When you raise your family with intentionality, with the goal of forging an interconnectedness between the members that is strong and unwavering, you step right onto the set of It's A Wonderful Life.
[George, in his alternate universe, is taken by angel Clarence to the cemetery where he has discovered his brother Harry's tombstone]
Clarence: [explaining] Your brother, Harry Bailey, broke through the ice and was drowned at the age of nine.
George Bailey: That's a lie! Harry Bailey went to war! He got the Congressional Medal of Honor! He saved the lives of every man on that transport!
Clarence: Every man on that transport died. Harry wasn't there to save them, because you weren't there to save Harry.
Clarence: Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives.
We all know the message. So many lives in Bedford Falls were affected by one man because George touched lives who then touched more lives who then touched more lives. George's life was never about just himself.
None of ours is.
The import of that lesson has not been lost on me. And this past week, as Dick and Sam and I took 24 hours to make some life-and-death decisions, I knew I could not choose any option on my own. It would be much easier for me to say, "Listen, this cancer and its treatment and side effects are mine and mine alone, and I will be the final decision maker about whether or not to forgo treatment."
Oh, yes, much easier.
But interconnectedness means that that decision affects the rest of two other's lives. It determines, perhaps, whether my husband has a wife and whether my son has a mom. Those are two roles which I do not take lightly. My life affects theirs and their futures. My choices without their being on board, turn me into a selfish wife and mother.
And so we converged with prayer and discussion. And we found ourselves morphing into a classic Venn diagram. Dick being circle A, Sam being circle B and me being the AB overlap in the middle.
It is important for me to respect and honor the feelings of these two men who mean the world to me. And we finally found an answer which does that. Sam gets what he needs, Dick gets what he needs, and I am willing to orchestrate it all. I am very satisfied with the plan we have laid out.
I am going to try to get a consult with the makers of this current chemo I am on that is making life miserable. I will find out whether or not the clinical trials ever indicated a lessening of the side effects. I will find out whether or not there is a new drug that may be available to try.
Sam would like me to try to stay on this drug until my next scan to determine if, even at this low dose, it is shrinking any tumors. That could be 6 weeks or so. As ready as I am to get off this drug, I will do that for him.
We have agreed that if this drug is my only medical option right now, that it has taken my quality of life, and that it is not worth taking. Between the nausea and body aches and severe constipation and abdominal pain, spending most of the day on the sofa, it has robbed me of my life.
And we have agreed that at that point, we will take the faith in healing that we have held fast to for 4 years, and put it all in God's hands. We know He could have healed me even taking treatment, but He has not yet. If I am not on any treatment, He certainly gets all the glory!! Dick is very ready for this step of faith. I am too.
I am not naive enough to claim that normal human fear will not enter our hearts if we abandon treatment. It may try to whisper to us, but fear will not live in that decision.
And so we have a plan of attack. Solicit additional information, look at other med options, and then, if necessary, get off the chemo.
I am ready to live life again. I have no desire to die. While I know heaven awaits me someday, I am very much NOT ready to go there right now. I have so many plans and dreams for the next phase of Dick's and my life. We pray that we can walk out those dreams together.