I read about things going on with people on the site. I’ve seen lately people leaving because someone was mean to them, or they “weren’t getting much out of it” anymore. People have caved because of not being prepared, “personal situations”, just having curiosity about what it would be like to have a dip again. I’ve asked myself how this can be. The only thing I can think is that people do not understand just how horrible it is to have cancer or having a loved one with cancer, even after reading ODT’s story. Over the course of a couple months this past summer, I was the caregiver for my dad, who was dying of cancer. I’ve put together some of what his thoughts were, as well as mine. This is what you could be doing to yourself and your family.
Sitting for hours while poison is pumped into your veins. Throwing up. Laying on a couch while radiation sears through your body. Having a halo screwed into your head. Weaker and weaker, less able to get around. Feeling sorry for yourself, frustrated. Unable to talk to your family about how you feel, don’t want them any more depressed than they already are. Too proud for canes or walkers, falling often. Skin the consistency of tissue paper, tearing at the slightest urging. Bleeding on everything. Painful visits from old friends. Pity. Knowing it is your last everything (child’s birthday, NCAA tournament, Christmas). Up all night screaming. Intense pain. Moving into hospital bed. Taking morphine daily. Confused, angry. Forgetting you can’t walk, falling. Sometimes urinating on those who help you up. Having to be carried to a portable toilet. Having your children wipe you. Shame, embarrassment on having brought this on yourself and your family. Making widows and fatherless children. Angry, non-sensical rants. Not making sense anymore. No understanding. No family. No life. Death by your own hand.
Sleeping on the floor in the hospital room. Waiting for the diagnosis. Fearing and hearing the worst. Sitting for hours while poison is pumped into your loved one’s veins. Answering the “how long do I have” question with tears in your eyes a dozen times because they keep forgetting. Driving them every day to radiation treatments. Rubbing their back when they get sick. Cleaning up the mess. Trying to stay positive. Trying to explain to the children. Crying. Wondering how you’ll make it. Fielding phone calls, giving updates on an unimproving condition. Arguing about when the last medicine was taken. Going through the “never agains” (sharing the joys and sorrows of life, playing golf together, watching the game). Sending the children out of their own house when the pain and suffering gets too bad. Fear of life without your loved one. Anger that they are leaving voluntarily. Unable to express anger to a dying person. Not much sleep. Buying a casket. Guilty, hoping they go soon. Angry that it didn’t have to be this way. Coming to terms with the new found emptiness in your life.
How can you let yourself be convinced that it is OK to put yourself on this path? I can’t imagine any set of life circumstances or disagreements or public humiliation that would cause me to leave this site. So many claim that it is their lifeline, yet they leave it so cavalierly. Your quit is serious business. Cancer kills people in a horrible, ugly, and painful manner. A lot of people on this site talk about how much they love their family and how important their health is to them. Talk is cheap and meaningless without actions to back them up. Show your family how much you love them. Show yourself that you truly want to be healthy.
Please do not send condolences. I know and appreciate that you all are sorry for my family’s loss. We’re doing great and that is not the point of this post. I posted this with the hope that even one person will consider the potential consequences when thinking about leaving the site or caving.