Palace of Care – No False Hope

Photo by Trym Nilsen on Unsplash

I couldn’t provide them with what they wanted. It felt like every time I went in there I had more bad news to share. They wanted me to say something different. They wanted me to suggest other treatments and other tests. I had nothing new to offer. All the stones had already been turned over. They were willing to take even false hope, but I was an unwilling vendor. I didn’t want to burst their bubble, but I felt like I needed to.

They had tried everything humanly possible to stay alive. They had pushed for tests and treatments and they had managed to keep going for years longer than most people. The more lines of cancer treatments you go through the lower the likelihood of success. They were up to the final line of treatment. Treatment could not be provided without significant side effects occurring. A difficult balancing act. A costly negotiation to take part in. A trade-off had to occur.

If it was all about effort expended they would have lived for many more years. They had tried harder than most people could have. After years of triumph, they were finally faced with their ultimate defeat. They wanted to stay active, to continue doing something. They didn’t want to just wait for death. There was nothing else to be done. The best treatments we had might’ve improved comfort and quality of life, but could not affect the quantity of life. The limit of Western Medicine had been reached.

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