Family, Internal Medicine, General Medical Questions/thoughts
QUESTION: Hello Robert not sure you're going to consider this a proper question, but we'd like to hear your thoughts on the following. I was out with a few friends we were talking about a few people we all know who have cancer. One in the group said she heard of someone, who is suffering with this disease, this made us all wonder what exactly is suffering. we're now in the 21st century even if someone is terminally ill or has any kind of life threatening disease, should they suffer? So we thought we 'd go to someone who may know better than hearing this from other lay people. I'd hate to have someone in my family as well as myself suffer. Even it there's no hope can someone be comfortable. My neighbor just lost her sister in law to cancer she said she was wasting away and she said after seeing this she told me if I get sick I'm not going through what she did to stay alive, I'm going to end it, I don't want to go through what she did. When I heard this I thought there has to be a better way for people who are ill. And also I'd like to add what came up during the conversation are doctors who are cold and unsympathetic. I heard a terrible story and I know this to be true, about a dr. who came out to a wife in her 30s with small children to say yes, your husband has cancer, and go tell him I have to get home, and by the way think about getting hospice. She was near collapse. If I was that wife, I think I would have hit him. He lived for several yrs. and the dr, practically said he would die almost right away. What gives them the right. Please forgive me for writing this long note, I'm sorry I wrote a novel but the conversation brought up so many questions I thought go to an expert get the truth. Maybe you can't answer any of what I asked, but if possible would like to hear what you think, and it would be nice to pass along to doctors not to be so cold and unthinking, as one doctor wrote he found out how callous they were when he was on the other side fo the desk.. He said no wonder they don't want to come to us.thanks again.
ANSWER: Well, that is a big topic I could write a dissertation on......
Docs are people, and you are right, that doctor was pretty cold and unempathetic in their approach.
But back to the main topic..... suffering......
We all suffer to varying degrees throughout life...... you could say life is about suffering. What is it? Pain, a state of dis-ease. There is physical suffering, mental suffering (abuse, depression, anxiety)
If you are talking about cancer suffering...
if I got cancer that was fatal if untreated, and I had a 90% of dying, but if I had treatment, I had a 90% chance of survival but would suffer a lot for 6 months...... well, if I were 40, I would do it.... if I were 90 years old, I might not do it.... there are no absolutes when trying to make decisions that affect suffering... it is very personalized and depends on mindsets and many factors. So when you have a discussion like this, there will be a lot of opinions on it.....
PS... most doctors are not callous and unthinking and uncaring.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hello again Robert, sorry to bother you again, but felt is should write again, to say I agree with most of what you said. And yes it is a big topic. You mentioned how we suffer throughout life, while that is true, we were discussing painful suffering anyone terminally ill or otherwise should not have to suffer since we are now in the 21st century...I've heard of cases where they had to get help by pain management experts, who take, at times, drastic steps. you said if you were young and had to suffer for 6 mos you would do it, I understand that. But why suffer, there must be ways that can prevent the suffering or there should be anyway. One person brought up that she read how people back in the 1800s and after suffered less than today due to opiates they had. I hope in the 21st century we have far better than that. I guess the bottom line of what we're saying is no one should die in pain or suffer at all, not today. if they are something is wrong. Again I thank you for your time and input.
wouldn't that be nice to take all pain away.... but that doesn't really happen.... we can help but some physical pain is too severe, so pain meds help but not eliminate pain.... and that is only part...... depression, other psychic pain, nausea from treatments..... tough to make it all go away.