“I do not want to die,” Woman speaks out about her choice to die after her husband’s birthday
(CNN) – On New Year’s Day, after months of suffering from debilitating headaches, Brittany Maynard learned she had brain cancer.
After being told she only had a few painful months to live, Maynard decided that she would have a choice in the situation.
She and her husband moved to Oregon so she could take part in the Death with Dignity Act.
On Nov. 1, Maynard will take a prescription medication and end her life.
“In April, I learned that not only had my tumor come back, but it was more aggressive. Doctors gave me a prognosis of six months to live,” Maynard wrote. “Because my tumor is so large, doctors prescribed full brain radiation. I read about the side effects: The hair on my scalp would have been singed off. My scalp would be left covered with first-degree burns. My quality of life, as I knew it, would be gone.”
“After months of research, my family and I reached a heartbreaking conclusion: There is no treatment that would save my life, and the recommended treatments would have destroyed the time I had left,” she wrote.
She says she considered going into hospice care but even with the palliative medication, she says she could develop pain and lose verbal, cognitive and motor functions.
“Because the rest of my body is young and healthy, I am likely to physically hang on for a long time even though cancer is eating my mind. I probably would have suffered in hospice care for weeks or even months. And my family would have had to watch that,” she wrote.
“I’ve had the medication for weeks. I am not suicidal. If I were, I would have consumed that medication long ago. I do not want to die. But I am dying. And I want to die on my own terms,” she said. “I would not tell anyone else that he or she should choose death with dignity. My question is: Who has the right to tell me that I don’t deserve this choice? That I deserve to suffer for weeks or months in tremendous amounts of physical and emotional pain? Why should anyone have the right to make that choice for me?”
She says she will spend Oct. 26 celebrating her husband’s birthday and then will likely pass, unless her condition improves dramatically.
“When my suffering becomes too great, I can say to all those I love, “I love you; come be by my side, and come say goodbye as I pass into whatever’s next.” I will die upstairs in my bedroom with my husband, mother, stepfather and best friend by my side and pass peacefully. I can’t imagine trying to rob anyone else of that choice,” she wrote.