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CoLiamPet
06-21-2010, 04:30 PM
I'm looking for a terminal disease that has a fairly long life span (six months to a year... or more) for a young adult female. I'd prefer to stay away from cancer, as that's pretty cliche (not the disease, the use of it).
Can't be any crazy, hard to contract illnesses as my MC has never left the USA. And nothing with strange deformities or severe impediments (like Friedreich's ataxia) etc.

A slow progressing disease that's not too debilitating until the end would be perfect. Need my MC on her feet for much of the piece.

I've been researching but damn Google and their 8.5 millions results!

I know it's a tough order to fill but please, anything but cancer!

Many thanks!!

stormie
06-21-2010, 04:38 PM
Maybe Cystic Fibrosis. But most live to be middle age now, yet recently one girl died at age 24.

CoLiamPet
06-21-2010, 04:50 PM
I think I came upon that during my journey down the google rabbit hole (fun stuff). If I understand the prognosis correctly, there's no real way to pin down an exact life span and one can live a fairly long life (all things considered). Death of my MC has to be imminent or, at the very least, a prognosis of a torturous, painful death long term. The story is about assisted suicide, more than the disease itself. Is CF debilitating and painful enough to want to kill yourself?
Many thanks :)

crazynance
06-21-2010, 05:46 PM
Co- My cousin's daughter has a disease that randomly rears its ugly head. Twice now she has been bedridden with debilitating pain from her elbows to her fingers and also from the knees down. While in this state, she can't even feed herself. My uncle told my father that many people with this disease kill themselves. Not so much during the disease, but the dread that another bout will come upon them. I'm sorry I don't know much about this illness. :( During this past episode, the doctor came in and said: we're stopping the morphine, you're going to have to learn to deal with the pain.
Then he sent her home, way underweight and needing physio from her time in bed.
She also got it when in her mid teens, and that time it seemed to hit her whole body. She's now in her late twenties.

CoLiamPet
06-21-2010, 05:52 PM
Crazynance, curious to know the name of the disease.

crazynance
06-21-2010, 06:05 PM
I am checking with my aunt.

SarahNFisk
06-21-2010, 06:09 PM
Maybe ALS. Or Huntington's. Though those usually don't kill until later in life.

Or, there's always AIDS, but that has also been overdone.

Kathie Freeman
06-21-2010, 07:19 PM
ALS can strike young adults - Lou Gherig is the perfect example. Huntington's is hereditary. Woodie Guthrie died from that, but it takes years, decades actually.

Drachen Jager
06-21-2010, 07:36 PM
Crazynance's cousin sounds like she has Lupus. Lupus isn't very 'terminal' any more so it may not fit your plot, most people who develop symptoms live over 20 years with it.

It's symptoms are treatable but it's an incurable disease.

Rivana
06-22-2010, 12:02 AM
I'd say Hep B. Or some kind of heart condition.

waylander
06-22-2010, 01:40 AM
Fast progressing MS?

Drachen Jager
06-22-2010, 05:34 AM
What about Dr. House's favourite, Sarcoidosis?

Wikipedia says that when the heart is affected it normally results in death.

Leukemea (technically a form of cancer but it has a different NAME, if appearance is what you're going for)

50 Foot Ant
06-22-2010, 07:25 AM
Emphysema.

And no, it doesn't come from just smoking, it can come from environmental hazards such as breathing in exhaust fumes for many years working in an enclosed area such as a warehouse.

You might not even notice you have it for years, until one day you find out you have absolutely no wind and can't figure out why.

She'd be on her feet, wouldn't even cough that much, but could have only 5-15 years left.

And at the end, you're drowning. Your trying to get in air, but your lungs no longer work, you're suffocating, you have suffered brain damage from going without oxygen too often if you weren't cared for, and you are in total agony because your chest feels like it's on fire inside. Each breath is a horrible effort to draw in just a little less air than what you need.

Yeah, you'd be dehabilitated and want to die at the very end.

wheelwriter
06-22-2010, 07:40 AM
Maybe something with renal disease? I suppose it depends on how "assisted" you want the suicide to be in your book. If it's really end stage renal disease and they stop dialysis, then the prognosis is generally less than two weeks. Or you could go with something cardiac. I'm a hospice social worker so if I can help in any way, let me know. Although, thankfully, I've never worked with a teenage patient.

cate townsend
06-22-2010, 08:14 AM
Maybe think about a defect she was born with, that didn't start out as a problem but became one as she got older. I knew someone who had a heart murmur all his life but it didn't become a threat to his life until he was in high school. Of course, that was fixed with surgery, but something along those lines, possibly.

MAP
06-22-2010, 09:47 AM
How about Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease or the non-inherited form mad cow disease? It is 100% lethal. Once the symptoms start, there is no chance you will survive. It is a horrible, horrible way to die.

ETA: I should have read the OP better. I think dementia might be a problem for your story. So never mind.

RobinGBrown
06-22-2010, 10:10 AM
. I'd prefer to stay away from cancer, as that's pretty cliche (not the disease, the use of it).

Sorry to derail a bit but isn't it the use of a terminal disease that's cliche? Maybe you're having trouble deciding on the disease because you're subconsciously resisting using this trope?

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IllGirl

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/VictorianNovelDisease

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SoapOperaDisease

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LikeYouWereDying

Not that tropes are necessarily a bad thing.

crazynance
06-23-2010, 09:21 AM
Crazynance's cousin sounds like she has Lupus. Lupus isn't very 'terminal' any more so it may not fit your plot, most people who develop symptoms live over 20 years with it.

It's symptoms are treatable but it's an incurable disease.


"it's never Lupus"... :D

Here it is, and it's rare:
Cfibre neuropathy, auto immune, ABC syndrome

kaitie
06-24-2010, 06:41 AM
Maybe Cystic Fibrosis. But most live to be middle age now, yet recently one girl died at age 24.

The problem with this is that it'd cause major problems throughout life. She'd be in and out of hospitals even as a child, have to deal with really uncomfortable treatments, that sort of thing. I went to school with a girl who had cystic fibrosis. She was given an honorary degree when she graduated because she technically had missed so much class that there was no way she would have been allowed to graduate otherwise just from having too many absences. It's a very debilitating condition, and she was even doing better than expected.

CoLiamPet
06-24-2010, 12:12 PM
Much to think about! Thank you all for the time you've taken to share your thought and your great recommendations.

:)

lenore_x
06-24-2010, 07:11 PM
Are you sure you want to rule out cancer? It's cliche because it's very common, after all. Bone cancer in particular comes to mind as something that would be extremely painful to die from.

But on that note, try researching bone diseases in general. Anything affecting the bones = excruciating. :scared:

Anarchic Q
06-25-2010, 04:21 AM
Whatever you end up picking, it won't be Lupus. It's never Lupus.

BillTrain
07-18-2010, 10:38 AM
Maybe primary pulmonary hypertension. Tends to strike young females and has a poor prognosis.
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/301450-overview

-BT

Tsu Dho Nimh
07-18-2010, 08:14 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subacute_sclerosing_panencephalitis

Shingles encephalitis

Gretad08
07-19-2010, 08:43 PM
I know it's a cancer, but why not try skin cancer? It's deadly, viscious, and can hit at any age.

It's recognizable enough that your readers won't be scrambling for a medical dictionary.