Friday, October 5, 2012

The Day That Changed My Life - Big Decisions and Family Conflict

No one could see this coming, you cannot prepare for it, it isn't even a thought. Twenty eight year old Grace Lee, and the daughter of the senior pastor Rev. Man Ho Lee of Antioch Missionary Church in Flushing, Queens, New York was a financial manager at Bank of America. Grace was training for the New York City Marathon when she became ill with a brain-stem tumor in October 2011.

Ms. Lee graduated from the University of North Carolina and was living on her own. However, she moved in with her parents in Douglaston, Queens, while she went through the chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Things took a turn in early September, when Grace had a seizure and was admitted to North Shore Hospital, where according to her lawyer David Smith, she agreed to have a tracheotomy and to be placed on a feeding tube.

The conflict came when it appeared that Ms. Lee wanted to be removed from the machines and was met with the opposition of her parents. We can all imagine how difficult this can be for someone to let go of their loved one - especially when they hold strong to a faith and belief that God is in charge and taking Grace off life support would be the equivalent to committing suicide (in her parents eyes). The act of suicide means one will not enter into heaven. Needless to say, that in itself is important to Grace's family who while they want to keep her here, they would have a different acceptance if she were to die without human intervention.

This journey is a difficult one for all - Grace wants to be relieved of her suffering, while her family cannot release her in that manner. As you can see in the videos, Grace is responsive. Many families face the challenge of removing a loved one from life support and it is very difficult to do so even when their loved one is unresponsive. The fight continues as the medical professionals are determined to comply with Grace's request and now it is in the hands of the court. Our thoughts and prayers are with Grace and her family during this difficult journey.

While each journey is unique, we all share a common theme - cancer changes our lives forever.