Two weeks after my father died in February 2016, I started a Facebook page called “Approaching the Portal” to encourage a public discussion of end of life issues. I had been thinking about it for a year before that moment, because in January of 2015 I learned that the cancer I had been fighting since 2002 had metastasized to my liver and lungs. When I insistently pressed my doctor for the average survival time for someone with my diagnosis, he reluctantly told me it was one and a half to two years.
It is three years since I received that news and two years since I started the Facebook page to discuss it. Now I have finally come to the place where the progression of disease makes writing one of the few things I can do without pain. I am driven at last by a very hard taskmaster to capture my continuous flow of thoughts on the page just because it is something productive thing I can do in my current state.
The cancer is (as far as my doctor can tell) pressing against my breast bone to make nearly all movement of my right arm away from my side painfully restricted. The opioid and NSAID and herbals I take on a regular schedule dull the pain sufficiently for me to move about freely as long as I keep my right arm close to my body. This is not a complaint. After the three days of unrelenting pain that I experienced two weeks ago, I genuinely consider my present situation a blessing. As much as I would like to be up and doing the 1001 things around our home that need to be done, I accept my situation with the peace that passes understanding, thankful that my mind is clear and that I am able to write.
By choosing an internet format, I welcome others to follow my journey, and I hope that those who do so will find a blessing here and there. But I am not primarily writing for an audience. I am writing because I want to think deeply about the things that matter most in the brief time we have in these bodies on this earth. I want to closely examine what I believe and articulate it clearly. Because writing has been my favorite tool for examining my heart and mind since I was in grade school, I choose to see my restrictions as an opportunity to freely engage in an activity I thoroughly enjoy. If the thoughts I share publicly ignite friendly conversation for mutual discovery, then I will be doubly blessed.
I look forward to all that the Lord has in store for me as I walk joyously toward the open portal that awaits us all.