I am a nurse. I am very familiar with the dying process. I see it regularly and help keep patients comfortable through the process and I also help support the family members throughout the process.
Just because I am familiar with it doesn't make it easy or stress free in anyway. Knowing what to expect isn't always a comfort.
My own father was recently diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma that has spread to his lungs and his hip. He relies on me a lot for support and advice with the medical aspect of it all. I love him immensely and even though I do not want to lose him. I know death finds us all and none are immune. Currently, his quality of life is decent although he has some really bad days of feeling and being horribly sick. He is not bed ridden and is able to get up and down for activities of daily living but he is not totally pain free. I have watched him decline over the course of 6 months and lose 60lbs. His doctor is kind and offers encouragement and Dad is continuing treatments and desperately wants to live. He is also coping with the situation with a lot of denial.
This is the part I struggle with. I know what's coming and I feel a responsibility to help he and my mother get things in order to try and prepare and make ready.....???? I know none of us are ever ready. But I guess being in the medical field I have strong feelings on the matter. I see things worse than death daily. I do not want my dad to put himself through all of that...A hopeless miserable losing battle! I know this is ultimately his decision and I will fight with him as long as he wishes to. But he nor my mother see the things I have seen. I have tried to discuss DNR status. I have tried to discuss death. But it is ultimately a failure every time and I just end up feeling I have dashed hopes and I feel like they believe I have given up. I have not given up. I will continue the fight, but it is difficult to watch, and I am afraid. His oncologist has told he and my mother there is not a cure and remission at this point is not possible.
It's not that I want Dad or Mom to stop treatments or dash hopes... But I also don't wish him to be miserable or drag himself through the mud before the inevitable eventually happens regardless. Quality of life is so much more than quantity....