Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Time to Discontinue Treatments

Dear Friends,

This morning we visited with my doctor to review my immune system profile, and discuss treatment options. It appears that my immune system has decreased to such a point that I am unable to take the next prescribed dose of chemo treatment (which was to be today). If we attempt the prescribed dose on time, then I would likely end up in the hospital for a long period with symptoms similar to acute leukemia. This would also prevent my entry into the Hospice program, and we all agree this type of support is needed now.

I took an immune booster shot today, and will review my blood profile again on Monday. But the truth is that I must be able to take this full-strength chemo as prescribed on time in order to have any chance at the desired palliative effect (intended to slow the cancer temporally). So I will not likely be able to take future rounds of this chemo on time either.

In essence, my body cannot tolerate this chemo; and thus I will not be able to use it to extend my life. If I keep making attempts in this direction, then the last few weeks of my life will be in the hospital. If I discontinue chemo treatments, then my life span may be similar, but these last few weeks will be spent at home under care of a Hospice nurse with better pain and infection management. I will also be among my family at home, and be able to spend some quality time with them on the good days.

The choice is obvious. No doctor has told me my time span, and I have not asked the question. Based on my body, and how changes are occurring, I feel that it may not go beyond the first half of October. But I know that when the time comes, I will be surrounded by love, support, and be made as physically comfortable as possible.

I will try to keep writing entries as inspiration comes, in these last few weeks. I have promise from my father and wife, to convert this blog into a small booklet when I am gone, so it can further be shared with those in need.

God Bless You All.
With Love,
Brent

7 comments:

Jeannie Smith said...

Brent,
I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago. You have certainly been a huge inspiration. Your dignity in life and the face of death is incredible. I so long for your family to feel God's grace with them in these hours.

I trust that when it comes my time to go, however that may be, my faith will be as strong and secure as you have demonstrated yours to be.

You do not know me, I only know a relative of yours, and we have been praying for you. God be with "you and yours" til you meet again in HEAVEN.

I am reminded of the words to a little praise song I love.

"Don't be afraid, My love is stronger, My love is stronger than your fear. Don't be afraid, My love is stronger, and I have promised, promised to be always near."
Blessings,
J. Smith

Lila said...

Brent,

We're saddened to learn of the decline in your health status the past few weeks. You, Usha, the boys, and your parents have been in our prayers.

The testimony to God's faithfulness and love continues to be an inspiration and assurance to all of us who know and love you as well as to others who are reading your blog. This is going to have a lasting impact on many lives and I really appreciate your openness and willingness to share.

May you have peace and comfort both physically, emotionally and spiritually in the days ahead.

Love to all of youl.

Ron and Lila

Conrad Wetzel said...

Dear friend Brent,
Martyne and I have been deeply moved by the strength and courage with which you have been addressing the weakness and anxiety of your present circumstance. We're also moved by dear Usha's courage and strength as she is with you during this time. We all know that each of us must some time approach that gate, which, while closing behind us in this life, opens before us our eternal life in God. We're so very sorry that this time is coming so much sooner for you than you had ever imagined. I recall our conversation of a few months ago, during which you related your decision, in the face of such uncertainty, to buy a new laptop computer. Yes, you should have so much more time for living – your loving life with Usha, seeing your sons grow into adulthood finding their own courses in life, the significant contribution of your work, fellowship with so many friends, your broad love for humanity. Martyne and I are so very sorry that it seems you will not have those months and years of living ahead of you. We are grateful, though, for your witness of faith and hope during this present time.
My oldest brother, Burdette, died in 1967 at the age of 45, leaving his wife and children, his parents, and us brothers and sisters, all of whom loved him very much. I can still feel the sense of that loss through these years. I know that Usha, your boys, your family, and your friends will feel such a sense of loss over the passing years. I know that they will also always be grateful for your expressions of love and faith and courage and hope, from which they are now and always will be finding a sense of trust and the easing of their loss.
My brother's death at such a young age was very difficult for me, but I remember recalling at the time and continue to recall the phrase, "Death, be not proud," from the following poem by John Donne. I would like to share that poem with you.

