Monday, March 08, 2010


A thought-provoking article from Patheos: William Stuntz, a professor at Harvard Law School, discusses the impact of faith in his life. He has had chronic pain since 1999 and was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, now not expected to live through this year. I did not catch any mention of hospice but I hope he has the support of a hospice team, especially since he stated, "cancer deaths are ugly, and I assume mine will be ugly and painful and very, very unpleasant"- yikes.

Some of my take away quotes:

"These conditions, both of them, become very quickly a part of one's identity. Chronic pain and cancer are not just things that have happened to me. They are things that I am. Part of me rebels at that. I want to be more than a cancer patient and chronic pain patient. But I cannot be less than a cancer patient and a chronic pain patient. Those are large parts of my life. They are part of who I am. Although I would love to have my pain and my cancer removed tomorrow, that would not be an easy thing. I would have to learn how to be somebody else. If God decided simply to free me of these conditions, I wouldn't just wake up in the morning and be deliriously happy. It would be a struggle. These things have been a part of me, a part of who I am. I have learned how to live alongside them and through them. Then I would have to learn how to live without them. I wouldn't know how to do that anymore."

"I will probably not survive 2010. Yet that message is much easier to take than I would have expected. I don't fully understand why. I would have thought that the knowledge that I am very likely in my last year of life would lead me to dwell on the dying. A certain amount of that is unavoidable. Death hangs in the air. It's as though I am living with an hourglass right in front of my face. You cannot look away from it. You cannot close your eyes to it. It's always there. But actually I think it has led me to dwell more on the living."

"It hurts when my wife becomes sad because she wanted us to grow old together. We are not going to grow old together. She feels anticipated pain over my coming death, and seeing her feel the pain of that, that's hard."

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