Friday, June 12, 2009

When to let go?

It's really hard to know when to give up on something, and when to keep trying.

My grandma "Dora" is really upset about her cancer diagnosis. She is leaning towards not treating it at all. In a horrible coincidence, her kidneys have also suddenly failed. She's been considering not doing dialysis because a doctor told her dying of kidney failure is a lot more peaceful and dignified than lung cancer.

When we went to visit her Saturday, she and my grandfather got in a small argument because he wanted her to fight everything, and that she "couldn't die til she was old enough to die". His desperation and grief were palpable.

It's hard to know what the right decision is- I've never been one to argue for prolonging life if the quality of life will be poor. I told her that doing dialysis ONCE was not committing her to fighting anything. But that she may find that she feels good enough after that to consider fighting a little bit. I'm glad she didn't ask me whether or not she should fight the cancer or the kidney failure. I honestly don't know what the right answer is.

I think in some ways, I don't fight enough. The latest case in point that's made me think that maybe fighting can be good is this baby bird.

When we found it Tuesday, I thought for sure it would be dead within a couple hours. It's nestmate was already dead, and the surviving bird was covered in ants. My kids wanted me to try and save it, so we did try. I was genuinely surprised when I woke up Wednesday morning, and it was alive and begging for food. I was a little surprised when I woke up to a starving bird Thursday. I kind of expected the little guy to be there this morning, and you know what? He is. He's sitting a couple feet away from me, making happy, chirpy bird noises, and looking absolutely adorable in a very scrawny, ugly way.

God's will be done, but maybe I should fight for life a little more than I do.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

I don't even know how to respond to this, I think it is a sad, hard choice for your grandparents. I hope she tries dialysis just once like you said.