Living with reality


My friend Karen returned from New Mexico last week and prepared to . . . well it's hard to say what she is preparing to do. Can you prepare to die? How do you do that? She had already filled in all the paperwork and called in the hospice team she wants to work with. Her spirit is open to the inevitable. Friends are bringing food and keeping her entertained, organized on the great site called lotsahelpinghands. She is still mobile and going to the doctor with the help of her best friend and caregiver, M. We talked about it, and the radiation she received for five days before she went to New Mexico has left her fatigued, but her pain is under control and she feels there is something better to do than lie around waiting to die. So she went back on the clinical trial drug that her oncologist had taken her off while they were trying to determine the origin of her infection the last week of July. She spent the week in the hospital then and had "the conversation" with her oncologist.He wanted to be sure the drug was in no way exacerbating the situation. Now she is back on the drug and back at home -- and while the drug has had no immediate result, she is able to see friends who fly in or drive in. And there are many. Friends from the running club. Friends from childhood and adulthood. Friends from a past marriage and past jobs. We are all here, getting to know each other at the foot of her bed or in the kitchen when we bring dinner, or when we pass in the hall on the way to the parking garage.Our role right now is organization and sending our positive energy that her insurance company will approve a drug for off label use for her fatigue so she will be able to get around more. It's an interesting community that forms around a dying friend.

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