We're talking about what it means to "let go." Because if patients run out of treatment options or they are nearing death, "letting go" plays a major role in Healthy Survivorship. So here's another definition:
If a doctor tell patients to "let go," it's possible for patients who have run out of treatment options to interpret letting go as choosing not to pursue viable options, such as clinical trials or off-label chemo-cocktails.
People also use “letting go” to mean overcoming the instinct to hold tightly to something. If sitting atop a playground slide, you “let go” to enjoy the ride. If hugging your beloved at the airport, you “let go” to board the plane.
“Letting go” also can mean overcoming inhibitions and giving free rein to your instincts. I’m reminded of a terrible time when, with nobody else at home, I “let go”—cursing and wailing.
It fascinates me that "letting go" can mean both going against your instincts and giving in to instincts, which suggests that instincts play a role in using the idea of "letting go" in healing ways.
Whichever definitions resonate for patients when stopping treatment, “letting go” necessarily involves saying good-bye to the people who got them to today—the doctors, nurses, techs and even scheduling clerks with whom they have developed deep bonds. How sad.
Next: "Letting go" and grief.