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Old 09-17-2012, 07:18 AM
 
7,099 posts, read 23,889,158 times
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There is a BIG difference between wanting to be told... ....

and Wanting to tell others about yourself.

It's understandable that you would want to know about others, however, the person with terminal health problems has the right (and often, the NEED) to handle the knowledge in a way that's best for THEM....not YOU.

It's not just the family that will know, it's everyone that you meet. The ill person WILL be treated differently. It should be their choice.
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:27 PM
 
679 posts, read 998,529 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cloven View Post
On a purely interpersonal level (apart from addressing the crucial practicalities of wills & such beforehand), my feelings are mixed and varied about such a situation. I can't give a definite answer.

Another relative was upset at my mother having kept this information to herself-I can understand that, yet I also respect my mother's right to make her own choices based on her preferences/tolerances. Both reactions make sense to me: wishing my mother had been open about what was going on, as well as stipulating that it was her right to live & die (given the choices available to her) privately.
A loss is a loss, and therefore painful-and being forewarned can add to or it can subtract from the overall suffering. Sometimes the answer differs, depending on whether one is friend/family member of the person-in-question or whether oneself is the person-in-question.
This is how I felt about my dad. While I think some more advance warning would have been helpful, especially for my brother, I did respect that it was his health and his right to decide how much he wanted us to know.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:44 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 65,253,264 times
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Having been through the death of many family members and friends, I know how the others around me would react to hearing of my having a terminal illness. There would be only a few people I would want to know about it until I HAD to alert them. My son would never forgive me if he didn't know immediately (he and I have discussed this - I feel the same about any health issues he would have) so I know I would let him know.

As Kevxu related, for some of us, there are people who would make it all about them, thus increasing what I would have to deal with (the drama some people insist on creating). So I would not inform them til I absolutely had to.

My husband was given 5 years likely lifespan 3 years ago. We have great hope that he has extended his lifespan through use of meds. His docs say he is doing very well. There is no surgery or therapy that can "fix" his cardiac issues; the only thing that could be done would be a heart transplant and that is not ideal and the older he gets, the less he is a candidate. Although we have explained his diagnosis to family, the amazing thing is - no one seems to understand the seriousness of it! I have to laugh b/c he is one to downplay health issues so it is fine with him that no one "gets it." Everyone seems to have this misperception that anyone with cardiac issues is able to have some sort of surgery (bypass, stent) to "fix" it so since he hasn't had surgery, it appears folks think he really isn't that seriously ill. Plus, he has chosen to continue working.

That has worked out fine for us as he was loathe to have anyone hovering over him being morose. However, I think when the day does come that he leaves this planet, there are going to be family members who have a hard time dealing with it due to their not taking his health issues seriously. That will just be their problem as we gave them the info.
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:06 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
13,104 posts, read 17,640,353 times
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I do think I would want to know for my kids and grandkids sake in case it is hereditary and they have a right to know as well in case something comes up . I always said when I was younger I did not want to know but seeing my kids and grandkids now I want them to all know so that maybe they will know something is wrong and get to the dr quicked than I would have and maybe just maybe it might save their lives you just never know . I think you should never hide anything including illness from your family .Now we did have one family member who had cancer and she never told anyone but my uncle got a hold of her diary and she said in her diary that a friend of hers had , had cancer and had been treated differently and she did not want anyone treating her differently and it went on to say that this friend had family members that would not invite her to dinner anymore and she had a sister who would put out her silver and dinner plate in a seperate wash basin because she thought she might catch something . Me myself I think that is a terrible way to treat someone and that person would be considered ignorant by me if not others .
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:17 PM
 
