Monday, February 2, 2009

The purpose of Facebook for me personally

The worst thing done to me when my job was eliminated upon trying to return to The Tennessean was that the newspaper would not allow me to tell my readers of 10 years that I was still alive.

The newspaper chose to run a short piece that I had been diagnosed with leukemia in Dec. 2005, 10 days before Christmas. Then Editor E.J. Mitchell and editorial page editor Sandra Roberts allowed me to keep writing from my hospital bed and home.

That ended when the insurance company stopped it in June 2006. Then I almost died at Vanderbilt. Mitchell subsequently left for another Gannett newspaper and Roberts retired. So I had no advocate.

The new leadership of Silverman and Leifeld decided to eliminate my job when I tried to return in Aug. 2007. The most objectionable part was that I was not allowed to tell my readers that I had survived -- thanks to God, all their prayers and the intervention of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

They deserved better, after only being told I had a terminal disease and a too rosy assessment made of my future.

So I hope Facebook can rectify this wrong locally and across the country.

The time now is critical. I have been forced to stop taking chemo treatments to get Methotrexate(chemo) to my brain. Leukemia for men in their third year of remission has the greatest chance of returning to either the testicles or brain. Only spinal taps can get the medicine to the brain. But the procedure risk paralysis.

Since I have no family here, there is no one to take care of me in the event of paralysis. And I would not force that situation on any friend. My good doctor and I talked and agreed on this difficult decision.

Tonight, I finally faced the reality of this decision and contacted my brothers to inform them that there is a great risk of my leukemia returning and that my death will be quick from brain cancer. I have tried to avoid the matter. But leukemia relies on stealth. By the time it gets you, survival is virtually nil, except thank God for children. So I have been about tying up any loose ends.

I have lived long enough since my diagnosis to do so many good things for people who have become my friends. I have resolved financial matters and extended family disagreements. I pray the Rosary every day and am closer to God than at any time in my life.

But I had to be honest with my brothers and prepare them. Life is life. It is much more unfair for people in Kentucky, the Sudan and in so many slums of the world's greatest cities.

I no longer fear death. And I need no one to fix this situation for me. It is mine.

If I do live, that is fine. If I die soon, however, I have no regrets. God has blessed me so much that I long to see his face and that of my mother. The sooner, the better. I have found a close friend to be executor of my estate and make sure my fortune goes to the children of Tennessee in their public education.

I just want my former readers to know now that I survived, marvelously so, and that God is so compassionate. That is reason for them to have hope now in their lives and in the cancers they face and other challenges such as the economy.

Don't feel one bit sorry for me. God has allowed me to live so much longer than I deserved. Now I am ready to see Him, if He so judges that I can. May all praise be to the Lord. His mercy endures forever. Let the House of Israel say, His mercy endures forever.

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