Death, be not proud
John Donne (1572-1631)
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

May God richly bless you and your family, now and eternally,
Conrad Wetzel

Minnie said...

Dear Brent,

as i wrote you yesterday, i admire the courage of your decision to stay at home with your loved ones.

"To die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly. Death of one's own free choice, death at the proper time, with a clear head and with joyfulness, consummated in the midst of children and witnesses: so that an actual leave-taking is possible while he who is leaving is still there,"
is granted to only a few.

May God give you strength, peace and yes, joy, amongst your family - your beloved ones.
May you suffer no pain.
May weeks stretch into months.
And let us continue to pray for a miracle.

Hereby the poem i wanted to share with you.

It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make man better be
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:

A lily of a day is fairer far in May
Although it fall and die that night -
It was the plant and flower of the light.



Quality has certainly little to do with quantity.
The lessons you are giving, by example, to your children are what many do not learn in a lifetime.
Do not fear for them. They will draw inspiration and strength from you always.

May God continue to bless each one of you,
Warm regards,
Minnie

Kasi said...

Dear Brent,

Let me start with Praying to the ALMIGHTY to show HIS mercy upon you by much reduced pain, allow you to spend happy and quality times with your family and loved ones, and extend your life as much as possible.

I know it has been a hard time for you, your family and friends especially in the past two weeks, but your writings have been inspiring, bold and make us to think that the death is not an end in GOD's Kingdom. Your journey will continue here on earth and in the heaven. You have been a great son to your parents, great husband to Usha and great father for Brian and Ben, you have been a great Scientist who made a significant contribution to Indian Agriculture. You may be gone but your love and legacy will live for ever so enjoy each moments with your family and be inspiration to your two wonderful sons. I also want to assure you that I and others are always there for Usha, Ben and Brian as they are part of our families.

In the past two weeks, after we spoke each other on the phone, you made me constantly remembering my second brother, who passed away suddenly at the age of 45 when I was in Jalna. He lived with his wife and four kids (from 6- 18 years old). This was my biggest shock in my life as I didn't expect et al. It is the same with you that this thing would happen to you. But both are good men and much loved by family and friends. Now my family and I never think he died (although died) as his love and sprits live with us at all the time. His kids are growing up, studying well and elder daughter got married and blessed with a girl baby. LIFE GOES ON......DEATH NEVER STOPS US. It is the same for you and all of us, death is one of the steps in life and you are going to live with us in our sprit and remembered as a good person.

It is great that you have decided to spend time with your family rather in the hospital which shows how much you love your family and how much they love you back. Love is just great and continues your journey of showering upon all of us......

Much love and prayer,
Kasi

Becky Wright said...

Dear Brent--

Thank you for sharing your journey. Your accounts are beautiful. I'm so sorry that your body is failing you.

May you and your family continue to sense the presence and comfort of the Holy Spirit over the coming weeks.

--Becky Wright

Gurdial said...

Dear Dr. Brent,

Ever since we learnt about your illness, about a year ago, we were shaken, and more so, when we talked on the phone on September 14, 2007. But we admire your spirit, and your faith in God, to fight against the disease, and finally to accept Almighty's decision.

True, we all belong to God. We are sent to the world by Him, and finally we are embraced by Him to provide us room in His lap. We are sent to the world to perform certain mission on His behalf: mission for the happiness and progress of the mankind, and raise good family and children who should further flourish His mission. During your short wordly life, you have made significant contribution to this mission. But the mission is not complete yet; more development of Mahyco for the services to the poors is needed, your sons would be missing your guidance, and your parents would be lacking the care and comforts you were to provide to them during old age. These are some of the responsibilities that are also bestowed upon us by Him. After you complete your journey of the world and fall into the lap of God, may Almighty bless Dr. Usha with His strength and support to complete your mission.

Brent, I have earnest desire to see you before you leave the materialistic world to meet our Creator. I am trying my best and I hope it would be possible.

Kindest regards and best wishes.

May God bless you,

Gurdial