusive to me and people like me, but rather a conversation we all should be having regardless of age, health, and condition.

 

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Aid-in-Dying: I Haven’t Given Up, I Never Will

SusanRahnby Susan Rahn, Living with Cancer

 

Recently, Interfaith Impact of NY, a state wide coalition of congregations and individuals, whose mission is to work for the common good, held a panel discussion regarding Aid-in-Dying.

 

Panelists included: Corinne Carey, NY Director of Compassion & Choices, Timothy Quill, MD, Director of Palliative Care within the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester at Strong Hospital, Diane Coleman, President & CEO of Not Dead Yet – a national disability rights group and James Hanson, President of Patients Rights Action Fund.

 

These are my personal comments on the panel discussion.

 

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When open discussions are not possible: how to ‘hear’ your young adult child’s end of life wishes

Loss-of-Childby Dr Anne Grinyer, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University UK

When adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer learn that they will not survive their illness, it can be difficult for them and for their parents to know how to talk about it. While there may be a general acceptance that it is better to have open discussions about death, this is not always easy for families to achieve, particularly as young adults may find it hard to accept that they will die or because parents and AYAs are each trying to protect the other from painful conversations. Despite such difficulties in talking about end of life wishes, I have interviewed some parents whose son or daughter was able to talk openly about their impending death. In such cases it has been helpful to discuss what they would like to achieve before they die, how they would like to live the remainder of their lives and to plan their funerals with them. However, as this degree of openness is not the experience in many families, the focus of this article is on examples from my research that illustrate the difficulties that may be experienced in following a ‘text book’ model of open awareness. I hope to show that there are ways families can approach this challenge by ‘hearing’ what remains unsaid.

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When treatment fails: the challenge of supporting adolescents and young adults diagnosed with terminal cancer

teen depressionby Dr Anne Grinyer, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University UK

Through four phases of research on the psychosocial impact of cancer in adolescents and young adults,  I have looked at the effect on the family, the experience of treatment and the care setting, survivorship and finally palliative and end of life care. All my observations throughout the process suggest that this age group – from 16-24 – are particularly shocked by a cancer diagnosis, they do not fit well in either paediatric or adult care settings, and they struggle with the loss of their burgeoning independence. However, when treatment fails and there is a terminal diagnosis, all of these age-related issues are exacerbated for the young people, their families and their health care professionals. While most of my research is UK based, these are challenges that transcend national boundaries and are situated in the life stage of the young people.

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The Cancer Patient’s Friend

by J. Bick

The day my friend called me to say that she was discontinuing chemotherapy, I was angry and disillusioned. My first comment was “You can’t! The longer they can keep you alive, the better chance you have of surviving. There are new drugs every day.”

 

Continue reading the entire paper here.