Physical pain continued...
The key to
effective pain management is to take your pain medicine on a routine schedule,
not "as needed." But even with a routine schedule of pain medicine, there may
be times when you have pain that is worse than normal. This is called
"breakthrough pain." Talk with your doctor about medicines you should have on
hand to be prepared for breakthrough pain. And always talk to your doctor
before going off your pain medicine. Suddenly stopping pain medicine may cause
serious side effects and severe pain.
Talk to your doctor about
methods of pain control without medicine. Complementary and alternative
medicine therapies may provide pain relief and relaxation for some people. You
may be able to complement conventional medical treatment with one of these
Before you try a complementary therapy, talk to your doctor about the possible value and potential side effects. Let your doctor know if you are already using any such therapies. Complementary therapies are not meant to take the place of standard medical treatment. But they may help ease symptoms and pain and improve your quality of life.
For more information about pain management, see the topic
It is normal to experience
emotional distress for a limited period of time as you learn to cope with your
illness. But depression lasting more than 2 weeks is not normal and should be
reported to your doctor. Depression is treatable, even when facing a
life-limiting illness. Antidepressants, as well as counseling, are available to
manage the emotional suffering you may experience.
Talk to your
doctor and family if you are experiencing emotional distress. Although grieving
is a normal part of the dying process, do not feel that you must endure great
emotional pain. Emotional suffering can intensify any physical pain you may be
having. It can also decrease your ability to work on important
relationships and say good-bye to family and friends.
You may experience other symptoms as
your death nears. Talk to your doctor about what symptoms may develop. Symptoms
such as nausea, fatigue, constipation, or shortness of breath can be managed
effectively with medicines, diet changes, or oxygen therapy. Have a family
member or friend help you describe your symptoms to your doctor or hospice
worker. Keeping a journal may be a helpful way of keeping track of your various