22 Year Old Son Facing End-of-Life Issues

My son was originally diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma (Stage IV-B) at 19. He underwent AVBD and went into remission for 18 months. The cancer returned late last year (2010) and now a short 10 months later (and 6+ salvage regimens) he has been admitted to Hospice Home Care. It's hard to get him to voice what he wants because he is still feeling so much has been taken from him. Anyone been through this? Got ideas or suggestions?


  • 7 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I am so sorry to hear this. He has every right to be mad, so let him be whatever he needs to be. All any of us can do is be there for each other. Your family is in my paryers.
  • Prayers are much appreciated. THANK YOU! AND yes, the emotions are what they are. It is sucky ... just when his life was in front of him. He is well supported and loved.
  • Really sorry to hear about your son, a hard situation for all involved. I think I kind of know what you mean about it being hard to say what he wants too, but from a different situation that doesn't necessarily relate. My grandpa has been sick (no cancer) for years now and lives on a hospital bed in my aunt's living room, he's on oxygen, has a catheter, and a walker and pretty much just naps and watches TV and never gets to go anywhere. I took care of him for four days this summer and I struggled to get him to make even the smallest decisions for himself (like what he wanted to eat) and it seems he just doesn't care much about life any more. I did my best to cheer him up and always asked his opinion on things anyway (just so he always had an easy opportunity to say) and had small success, by the last day I got him to tell me he wanted cereal for breakfast and he even laughed when I made him choose which kind (I told him I wasn't going to serve breakfast until he decided, he's a grown man!) :) So that's my somewhat unrelated story, I don't know what would work for your son, I guess you can only try your best for him and I'm sure he appreciates all you do. Wishing you, your son, and your family the best.
  • Remaining at cause over life no matter in what small area is important. You did a wonderful thing for your Grandpa, by getting him to decide. Thanks for reminding me of this concept.
  • Life is so very unfair sometimes! I'm so sorry you all have to go through this.
  • I am so terribly sorry to hear this. I can definitely relate, as I am a Hodgkin's Lymphoma Stage 4A survivor. I was diagnosed at 14, went into remission, and then relapsed 9 months later and underwent a stem cell transplant. I have been lucky enough to have been in remission now for almost 3 years, yet I still fear every day that sooner rather than later the other shoe is going to drop and I'll have to face the end. For him to be 22 and having to deal with this is heartbreaking.

    As for what he wants right now, I don't really think that even he may know. Whenever I reflect on what I went through, I also feel angry that so many things in my life have been taken away from me even before I had begun to truly live. One of the saddest things about getting cancer in your teens is that it prevents you from having a normal adolescence, and often takes away so many opportunities such as fertility and marriage before you really get a chance to become an "adult."

    I think the best thing to do right now is to surround him with love and continue to do the things he enjoys. Let him be a wild teen. :) Best wishes to you all.