Saturday, February 10, 2018

Letting Go

You may not like this post. But, as always, I must tell the truth. I must bear witness.

For the past two weeks, I've been losing weight. Not intentionally, but my weight has fallen incrementally each day, with no change in my diet. I now weigh six pounds less than I did two weeks ago. This appears to be a trend.

Six pounds may not sound like much to you, but for a naturally thin guy like me, whose resting weight is around 130, it's a lot. It seems to be a symptom, but I'll watch my weight for the next few days and talk about it with my nurse on Tuesday. Last Tuesday, my weight was down by four pounds. Now, it's six. If the trend continues, I'll be south of 125 by Tuesday. (Note: I weighed 124.5 this morning, Sunday)

I was warned when I entered hospice care that uncontrollable weight loss was coming. I don't know if that's what this is, or if it's something else. I've struggled with unintentional weight loss twice before, when I was in treatment. Then, I thought it was a side effect of hormone treatment. The shots I was getting caused numbness in my abdomen, and I lost the ability to feel hungry for a while. I saw a nutritionist both times to help me correct the problem. Her program worked for me, so I know how to fight this. The question is, do I want to?

My appetite is not what it should be, due to the omnipresent nausea that's just under the surface. If I forget one pill, it comes right to the forefront in waves. That's one obstacle to gaining weight, but not the main one. The main one is my desire to fight. I'm sorely lacking in that desire right now.

Leading up to the benefit concert a week ago, I had a distinct sense of "hanging on." But now, though I have two goal dates to come, March 16th and 17th, I can feel myself letting go. It's not a conscious decision on my part. It seems to be happening on the subconscious level. Something inside me is tired of hanging on, and wants to let go.

Consciously, I want to hang on for those events in March, just over a month away. I believe I will make it to both events, but I can't be sure. I know all it will take is one more major symptom to knock me down and make it difficult, if not impossible, to leave our house. That symptom, whatever it turns out to be, is made more likely by the fact that I seem to be letting go.

I remember many instances where I had a performance coming up and a cold coming on at the same time. Most of the time, I've been able to get myself through a performance by sheer will and adrenaline, and then after the performance, my body let go and the cold came on with full force. I can't help but wonder of that's what's happening now, only on a more serious level, and with finality. I have no more performances coming up. Both of the events in March can happen with or without me. I want very much to be there and intend to be there for both events, but I can't seem to stop letting go.

I bought ice cream and milk yesterday so I can make protein shakes for lunch. I don't normally eat lunch. I'll try to make myself one this afternoon, but I don't want to. The idea of forcing calories down my throat is not appealing at all. I'd rather wait until I'm hungry to eat. But hunger may not come until closer to dinner time. And my weight will be less tomorrow than it was today.

I know you want me to fight. But fighting is not part of hospice care. Hospice care is about facing reality. It's about recognizing and being at peace with what's to come. I am at peace with that, and have been since I was diagnosed. I went through two years of treatment, of "fighting." I don't want to fight anymore. I want to let go.

A dear friend of mine had a dream about me and another friend of hers who has prostate cancer. In her dream, the three of us were in a room filled with doors. The other guy and I were looking at the various doors. Finally, we ended up at opposite ends of the room, about to open the last two doors. Suddenly, my friend knew that if we opened the doors, we would die. She began shouting at us, begging us not to open the doors. The other guy looked at her and backed away from his door. But I smiled at her and opened mine. When I opened the door, a brilliant light came shining through. I gave her an even bigger smile, and stepped through.

My friend hated the dream, and her friend got chills when she told him about it. But I love it. I think it's beautiful. I believe it reflects my attitude toward this perfectly. I would step through the door into the light. I would not hesitate to do so.

Our church had a silent prayer service this week. They have those about once a month. It was my first chance to attend one, and I looked forward to it. Quiet music played while people stayed in their seats as we prayed and meditated. Church staff members would come by at various intervals, place their hands on the shoulders of those who agreed to be touched, and prayed silently for each of us individually.

We were given a card on which to write any specific prayer requests. "Relief from cancer symptoms" was what I wrote on mine. It was a very emotional experience, almost overwhelming at times. During one of the times while staff members were praying over me, I found myself telling God I'm ready to go home. I didn't mean to say it, it just came out. I was letting go.

I know you want me to fight to stay here as long as possible. But before long, I will see the door with the brilliant light coming through every crack around it. When I see it, I will open it and step through with a smile on my face. I will let go. I've already begun to do that, and I can't seem to stop.

My work here is pretty much done. My book is up to date, I've finished my work with The Littleton Conservatory Of Rock, and I'll no longer take the stage with Wik. I'll continue to go to rehearsals and mentor them from the Grandpa chair they've set up for me, but as I've said in past posts, they don't really need me there. They have arrived. Their future is bright, and I won't be there for most of it.

