The Death of a Man & the Hope of Mankind

March 2012By Terence J. Hughes

Terence J. Hughes is Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences and Climate Change at the University of Maine. He and his wife have taken two dozen sexually abused women into their home, all but four of whom were pregnant. He has been imprisoned in six states for peaceful sit-ins at America’s “abortion Auschwitzes.”

In March 2010 I experienced a dull ache in my midsection, loss of energy, and loss of appetite. It took a month to see my physician, a month to treat a deficiency of potassium, and a month to get a CAT scan when these treatments failed to relieve the symptoms. By then my weight had dropped from 265 to 220, a loss of both fat and muscle. The CAT scan revealed that I have pancreatic cancer. Two days later my wife, Bev, and I went to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to see if it was operable. It was found to be inoperable and terminal.

Chemotherapy could prolong my life, so in early July I began a regimen consisting of intravenous treatments followed by two weeks on oral drugs, in a three-week cycle. Blood tests tracked the concentration of a protein produced by the cancer cells that measured the cells’ activity. This marker index went from 2,090 to 581 to 161 to 26 to 23 from July to December. During this period I gained ten pounds and the symptoms vanished, except for the persistent fatigue. But from December 2010 to September 2011 the index marker rose from 32 to 104 to 269 to 376 to 258 to 360 to 924 to 761. During these months the symptoms returned, along with a substantial loss of energy.

Cancer cells have great genetic diversity. There are always some cells that resist the drugs that kill other cancer cells, and kill healthy blood cells as a side effect. So the drug I was taking ended up killing me more than curing me. The cancer cells spread from my pancreas, enclosed my aorta, and then blocked flow of bile from my gall bladder. This produced a barely tolerable itch over my whole body.

During this period I reflected on the passion of Jesus Christ. His body was cut to ribbons during the scourging, and flies had to be swarming all over Him during the crucifixion — flies He could not shoo away because His hands were nailed to the cross. One name of Satan is Beelzebub, the Lord of the Flies. So Jesus allowed these Satan-driven flies to feed on, copulate on, burrow into, and lay eggs on His bleeding body for hours. The itch must have been horrible. This has not been mentioned in descriptions of Christ’s passion, but I meditated on it during the weeks of this intolerable itch when I nearly scraped my back raw against a rough brick wall just to get some temporary relief.

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Thank-you so very much for sharing your life and hope! May our Lord bless you! May He give you His peace!
We are truly living in the time of the decline of the West. These times are very disconcerting and disappointing. There is also grounds for hope and joy. Thanks again for sharing your view.
Posted by: tomsblk@aol.com
March 11, 2012 06:45 AM EDT
Thank you for reminding me of some things that I had forgotten; That Heaven is infinitely more beautiful than I can ever imagine, and that to be in eternal communion with God our Creator is greater even than the beauty of Heaven. I wish you a most speedy voyage and blissful arrival to your Heavenly Home. May our Lord bless you and your family forever. Posted by: lyricmac
March 16, 2012 11:41 PM EDT
Terence, while I will certainly miss you even if I didn't get a chance to meet you in this pilgrim life in the Church Militant, and conscious of the natural and unavoidable grief your family will go through during the interment, I'd like to express my admiration for your tacit courage in facing the reality of this life and your fidelity to our Holy Mother Church, and your heroism in experiencing imprisonment and other activities doing God's will.

So, like the Good Thief who stole salvation much sooner than even the Apostles, let me make a sublime request and prayer to you: "Remember me and family when you come into our Lord's Kingdom."

May you be one of our nearest intercessor, both in comfort [that we may not fall in to presumptuousness and forgetfulness] and distress [when our faith shall be tested for God's glory].

Know that I shall keep you and your family in my prayers, until you have no need of it, and we need you more.

Posted by: humblesoldier2
March 26, 2012 07:51 PM EDT
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