Saturday, August 4, 2012

6-9 Months To Live? Chaplain Boss Queen Speaks To Doctors And Those Told Those Words

And man, has Chaplain Boss Queen, that would be me, of Hotel Melanoma got something to say!

I'm kinda plenty ticked right now about this. I'm reading too many times where my melapals have been told by doctors that they have "6-9 months to live."

Doctors, how dare you? How dare you play God and tell ANYBODY that? Especially in this day and age? Especially when you see people beating those odds time and time again? How dare you strip away hope and leave fragile souls believing that YOU have the right to tell them this and they'd better listen up and plan to die soon? How dare you?

I understand you're covering your own back. I understand that you've seen cancer many times and sometimes, if you tell enough people this statistic often enough, some people really will die within 6-9 months...just like you said. I understand what you're doing.

The question is, do YOU understand what you're accomplishing when you do this? I don't think you do. You take an oath to "do no harm." Weeelllllll, you're doing a great deal of harm when you give a death sentence like that; a death sentence you have no right in giving.

Yes, tell people the truth about their disease. Tell us stage 4 and mets all over if that's the truth. Tell us this is serious and we may die younger and earlier than we thought. Ask us if our affairs are in order and tell us if they aren't that we need to get them in order. All of that is fine and called for.

BUT! Stop your mouth short of saying "You have 6-9 months to live." You're dealing with fragile souls...souls who need hope. You're dealing with families who need hope. You have no right to take that away. Even the strongest, toughest man wilts when told those words. Some people will pull themselves together and continue the fight. They'll ask for "what's next in treatment and trial options" and they'll kick up their fight. Some of them will add YEARS to their lives. And YOU know this! You've seen it. Some people will hear your words and give up. Your 6-9 months will have drained the life and fight right out of them. They'll go home and decide if they want quality over quantity. These are probably the ones that make your stat come true. What would their outcome have been if you had kept your mouth shut and never said "6-9 months"?

Tell your stage 4 patients plenty continue the fight and live longer than ever before. Tell them some don't. Tell them they won't know which group they belong to until they try. Tell them the fight is worth it. Give them the tools to fight with. Do your job. You're trained. You'll be able to tell when the death process sets in. Even then, you've seen it, that death process can still turn on a dime and be postponed. People who were "dying" went on to live another ten years. It happens. That's God's call; not yours! Do your job and let God do His. And it's your job to help your patients live and live with the best quality possible given their disease and options. You cannot control how bodies react to any treatment. You DO control which treatments are offered and tried. Do your job and keep your grim statistics to yourself. Be helpful and not harmful.

And finally doctor, are you a melanoma specialist? Not a "general" anything or a specialist in another cancer. Are you a melanoma specialist? If you are, refer your patient to another one for a second opinion. Just because YOU aren't willing to do that difficult surgery or try another treatment doesn't mean a colleague of yours will feel the same way. If you are NOT a melanoma specialist...what in the world are you doing with a melanoma patient??!! Get this person in the hands of a specialist ASAP! Here, I'll help you. This is Aim at Melanoma's list of melanoma specialist oncologists. Where you find them, you will find surgical oncologists and dermatologists who specialize in melanoma.

Now, that said, fellow person with melanoma...don't give up hope. If you've been told that you have 6-9 months to live...well, that might, indeed, be accurate. It, also, may be completely wrong! You won't know if you don't fight! You're still in the fight and you've still got a race before you so fight and run. Run and fight. Keep going and don't give up until God says it's time to get ready to leave this place. Don't give your doctor that kind of power over your emotions and life. If your doctor won't change that stat and hush then you change your doctor. Life's short enough as it is. Don't stick with someone who doesn't have your best interests at heart. Find a melanoma specialist, or find another if you're currently seeing one, and get a second opinion and possibly more years on this earth.

As Chaplain Boss Queen of Hotel Melanoma, I'm hearing time and time again stories from people who were given that same 6-9 months and, years later, they're still here. They're going as strong as possible and while, yes, many are doing grueling and intense treatments and dealing with tough side effects, they're HERE and enjoying the life they have. They'll tell you in a heartbeat that the fight is worth it. Don't give into the depression that follows that stat and prepare to die. If you do that, you will, probably do just that. Die.

Even several years ago warriors were given that stat, they fought and many lived more years. And that was before the newer options we have available now. If you aren't given fighting options, GET A NEW DOCTOR! GET A SECOND OPINION! WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO LOSE?

What have you got to gain?

6-9 months? More? Years?

Don't let anyone play God with your life.

God is quite capable of doing that.

Be grateful, be blessed.

Choose life.