April 28, 2008

Quite sad

Saturday found me in a local upscale grocery store with the Girl Child to buy cupcakes to celebrate, later, the Boy Child's first little league game (he did great, more on that later). I ran into my neighbor, who I have not seen in some time. He lives right next door and just got remarried to a lovely French woman and they are raising her young children together. I was pleased to see him. I asked him how he was and he said, looking at the Girl Child, that he got some news but would call me later to discuss. I understood and sent her off to the smoked fish to find something yummy (her favorite stuff, really). And he told me that he was just diagnosed with lung cancer and it was in his lymph nodes. None of the kids know yet. He just found out this week.

His wife told me on Sunday that he is now taking anti-depressants. I was out in the yard practicing baseball with the Boy Child when her 7 year old son came running out with his glove to join in.

So, here's the question: would you take drugs to adjust your emotional reaction to devastating news? Or would you say, forget it, this may be the last ride of my life and I am going to fully experience the highs and the lows?

Posted by Random Penseur at April 28, 2008 11:19 AM | TrackBack

Holy crap. I'd be hoovering down those pills with both fists! Mainly because I wouldn't want to waste any of the rest of my cruelly shortened life on being incapacitated, especially with kiddos around. I'd want to be as functional as possible, so they had some memories of me other than sitting in one place, immobilized by circumstances. But then, I'm a wuss. I took the drugs during childbirth, too, and was pissed off when I couldn't have them the second time around.

Posted by: Caroline at April 28, 2008 12:04 PM

As one who has been there, I would say, yes, absolutely, take the drugs. I didn't take any anti-depressants, even when they were offered to me to help control my menopausal symptoms, but I will admit that the sheer volume of pain killers I was on at that point in time helped to blunt the pain of a. a radical hysterectomy where I lost seven body parts b.being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, c. losing my fertility and d. being forced into menopause at age thirty-six. It may not be kosher to admit that they helped me through a difficult period in a way they were not intended to do so, but the truth is that they did. Anything that helps you feel normal, when your world has been turned upside down, is a good thing.

As a cancer patient, you have a lot of decisions to make and you need to be somewhat like your normal self to make said decisions. You can't make life-altering decisions when you don't have your wits about you. If this is what he feels he needs to function right now, more power to him.

That's just my two cents. Perhaps I'm not the mentally healthiest of people out there, but you do what you need to do to get by.

Posted by: Kathy at April 28, 2008 12:09 PM

I'd do it. Especially to get up and play with the kids. God, what a rotten thing.

Posted by: caltechgirl at April 28, 2008 01:03 PM

Interesting reactions. I kind of tended to the other side of the debate. I would not want anything, other than physical pain, masked. I hope I never have to have this conversation for myself on anything other than a theoretical level.

Posted by: rp at April 28, 2008 02:51 PM

i guess one never really knows until it happens....but...
i'd want to fly

and crash
on my own without the drugs.

Posted by: sn at April 28, 2008 07:01 PM

As someone who watched someone close to me die of lung cancer just last year, I can't say I'd be taking anti-depressants but Any pain killer they could toss at me.

Posted by: Holly at April 29, 2008 10:40 AM

Are anti-depressants routinely offered to advanced stage cancer patients? Or was your neighbor having some significant problems?

In such a situation, my tendency would probably be to withdraw from the world. Anti-depressants would probably be helpful.

Posted by: owlish at April 30, 2008 11:09 AM

I definitely would take the pills. The lows aren't any fun and I would want to get through the last days with all the happiness and dignity I could muster and anti-depressants can be a great help with that.

Posted by: Jordana at May 1, 2008 10:22 AM

I think I would agree with the drug takers, I mean, feeling sorry for yourself and staring at the black hole abyss that's coming your way can be a slippery slope. I'd want to be able to spend time with my kids and wife rather than huddled in the fetal position down in the basement door closed, one light on. It's not a way to spend your last days.

Posted by: Oorgo at May 2, 2008 09:29 AM