Our trip to China is getting closer and with it also the (probably) the last time to see Granny. As I mentioned in the last post she is not doing fine. Back then the doctors couldn’t pinpoint what is exactly going on but by now they figured it out. She has malignant melanoma what they already suspected one month ago. However they could not find the spot untill few weeks later as it is actually located in her upper throat. Because she never really goes to the dentist they never saw it growing there and by now it is just too late.
This cancer won’t be treated except with some Chinese medications as she is too weak for any surgery (and this surgery would be very risky as well) and chemotherapy would not help in this case either. She does not know that she is seriously ill and the doctors and the family decided to keep it that way. In the best possible scenario she still has a few years to live and we hope for that one though I hate to imagine how the last months of her life will be.
Because of this turn of events we “rescheduled” our plans for this trip to China and will stay mostly in Xi’an. Our planned short holiday to Thailand has been postponed to some other year. However this does not mean that we won’t travel at all this year at least within China. In the end of April we will be going for a few days to Wuhan to meet up with some friends from Finland. No they are not Finnish but they are in fact Chinese who studied together with my wife back in Kajaani over 12 years ago and lived in the same dormitory. Last year they visited us in Xi’an and this year we shall visit them in their city. Besides Wuhan we will be going in May to Hong Kong! Now this is a city I wanted to visit for so many years but my wife never really had any interest in it. However now I convinced her finally though I must say that mentioning Disney Land might have helped a bit here.
My wife does not even have the chance to change her mind on these travels as all tickets have been booked already so she won’t be able to turn into a complete coach potato this time around. Oh and also our plans for the summer changed again. My wonderful Chinese mother-in-law will be coming to Germany. We had first planned for FIL to come as ´his wife prefered staying with her mother in China but because doctors think that Granny still has way more than just few months or even several years my wife could convince her. Another big reason to convince MIL to come to Germany was about work. FIL is always handling the packages we send to China such as opening them, checking the items and repacking them to smaller boxes to send to the customer. Every time MIL did this job it was a total disaster as products would just go missing or she would forget to send them/ send them to the wrong customer. Her doing that job for 3 months would be the possible end of our company. Thus MIL will be coming to Germany in order to help us with the kids while my parents are in Finland for the entire summer.
Have you been to Hong Kong or Wuhan?
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18 thoughts on “Travel plans for this year”
I’m kind of appalled that the doctors and family are keeping the truth from Granny. They don’t feel she has the right to know about her own health and plan out her last months accordingly?
I await summer stories of mayhem.
Seems to be a Chinese thing withholding health information from the elders. The doctors only communicated with MIL and her brother, never with granny. I don’t understand why they do this as she is the one who needs to know what is going on and that her days are very limited
I have never been to Wuhan but am often in Hong Kong. Great city. I hope you’ll have fun.
I am really looking forward to Hong Kong. For so many years I wanted to go there but never had the chance. There is just so much I want to see 🙂
It is interesting granny doesn’t know what’s going on with her health. I guess her family don’t want granny to worry, and maybe granny won’t really understand. I guess if they wanted to go ahead with medical treatment, granny might know. It seems weird especially when you think how she might be further down the track.
When I asked my wife about this topic she said it is normal not to tell the elders anything in order not to stress them too much/ worry them. I really don’t like this approach but nothing i can do about it. As far as I know there won’t be any further treatments besides some check ups every few months
I know this not-telling-elders thing existed a long time ago but haven’t met many people following this approach. Maybe Granny might realise what is happening further down the track.
Seems like that in Mainland China this approach is still very common.
Let’s see how everything developes as at some point she must notice that nothing is really okay anymore with herself and also with all the doctor visits
By sheer coincidence, a work colleague who sits next to my cubicle is from Wuhan. She goes back annually for a few wks. vacation to visit her parents. They are retired professors and live in housing on campus. Sounds like a nice life for her middle class parents.
I’m surprised that they are just middle class. Parents of a friend from university were also professors in China (Shanghai) and they just have too much money.
Anyhow I am really looking forward to Wuhan, another part of China I have never seen
In terms of telling elders the truth about their condition, I think it should vary on a case by case basis. If the patient is prone to worrying and becoming anxious, which could further impair her health, this decision may be a smart one. But if not, she is very much entitled to knowing the truth about her own health.
So sorry that your family is dealing with this news. Safe travels with your family!
It seems the approach of not telling the Elders about their health is still very common in Mainland China.
When my in-laws heard that the doctor told my dad about his leukemia they were surprised as in China it somehow always goes through another family member
I wonder if granny should know/shouldn’t know of her serious health issues – it’s sad for everyone and sometimes it is better the patient doesn’t know if they are old and frail but of course that is up to each family isn’t it. I think you know I have been to HK many times and lived there for six months – so looking forward to your views and of course photos of HK and Wuhan – as I have been there after hopping off the Yangtze River cruise.
I wonder how Granny will take it later on when they can’t keep it from her any longer as at some point it can’t be ignored anymore.
In case of my grandmother (mother’s side) they did not tell her either how bad her situation was. However that was nearly 50 years ago and this approached change a lot since then. They even performed a “fake surgery” for her to give her the feeling that things will improve. She lived half year after the surgery, they just couldn’t do anything for her anymore (stomach cancer).
Both HK and Wuhan will be very interesting for me. I even got a new 4K camcorder for this holiday and I will ofcourse take many many pictures again as usual (the videos are for family holiday videos always, the old camcorder just reached its limits after 8 years…)
As you’ve mentioned, unfortunately it is normal here to hide bad news from old people. My husband’s cousin and an aunt passed away due to traffic accidents last year and no one told Grandma yet… I wonder if she wonders why they never go to visit her anymore…
I’m very sorry to hear about Granny. I hope she doesn’t suffer much.
I haven’t been to Wuhan but Hong Kong is great! I haven’t been to Disneyland though. You can also go to the beach!!
How terrible not to tell something like that! Reminds me on the story of the Olympic swimmer from China few years back who got to know that her granny ? Died only after she won a medal there…
Don’t know whether we will visit a beach there but we certainly will visit tons of places there and I will have my cameras at hand 🙂
Well it was not a death but in Spain I know of a friend who wasn’t told her mum had been found to have cancer until she was done with her college exams. When she was told, the mum had already undergone surgery and recovered completely.