Upon Learning You're Dying
A Dying Person's Guide To Dying
Advice to remember in those first few days after you
learn the bad news; things you need to know from your doctors and other health care staff
A Guide To First Steps (after learning
diagnosis)- From "On Our Own Terms" Bill Moyers on dying: some suggested first steps for those facing
a serious illness
of Support - A description of how patients can create a support system for themselves, including a
medical team, hospice team, clergy, social workers, family, friends, co-workers and others, and directs users to some of the
many on-line resources available. No registration is required.
It's Time To Talk-The
Most Important Conversations - In Adobe/PDF format, bottom of article "Where To Start" tips to help you talk to doctors,
loved ones and yourself.
Learning about specific illnesses - from Handbook For Mortals. Regardless of your illness, you are likely to share many
concerns with others who face life-threatening disease, including the fears, worries, and needs for information and support
that accompany this critical time in your life. Your particular illness will shape some of what you can expect to happen,
and even how much can be predicted. It helps to know that doctors often can give only very general guidance on how long
you will live, and what problems are likely to arise. Talking about your prognosis; Questions you want to have answered;
Keeping up with your prognosis; concerns about: heart disease/cancer/lung disease/kidney failure/HIV-AIDS/dementia and dying
when very old.
Thoughts for Someone Who's Dying - Our culture does not handle dying very well. It's no longer a part of our
everyday lives as it was for our ancestors. We don't look upon it as directly as they did. We don't live with it as closely.
Most of us don't participate in it as personally. So when the news comes that we're dying, we're at a definite loss. We have
so little background for knowing what to do. It all seems so unfamiliar and frightening. This can be a very upsetting time
for everyone. Following are various ideas to help you through this time.
When You're Ill or Incapacitated - Where you are ill or incapacitated affects how you are ill or incapacitated. You
may be lying in a hospital bed when you read these words, or you may be in another type of healthcare facility. You may be
at home, or in the home of another. Every environment establishes its own limits and calls for unique responses. You'll
need to adapt the thoughts that follow for your own setting and for the changing course of your life. Some ideas will work
best early in your experience, while others will be better suited for later. You'll know. Use what will help you. Pass over
what doesn't. Personalize this time to make it your own. Develop your own notions. Devise your own solutions.
When You're in Transition - You may have lost some part of yourself, your physical health, your emotional
well-being, your spiritual wholeness. You may be leaving behind your job, or your home, or your family. You may be called
upon to say farewell to your innocence or security, your hopes or dreams, your past or future. The writing here is from the
book, Welcoming Change: Finding Hope in Life's Transitions by James E. Miller. It describes how all human transitions are
made up of a three-fold process, involving a beginning (which is really an ending), an interim period (when it seems like
not much is happening but actually a lot is going on), and an ending (which is really a new beginning in life). There is also
a Willowgreen videotape entitled Nothing Is Permanent Except Change: Learning to Manage Transition in Your Life. Both are
available for purchase.
The Emotional Challenges
Ultimate Emotional Challenge - A dying person is grieving the loss of control
over life, of body image, of normal physical functions, mobility and strength, freedom and independence, security, and the
illusion of immortality. He is also grieving the loss of an earthly future, and reorienting himself to an unknowable destiny.
At the same time, an emotionally healthy dying person will be trying to satisfy his survival drive by adapting to this new
phase, making the most of life at the moment, calling in loved ones, examining and appreciating his own joys and accomplishments
Emotional Challenges From
-How to Be With a Dying Person Enduring and Changing from Handbook For Mortals. Consider how you can best meet the challenges that await you.
Be compassionate toward yourself. Allow yourself to find a measure of joy in your life, despite the sadness you are sure to
feel. Extending the same respect, concern, and affection to yourself that you would offer someone else will help you live
fully while dying.
Living With Serious Illness - Handbook for Mortals Living with a serious illness can open up an unexpected variety
of new possibilities. Serious illness can be a time of growth, meaning, and healing. Many people find, often to their surprise,
that the period of time when life may be short is a very precious time. When you are dying, you should do those things you
have always wanted to do. Families and friends may want to hear your old stories one more time and to share with you their
hopes and dreams and worries. They may look to you for blessings and advice. You and those you love will often look to a shared
faith in God, nature, and each other to make some sense of life and death.
Depression-For The Patient - Physician Information: Depression saps a person's energy, steals the pleasure in life, and even makes
it hard to eat, sleep, talk, concentrate, or hold down a job. Just recognizing depression can be a sizable hurdle in itself.
It may seem impossible to believe right now, but depression is treatable. You don't have to--or deserve to--live with such
an empty feeling.
Communication With Your Doctor[s]
Talking With Your Doctor- - Handbook For Mortals. When you put something into words, sometimes it is more "real" than if you hadn't
mentioned it. Often, however, the future becomes less threatening when you name and describe it. Until then, your thoughts
and feelings are often too vague to confront and manage. And, of course, you might be afraid of what kind of response you
will get when you speak of dying, pain, and fear of what is likely to happen to you. Although doctors are supposed to take
care of sick and dying patients, you might be afraid your doctor will think you are "giving up" and give up on you, too.
Know what you should expect from your doctor; choosing a doctor; Getting the most out of each visit with your doctor; dress
for success; Set the stage for a successful conversation; When you are hesitant to ask questions.