Lauren Hill, the freshman basketball player suffering from a rare, incurable cancer, says her body is shutting down, but she believes God has the last say. That’s an awfully powerful and truthful approach to death.
“My body is shutting down, and there’s nothing I can do,” she said.
Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. Such an intricate name, almost elegant-sounding, for such a brutally simple disease.
Diffuse: To spread or scatter widely.
Intrinsic: Anatomy: Belonging to or lying within a given part.
Pontine: Of or relating to the pons, a band of nerve fibers in the brain.
Glioma: A tumor of the brain composed of neuroglia.
It has been explained as a rare form of cancer, incurable, that doesn’t gather in one easily excised, malignant lump, but rather spreads like the tentacles of a jellyfish. There is no “getting it all” via surgery. It’d be like cleaning a global milk spill, with one big mop.
Lauren Hill knows she will die soon. Not today or tomorrow or the day after that. The DIPG is gradual. That’s good and bad. It has allowed Lauren a clarity of vision and purpose, and time to act upon each. It’s also a terrible, progressive constriction of her life and its possibilities, which are no longer endless.
No one but those doing the dying knows what that’s like. All of us come with an expiration date. Few of us have a timetable as accurate as Lauren’s. None of us has any idea how we might react, handed her circumstances.
She’s a model, though. If you believe each of us is here for a reason, you’ll find no better evidence than this 19-year-old, basketball-playing young woman from Lawrenceburg.