I believe we have the right to be told about our disease, its progression, the options of care, and the probability of being cured vs. not cured. If it is not curable, what kind of quality can be expected?
Being told we can’t be fixed gives us an opportunity to live until we die and in a manner of our own choice based on fact. BUT no one can be so specific as to say exactly how long someone has to live. There are too many variables.
We have limited control over the time that we die:
- That control affects how long our experience is going to be.
- We will deal with the challenge of dying in the same way we have dealt with other challenges in our life and that will affect how long we have.
- Our personality doesn’t change as we approach death. It actually intensifies its characteristics.
We cannot put a number on how long someone has to live. There are so many factors that affect the time of our gradual death that the closest anyone can get to determining how long the dying process will take is months, weeks, days or hours.
Numbers don’t work when they are based only on lab reports and disease markers. The medical findings contribute to a prognosis but the personality of the person will affect the actual time of death.
To get a gauge of how long someone is going to live once they have been told they can’t be fixed we need to closely examine these things: how they have met other challenges in their life; the kind of personality they have (active, passive, controlling, argumentative, easy going, protective) and to acknowledge that they have a small amount of control over the exact moment they take their last breath.
Something More about... Our Personality Will Affect Our Dying Process
When diagnosed with a life limiting disease, we need education and support on how to best live the time that remains. A Time To Live: Living With A Life Threatening Illness can be that support. It is part of the End of Life Guideline Series Bundle that has 5 booklets to support patients and families.