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Is ignorance bliss?

(10 Posts)
mummydoit Wed 15-Aug-07 19:36:09

If someone close to you had a serious illness and the probability was that their life expectancy was less than five years, possibly less, would you want to know? I was in this situation with my Dad five years ago. He was given six months to live and my Mum hid the fact from us. As it turned out, he is still with us (and I hope will be for a lot longer) but I would rather my Mum had been honest from the start. I'd Googled his illness anyway and knew that life expectancy was not good. I'm now in the situation from the other side as my MIL does not realise how serious my DH's illness is. She is convinced he is going to recover fully. I really don't want to tell her the truth - she's an old lady with health problems of her own - but then remember how angry I was with my mum for hiding the facts from me. What would you do?

sleepfinder Wed 15-Aug-07 19:57:05

To be honest, it does sound under the circumstances like you need to protect your MIL. Losing a parent is sadly part of the natural order of things, losing a child is not.
I hope your DH is coping well and that he does make a recovery, all good wishes to you.

Nat1H Wed 15-Aug-07 21:27:33

Are there things she would like to do with him before he passes away. (sounds very morbid I know). Will he die suddenly or slowly? I only ask, because my DH brother was killed in an accident. It was very sudden and my FIL and MIL have NEVER come to terms with it. I'm not saying that you can ever come to terms with losing a child, but the suddenness of it did not help. You don't say what is wrong with DH, so my advice is probably crap! I think I would want to know - then I could make the most of the time I had left with him.
Hope this helps.

LilyLoo Wed 15-Aug-07 21:30:13

i guess it depends on his illness and how long his life expectancy. If she is ill herelf it may be better to keep it from her.

mummydoit Thu 16-Aug-07 07:47:46

He has cancer. Grade 4 tumour in the stomach/oesophagus plus secondary on the liver. Not operable, unfortunately. His oncologist talked about chemo and radiotherapy improving his quality of life and extending it but didn't give us any timescale. However, I know from when Dad was diagnosed (same cancer, ironically) that five years is pretty much the maximum for this type of cancer and many patients don't survive beyond the first year. I don't want to upset her unnecessarily if he does well and has years ahead of him but then we don't see her often (because of distance) and I'm sure she'd make more effort to see him more if she knew the possibilities. I really am in two minds about this.

RubyRioja Thu 16-Aug-07 08:00:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FoghornLeghorn Thu 16-Aug-07 08:04:24

No advice but so sorry to hear about your DH

honeybunny Thu 16-Aug-07 08:06:56

If I was his mum, I think I'd want to know, but how old is old and what health issues for your MIL? Perhaps its possible to make her more aware of teh serious nature of his illness, but skate around time scales. What does dh want?

mummydoit Thu 16-Aug-07 08:19:31

Ruby, thanks for sharing your experience. You are right about it being easier to live in the day. I'm focussing on the practical aspects of taking care of DH and the DCs and trying not to think of future possibilities too much.

Honeybunny, MIL is in her seventies and waiting for a hip and knee replacement so she's not mobile. She's dependent on my BIL to bring her to see us and that only happens once or twice a year. We go to them as often as we can but it's difficult now. I'm not sure if telling her would make it worse as she'd probably want to see him more but, as I say, is dependent on others.

On the whole, I think I'll leave it for now and think again if and when DH's condition gets worse. And just hope it's the right thing to do.

RubyRioja Thu 16-Aug-07 08:35:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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