What it's Like to Have a Terminal Illness: Living While Dying

Living with a terminal illness. Here's what it is like.

1. What is the Meaning of Life?

Knowing that you don't have much life left to live naturally leads to this question. It helps new thoughts, actions, and feelings emerge. You want to take inventory of your life, so you ask questions, have hopes, and have fears. You question old memories and create new directions. What is the meaning of life? Living with death around the corner turns everything into perspective. Life is anything but infinite. Life is short. Life ends quickly. Maybe it ends quicker with an illness, but it ends quickly for everyone. You'll figure this out before anyone else.

2. Accepting...It

The hardest part about discovering you have a terminal illness is acknowledging death. It is the first step to the rest of your life. It takes time, especially if the illness was unexpected or sudden. It will be a shock. You will feel numb. But coping takes time. First you let go of the future. You can only live in the present. When you find out that life is so short, it seems like there is no future. And when you are young, there is no past either. There is only present, which is all that matters. This is the hardest thing to figure out. You'll struggle with it until the end.

3. Emotions

Anger. Fear.

Why me?

Why did I have to have this illness?

I'm too young, it isn't fair! Why does cancer even exist?

Why has nobody found a fucking cure yet?

Why am I dying?

It could have been anyone.

I hate how my life is cut off early. I hate how my family and friends lose me. I hate how I lose my future. I hate how short my life is. I hate that it hurts. I hate that I did nothing to deserve this.

I'm scared. I don't want to die. What's after life? What will happen to my parents? I am afraid of death. I'm not ready. I don't know anything! I want to cry. I'm trapped.

4. Family

Everyone knows that watching someone you love die is the worst thing in the world. Being on the other end is just as bad. If not, worse. You aren't worried about one person losing you. You're worried about everyone losing you. You can try to separate yourself from them during life to make death easier for them. But it will not work. You'll spend every day with them to the fullest. You have a new understanding. You can't take mum for granted. There isn't much time. Even if, like me, you have almost 3 years left to live, it feels like nothing. Especially when 2 years have already passed from diagnosis. They flew by. What happened?

5. Quality of Life

The day I found out, was the last day I ever wanted to self harm. I was a cutter. But the moment I knew I was going to die, I wanted to make the most of it. The most of my 5 years left. I'm 17. I have until I am 20. I am lucky, I can celebrate my 18th birthday. I can drive a car. I can graduate highschool. I can be an adult. I don't want to waste my precious time cutting up my wrists and hips.

6. It Could be Worse

I could have 3 months left instead of 3 years. Bladder cancer is painless. I could have lung cancer, and have to walk around with a tank. I could have breast cancer and have to remove them. I could have skin cancer and then everyone could see. It could be worse. Gratefulness increases tenfold.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • the more you live, the more you realise the only thing that matters is health. My sister had a massive stroke recently and was in ICU. I have had a lot of experience in ICU units due to other loved ones being there. The confronting aspect is seeing mangled kids. My sister is 49. It is harsh to say, but if she passed I could reconcile this for she has lived a life. When kids pass that rips bad. even if they are not yours.

    Even from my aspect I was faced with a serious health issue. I cared little for, again, I have lived a life

    Back to you, a young woman facing this galls for it makes you question so many things. You have all your life ahead of you. Even for a stranges like I, I cringe at this. I am not sure what your battle is but lets hope you beat it. They are rare, but, miracles do happen

    My mothers passed when I was 13, and it was a cruel death. She was in the death ward before passing. All her bodily function laid to waste. By some divine intervention, she wished me happy birthday with one of her last breath

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Most Helpful Girl

  • This was heartbreaking to read. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. Reading about experiences like this really puts a lot of things into perspective and reminds us to never take anything for granted. My brother has a life-threatening disease and while it's not necessarily terminal, it could kill him at any time if he doesn't manage it accurately and efficiently. It's scary and I worry about him all the time.

    Unfortunately, illness and disease are things that no one expects to have to experience, but when it happens, we just have to deal with it the best way we can. Having a strong support network is so important too. I hope you have as much time as possible to spend with your loved ones. ❤️

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Join the discussion

What Guys Said 18

  • Hey, this might be controversial or whatever, but contemporary western medicine is trite. It is a business whose fundamental motivator is financial gain.

    Cancer is an industry. The scientifically proven most effective treatments for cancer are suppressed by the medical industry and in some cases illegal. Cancer UK is basically a racket, whose CEO lives in a mansion, makes loads of money, and who are not working towards curing cancer in any conceivable way, they are a part of the problem in their work towards sustaining the industry that is cancer. An alkaline diet fights cancer cells, garlic fights cancer cells, and cannabis oils fight cancer cells, much more effectively than any treatment the medical industry will tell you is best for you. Chemotherapy annihilates the cancer cells temporarily, but they come back much stronger. It is a short-term solution. None of the things I mentioned are perfect cures, but they work more effectively than anything else known at this time.

    If you have to break the ridiculous laws in order to use cannabis oils so that you can not die at such a horrifyingly young age, then I believe it is worth it. I read about a woman who broke the law to get her baby boy cannabis oils to save his life. It worked a charm, and the medical industry were going to let him die.

    They want you to die and they want to profit from it.

    I apologise so much if this is insensitive, and for your situation, it is so painfully heart wrenching. I am saying all these things because I cannot stand to see people being lied to and mistreated by contemporary medicine, so much that their lifespan is significantly shortened. I just think it's better I say it than not, because it could do some good.

