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Death & Dying Message Board

Death & Dying Board Index

I too have a terminal illness, pleural mesothelioma (asbestos cancer) but do not feel I am dying. My doctors have taken a wait and see attitude with me as they did 10 years ago when I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of unknown primary. That cancer resolved itself just before I was to start chemo.

There are days that I feel an incredible clarity because of my illness and that does simplify things. Choices are easier to make and being selfish doesn't feel like being selfish. It's as if I've earned the right to say no and not be judged for it. :)

Of course there are days, when the pain is bad and I might drift off into a big old pity party. I rely heavily on my faith to get me through the good and bad days. There have been times that I felt this was a judgment against me but I don't feel that way now. I was not always a good Christian and made many mistakes in my past and it's very easy to view this illness as some sort of condemnation. Instead I see it as a test of the person I'm capable of being and of my faith. It still might very well be a punishment or judgment but I prefer to put a more positive spin on things. ;)

I have been given a lot of great books over the years. I was much more into reading about spirituality and inspirational stories 10 years ago with my first go around with cancer. This time I'm not as interested in reading about it, more into living it. I study the Bible daily but other then that I try to lead as typical a life as possible.

Here are some the books that friends and family have sent me this time:

Soul Power by Nikki de Carteret
After Your Life by Emmet Fox
Find And Use Your Inner Power by Emmet Fox
Faith And The Placebo Effect by Lollette Kuby

I TOTALLY relate to your feelings about waiting for the other shoe to drop and how at times there's no shoe. It's a very odd feeling and I don't think most people get it. For me what I want out of the time I have left, however long that might be, is to just lead a normal life. I don't want anything extraordinary. I'm not interested in flying off to some great adventure I've always dreamed of or of getting that degree I always meant to earn or learning how to speak 2 or 3 new languages, etc. Don't get me wrong I want to take a great vacation but not because it might be my last. I just want it to be a great vacation, period. I'm currently studying Spanish not because it's a life long dream to speak it but because it would be very handy to have a working knowledge of the language since so many people I encounter speak Spanish as their first language.

Life is very precious to me and the hardest part is trying to be patient with those who take it for granted. I have to constantly remind myself that they canít possibly have the perspective that someone with a terminal illness has. I often pray that they will realize how good they have things without having to go through what Iím going through.

I pray that your health will remain stable and that the Lord will cause a healing in you. He blessed me with a complete healing 10 years ago so I know it's absolutely possible.

Take care.

Dear Chris,

I'm SO sorry that the news doesn't sound very good right now but I'm holding out hope that the doc you're sending your records to this weekend might have a better picture to paint for you.

Like you, my first stop would be panicville even if it isn't a terribly productive place to be. It does seem to be the natural place to start. Eventually things will settle in your mind and whatever you need to do to get through this you will do. It's our nature to survive even when we have to seemingly walk through the fires of hell to get there. That doesn't mean we'll do it without complaining, crying, ranting and raving but hopefully we can work through those emotions and come to a place of peace with our decisions.

I totally understand your fear of hospitals, ICU, etc. When I was faced with lung surgery I knew that I would be in ICU for at least a few days, I was going to lose a rib or two, have a very painful 18 inch scar running from my back to my front and it was going to take weeks and weeks of recovery. I had already resolved to hire aides so that my husband and my 70+ year old mother would not be burdened with physically caring for me. So far I've managed to avoid the knife but in the back of my mind I know that my circumstances could change and I will need the surgery after all. Right now just coping with the pain I have is hard enough to deal with much less the pain from a major operation.

Try to keep as many soothing, healing thoughts in your mind as possible and whenever the panic rushes in just push it out by whatever means you have to. If you're not into mediation or visualization then watch stand up comedy routines, The 3 Stooges, whatever makes you laugh. Read and re-read a favorite book or poem. For me the Bible is of great comfort. I have passages printed out and taped up on the wall around my desk.

If all else fails the shamans with the chickens are always a good fall back. :D

Humor is what has gotten me through the darkest of days. Thankfully my husband and I share a love of dark humor which has at times horrified our friends and family but it works for us.

Don't worry so much about the loss of control and focus on what you can do to make yourself feel better with the circumstances you find yourself in. We can't choose what happens to us but we can choose how to respond to it. Let the panic, anxiety and fear flow over you, it's normal but don't let it set up shop and wear you down. Before you think "that's easy for her to say, I bet she's one of those mellow, Type-C personalities", WRONG!!! I come from a long line of neurotic, phobic, worry wart, Type -A, control freaks. My family raised anxiety and panic to an art form. SO, if I can do it you can do it :) and anytime you don't think you can, just contact me and I'll help you through.

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday and that some good news will come your way before the weekend is out.

Take care and keep us posted. You will be in my prayers.


"If you have faith the size of a mustard seed...nothing will be impossible for you." (Mt.17:20)

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