An End of Life celebration with Lisa Tremont

[MUSIC PLAYING] I’m here today with my oldest
and newest friends here. I have a houseful
of about 12 people that have come in from
around the country, mostly old girlfriends who I have
known more than 40 years. And we’re having a big bash,
and it’s a goodbye bash. I’m on hospice and
expecting to check out soon, and we’re on the beach. So they’re all
here for the week. And today, I’m
having a shrimp boil and have invited my local
friends and the people I minister with here and the
people I go to church with and the people in
my current life. So everybody’s here
celebrating with me. And it’s a great honor. Within a couple of
weeks, I found out that I had stage
3B cervical cancer and that my options were
limited and they were high risk and they were brutal. So I got rushed off
into chemo, and that’s– you can speak about chemo
and prepare somebody for chemo all you
like, but you’ll never prepare a person for chemo. Chemo is a very
devastating experience. It was for me. I did chemo and radiation
at the same time. Did it for, I
think, three months. That means you’re cancer
free at the moment. My cancer came
back within a year. And as a physician, I
think it’s important when you speak to your patients
that you tell the hard truth. I think for me, as
a future physician, I really want to present
people with all the options. I wanted to know what it was
like to be on the other side, in the patients shoes, to learn
what they want from a doctor. How do I address certain issues? If I’m taking chemo
to extend my life, I have no interest
in that whatsoever. I’m only interested in
chemo if there’s the chance that it can cure me. So I did one round and
it worked for a year. I did two of six treatments
on the second round of chemo– in retrospect, wouldn’t
have done them– and didn’t finish
the second round, and came to a very conscious
decision– no, I’m done. I would rather live
six months or a year and a half into whatever life
I’ve been really granted by God than sleep on the couch with
a puke bucket next to me and get another six
months out of it. I don’t think people see
that that’s the real option. I know people that are
being treated to death and don’t really understand
that the option is to stop. And I think that needs to be
presented in a certain way, that people understand
their choices are not– they’re not as victimized
by what the doctor says. Because now, you’re in
charge of their life. And that’s how they see it. They don’t understand
that you work for them. And so how do you get that
part of the relationship clear? It’s a unique
experience for us to be able to interact with
someone like Lisa at this stage of her illness. Lisa is really candid
and has come to terms with her illness and
her illness journey, offering an opportunity
for us to learn from her in that experience. It’s important for learners
not only to understand what we have to offer them
from a medical standpoint, but also to better understand
what patients are hoping for, what they’re worried about– doing things for people,
not just to people. I’m not really
concerned about death. I’m looking forward to going
to heaven and meeting my King and getting my mansion. Right now, I’m
planning a big party, and I’ve got my focus on that.

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