This Is What I've Learned...About the Quality and Quantity of Life

Complimentary Story
June 2024

 Many of you are aware that my wife (Linda) of 38 years, the mother of our five children, passed away back in December of 2014 after a sixteen month long battle with metastatic cancer.

   As her caregiver throughout that time, we had many discussions regarding the treatments and medications the doctors were giving her (to prolong her life) that I personally would not have undergone due to the devastating side effects and toll they were taking on the quality of her remaining life suffering with the disease.

   As her loving husband, I supported all of her decisions during those difficult days in her choices of continuing treatments and medications, because it was her life and her choice to make.

   Almost two years ago this September, I had a massive (4 code blue) heart attack which I survived. Since that time I’ve changed my diet and have been on prescribed medications that heart patients normally take after the occurrence of a heart attack.

   For several months now, I have been experiencing some adverse side effects from one of the drugs that is medically beneficial to heart disease patients in reducing and maintaining cholesterol levels that has (in my opinion) begun to reduce the quality of my daily life and I started to think… “This can’t be just my age!”

   So I’ve been researching both the benefits and side effects of this drug and the risks involved in continuing or discontinuing the use of this particular medication and have found myself to be in a bit of a quandary.

   Over the course of my 67 years, I have been prescribed many different medications and have learned which ones my body can tolerate and those my body cannot.

   But this drug is different and so is my attitude at the age of 67 years regarding the quality and quantity of my remaining life.

   Now without question, my desire is for both in all regards to remain here on this side of heaven as long as I can for my family, friends and “the good work that I have left to do.”

   Back in 2017, one of my oldest friends and mentor of 27 years developed cancer, and after several different treatments and medications, was given about six months to live. A few months later, he was offered an experimental treatment (medication) that did in fact send his cancer into remission and dramatically improved the quality of his life. Five months later though, he passed away from liver failure, (a side effect of the medication) at the age of 77.

   As a pastor over the years, I’ve always acknowledged the marvels of modern medicine and the advances scientists and  medical professionals have made in improving the quality and quantity of life and seen the hand of God in it, both personally and professionally as a member of the clergy.

   I’ve also urged and encouraged those I had the privilege of pastoring in my flocks to follow the advice of their doctors (but not blindly) in all regards to their prescribed treatments and medications for whatever particular illness or condition they might have. So I offer no other medical advice than that in this article and emphatically employ that in all regards to any medications or conditions you may be dealing with…to talk with your medical doctor as well.

   Share with them what you’re experiencing and do your own research on any prescribed medications or treatments, weighing the benefits and risks you may encounter…because the quality of your life is your own choice, but the quantity of your life…is entirely up to God!

   “For no one knows the number of their days.”

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