OT: Fu** Cancer - advice needed

Submitted by Wendyk5 on August 16th, 2018 at 9:51 PM

I hesitated posting this here but I know from previous posts that many of you have been through similar things, and I could use some wisdom. A good friend of mine from high school has been fighting leukemia for the past three years. He's basically been a cat with nine lives, but relapsed about five months ago and this time, the treatment was unsuccessful. He left the hospital today and went into home hospice today. He told me he has 2 weeks tops. He lives in Miami and I offered to come see him, along with another friend, but he declined and said he doesn't want anyone to see him like this. We normally communicate via text. I don't want him to think that I've dropped out of his life but I also don't want to push myself on him if he wants to withdraw. What does one do in a situation like this? I asked him if I could do anything for him; he said no. I'm not in contact with his family, only him. This is one fu**ing horrible disease. The past three years have been hell for him. 



August 16th, 2018 at 9:54 PM ^

In my opinion, you go visit. People don’t want to impose on others so he won’t ask. But you gotta go and once you’re there he won’t care that you’re seeing “him like this.”

Cali Wolverine

August 17th, 2018 at 12:48 AM ^

I disagree to a certain extent.  My wife passed away 1 1/2 years ago.  When a loved one  has cancer you visit.  If they just started hospice you try to visit.  If the friend/family member only has 2 weeks left and is no longer able to communicate with you (physically), you should respect their wishes.  The body deteriorates quickly and many people don’t want others to see them or remember them that way.  If every friend that felt guilty wanted to see my wife before she passed, she would never have been able to rest and her family would not have had any time with her.  Get in touch with the family and be respectful.  It is not about you, it is about the person that is dying...and this is a very hard thing for people that have not been in that position have a hard time with.  That said...I am very sorry for your loss. And Fuck Cancer.


August 16th, 2018 at 9:56 PM ^

It's probably too late but fasting is his only chance. A straight water diet  A few weeks os that can have drastic changes in his health outcomes. Probably too late at this point but why not  


August 16th, 2018 at 10:56 PM ^

Although it was weirdly presented, there is scientific research into the benefits of fasting (or calorie reduction without malnutrition.) The idea is to starve the cancer cells so they stop growing. You want to limit the blood glucose level that feeds the cancer cells.

There’s obviously a lot more to it than that. I suggest you look into the recent scientific studies on mice, fasting and cancer.


August 17th, 2018 at 1:13 AM ^

If this is actually true and its the starving the cancer cells of glucose that matters then just going full ketogenic would probably work just as well if not better...though i've never heard of going below 10% carbs even in extreme keto for therapeutic reasons, then again maybe some glucose is fine as the brain will likely take it.


August 19th, 2018 at 1:08 AM ^

No actually just fuck this guy. Here's why the hate.

I don't know if you've ever gone through cancer or had someone close to you go through it but all of us who have are well aware of the unscientific food and diet voodoo people. It's insufferable. I had my girlfriend go through ovarian cancer at 25 and I can't tell you how many times I watched her politely thank some well-wishing friend telling them her about how eating cranberries or avoiding bread or a million other random ideas like the one above could save her life.  

I'm not as nice as her so if wasn't there I'd usually just stop them and ask them to give any shred of evidence from a credible scientific paper -- to which the answer is inevitably crickets.  If you go find a scientific paper that shows a statistically meaningful impact of drinking nothing but water on leukemia I'll go eat twice as many lemons as WD ever has.

Giving random people wrong medical advice is super fucked. People actually die due to not receiving the care they need because they start believing in that stuff.  Not only that, it also implies that 1) something like leukemia which is completely not the fault of the patient was somehow due to them eating the wrong thing. It was not their fault. They did nothing wrong. 2) It also trivializes the massive pain and struggles that cancer patients go through in treatment. You mean I didn't have to go through all this nausea, shave my head, etc? I could just eat some avocados or just drink water?? If only I knew that before...thanks so much random guy.  

At least most people are nice about their wacky advice which I can understand as a misguided attempt at wanting to be able to do something to help in a situation where we are mostly helpless.  But he's just being an asshole about it and deserves to be ridiculed. 

As to the OP's original question: IMO supportive text messages just saying you care about the person/love them or like handwritten card from you and a bunch of your friends or funny pictures you think they'd like or anything that shows that you care about them but doesn't take a lot of effort on their part. Visiting in person should probably be done only if agreed to and set up with the person/friends/family.  In some situations it's great, but there is also a time and place where they need to be with immediate family only.  So sorry to hear about your friend and fuck cancer.  


August 17th, 2018 at 12:12 AM ^

I sorta doubt this. For one, she wasn’t looking for medical advice. But also, even if you were well intentioned (it sounds as though you were) there can be real consequences to tossing out medical advice like that. To answer your question as to why not? Because if his cancer is as far along as implied, he could spend his little remaining time starving and adding needless suffering. The few real studies out there looking at fasting and cancer do not address terminal cancers, they’re mostly studying the protective aspects of caloric restriction against developing cancer.

