Saturday, October 25, 2014

Palliative Caring

On the day that I write this, it is one more week until the infamous Brittany Maynard ends her life with the help of a physician unless she comes to her senses.  This story makes me rage with anger.  She is a beautiful young woman, age 29, newly married, and now she wants to end her life because of her stage 4 cancer diagnosis.

I understand.  Treating cancer is a nightmare.  The cures are worse than the disease.  It is agony to see someone you love wasting away through cancer, and when they do pass away we feel relieved that they do not have any more pain.

However, if the death panel follows through with their plans to erase Brittany from existence, this will only lead to more killing.  We already have children aborted over issues that are not life threatening such as Down’s syndrome or a kidney disease diagnosis that turns out negative.  Now we will have clever magicians who take advantage of the bad news of a positive cancer diagnosis and misdirect these young, impressionable people that assisted suicide is the most compassionate choice.

If Brittany does follow through with her plan, she will still be beautiful, and her family will not have to spend so much money looking for a treatment.  Who are her husband, friends, and family anyway?  Why do they not make more effort to keep this young woman alive until God decides to take her?  Is money really that much more important than the life that is still vibrant?  Are they calling this compassion so that they can sleep at night?

I know a woman who found stage 4 cancer on her adrenal gland.  Stephanie, my mother, made the decision to keep living.  Dad, Andrew, and I kept her alive until the following January.  It was March when we got the news.  It was mom who determined that she would live and exhaust all resources to find a cure for this disease.  She braved chemo, her body weakened, her hair fell out, and she did this so that she could still be here to care for her aging mother, my dad, Andrew, and me.

When January came around, we felt so much pain to see Mom on Hospice.  One day she could drive and eat at the Mexican restaurant.  The next day, she went to the hospital.  After all exhausted resources, Mom and Dad opted out of any treatments when the cancer only spread in December.  When Hospice started, we slowly saw Mom go through pain and eventually delirium.  When she finally did pass away on January 21, 2009, we were relieved because we knew she was perfectly healed and living with her heavenly Father.

I am so glad that nobody ever suggested that my mother take her life that March or April when she received the diagnosis.  We would have missed out on the months of praying for her, believing for a miracle, helping the medical community research for a cure, and generally reaching out to the world with God’s love and our hope in Jesus.

We also got to grow closer to members of our church who would drive Mom to surgeries and chemo sessions.  That is how I got close to my friend Erin that summer whose mother would take care of my mother.

The good news is that I know my mother is alive with the Lord.  The bad news is that I feel that Brittany does not even know Jesus.  If she succeeds in committing suicide, then that will only commence her eternity of enduring God’s wrath.

No, I do not believe that suicide is unforgiveable.  However, Brittany does not act in the heat of the moment.  She has had a whole month to ponder over this and still insists on taking matters into her own hands instead of trusting God to do amazing works with her and her “loved” ones the way he did in the life of my mother.  She trusts in herself and not in Jesus, and that will land her in hell for eternity, an ending much worse than stage 4 brain cancer and chemo deterioration.  How much more will the physicians suffer who influenced her to make this rash decision?

I end with a quotation from Joni Eareckson Tada.  If anyone has wanted to die throughout her decades of wheelchair confinement, Joni would have as much excuse to end it as anybody else.  However, she just turned 65 years old and has accomplished so much for the name of the Lord.

“Like many, my heart broke when I recently watched Brittany Maynard's video in which she outlined her plans to die through physician-assisted suicide. No one – absolutely no one – welcomes the pain that dealing with a terminal disease invariably brings, and it's clear that this young woman is firm in her convictions. But if I could park my wheelchair beside her, I would tell her how the love of Jesus has sustained me through my chronic pain, quadriplegia and cancer.”

Joni has lived from age 17 to 65 in a wheel chair influencing the world because her focus was on people other than herself.  While Brittany throws a tantrum about “my decision,” Joni has saved the lives of disabled people all over the world, provided retreats for them, provided wheelchairs, written songs, painted paintings with a paint brush in her mouth, and has even been nominated for an Academy award.  And she has not stopped.  Her care for other people was more important than her decision.

Brittany, please, I implore you, refuse to choose.  Your final days are worth every second of the pain if only you would think about how you can help your family and the world to live and not shrug an apathetic shoulder to death which is already defeated by Jesus.

No comments:

Post a Comment