Location: SWFL
21,431 posts, read 18,144,759 times
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IDK where people get that idea, pl, that cancer is catchy. My hubby wouldn't give me a nice, wet, French kiss anymore because he said the cancer was catchy! Maybe he thought that when the cancer was really getting his brain in a fuddle. Knowing it went to his brain too answers a lot of things in hindsight. Anyway, a healthy person doing such a thing as seperating dishes, etc. is, as you said, just plain ignorant.
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Windham County, VT
10,542 posts, read 4,675,530 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phonelady61 View Post
I do think I would want to know for my kids and grandkids sake in case it is hereditary and they have a right to know as well in case something comes up . I always said when I was younger I did not want to know but seeing my kids and grandkids now I want them to all know so that maybe they will know something is wrong and get to the dr quicked than I would have and maybe just maybe it might save their lives you just never know . I think you should never hide anything including illness from your family .
Setting aside the personal choice of how one conducts one's own life upon receiving a terminal diagnosis (while still alive), I would certainly agree that after a family member has died, the relatives have a right to know what the person died of. In case it's something with a genetic component that they might be particularly vulnerable to, so they have the knowledge to decide to take action-such as if they want to take a test or be checked more often for that disease.
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Southern California
748 posts, read 983,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tamiznluv View Post
IDK where people get that idea, pl, that cancer is catchy. My hubby wouldn't give me a nice, wet, French kiss anymore because he said the cancer was catchy! Maybe he thought that when the cancer was really getting his brain in a fuddle. Knowing it went to his brain too answers a lot of things in hindsight. Anyway, a healthy person doing such a thing as seperating dishes, etc. is, as you said, just plain ignorant.
My grandfather use to wear a ring, it was a big silver ring, with a bucking bronco. He wore it for so many years the ring was worn flat, all you could see is the outline. My grandfather died of cancer. My mother wanted that ring when her father passed and she had it resized and she wore it every day for many years.

When she was diagnosed with lung cancer, she stopped wearing the ring, saying it was cursed, being that both her and her father died from cancer. My Uncle Danny wanted the ring when my mother had passed and we gave it to him, he died an from unknown causes, perfect health, one year after my mother.

Your post reminded me of this, so thought I would share it.

My nephew has the ring now, but he does not wear it. I don't think he is aware that my mother thought it was cursed.
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:49 PM
 
18,856 posts, read 30,440,508 times
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I would probably not tell my family until I was closer to death. The whole situation would be an emotional train wreck for my kids, and a prolonged goodbye. No. Too much sadness.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:38 PM
 
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
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I'd probably do what my grandmother did. She knew she was dying, and although before her death she acted as if she was in denial, she made sure to write us all letters, so that we understood she was ready to go, and wasn't afraid of dying. Then again, she smoked like a chimney, and lived to be 87 years old!

She was also smart as a whip. Her oldest song (my Uncle Dick, who is aptly named!), had a string of ex-wives and several children. My grandfather had invested in stocks for all of the grandchildren, but Dick's two youngest children were born after my grandfather died. My grandmother decided that leaving my uncle anything would be a huge mistake, so she left his portion in trust for those two grandchildren. My aunt (Dick and my dad's younger sister) was the trustee. Well, my uncle was so furious that he actually tried to break the will! It didn't work, of course. She had a good attorney, and everything was done perfectly.

The problem with waiting to tell people is that sometimes it's difficult to know exactly when to share the information. Cancer can be tricky; you can feel great one day and start going downhill very quickly the next. I'd worry about running out of time, so I'd probably tell people sooner rather than later.

By the way, another aunt (my dad's older sister) died of colon cancer in her late 50s, and my father was devastated that she didn't tell him. Other family members knew, but she specifically told others not to tell him. She was his favorite person in the whole world, so you can imagine how he felt. I think her decision was wrong; if you're going to keep it a secret, then keep it a secret from everyone. It's horrible to single out one person. (Of course, there are exceptions - like with drama queen family members, etc.)
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:54 AM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 30,327,697 times
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I would certainly tell my wife, especially for planning purposes. As for the children, near the end. I wouldn't want a bunch of depressing sympathy visits. Remember me as the person I was most of their lives, for good or for ill.

However, if my wife needed their support (they're hers and mine, not ours), it would be her prerogative to inform them earlier to take care of her emotional needs. I wouldn't deny her that.
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