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What Do You Say???


Ann

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I'm a notary public and on Friday, my boss asked me to go to a ladies home and notarize some papers for her. He told me she was a very nice little lady that was having some health problems but didn't go into detail. When I arrived, I could tell she was very ill. She told me she was scheduled for her second chemo treatment but her counts were too low and she had to go in for an injection. My big mouth said...."Neupogen injection?" She said yes, and then inquired as to how I know about that drug. I told her my husband had cancer and had received those injections. She asked what type of cancer. It turned out that she also has small cell lung cancer. Her next question was..."Did he make it?" I answered no and then felt bad all weekend. I thought maybe that caused her to lose some hope. I may never see this lady again. I could have lied about this...or better yet kept my mouth shut from the beginning. How do you handle these types of situation??? Thanks!

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That is so hard. I did something once and I will never know if it was the "right thing" to do. But it was right in my circumstance....It was right for me.

First, I always tell the stories of the SCLC survivors that I do know of from here. They truely are an inspiration.

But once, my neighbor who had been dx. with extensive SCLC too asked about my dad and how he died. I told him that ironically my dad was NED (technically he was NED in his lungs- it had just spread EVERYWHERE else)

and I told him that my dad died from pulmonary failure. (duh, right. when we die our heart stops- so I guess technicall we all die of pumonary/respiratory failure)

But I led him to believe that my dad died of a heart attack- not from the SCLC.

My neighbor seemed relieved to hear this.

And I couldn't bring myself to tell the truth and shatter his hope.

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Katie, I'm sure that was the right thing to do. If I had time to think this through, I would probably have given a differently worded answer. Maybe I said the right thing, as I did leave her my telephone number and told her to call me if she ever needed anything or just wanted to talk. I told her about this group but she doesn't have access to a computer. At least, she now has someone that's been through this and can talk to her!

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Delicate situation. Cultural values influences our attitude towards truth telling in cancer situations. In our society, we want to preserve 'hope' and the 'will to live'. But, I think you answered correctly, telling the truth may help this lady to make informed choices about health care, asking questions to her oncologist about her situations, treatments, etc.

Anaïs

I'm a notary public and on Friday, my boss asked me to go to a ladies home and notarize some papers for her. He told me she was a very nice little lady that was having some health problems but didn't go into detail. When I arrived, I could tell she was very ill. She told me she was scheduled for her second chemo treatment but her counts were too low and she had to go in for an injection. My big mouth said...."Neupogen injection?" She said yes, and then inquired as to how I know about that drug. I told her my husband had cancer and had received those injections. She asked what type of cancer. It turned out that she also has small cell lung cancer. Her next question was..."Did he make it?" I answered no and then felt bad all weekend. I thought maybe that caused her to lose some hope. I may never see this lady again. I could have lied about this...or better yet kept my mouth shut from the beginning. How do you handle these types of situation??? Thanks!
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I agree: you did the right thing, Ann. You are not the first person to bring up the thought that she may die; you know that. She has already visited and revisited every possible scenario; you only told her honestly about your own experience. And I would bet that honesty is what she wanted.

How kind of you to reach out to a stranger and offer your support! - Teresa

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I have come across a similar situation. And I focus on telling them about how well Becky lived, how she never missed a day of classes, never spent the night in the hospital, was always herself. Yes, she died, but she lived every minute until she died.

If you can focus on that, maybe you can make it a happier story for her.

Curtis

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Thanks for all the suggestions. My new friend called me this morning and was in a pretty good mood. She said her blood counts are much better and she is going to resume chemo next week. By the way, please remember her in your prayers. Her name is Virginia.

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I wanted to say something here...

When Mom was diagnosed, I knew of no one who had been through lung cancer themselves or with a loved one (thank God I found this place).

I'm still pretty new to the area I'm in, and still tyring to get plugged in to people which added to the feeling of isolation.

It turned out that a lady in my Bible Study group lost her husband to Lung Cancer. I knew that she had lost her husband, but I didn't know to what. She immediately reached out to me, and I was SO GRATEFUL. Finally, someone knew what I was going through and understood all the different terms that scared me so much.

A few weeks ago my husband and I starting hanging out with a couple he met through his squadron. I found out soon after I met Jamie (the wife) that her mother had had lung cancer, and that she was in a position very similar to mine--her husband was on the verge of deploying when she found out her mom was sick, and she had to leave knowing she wouldn't be able to walk through the situation with her husband by her side because of the deployment. Jamie is my closest friend here now... and really the only person who comes remotely close to 'Getting' the different facets of what I'm feeling right now with BOTH the military stuff, and the LC stuff.

I say all this to tell you, and whoever else might find themselves in this situation, that you didn't necessarily take away this person's hope. I think about how fast Jamie lost her Mom... and I wish that I could hear from both of these ladies that their loved ones made it, but the sheer fact that they UNDERSTAND actually fueled my hope rather than taking it away. I know I am not the person with LC... But if it wasn't for both of these ladies I'd be a lot lonelier, a lot scareder, and not nearly as encouraged as I am because I know both of them.

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I think you did the right thing.

I also think that we're all put together for a reason... it wasn't until my (late) mother was dx that I found out..

- my father-in-law's dad died of lung cancer

- my mother-in-law's mother died of cancer

- my boss's mother died of lung cancer

- my friend's mom died of brain cancer

- my brother-in-law's girlfriend's mom has lung cancer

- my friend from TOPS's sister died of cancer

- my female best friend's "second mom" died of cancer

we are all put together for a reason...

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