Sometimes the Choice is Not to Fight

In Deep Thoughts, Faith, Real Life on April 20, 2016 at 5:50 pm


January 8, 2016 was the day I got the news I was dying.  Of course everyone is dying. Most people do just do not accept or acknowledge this fact. We are all on our way to the grave. We just get there at different times and in various ways. But we all arrive at this destination eventually. So far, over the course of human history this is the one indisputable fact: Humanity has a 100% mortality rate.

I have always been pretty realistic about death, especially my own, and even to many seemed somewhat morbid with my obsession about it. I made many decisions about my own death while I was still in my 20’s. Pre-paid for my funeral while I was in my 30’s. Had my will in place before I was 40, Talked openly with the people I wanted to be in charge of things once I was incapacitated regarding my advanced directives and continue to discuss those things as the state of my health deteriorates currently.   I believe people who ignore these basic things are foolish. As a nurse I have seen many people die, and it is not pretty when all these things are left undone.  My niece Mysi, since she was 4 years old, (She is 37 now) has known that she will be the one to “take care of me” when I am old. I have no children. I was not sure what marital status I would be in, and in truth it is probably better in my opinion if someone other than a spouse is an executor of end of life matters.  But this blog is not about all that, in fact I may have already covered all this previously, but the cancer also makes my short term memory boggled and I now have a tendency to repeat myself. Some would say this is just old age–so be it.

But what I really wanted to talk about is the reaction of other people to my cancer. There seems to be a prevalent thought that everyone who has cancer is in some noble battle to beat the cancer and live. If you are not clutching white knuckled to every minute of life you can steal back from it, or following every single avenue of treatment then you are somehow failing at the whole “cancer thing”.

I was not given this kind of choice. They could not operate and remove them. There is no chemo that can find and reach them.  They could diminish the swelling and perhaps with full brain radiation reduce a couple of the small ones and give me back some function.  Everything from this point on is palliative.  From the get-go my diagnosis is  FATAL. The median survival is 6 months.  1 year at best.  In other words, most people are dead at 6 months. Some people live for a year.  This is Stage 4 brain cancer with large tumors in my brain growing rapidly. Because I am a Christian, my initial response was somewhat surprising I suppose to those who have not given their lives over to Jesus Christ and trust that God is ultimately in control of everything in one’s life. I was going home. I was closer to the goal that is the goal of all Christians. To meet my Lord and Savior face to face. There was joy in it. I was also called upon to suffer for the Lord. This too, to most would seem a ludicrous thing to see as a blessing but it is not. Jesus suffered for the Love of me. I can now suffer for love of Him, and to him give all the glory. This was a gift.

So my thoughts turned immediately to “How do I wish to die? How can I give this meaning, not only to me, but to others who are now in the unfortunate position of watching me die? My goal is to die with dignity, in the arms of my beloved family. To not prolong their pain and to not cling to life that would ultimately only prolong my own suffering and that of my family and friends.  All decisions I make are based on this goal.  But again, many people, for whatever reasons, do not accept this. They continue to ask questions of me based on THEIR goals or expectations of how I should be treating this. I am daily given some new advice on how I can cure myself. How I can grab a little more time on earth.

This is NOT my goal. That fight is not mine. I want only peace and strength for the fight I am in, which is to die with dignity and peace and to go to heaven. Adding more time is the equivalent of extending my time of suffering, and it is ludicrous to me to spend the short time I have fighting for extra days of suffering. Spending precious days hunting down ways to extend my time has nothing to do with where I am or wish to be.  My most fervent prayer is for it to be soon and let me not linger long.  Let my love for God shine through to others in the end, and let my family be at peace when I am gone.  Knowing what the battle truly is helps. I am not “giving up”, I just know the battle I am in, and accept it.  And…I have my ticket to another and better place. I hope to see you there someday.







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