Phil’s last letter written last May.

If you’re reading this on this day, that means I was taken home, after a pretty incredible few days, following a pretty incredible few years; not ones I would have scripted for myself, but ones where I saw the best come out in others (and maybe myself too). If this trial was for people to see all that in each other, and in God himself…not a waste.

I only wish I had taken more chances to let my friends and family know how much I really love them. Yeah, I probably would have had to let somebody see me cry once in awhile, but you all deserve that much at least. You can know now as I tell you how much I love you, my eyes are anything but dry…but enough about me.

Here’s what you’re going to do to remember my life: Live yours.

A fear-filled life is not much of a life at all…and don’t wait for permission to see the world. If that means you go somewhere, great.  If it means you are willing to listen to someone else’s words, before sharing your own, even better.  

And, be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. It might not always seem fun, but God IS going somewhere with all of this. Don’t try to ignore Him. He’ll cross your path again eventually. Why waste a minute living a non-full life.

I’ve tried to live by the rules…many of them were pretty stupid, but the occasional one stuck….make no major decisions just for the money. Put people before programs, compassion before agenda, and love before critique. 

Thanks for being the most incredible family and friends anyone could ever hope for, even if it was for a short time. Don’t be sad because I’m gone. Go back and look at the pictures from the parties and fun times we had together, and laugh. Tears can wait for a sad day. I’m not the least bit sad about the times I had with each of you.

I’d like to say so much more, but we’re at the end.

So, with much love,


Brian again. Just in case there is someone within traveling distance and does not use Facebook. Phil’s memorial service is this Saturday March 17 at 3pm. Lynden Christian High School Performing Arts Auditorium. 417 Lyncs Drive, Lynden WA, 98264.

Brian again, Phil went home this afternoon. I’m sure he talked to God and was allowed to wait until his pastor had a chance to pray, because that’s what happened.

For those wonderful friends who are looking to this site for updates.
This is Brian MacKay, just one of the many, many people who have been tremendously blessed by Phil throughout the years. We are at the place that everyone, including Phil, were hoping we would not be at. As of this writing, Phil is resting with meds controlling pain and seizures. The prognosis is that he will leave us this weekend, although God is the decider of that. Please know, and I’ve personally heard him say this, he loves you all and has been thankful of you all for being a part of his life. We will update this as events happen in the near future.

When last I left you… (more…)

When last I left you… (more…)

In what has become an annual holiday tradition here on the beach: it gives me great pleasure to present to you the 2nd grade responses(courtesy of the students of a friend of mine) to urgent situation described here

Poor Mrs. V! She has to cook Thanksgiving dinner, and she’s never cooked a turkey before! So she turned to some experts to help her out—her second grade class. They generously shared their recipes for how to cook a turkey dinner! (more…)

 I had mentioned having a brain MRI scan today to monitor the success of this latest chemo; for those wanting to know how today’s scan went, you’ll need to ask someone who actually had a scan done today (that person was not me – big fat scheduling mixup – my appt date was changed for very good & legit reasons, someone finally noticed that this scheduled scan was too close to the last one (something I had noticed but assumed my team had decided was OK to cheat on (which we’ve done in the past). Lots of running to this clinic, then to this clinic with confused looks at each stop; followed by, “we don’t have you on the schedule today…”I could see things going downhill very fast (more…)

(see health update on last post below – next one coming by Thanksgiving, with my next scan coming the day before)

A few weeks ago while on what has become my every other week trip to the local Trader Joe’s grocery; (In the interest of story brevity; I’m just going to assume you know what Trader Joe’s is (if not, here you go).

I was simultaneously impressed, amused, and annoyed by a Wed. eve. run to Trader Joes…as I knew it would be really busy (and knowing I’m not steady enough on my feet for lots of spacey distracted shoppers); I opted for the motorized cart – which stopped being a fun alternative after about the 2nd time.
After the mgr went way out of his way to get an immobilized cart running for me – then track me down to let me know so….

When people see the cart & the cane, their helpful natures come out; everytime I looked perplexed or like I was efforting to do something, I had someone stepping up to offer assistance – they just didn’t understand that I always look like that (I’d thank them for their concern, and let them know that I was in control of the situation, unless it involved making a decision or fighting my way to the samples counter). Very sweet, genuinely kind people…some might be offended by offers of help, so good on them for just putting it out there (cuz sometimes people just don’t feel like asking for help when they need it)

But, for all the verbal helpfulness, the masses still made my shopping experience a difficult one by stumbling around like it was the first time they’d been to a grocery store before; thankfully, I know how to anticipate others’ unpredictable movements, which usually means I pause before a blind corner; annoying all behind me, until they’d see some very distracted, rushed person flying around said corner w/ their head down. Or stumbling around in front of displays, which I can also predict & pause my path so as to avoid the eventual collision. Annoying those same fellow shoppers, who didn’t understand the idea of looking several steps to avoid catastrophic results (true visionaries are never appreciated in their time)

As my body becomes more and more unsteady, or at least doesn’t improve; I’ve found myself taking the occasional fall (nothing too serious, just seriously embarrasing). I’m having to face the prospect of a life (however long it would be) of significantly diminished physical abilities.

Perhaps my takeaway from this whole story was an interesting study in good intentions(in the vein of “let me know what I can do to help“); perhaps it was more a reflection of my own selfishness (having come to both anticipate & expect a certain response to the visually obvious disabilities I’m sporting these days…perhaps I just needed to put something up here again, and this story was as good as any( they can’t all be prize winners)

Health Update

I’ll discuss my overall state in this writing piece, but of immediate significance was my recent MRI scan which showed no new significant tumor progression (read:current infusion of the $10,000/bag stuff + chemo; looks like it’s at least keeping things from getting worse, which is about the best we can realistically hope for after the aggression this tumor’s been showing).

Next up is just staying the course on treatments, continuing to back off the steroid that reduces swelling inside my head, but increase it on the outside (it’s ok if you’ve seen me in recent months and noted how chubby my face was getting).  My next scan is the day before Thanksgiving.

And again, if you don’t see updates on here, that generally means there’s nothing new to report, or that I don’t have the ability to do regular writing.