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Melanoma Caregivers

Advance Directives

Folks, I'm getting ready to review our advance directives to update them. For those of you who have recently done this, or have had deaths in your families, could you share with me some ideas/ concerns/ wish we'd done this and not that suggestions to help inform my revisions? I know this is terribly personal and I'd be very grateful for anything you'd share.

With thanks,


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I don’t remember my sons making a living will. I remember signing a DNR for my son. My other son was married, but they both died at 24. I wish we’d talked about death. I could not bring myself to accept it, so I was as much ast fault as anyone in the family.



No recriminations here. I think it is a tricky thing to balance treatment, hope for getting to NED (no evidence of disease), considering palliative care, and having conversations about how would you like to live with cancer/ what brings joy and meaning/ how would you like care to proceed if this or that thing occurs. For me, right now, I'm not planning for me or my husband to die. But at some point each of us will.

Now I'm 58, so this is a different thing for me to work on vs thinking about my children in their 20's. But I've walked with several family and dear friends as they faced knowing that their lives would be ending sooner, and seen what the family has to do when they do and don't have guidance in those situations. And I'd like to be proactive for myself and my family. And everyone is really different in terms of their preferences, culture, family situation... and often our medical providers do not initiate or facilitate these kinds of discussions well or early enough in treatment. So I'm trying to be intentional for myself and in a review with my husband.

Actually my kids roll their eyes and say, "I know you want this and not that and do we have to keep talking about it?". But I'm spelling it out so they have guidance with my medical team in the future if needed. Medicine, the laws, and technology keep changing so rapidly that I feel the need to update these Advance Directive documents regularly so they are in sync.

Thanks for letting me think out loud.


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