Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness

Is the White Flag Really An Option?

The other day I wrote about the choices we all get to make in our lives regarding our health.  I’m amazed at how many discuss all the options for treatment and leave out the fact that not having treatment is also an option.  The question is, if you don’t choose treatment are you surrendering?  Is surrender even a word that should be part of the dialogue?

Over the past thirty years facing my own health issues and serving clients with health issues for twenty years, it’s a conversation I have often.  I remember in the 90’s working for a clinic serving clients with HIV/AIDS.  During one of my sessions my client noticed that I had the book “No Exit” on my bookshelf.  At first he was surprised because the book outlines how someone with a terminal illness could take his/her own life.  It’s a prescription for death.

I believe that even though he chose not to end his own life, his decision to eventually end treatment was not surrender.  It was the opportunity to exercise choice in his life.  He was able to call for hospice services and receive the ultimate care everyone deserves.  It became his opportunity to take one more stand and have control over his life in a way that honored his body and soul.

I know that some people simply give up.  I believe they haven’t developed stamina of the soul.  Surrender is about passivity.  Ending treatment by choice is not surrender because it’s still an active decision.  We all get to our own checkered flag in our own way, but the white flag should be eradicated from our consciousness.  Take responsibility for your actions and you’ll be honoring the life you have.

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