Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Death of a Brain Cancer Patient

I saw with great sadness that Brittany Maynard took her life today. She died at age 29. Brittany was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma brain cancer and the doctors gave her less than 6 months to live. That is an utterly horrible thing to hear from doctors. The emotional impact of hearing such news from doctors is hard to take, and it is gut-wrenching.

 I know this from two things. First, my older brother, Gary, died of stage 4 astrocytoma brain cancer at age 29. From diagnosis to death was 4 months. The end was ugly. Watching my very accomplished brother die, and leave a widow and two children under 2 years old was nothing less than an obscenity. Gary had everything to live for. He was an extremely popular person and was president of almost any organization he chose to be president of. He was a new father to a son and a daughter; but cancer, brain cancer struck him down. Every time I think of those times, my eyes water with tears.

Secondly, I know what an emotional hammer it is to be told that one is dying because I was told I would be dead within 5 years---in 2003. I point this out so people will know that I have been in her shoes. I had a very nasty aggreessive form of cancer. The tumor was spreading into my gut and had metastasized. When the doctor told me I was going to be his first patient to die in a long time, I remember thinking, 'I don't want to hear this!" Statistically I had less than a 20% chance of making 5 years; and less than a 1% chance of making 10 years, yet here I am at 11 years. I was seriously depressed for two months, wondering what the use was of anything I did. Then I realized that I was ruining whatever time I had left. I decided that I was going to live my life until I couldn't do it any longer. I wasn't going to be one of those who whined about dying because as the Bible says, "it is appointed unto men once to die." Heb. 9:27. Why should I whine about what comes to us all. I am not special; I am not exempt from this awful curse. But I will face my day, as best as I can, as my brother did. I hope I live up to the standard he set. I know it will be hard.

Brittany took her life long before things got bad for her. She could not possibly know what was in store for her. Sometimes cancers cure automatically; sometimes, like with mine, they go slower than the doctor thinks. For her to decide to take her life means that she placed her faith in the knowledge of the doctors rather than God. If I had done that, I would never have seen any of my 7 grandchildren. I would never have lived in China, gone to Tibet, gone to Antarctica, built a couple of successful businesses.

I have found that my cancer is a gift. It has forced me to think about my legacy; about my children and grandchildren. I never miss an opportunity to spend time with them. I never miss a chance to tell them how proud I am of them. Rather than take a quick exit, I want to spend my time shoring up my relationships because in reality that is what is truly important in life.

Giving up and taking one's life is hailed as heroic today. Unfortunately, it destroys the potential God has ahead of us. It is the easy way out and I for one don't find it heroic.

Gary, my brother was heroic. He fought everyday to spend time with those he loved, his wife, Anita, his two children, Allison and Van. He knew the odds were not good, but he wanted time with his children. Not much time was granted and they do not remember him. So, was it worth it? Yes. Gary is my hero. He fought the good fight and didn't surrender until totally defeated. I hope I can live up to my brother's example when my time comes. He was my hero.

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for taking the time to express this.

    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
    Replies


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      Delete
  2. There is a HUGE difference in getting a diagnosis of a stage 4 gliblastoma, (and 6 MONTHS to live), and having another form of cancer with a 5 YEAR life expectancy. Don't dare judge until you've walked in another's shoes. All cancers are not equal!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, I presume from your comment that you've walked in Mr. Morton's shoes?

      Delete
  3. I'm so glad you're well.
    I hope this means, you'll be posting to your blog more frequently.

    I won't forget when I was given a diagnosis which meant, that either I responded to treatment or had my heart removed -- I was able to say that I have this faith too -- as an anchor.

    Lord help me to be strong, when my time comes for leaving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't believe in god so i determine when my end comes and how i live my life how and why she ended her life you will never know you are only guessing.

      Delete
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  6. WHAT A GREAT MIRACLE THAT I HAVE EVER SEE IN MY LIFE. My names are Robert Mary
    I’m a citizen of United Kingdom, My younger sister was Sicking of
    breast cancer and her name is Robert Jane, I and my family have taking
    her to all kind of hospital in UK still yet no good result. I decided
    to go to the internet and search for cancer cure so that was how I
    find a lady called Sarah peter she was testifies to the world about
    the goodness of a herbal man who has the root and half to cure all
    kind of disease and the herbal email was there. So I decided to
    contact the herbal man for my younger sister help to cure her breast
    cancer. I contacted him and told him my problem he told me that I
    should not worry that my sister cancer will be cure, he told me that
    there is a medicine that he is going to give me that I will cook it
    and give it to my sister to drink for one week, so I ask how can I
    receive the cure that I am in UK, he told me
    That I will pay for the delivery service. The courier service can
    transport it to me so he told me the amount I will pay, so my dad paid
    for the delivery fee. two days later I receive the cure from the
    courier service so I used it as the herbal man instructed me to,
    before the week complete my sister cancer was healed and it was like a
    dream to me not knowing that it was physical I and my family were very
    happy about the miracle of Doctor so my dad wanted to pay him 5
    million us dollars the herbal man did not accept the offer from my dad,but I don't know why he did not accept the offer,he only said
    I should tell the world about him and his miracle he perform so am now
    here to tell the world about him if you or your relative is having any
    kind of disease that you can't get from the hospital please contact
    Dr.ogididanspelltemple@gmail.com or WhatsApp him +2347067393105,message him on instragram dr.ogididanspelltemple for the cure, he will help you out
    with any problems you have.To get more information you can message me via email robertmary8947@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete