Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October 7th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

This shows how much of her brain is
effected by the cancer.
Good Morning! My shiny object this morning was the story of Brittany Maynard, a young woman who is diagnosed with an inoperable, terminal, and excruciatingly painful form of brain cancer. Brittany and her husband moved to Washington State where they have a dignity in dying law which allows a terminally ill patient to die on their own terms. I know Oregon and Vermont have the same type of death with dignity laws, and there may be one or two other states which have them, but that’s it.

Brittany loves adventure.
Brittany has decided that November 1st, 2014 will be the day she dies, and she posted a video, which you can see here. Needless to say, like anything of this nature, it has opened up a firestorm of comments. “Holy rollers” on one end to “right to choosers” on the other. All these supposed “Christians” getting downright nasty with each other. Folks manipulating Bible verses (on both sides) to attempt to bolster their viewpoint. Fanatics on both sides making all “true” Christians – Muslims and Jews, and everyone else for that matter – look bad.

I’m sure I am going to open my own firestorm here as well, and this is why I usually try to avoid any kind of religious or political commentary, but on occasion, my cookies get fried and I have to say something. What I meant by “true” is, true Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc., hold a love of God in their hearts. They try very hard to love all their neighbors regardless of their neighbor’s beliefs. They pray for them, but do not force their own beliefs on them. They do not judge. They may not agree with, but they respect the other’s beliefs. Religion is based on love, understanding, and compassion, not judgment, condemnation, and discrimination.

Brittany's wedding photo
Back to Brittany. I can see both sides to this coin. There are horrible diseases out there like MS & ALS where your body deteriorates and your brain stays whole, and for me that would be a living hell. Alzheimer's and dementia would be hell on my family. I don't know if I would be able to do it or not, and I hope I won't have to make that type of decision, ever.

A beautiful young woman...
Then again, I have actually seen a medical miracle - twice - with my mom. She was diagnosed with stage 4 inoperable cervical cancer. The prognosis was not good to say the least, but they were willing to try. We all started praying and added her to prayer chains all over the country (our family and friends are far flung). After her initial round of chemo and radiation, she went in for radioactive isotope implants. After they did the procedure the doctor came out to talk to me, and asked me to verify everything. I did, then when he started scratching his head, I asked why. He said because there was absolutely no sign of the cancer, not even any scarring of where the tumor supposedly was (miracle one).

... a strong and courageous one
as well. 
Several months later, my mom was having gallbladder issues and they sent her for a CT scan. The tech saw something he didn't like, and told her to go back to her oncologist. After a battery of tests, including two PET scans, they determined that my mom had cancer in every single one of her lymph nodes. No treatment, no options, only a few months to live. My mom called her radiologist to tell him what was going on, and basically to cancel her six month check-up, because she wasn’t going to be around for it. He asked her if it was okay if he made some calls. Obviously she agreed. He called her back the next day and asked her if she would go see a buddy of his from medical school.

She went to see this doctor, and he told her he was willing to try. The surgery was massive. She’d be cut from collarbone to pubic bone, and they would remove every lymph node in her body. She would be in the hospital for at least a month, and then in rehab for up to six months afterwards, that was provided she survived the surgery. She decided to give it a try, and the prayer chain was reactivated.

We celebrated Christmas early that year, because her surgery was scheduled a few days before Christmas. We had friends and family, because honestly, we thought it might be our last Christmas together.

My mom at her birthday last year. As you
can see, she's doing great!
Surgery day arrived. I brought my mom to the hospital. The surgeon came out and talked to me right before he went in. He said the surgery would take hours and I should go home, he’d call when she was done. I told him I wasn’t going anywhere, and plopped myself down in a waiting room chair.

A little over an hour later, he came looking for me. My heart sank when I saw him, but then he gave me the biggest smile I had ever seen. He told me that on a hunch, before he opened her up, he put in a scope and looked at every single one of her lymph nodes. There was one tiny one, just outside her abdominal wall, which looked questionable, so he removed it laproscopically.  All the others looked perfectly fine. He said the only way to describe it was a miracle, because PET scans don’t lie.

My mom walked out of the hospital the next morning and has been cancer free for going on ten years now. So as I said, I can see both sides of this coin. Prayer and believing do work, but I also firmly believe that, like any parent, God does not want to see his children suffer. If the time comes when she feels she can no longer deal with the pain, and decides to take the medication, I have faith that God will welcome her home, because that’s what a loving parent does. We forgive our children’s sins, we overlook their shortcomings, and we love them unconditionally.

You may agree with me, you may disagree with me. Either is fine with me. I only ask that if you feel compelled to comment on this post, or reply to a comment someone else made in response to this post, you do it respectfully. I would prefer to avoid any type of pissing match on my page. You are completely allowed to voice your opinion, but if I feel you are viciously attacking anyone, I will delete your comment (no name calling, behave).

I hope you have a marvelous day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

One thing I would definitely like to do before I die is…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.