Difficult Conversations Workbook

Chapter 7: Living With Uncertainty

“Incurable” does not mean “untreatable”—but it does place both doctor and patient in uncertain territory. Being honest about this uncertainty can strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and help your doctor provide whatever guidance he or she is able to, despite what is unknown.

Fritz asks, “How am I going to manage this? How are we going to manage this?” Steve admits, “It’s a very difficult balancing act.” Cathy says that when she began to speculate to her doctor about “how I was going to organize the rest of my life,” she discovered they had very different timeframes in mind.

“I knew my life was going to be shortened, so the things I wanted to do, I’d better hurry up and do while I could,” says Rich. “So many people put things off… but you don’t know what next year’s going to bring.”

Facing uncertainty, many patients find comfort in action.

Ask yourself:
What would I like to do while I am still able?
While I am still able I want to...


What will I regret if I put things off?
I may regret...
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