These past few days have been really intense for me. Death is looming around my life and it has been a difficult realization that it will soon hit.
First I got a call from my Mom telling me that my Grandpa, who already has Parkinsons and Alzheimers, has a mass on his kidney that is certainly cancer. If this is indeed true (we will find out for sure this week), it’s the end. The doctor said he couldn’t do surgery to remove it because it would be too dangerous for my Grandpa, and the only other option is to do dialysis three times a week for four hours a day. Even with all of this extra “treatment”, it would only prolong his life for a potential three years – of which it’s already a miserable existence.
My Grandpa taught me so much in my life; he was as large of a part of my growing up than anyone else. My emotions are all messed up because although it would be great to have him around for as long as possible, it would only be for selfish reasons as over the last year he has had no quality of life. Ugh.
But even more difficult of a situation than my Grandpa (because my Grandpa has lived such a full 86 years), is that of my 53 year old friend Michael Spencer – the famous Internet Monk. Here is a post by his wife, Denise, about his situation:
“It is with a heavy heart that I bring my latest update on Michael. We have learned that his cancer is too advanced and too aggressive to expect any sort of remission. Our oncologist estimates that with continued treatment Michael most likely has somewhere between six months and a year to live. This is not really a surprise to us, though it is certainly horrible news. From the very beginning, both of us have suspected that this would prove to be an extremely bad situation. I don’t know why; perhaps God was preparing us for the worst all along by giving us that intuition.
The combination of the cancer and the chemotherapy is keeping Michael in a very weakened state. He is in bed all day, getting up once or twice only to eat a “meal.” His meals consist mostly of Ensure, with occasional mugs of soup, dishes of ice cream and milkshakes. He’s still taking fluids well, currently preferring Sprite and ginger ale. His tastes do change slightly from time to time, and I try to be ready to jump in whatever direction they seem to be moving. He is in no pain at all, for which I am unspeakably grateful.
Michael went through a period of depression, as I’m sure you would expect. He seems to have come through that now, for the most part. He knows he is dying, and he says he is at peace. Though he will still say with unashamed honesty, “I don’t want it to all be over at age 53!” he has the confidence of knowing that he has run the race God set out for him. He believes he has done the work our Lord intended for him to do, and if the last task God has for him in this life is dying, then he will do that to the best of his ability.
Through all of this, in every phase of illness, diagnosis and treatment, Michael’s faith has not wavered. I know most readers love Michael for, among other things, the transparency of his writings. If I may be allowed such honesty for just a moment, I will confess that I have been amazed at how strong Michael has been spiritually and emotionally from the very beginning of this ghastly journey. Day by day I continue to see the Holy Spirit at work in him, molding him, softening him, giving him a more childlike faith than I believe he has ever known. When the moment comes, I am assured Michael will be ready. I am the one who doesn’t want to let go.
Words can never express our gratitude for every thought, every gift, every note, every prayer you have blessed us with. Please pray for continued peace and strength for Michael, for me, and for Noel and Clay. This is the most difficult thing we have ever been through, and only with God’s help can we make it.”
Please pray for my Grandpa and Michael. They both mean a lot to me, and my heart continues to break every day to see death become a reality.