Gucci Mane

August 16th, 2018 at 9:57 PM ^

I think you have to use your knowledge of your friend to decide what to do. But I would go see him. I never think less of someone because they are weak in body. We all will get there in some way Or another. God bless your friend. 

Mr. Owl

August 16th, 2018 at 9:59 PM ^

I'd say f-it & go.  Take something he might appreciate.  The only thing that would be tough would be leaving & knowing it's goodbye.  :(


August 16th, 2018 at 10:06 PM ^

Never hesitate to reach out for advise or help when in the mist of tragedy, regardless of the platform/person. You'd be surprised by the advice one can receive from strangers on the outside looking in.

Go. Grab your other friend and head to Miami. In the end, you all being there for him will mean so much more than any doubts he may (understandably) have. The fact that you reached out to mgoblog is an answer in itself. Go if you can. 


August 16th, 2018 at 10:08 PM ^

Everyone I've known that didn’t go say goodbye for reasons like yours has regretted it. I say just go. Any reservations about people seeing him in his condition will be quickly overwhelmed by the company of good friends. 

6th Blagdon

August 16th, 2018 at 10:20 PM ^

Went through something similar with my mother and she had dear friends almost demanding to come see her and we firmly but politely told them it wasn't what she wanted.   I completely understood why they so desperately wanted to see her but it almost became more about them than  my mom.  Ultimately they all came around and understood that what was important was her last wishes.  I'd say respect his final wishes but I completely and totally get wanting to see him.


August 16th, 2018 at 10:25 PM ^

Do not go. I have (fortunately very treatable for now) cancer, and having control over who can visit, when, and in what conditions is critical for maintaining any sense of control of your life. That only gets to be more the case as conditions deteriorate. 

It’s hard not to go, but anything else is disrespecting his wishes. He’s not rejecting your visit because he’s ashamed of how he is. He’s rejecting it because he wouldn’t be capable of enjoying it. Text him about other stuff, talk sports or whatever you guys share that isn’t about the disease, but leave it there unless he changes his mind.

1989 UM GRAD

August 16th, 2018 at 10:20 PM ^

So sorry to hear this.  I faced the same situation just over eight years ago.  Best friend since high school (and U of M roommate) called me from LA (I live in Detroit area) in December of 2009 to let me know he had been diagnosed with bile duct cancer.  Fast forward a few months...when I got a call from his business partner in early February of 2010;  he let me know that if I wanted to see my friend alive, I better get to LA as soon as possible.  Got on the first possible plane and ran right to the hospital to visit my friend, who I found hooked up to multiple machines, bright yellow with jaundice, etc.  He was surprised to see me and a little pissed that I was there...but I made a joke about him not making an effort to look a little better for my visit...which worked to break the tension a little bit.  What made it even more painful was that neither he nor his parents were acknowledging that his death was imminent, so I wasn't able to say "goodbye."  As I left the hospital, he told me to come back again once the doctors got everything under control and he could get out of the hospital.  Cried all the way from Cedars Sinai to LAX.  Got the call about a week later that he had passed away.  Do yourself - and your friend - a favor and get right to Miami.    My guess is that he'll get past whatever reservations he's having and will be happy to see you and grateful for your visit and love.


August 17th, 2018 at 4:09 AM ^

I used to work in the college of nursing at a Michigan university. One of the instructors - a smart, tough woman with 20+ years of nursing experience who'd seen it all - told me she wouldn't go anywhere near peds oncology or ICU. She could handle ER, surgery, oncology, or whatever else without flinching - but the seriously ill kids, especially the ones who you knew weren't going to make it, tore her up too much. I've heard similar stories from other nurses.

I've got a soft spot for all nurses, but peds nurses are a special breed. You got balls, and that's meant in the most complimentary way possible. Salute.

OP, ask yourself: what would make your friend happy? (And yes, I know - "happy" is a relative term.) Would it be having you show up, even thought he'd told you not to? Or would he be pissed that you'd defied his wishes? The problem with giving advice is that none of us know your friend. Only you do. So, knowing him - what would he REALLY want you to do?

And I'm really sorry, because I've lost too many people to this disease. And fuck cancer.


August 16th, 2018 at 10:25 PM ^

The desire to go can be overwhelming, which is understandable the desire to be together in times of grief is comforting.  Just ask yourself first, would going be more for you or more for him?  It can certainly be for you both, and the answer to the question isn't dispositive, but you should at least be that self-aware before you drop in. 

Otherwise, you can still be as present as possible via text--make the most of what you're able to do. 


August 16th, 2018 at 10:28 PM ^

Respect your friend by letting them decide.  They have lost so many other choices, don't take more away.  However,  make sure it is for the reason stated and not just to not impose.  That is a tough path, but I suggest letting your friend know that you are going to Miami either before or after for the funeral and you would prefer before.  

If they say "no", respect their choice.