A Wisconsin man with terminal cancer has taped a YouTube video in which he bids farewell to loved ones and tells viewers through heart-wrenching sobs, "I tried so hard, fought so hard. But the fight is over."
"So, I don't know what to say, or if I'm leaving something out," says Eric McLean, 28, of Two Rivers, in the clip that has been watched nearly 320,000 times as of Thursday afternoon.
"I'm so scared. God, is it scary. So much I want to say. You know, I'm 28 years old. I'm going to miss everyone. My family, my brothers and sisters and parents, my wife, Cari. I love you so much, babe. I love you so much."
For much of the last half-decade, the bespectacled McLean has posted videos and written entries on the Internet detailing his struggle with acute myelogenous leukemia. There are more than 100 in all.
When he started the video and Internet diaries he was a 23-year-old recent college grad who had just learned the cancer he had beaten as a teenager had returned.
On Tuesday, he posted on YouTube what he promised would be his last video, titled, "Eric's Confession Final."
In the nearly 8 1/2-minute clip, an emotional McLean says, "This is the end. We have gotten some really bad news last week and there is nothing we can do.
"Ninety six percent of my cerebral nervous system is cancerous and my sciatic nerve is being crushed so badly that I am in some of the worst pain you can imagine.
"It's really hard, as you can imagine ... So tough and I've fought a long time — almost 10 years now.
"This is it. This is it ... I've been assured once, twice, a million times, that there are no more options. I've started my hospice care at my parents' home in Two Rivers, Wisconsin."
He apparently taped the video on the patio deck of his parent's home. His face is front-lit against the night with a harsh luminescence. Cicadas chirp as he delivers the final entry to his story.
"It's been a long ride. My doctor, my oncologist ... actually came up here today to make sure that I was doing okay. Amazing. Um, ah, geeze."
He groans, wipes away a tear and says, "Oh that hurt," as he leans back and puts his hands behind his head.
"This is it. So ... thank you all for everything that you've done for me and my family. I've had the greatest support system that anyone in the world could ever ask for.
"My doctor said tonight that the average survival for someone with my type of cancer is 18 months. Not good. But I made it 10 years ... and I have you guys to thank for that."
In his posts, McLean proved to be more than just an able raconteur. Watching them, he reveals what about life he feels is important.
As he sobs, he says during the final video, "I told myself I wasn't going to get like this. I love you all. That's it. With that, You win some, you lose some, I don't know.
"My doctor says I won. I gotta believe him. There's nothing else I could have done. I fought to the end and there was never a time that I said 'no.'
"Anytime we wanted to do an experimental treatment, I stood up to the plate.
"I swung my bat as hard as I could. The ball game is over, guys. With that, I'm going to say, 'bye' for the very last time. I love you. Thank you all.
"And I hope you all live very long lives."