Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Talk: A Loved One With Cancer


Mother has cancer. Her urologist called me yesterday. I held up a case to take the call. He gave the news to me, point blank, because I told him surgery at my O.R. was being delayed so I could hear the surgical diagnosis from him at his institution. He did not tell her last night. She thought the surgery was a cure until this morning when she found out the truth.

As I walked in to see her today, I saw her internist, who was devastated, at the desk by mother's room. I saw the op-report. I knew exactly what was going on. Where the tumor was, and how advanced.

I walked into mom's room with a smile. I greeted family members present. They left to get lunch (I had a short day at work and got across town to mom at one.) I sat next to the bed holding her hand.

As a doctor...mom started a question...as a doctor how long do you think I have left?

Well mom, I don't know. Why don't we wait for the CT results first (looking for mets elsewhere like the lungs and liver)?

I want no heroics. The burial papers are behind the door in the bedroom. I don't want to have any pain.

Mom? There are a whole lot of options for you, assuming that the CT scan is negative for metastases. The way I see it, there are three options:

  • go for cure: surgery, chemo, radiation, whatever it takes
  • do nothing: let nature take its course
  • do something to relieve symptoms from the tumor to improve quality of life: for example, lung cancer patients would get tumor in the airway, like a mainstem bronchus. Untreated, they would die of air hunger. That is a bad way to go. Our team would laser out the tumor and put in little stents, extending their life but also improving symptoms. They would still die, but not from lack of oxygen.
I don't want to have any pain...

Mom, most people don't have pain because they are given medicine. But the pressure? When I had my myomectomy that pressure was so uncomfortable! The minute it was out I and I woke up I felt better! We are definitely going to have to think about that for you, the pressure. (mom agrees, she did not like the pressure at all).

Mom? Didn't you notice the blood in your urine?
(she thought the blood and the pain was from the menopause.--note--any blood in urine over age fifty is abnormal. Get it checked)

Mom? Are you having the dreams? Remember how Dad was never psychic like us? And two weeks before he passed he was having happy dreams with grandma and grandpa in it? He was all excited to be having those dreams and you told me, 'this is not good?'

Mom had forgotten about Dad's dreams. And yes, two nights ago, she dreamed of her father, and he was laughing. She didn't remember what he said.

Mom? When you start having those dreams, let me know. I won't tell my brothers and sisters but I will start to prepare them gently..for when it is time.

Mom? The night before you got sick I saw Dad. He said he was coming for you. I said, 'No!' and he went away. Two nights after, he showed me a picture of him when he was young (his message is that you would be young and healthy there). Again, I told him 'Not yet!'. I was promised you would have time mom. The plan for you got changed. (I had her full attention).

Mom? This morning I saw Aunt Jean. She said she would be the first one you would see.
(In the car I had said, 'why you? there is Dad and her father and all the relatives?!' Aunt Jean said, 'because your mother likes money and I was rich. She will trust me to help her make the transition.' That resonates with me, even now, it is the truth about mom!)

If you are in this situation, have the talk. It makes a difference on both sides. Mediumship can be on this side of the Transition, as well as on the Other Side.  And if you can, have an advocate who is in the medical field. It's not all smiles and what you would like to think. Medicine is a business. Have someone in your court looking out for you to make sure your treatment meets the standard of care.

Namaste,

Reiki Doc

2 comments:

  1. My sympathies. I worked for hospice and so many times family members do not have the ability to have the talk. Hospice workers filled the breach.

    Thank you for this important post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a beautiful approach...bless your heart.

    ReplyDelete