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Matt R., LA

My uncle was diagnosed with stage IV small cell lung cancer on Monday, July 5, 2014 and died on Saturday, July 23, 2014. Having smoked for over 50 years, his diagnosis at age 69 was shocking, but not surprising. We were, however, very surprised at how quickly everything moved. His diagnosis came on a Monday when my Dad took him in to see the doctor after some noticeable dizziness and slurred speech. From that moment forward, he declined very rapidly. He entered the hospital immediately and was never again completely lucid. The cancer had already metastasized to his brain and was clearly affecting his memory and speech. A week later, the doctors told us there was nothing they could do because his kidney function was not strong enough to support chemotherapy. He went home with hospice on a Monday and died the following Saturday. Just one month earlier, he drove himself and my aunt to dinner with my Dad and friends. We were all in a state of shock how quickly this happened and are still trying to accept the finality of it all. My uncle was the CEO of a large, national business in his professional life and in his personal life, was dealing with my aunt, who was battling throat cancer. I think that he knew for a while that something was not right, but he didn't go to the doctor for whatever reason. An earlier diagnosis may have greatly changed things for him, but I am not really sure that he would have wanted that. It's hard to understand what other people are thinking, but maybe he didn't want to go through all of the treatment after watching the pain and suffering that it caused his wife. He lived life right up the very end and then went quickly, in a peaceful and painless manner. I guess there is something to be said for that.

First Published: August 27, 2014

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