Ed: We are fortunate to be able to share another piece from Elizabeth Caplice (@). Elizabeth’s writings are an inspiration to all of our team and I’m sure many more people out in the palliverse. It is difficult to genuinely experience a journey you haven’t taken, but Elizabeth’s reflections allow us a moving insight into how it feels to take those steps. On behalf of us all I would like to thank Elizabeth for her reflections on her journey, for her writing and for her self.
I’ve written before here about my time with cancer, and i am starting what i am considering a new part of my path. my body is beginning to tire in a way it hasn’t been in the past. the chemotherapy – relatively gentle – is taking a toll on my body that is harsh and starting to cause me to question my own desire to continue treatment, and i know my liver is no longer managing either the treatment it is receiving now, or the almost two years of treatment, particularly well.
i have been terminally ill for some time, under one definition or another, but the sort of treatment i am seeking now, and the way my body feels now, is changing. i know that i am getting ready to move from my oncology team to my palliative care team, and that i am preparing to begin the process of dying.
As someone who is 32 and dying, i consider my life to not at all be cut short. there are always things we wish we had done. always places left to go to, people to meet, things to experience. my life is no less rich for not being longer, and in no way have i been deprived of something i have been inherently owed. surgeons i’ve found seem to understand this – that death is often something sudden, and fairness and unfairness is unhelpful. i am often sad now for the things i will miss which i thought i would experience – none of them things like large elaborate holidays, but the simple joy of growing old with my partner, or seeing my friends’ children grow up. it is a natural sadness; the sadness of grief. it is a sadness that i know a palliative care team will walk me through as well, and i feel almost lucky for the chance to work with others, as a young person, for us all to learn about what it is to die, and to help someone die, as a young person.
Ed: If any of our readers would like to share their own journeys confronting death and dying, whether you are on that path or accompanying another please contact us. Ed @mchapmanonline