True Confessions: I AM a “NAGGER” *

Elizabeth Hurlow-Hannah is nothing less than ONE BIG NAG and I will be indebted to her for being such for the rest of my life.

The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth has been a very good and close friend of my wife and me for almost twenty years now. But in the last several years, she has been reminding me that I should put my will, health advance directive and other end-of-life papers in order.  When she became aware that I was procrastinating on getting this matter accomplished, she became a bit more forceful in reminding me how important this matter is. To get this dear friend off my back, my wife and I went to an elder-law attorney about a year ago and had the appropriate papers drawn up. We both indicated in our advance health directives that we wanted no extraordinary resuscitation measures to be taken in case of a health crisis, including feeding tubes. Continue reading

Give Grief Space to Breathe

Guest Blogger: Kim Adams, Certified End of Life and Grief Coach

Grief is the natural, common response to a loss. And loss is a human experience. Therefore, we each experience loss in one form or another. We tend to most often think of grief after the death of a loved one. However, grief occurs along the journey — along the journey of life (divorce, loss of friendships, job loss, etc.) and along the caregiver journey.  We can experience the anticipation of loss — grief that our loved one is no longer the person they once were with diminished physical abilities and/or diminished mental capabilities especially with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. And in addition, the loss of our own identity, including the the loss we feel as our role of caregiver will ultimately change. Continue reading

Death & Dying, Loss & Grief Brought to You by THE DEATH CHICKS

The Death Chicks? Are you kidding me? How outrageous and fun, melding the disparate concepts, “Death” and “Chicks” into a weekly show on Google Hangouts On Air (HOA).

Thanks to the internet, two professionals working in the death industry, Patty Burgess/Philadelphia connected with Myste Lyn/ Canada. Getting acquainted through Skype, they discovered they were “on the same wave length,” and shared a similar sense of humor. Their conversations were always punctuated with laughter, a key element to releasing endorphins in the brains. As they explored the spectrum of end of life issues to discuss in a weekly show, they knew laughter was a key component, because it puts people at ease, and lessens their fears. Patty said: “Our individual hospice training and personal coaching perspectives created our basic philosophy: you can’t enjoy life to the fullest unless you stop being afraid of dying.” Continue reading

Learn How To…Talk To Your Doctor…and never hear the ugly words ‘Death Panels’ again!

Just in case you forgot how “Death Panels” became The LIE of the YEAR in 2009, click on this link, http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2014/dec/15/look-back-politifacts-lie-year/   — skip down to the “PolitiFacts LIE of the year for 2009.

How many people died in the past six years, without the benefit of an “end of life” conversation with their physician(s)? Is this on Sarah Palin’s conscience? Continue reading

5 Tips When Making the CPR/DNR Decision  

This guest post is provided by Bioethicist, Viki Kind.

CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation used to be very simple to understand. Cardio stands for heart, pulmonary stands for lungs and resuscitation means to revive from death. When a patient died, someone would push on the person’s chest to try to restart the heart while giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to help the person breathe. Over time, CPR has become more complex as healthcare professionals have discovered advanced ways to try to bring the person back to life. What seemed like an easy question, “Does the person want CPR?” has turned into a more complicated decision.

What do you need to know to make a good decision? Continue reading

Thinking of Suicide? Know someone that has? Please read this: Open Letter to Sam…

Completing our “Snowbird” season, en route to our final Florida RV campground, we stopped at a USPS office to mail a package.  Another customer in line asked about my Stephen Ministry nametag. I explained that twenty years ago, I’d taken 50 hours of training to be a Christian caregiver. Now I’ve developed a website, www.yourexitstrategy.org to encourage families to start talking about their End of Life plans. I was blown away when he said, “I’ve already found the cheapest way to get rid of my body when I’m gone—I’m donating it to medical science.” Continue reading

How The Mesothelioma Center Can Help Someone With A Terminal Diagnosis of Mesothelioma  

The value of a good support team can’t be understated when facing a terminal diagnosis. A network of supportive family, friends and health care professionals is the greatest asset someone can have when coping with a terminal disease like mesothelioma cancer.

Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The five-year survival rate is less than 10 percent, and mesothelioma life expectancy is between 12 to 21 months. However, advancements in treatment are helping people live longer and more comfortably with the disease, and rare cases do go into remission, but the vast majority diagnosed with mesothelioma will succumb to the cancer within three years. Continue reading

FIVE Action Steps to Improve End-of-Life Care in Your Community

Thanks to Karen Wyatt MD for this Guest post. Karen is a creative leader in showing us the many options for bringing End of Life discussion out into the open, which benefits everyone.

If you are concerned at all about your own end-of-life or how your parents and your children will be cared for when they die, you should know that we need to transform the way people die in our country and we need to begin that process now. Continue reading

What if my Plan A–whole body donation–is scrubbed?

    “Go directly to Plan B—find the cheapest cremation!”   

Last month I discussed my 2009 decision to donate my body to www.medcure.org when I was a five-year breast cancer survivor. Since my type of cancer, lobular invasive, often shows up in the other (contralateral) breast, I was obsessed about a recurrence, which could lead to metastatic cancer– catch my drift? Reliving the horror of my modified radical mastectomy, chemo and radiation, threw me into a year of medical research. My oncologist and surgeon agreed with the ten reasons I discovered to justify a prophylactic mastectomy. The surgeon said, “I’ll give you a 100% guarantee that you’ll never have breast cancer on your right side.” By God’s grace, fabulous medical care, and healthy living I’m still alive. Will medical researchers still want my mutilated body when I die? Continue reading