“Cancer can just be such an undignified thing.”

Um, I’m going to answer the next prompt: “Has anything been particularly difficult this week?” The answer is yes. So we have a family member that we knew had prostate cancer, but were under the impression that it was, you know, being pretty well-managed. And recently found out that it had spread into his bones and his spine. So he’s in a lot of pain and that’s just been really challenging. We just lost my aunt on the same side of the family to cancer as well, just three months ago. And so just really feeling for my uncle that was married to my aunt and then my uncle that’s married to my uncle who is sick. And yeah, just wishing that my uncle is not, you know, feeling as much pain as he’s feeling. There’s been a lot of breakthrough pain. Yeah, cancer can just be such an undignified thing when there’s really no way to manage it or control it and he would like a peaceful death as I imagine we all would so he’s kind of opted not to pursue additional treatments at this point and seems like there might be some options but I certainly don’t fault him for not being interested in continuing to sort of fight it. I read a book a couple of years ago on being mortal or being mortal by Atul Gawande, which is really, really well written about how many of our medical programs, most of them our medical programs don’t really teach doctors how to talk about mortality, even though it’s obviously the — what’s the word, phrase I’m looking for? Just inevitable outcome that we all are going to face and how so many doctors are trained to just repeat it, you know, find treatment after treatment after treatment, no matter how successful or invasive, or how much it might lower your quality of life. It’s just kind of their default is to try to, you know, from one perspective find hope for a family and give them other options. And then I think from another perspective just like not have the hard conversation of like listen this might extend your life by x amount of time but realistically, you know, you might live that long without the treatment and it might be a better quality. And I think there’s plenty of research to show that sometimes people do have longer quality, you know, better quality and longer lives without treatment and certainly there’s, you know, an argument for treatment as well. So, yeah, I have just been thinking about that a lot and wishing I live closer. My uncles live on the west coast so I’m not able to see them and if I did travel to see them, I’d be wary anyway, at least after a couple of days just with like the COVID risk, and I certainly don’t want to pass that along. My aunt that passed away, she — her cancer was terminal, but she also did develop COVID and that seemed to really impact her breathing. And she had liquid in her lungs and stuff and so, yeah. Just trying to be extra aware of that, which means I likely will not see him before he passes away, which is hard to think about but also if it’s the right thing and it’s the best thing for him, you know, obviously that’s what I’m gonna do. So yeah, that was my hard and difficult thing for this week.

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