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GeriPal - A Geriatrics and Palliative Care Podcast

Aug 31, 2023

How do people react when they hear they have a serious illness?  Shock, “like a car is rushing straight at me” (says Bill Gardner on our podcast).  After the shock?  Many people strive, struggle, crawl even back toward a “normal” life.  And some people, in addition or instead, engage in deep introspection on how to make meaning or live with or understand this experience of serious illness. 

Today we talk with deep thinkers about this issue.  Bill Gardner is a psychologist living with advanced cancer who blogs “I have serious news,” Brad Stuart is an internist and former hospice director whose book is titled, “Facing Death: Spirituality, Science, and Surrender at the End of Life,” and Juliet Jacobson is a palliative care doc who wrote a paper finding that geriatricians do NOT consider aging a serious illness.   We have a wide ranging conversation that touches on how to place aging, disability, and multimorbidity in the context of serious illness conversations, “striving toward normal,” stoicism, existentialism, psychedelics, the goals of medicine, medical aid in dying and more.  We could have talked for hours! And I get to play a Bob Dylan song that’s been on my bucket list to learn.




Additional links:

Bill Gardner’s article about MAID in Comment Magazine

Bill Gardner’s articles about living with terminal cancer in Mockingbird Magazine:

Brad Stuat’s website:

Juliet mentioned:
On existential threat and terror management:
The Worm at the Core: On the role of death in life by Soloman, Greenberg, and Pyszczynski

On how existential threat is stored in the brain.


Papers on “striving toward normalcy” in the setting of serious illness