Emotional Stress

About a year ago, I met a young woman who had had cancer since age 18 when she was diagnosed with an inherited pancreatic cancer. She had never thought she would make it to 40. But last year she did make it to 39 so she had lots of hope. Until last fall when everything changed.In the fall, she found out nothing more could be done and she would be on hospice until the end. She got hospice at home and slowly began to decline. All of us who knew her were on pins and needles waiting and hoping. We got periodic updates on how she was doing. She was losing weight, she was not eating much, she wasn't getting out of bed much.Then we would talk to her and she would tell us about how she is doing. She sounded fine. She admitted to being thinner and not eating much. We would hear she couldn't really get out of bed much anymore.We realized that (a) she has been on hospice for six months, and (b) she should be close to her 40th birthday - something she never thought she would attain. Who ever thought someone would be on hospice for six months? Most people I know who go on hospice, last a few days or maybe a couple of weeks. Not six months!In the meantime, we are all very happy she is still with us. We want to confirm the exact date of her birthday so we can make sure we celebrate it. But seriously, we are on pins and needles. We knew her too well. We knew about her cancer struggles and her family issues. She doesn't live close enough to any of us so we can just drop by. Phone contact is iffy because we don't want to wake her and she can't talk if her caretakers are there - which we never know.How are we going to feel when the end happens? We like her and want the best for her. But this long decline is getting harder and harder to deal with. We talk about her and we care. Because we care, the emotional stress is building, the longer this she lasts.With cancer, you have to deal with your own emotional stress. And you make new cancer friends once you are armed with your diagnosis and you share your roller coasters together. You share your emotions.As time passes when I know I have a friend who is waiting for the end. She isn't fighting a battle or being a warrior. She is a young woman facing a terminal diagnosis which is nearing as each day passes. And as I am a friend, I am sharing it with her. And sharing her emotions too.
 

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