As she lay dying

My 83-year-old aunt was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer almost three years ago and she’s done exceedingly well. Radiation and chemotherapy, not to mention a genius oncologist, helped keep the cancer from taking charge.

Now it appears the cancer is becoming boss. My aunt needs to take strong painkillers all day long, which pretty much knock her out. She stays in bed most of the day. She’s losing weight she can hardly afford to lose. She’s losing blood. She has no appetite. Her blood pressure was 80/40 today.

There’s nothing else that can be done. A blood transfusion would give her some more energy, but it would be temporary.

This is no way to live, as far as I’m concerned, but my aunt has a great will to live. Frankly, I’m pretty sure I’d want to say adieu at this point, but who is really to know unless you are going through such a crisis yourself?

I completely understand why Dr. Kevorkian wanted to help put people out of their misery. I know someone whose father was near death a couple of years ago. Unlike my aunt, this man (he was 96), wanted to die. He even asked his son to help, and his son thought seriously about it. Thankfully, the dad died naturally.

Sickness stinks, no matter how old we are. Sickness without hope is beyond comprehension. But sickness is part of most of our lives and we must, with all our might, not let it devastate us.

0 Responses to “As she lay dying”

  1. Geri says:

    Hi Genie,

    You are welcome. And thank you for your comments. My prayers are with your friend.


  2. Genie Geer says:

    I suppose we can’t know how we’d feel until it’s “our time” but I hope to handle it with grace and just let myself be made comfortable as I transition, rather than fight it with tortuous treatments. I lost both parents 10 years ago suddenly and unexpectedly; I like to think they wanted it that way. Now an old family friend is very ill, so this subject has been on my mind. I think that if we don’t want to suffer, we should be allowed and helped, to go peacefully. Thank you for the topic, Geri.

  3. Marlene says:

    I well know the feeling of having to watch someone you love dearly fade away to the ravages of cancer. When (or if, I should say) it gets to the point where they are begging you to help end their life on this earth and put them out of their physical pain, one has to question whether euthanasia should seriously be looked at as part of a total life/health plan.

    I do send you my heartfelt hopes and wishes that your Aunt makes a peaceful transition, and I hope that you in time will remember her for who she once was and not who she became at the end.

    Kind regards,

    • Geri Brin says:

      thank you Marlene.


  4. susan grant says:


    I’m sorry to hear that the disease has taken over and totally agree that we all deserve the chance to determine when to go. It shouldn”t have to be done furtively.

    I wish comfort and peace for your aunt.



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