Almost a year ago, I shared the story of my friend Pete who was battling a very virulent type of leukemia. He was doing quite well, but he (along with his wife and medical professionals) decided he would go for the 'permanent' cure and do a blood marrow transplant. At the time, no cancer cells had been found in his body for over six months, but the doctors recommended the transplant as an extra step toward cure. Pete and his wife decided to go along with the recommendation and he had his transplant on 8 August 2011. Since then--as well as before--I have been following his 'story' on his webpage on CaringBridge. This morning I read the latest post, written on 1 May: Pete is going to stop struggling and hanging on and make arrangements to go into hospice. It has been quite a while since I have been so saddened by something I have read.
The transplant went well for Pete and he even managed to go back home for a short period of time, but that is all. Most of his time has been in a medical setting of one kind or another, whether a hospital, a long-term medical care facility, a rehab/physical therapy facility, or 'halfway' house. He has struggled with emergency surgeries, enormous amounts of medications, side-effects from the medications, and other horrifying problems. I'm not sure if he has gone many days without pain of one sort or another. The struggle has been enormous and the doctors have said it is time to come to an end, they have no more that they can do for him. It is at times like this that we realize how much medicine is still in its infancy.
I will spend the next days praying for Pete. I will pray that his last days on this earth are as pain free as possible and that he and his wife can have the closure they need. And I will pray that they will not look on the attempt to prolong his life as a mistake. That last prayer, more than anything. Go with God, Pete--I know He will welcome you with open arms and say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." (Matthew 25:21)