When We Come Face to Face With A Life-Threatening Illness
Have you thought about what you would do should you or a loved one be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness?
When receiving a diagnosis, often patients and families do not know where to begin, what to ask, or what to think. Often as humans, we are in shock, and the ability to take it in and know how to move forward can be very challenging.
When Steven received the glioblastoma brain cancer diagnosis, he and his wife felt like they completely lost the ability to think and did not absorb anything the doctor said in that moment. Their brains shut off. Thankfully, a family member with a medical background was there to take notes and ask questions to help Steven decide his next steps.
From thinking through treatment options, advance directives, palliative care, comfort measures, to end of life care, the process can be overwhelming. What does this diagnosis really mean now and how will your life look going forward?
Taking the first step could feel impossible.
“I am convinced that what really makes these decisions ‘hard choices’ has little to do with the medical, legal, ethical, or moral aspects of the decision process. The real struggles are emotional and spiritual. People wrestle with letting go and letting be. These are decisions of the heart, not just the head.” ~ Hank Dunn
I am here to serve…
- to help you set goals before deciding on treatment and make various plans based on options
- be on call for doctor appointments to ensure all questions are asked and your goals are met
- research for specific goals and needs based on the state in which you live (for example, hospice care is different in every state)
- if needed, plan end of life care and how you would like to be honored at the end (traditional burials, green burials, memorial services, etc.)
- whatever is needed to make this journey a little more bearable for you and your family
"People who do not talk with their families and health care providers about their preferences for care near the end of their life may receive treatments (such as chemotherapy or surgery) or end up living in situations (such as a hospital or nursing home) they would not have wanted." ~ Merck Manual on Death & Dying
I’m also here just to listen and be with you…
Let's start a conversation. Not about your diagnosis. Not about your treatment plan. Not about your various medications. Not about what the doctors are advising.
Yes, I will listen to whatever you want to share, BUT...let's start a conversation. What do you feel? What is going on in your heart and mind? How do you feel about life and the challenge you are facing? Do you feel heard by your physicians? Do you feel heard by your family? Do you feel they understand what is going on within you? Are you wondering what it all really means? Are you afraid?
I am here to listen. I am here to walk beside you during this time of your journey. I am here to give you an ear and, if needed, a voice. I am here because you matter. Your life matters...from the very beginning to the very end and all the space in between.
You are heard. You are loved. You are supported. You matter.
“Dying becomes lonely and impersonal because the patient is often taken out of his familiar environment and rushed to an emergency room. … Only those who have lived through this may appreciate the discomfort and cold necessity of such transportation which is only the beginning of a long ordeal – hard to endure when you are well, difficult to express in words when noise, light, pumps, and voices are all too much to put up with.
It may well be that we might consider more the patient under the sheet and blankets and perhaps stop our well-meant efficiency and rush in order to hold the patient’s hand, to smile, or to listen to a question.” ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, On Death & Dying