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Hospice is a Wonderful Thing for a Lung Cancer Patient

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After my second visit from my Hospice nurse and my first visit with the social worker I am ensconced in my recliner with my son’s laptop and a pretty rotten day is winding down very nicely. I seem to be having fairly miserable mornings and then things get better in the afternoon, but this morning was more than fairly miserable. I am still experimenting with medications to try to keep nausea and abdominal fullness under control and today just flat out didn’t work. Pain is very well controlled again and I actually took my first dose of rescue oxycodone in over a week this morning.

Why is Hospice wonderful? Because I am relaxed and at ease right now after my visit with them. Because I feel more in control of my situation. Because they are helping me figure out how to make this transition from active to not active, a transition which is happening much more quickly than I could possibly have imagined, less scary and sad than it was being just a few hours ago.

I have taken care of my leave paperwork and Social Security Disability application and am working on long term disability and insurance premium waivers, so most of the administratrivia is behind me and I can just enjoy the holiday season. One thing staring death in the face has done for me is nudge me to be much more prepared for that than usual. No Christmas tree this year, which is very strange, but we have lovely greenery and decorations in the family room, where I spend all my time, and we’ve already had a couple of snows so it FEELS like the holidays, even without that tree.

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As a reader who has followed your posts almost from the beginning, I admit that lately I want to scream "No!" I want to push you back toward chemo, toward medicine, toward anything that would possibly make a difference in your disease. While I admired the strength it took you to know when enough was enough, I found myself hating the result.

However, your hospice post is lovely, and I can feel you relaxing into their care. And that's a wonderful thing. Thank you so much for writing, even when it might be tiring for you. You are teaching me -- and others, I know -- as you go along.

Take care.

December 11, 2009 - 8:46am
HERWriter Guide

Hi Lisa - I so appreciate your sharing with us how you feel about your hospice care. A good friend has just moved her mom to hospice care on the other side of the country, and she's had a lot of questions about what would take place. I'm glad that you, like others, have found this stage of living with cancer is giving you the ability to be more relaxed and at ease. And, isn't it always good when you have the paperwork behind you and don't have to worry about it?

Now, about that Christmas tree! I lived in Michigan for many years, where we had wonderful holidays with lots of snow, and real, live trees. Now I live in Arizona where they string lights on cacti, and people have to buy and import fake snow. Now that doesn't sound like Christmas, does it? I've learned to appreciate what we do have here, including near perfect weather that makes it a lot easier to gather family and friends together. I hope you find beauty in the snow where you live, enjoy celebrating the season without the tree and take comfort in knowing you won't have to take it down and clean up after it this year. :-)
Keep in touch, we enjoy hearing from you.

December 10, 2009 - 5:30pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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