My memorial service is put together. The memorial program is written. The speakers and singers have been chosen, and the other elements of the service are in place. There's nothing left that needs to be done, other than possibly compiling a potential second book. And write down a couple of movie ideas I have, just in case someone wants to make them at some point. But all of that can be done from my bed, if necessary.

I don't believe this means I'll die in the next few weeks. But it does mean the process has begun in earnest. I know you don't want to hear this. I don't want to say it. But I have to. It's the truth. I've hung on for as long as my strength has held out. I can't hang on anymore. I need to let go. #waroncancer #bearingwitness


  1. as always prayers are with you Mark, I will miss these blogs that have given so much strength to so many when your day arrives

  2. Mark, my prayers are with you.. Reading your words take me back to this time last year with my husband... Our Dr told us we had no more options and that Hospice would soon be our only option.. He was a tough 65yr old Cowboy who had fought this battle for 8 yrs.. He was not ready to hear this..He fought every thing, finally we had no choice and in April Hospice was in our home daily, not once did he accept that he was not winning. When it became impossible for me to care for him, he was taken to a care center and he only lived 3 more days.. Those days he looked at me like he hated me for taking him there. Our children and grandchildren surrounded him. But he never really looked at me again. We were married 42 yrs.
    I don't even know why I posted this to you, except when I read your words they comfort me and and amazed at the way you continue to face your journey.
    I always read your blog, Thank you..
    Love, Strength and Prayers

  3. I don't know what to say as my tears fall. God bless you. You are such an inspiration to us all.

  4. Amen. Being at peace with God's plan is what matters, not what us other bags of flesh and bone want.

  5. you are brave and wise and wonderfully in tune with the spirit of life which knows much more than we do

  6. Mark, I only “met” you a couple of months ago. You have been an inspiration to many and your words have touched me deeply. It’s ok to let go from this earthly life to go to the arms of our Father. Let Him welcome you with a “well done, good and faithful servant”. God bless you and Sharon. Thanks for letting me get to know you over the last few months.

  7. Please Mark, do not trouble yourself with what you think others may or may not want of you or for you. Your friends ask nothing of you. You are prepared. Do what is right for you. Be what is right for you.

  8. Mark, we don’t know each other but I did witness your Testimony on the Sunday at Morsefest last year. Your blog has touched me immensely. I am praying for you from across the Atlantic. You are a very brave man with an immense inner strength. God bless you.

  9. Tears flowing as I read this. I do not know you and I know nothing of your journey. But your words and thoughts take me to my Dad's time 3 1/2 years ago. I could not be there in those days, but I know he was completely at peace. He wanted only an old hymnal and his Bible. He had made all his final arrangements, right down to a special song to be sung to my mother at his funeral. He let go and I know he saw The Light! Greater things await those who believe, and sometimes the time comes to hear "You've fought the good fight now rest, soldier." The void a life well-lived leaves in the world, in the very souls of those who loved them, can never be filled, but we would never wish you - or anyone we truly love - to linger in pain when the Light awaits, when the time comes. Praying for your peace on this awful journey.

  10. Dear Mark, how remarkable that you are listening to your body’s signals. You can now align your heart and soul with that and focus not on fighting, but wrapping up, saying goodbye. No apologies, because now, what energy you have left can turn to preparing for what is to come rather than ignoring what is. Your journey is an inspiration to all of us. Love, Jenny and Jamie

  11. Mark, I have been following you for only six weeks. You have been a source of strength for me and many more of us that I can see. I wish you a peaceful journey and thank you for sharing the highs and the lows of your journey on earth. I will continue to pray for you and you will be in my thoughts each day, several times a day.

  12. The Christian life is about living in response to God and facing life's challenges in hope, faith and perseverance. "Letting go" is a testament to one's faith. For those of us who believe, it is something we are called to do. We are also called to 'finish well'. You've done your part and that includes "Let go, Let God". Still with you...

  13. One more time I want to say thank you and I love you. Lot's of hugs to you and Sharon. May God continue to give you his peace and his comfort!

  14. I understand . I had someone "VERY" close to me who died from a brain tumor. Her youngest was only 6. I will say this. "JESUS" is our strength & comforter .HE LOVES "YOU" just as & where you are.RUN to HIS ARMS now. LET HIM LOVE you ALL the way to HEAVENS Door ! In His Love , Diana S. Y.

  15. I understand . I lost a loved one to cancer . NONE of it is easy for ANY one ! "GOD" LOVES YOU Right where you are. Allow HIM to LOVE "YOU" where you are.Accept HIM & LIVE in HIS GATES Forever ! "GOD" Bless you & I Pray you stay in "GOD'S" Peace today & Forever , AMEN. Diana S. Y. & Larry