June 2008, Volume 38 Number 6 , p 64 - 64 [FREE]


  • Joy Ufema RN, MS


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My 28-year-old son is dying of testicular cancer with liver and lung metastasis. He's terribly thin, jaundiced, and bruised.Many friends and family members want to visit, but he says he doesn't want them to see him "like this." His friends and family love him and are pressuring me to intervene. I feel torn. Should I turn them away or encourage them to visit so they can say good-bye?-r.m., mass.


Focus more on honoring your son's wishes and less on others' desires. The longer this disease goes on, the harder it is for him to maintain his dignity. Not only does he have to process the fact that his life's going to end much sooner than expected, but he also has to confront a body that's betrayed him.


Because your son clearly stated his preferences, you're obligated to act as his advocate. He's vulnerable, and he can do little to avoid unwanted visitors without your help.


Remind all those who love him that their telephone calls, e-mails, and cards are most welcome. And remind them that he may change his mind about visitors later. But right now this is his choice at a time when few choices are left to him.