    I don't know what else to say..

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  • Thanks for this, and I really hope you make the most of your life, and that you don't give up. I think that living in the present is, after all, what it's all about, and I wish that I could appreciate it the way that people like you do. I lost my dad to cancer, my brother was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, my friend and roommate was in a car crash a few days ago that nobody can believe he survived, and meanwhile I turn 30 tomorrow, so I have a bit of perspective. You never realize until afterward how much you took everything for granted, which means you miss the chance to appreciate things as much as you should while you have them. At least you haven't missed that.

    Also kind of random but have you tried the whole vegan thing at all? A couple of books and some studies I've read recently have suggested that it can help prevent and perhaps even reverse cancer. It might be worth looking into.

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  • This was heartbreaking to read. We've teens committing suicides and then we've great teens like you. I'm sorry for you and I hope you get to live longer :)

    Here's a funny question if you don't mind:
    Do you have any fantacy in which some stranger comes to you , saying he has the cure for you. And then while treatment, you get superpowers?

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  • this was tough to read and I really don't know what to say. I really hope you enjoy your remaining years.

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  • Sorry for that. I had experience things that opened my eyes to life and I know how you feel in that sense.

    Thinking on the worst case escenario I use to say to my self "Atleast I am gonna know how much time I have left". Many don't even know, perfectly healthy persons end up dying in an accident or murdered.

    To be old enough to have lived a lifetime is a true miracle.

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  • i mean basically life itself is a terminal illness right? never heard of someone "surviving" it. at least not for much longer than a century.

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  • If i had a terminal illness i would do everything i didn’t have a chance to do because i wouldn’t expect to die soon but I’d get over it because life is Born then dead but he world still moves it doesn’t stop just because we die great mytake by the way and It sucks that people are stuck like this I wish that there was a way to prevent death but sadly we can’t play god anyway but we have to live learn and forget the pain of the past

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  • im sorry to hear that

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  • If you wear your Death-colored glasses all the time, your life will become the mess that you expect it to be: people will reflect your fatalism back to you. It's best if you "fake it till you make it." Put on the smile and hope you see it on other peoples' faces too. Imagine that: a dying person bringing life to people around her. It's a beautiful thing; don't let It slip by. I nearly died too ya know (stroke).

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  • This is sad. Can't they replace bladder?

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  • Very interesting myTake

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  • Thanks for sharing.

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  • goodtake

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  • Are you really terminally ill or are you just LARPing?

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  • Death is just a reality too hard to digest.

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  • And here i was , pretending something i am not

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  • Beautifully written Mytake.

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  • I am so sorry my heart breaks for you, I know words don't mean a lot and nothing anyone can say fixes it, I would just hug you and hold you, cry with you and love on you.
    I lost my wife of almost 24 years to cancer, it was one of the hardest thing anyone can endure, and no one knows how it feels except the people who have endured it.
    Many people will say "if there is anything we can do" there is nothing a anyone can do to fix it.
    The best thing anyone can do is just be there and hug and hold the person, and listen to the painful things you've listed above come out of their hurting heart and not try to give advice, just be the sounding board on which they can vent their anguish, and love them through it all.

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    • Written with tears flowing down.

What Girls Said 9

  • this is a great take. it really did touch me emotionally, my heart does break for you.. cancer is a thing I'm so afraid of because of how lethal it can be. it is true that life is short either way though, I actually ended up figuring that out when I was around 13. I was suicidal then, but got myself out because I realized how important it is to actually enjoy life while I can. after that I ended up feeling more compassion and empathy for others, and always willing to help others before helping myself. I wish you the best in your life, I send you my virtual hugs too. May your life be full of blessings and happiness

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  • This made me sad reading it, wish you as many happy years as possible. ❤️

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  • dont worry, we are all here for you. I have IBD (not life threatening now but it still sucks) and I understand the moment where your consultant tells you, and you are just say shit

    at least you aren't CUTTING yourself up about it (am I right?)

    im really bad with sick people

    any way, this was an amazing MyTake, and it shows how so many people take life for granted

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  • who told 5 years? why exaclty 5?
    usually it 2 or 1 year... but 5... if u could live for that long, myabe u can get better and win cancer...
    i think if u had last stage u woudnt live for that long, if it not last stage-then u have a chance to win it?

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  • like... Your Lie In April

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  • I hope with the time you have left you spend the best fucking days of your life and enjoy every second of it and be the happiest human ever and never a day goes by starting from right now that you don't smile. I respect you for having this mentality.

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  • So sorry

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  • thats what a secular gets, a goly person comes closer to God with a terminal illness. it doesn't get all this why me and desperation stuff.

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    • Ow there has always gotta be that one cunt.

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    • Haha! No thanks. I don't mind people believing as long as they don't try to spread their nonsense. Truth is you are a cunt for replying like that on a post like this.

    • @Shutupman not a cunt its just a truth. i said it in a sad manner. thats what a secular gets. it makes a nightmare out of a terminal illness. it slowly leads itself to desperation when faced with death. the godly person has so vastly different approach that its out of this world. it can't be of human origin. Job lost everything even his children and said God it was your gifts and you took it back. who has the strength o do that today. we would all curse the heavens even for a minor case of misfortune

  • There aren't words, it can't be helped...
    Try not thinking and be happy, I'm trying too...

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