October 30, 2014

"A 29-year-old terminal cancer sufferer who had previously spoken of her plan to take her life on November 1 has had a change of heart."

"In a video released on Wednesday, Brittany Maynard said she hasn't decided when she'll end her life, but it remains a decision that she's determined to make before getting too ill."

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this a real story then, or is she just looking for her 15 seconds of fame?

Big Mike said...

Based on what I've read, every person who jumped from the Golden Gate bridge with the intent to end their life had a change of heart on the way down. Every single one.

RecChief said...

The will to live is strong.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Put up or shut up.

Nonapod said...

If I was told that I was going to die "painfully and slowly" within 14 months I'm sure I would consider suicide. But actually going through with it, I don't know. I'm just thankful I'm not in that situation.

Tank said...

Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go now.

Dan from Madison said...

I mentioned to my wife the other day that this looked like a scam.

Freeman Hunt said...

A few months later sounds like a long time away until it arrives.

Jupiter said...

I am glad she changed her mind, poor creature.

Shanna said...

I had an old boss who got pancreatic cancer and they gave him 6 months to live - he lived over 10 years from that point.

It's one thing to be in the end stage of a disease and talk about ending it, it's quite another to be looking a year or two down the road.

prairie wind said...

Given the choice between being killed instantly in an accident and knowing that a terrible illness will kill me someday, I will take the terrible illness because I'm a planner and a list-maker.

Now, having made my choice, I might change my mind after spending some time with the terrible illness. Sounds like this woman changed her mind in the same way: realized that a terrible illness can be endured.

EMD said...

Maybe there's a beauty in "natural" death that she'll miss.

Of all of the various stories of near-death experiences, it's never portrayed as an awful, terrible thing.

mccullough said...

Gary Cooper's character didn't kill himself at the end of Meet John Doe either.

rpkjr2 said...

If her story is true, it is horrible and frightening, for her. That said, I have suspected from the beginning that this was some type of stunt of spotlight seeking. Part of dying on your own terms, in my mind, is the anonymity of such. My family is with whom I would commune, not society at large. Her started mission seems the v
ery antithesis of her actions. Stepping off soapbox now...

Michael said...

Good for her. I hope she chooses to live until she dies in the care of her doctors. With as little pain as possible.

Michael said...

Big Man:

I have read that article in the New Yorker many times. It is fascinating. On the other hand, I am inclined to believe that those who lived took steps to save themselves even as they fell and that their change of heart was accompanied by a deep will to survive. The others did not? Interesting to consider.

Irene said...

Perhaps she realized suicide would pain her family. Loved ones accept death when they see the process unfold. When an ill person abruptly ends life before the path to death accelerates, family members are left feeling as though they may have missed some last, rewarding moments. But when the stricken slowly slips to death, the progression leaves loved ones seeing a natural conclusion that even stirs a sense of relief for all.

FullMoon said...

Suicide is at the top of my"bucket list"

St. George said...

Big Mike...

This may be what you're recalling...

"In other words, Ken Baldwin's suicide attempt led to a psychological shift, even a spiritual transformation. And his story is by no means exceptional. In 1975, when only 10 people were known to have survived jumping off the bridge (the figure is now 26), the psychologist David Rosen sought out and interviewed 7 of them. He found that all of them had spiritual experiences during or straight after their jumps. They experienced feelings of intense peace and calm, an awareness of a ‘higher power' and a connection to other human beings or the universe as a whole. And this state never faded. Although, in some cases it was several years since their jump, they had all retained this sense of meaning and well-being. In other words, they had undergone a permanent spiritual transformation. Most jumpers black out on hitting the water, but two of Rosen's interviewees remained conscious, and had profound spiritual experiences right at that moment."

Life is good.

MadisonMan said...

Suicide is at the top of my"bucket list"

It should be at the bottom.

Larry J said...

Last year, my 85 year old mother suddenly became very ill. We watched her linger for days on a respirator as we hoped the medicine would cure her. She took a turn for the worse (stroke) and we took her off of the respirator. She struggled for breath for an hour before dying. Going through that, my wife and I have living wills saying that we don't want to be on a respirator or any other form of life support. That's our choice. You're free to disagree.

I can not imagine what this young woman is going through but I can sort of understand what her family is experiencing. They love her and want her to live, but they don't want her to suffer. If she continues to have mostly good days, she may postpone her death indefinitely. However, the time may come when she decides it isn't worth it any more. I support her right to make that decision.

Julie C said...

Larry J - I don't disagree with most of what you've said. I watched my mother linger with Alzheimer's for years. When she contracted pneumonia, I chose not to treat it with antibiotics. Hospice made her comfortable and she was able to die peacefully.

But there is a big leap between dying 'naturally' and announcing to the world you are going to commit suicide on November 1, 2014. I feel for this dear young woman - I know someone who died of this type of brain tumor and it's a terrible way to die.

I would not have wanted my mother to commit suicide when we all realized she was quite ill. It was a very difficult eight years, but I do believe there is value in caring for someone who is ill. My children learned about compassion and patience from our experience. Caring for my mother brought my family closer. It forced us to confront our own fears about death and dying.

Joe said...

I've been betting this was going to happen. I guess I'm too much of a cynic, because I never believed her. I'm not even convinced she has the cancer she claims to have. (Her behavior is very NPD.)

n.n said...

Her fate is not conclusive until a natural, accidental, or premeditated death. Life is a chaotic process that requires an exercise in risk management.

Just Mike said...

Hang on as long as you can. If you flunk the final you'll have to repeat the class.

CStanley said...

I have prayed for her, and will continue to do so.

I find interesting the connection of this story with a desire for bodily autonomy. The degree to which our society idolizes it, placing it at or near the apex of the hierarchy of values, creates all kinds of problems.

We aren't as autonomous as we'd like to be. If you are religious you can see why that is by design, but if not religious you should at least reflect on the truth of that statement.

One of the things that concerns me about this story is that her reasoning for setting a date has to do with the fear that she will decline to the point that she will be unable to carry out her own suicide. At what point then do people sympathetic with that plight begin advocating for greater opportunities for assistance with the act itself. And how slippery would that slope be?

Gusty Winds said...

I thought this would happen. If she is still feeling ok, why die on Saturday? It might turn out to be a great day.

Don't we all want just one more?

Big Mike said...

@St. George, I have no recollection of reading anything like what you quoted. I'm an atheist and don't much believe in spiritual transformations.

Or perhaps I've already had mine.

Gusty Winds said...

Ezekiel Emanuel will probably experience the same change of heart the night before his 75th birthday.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It's very, very hard to kill yourself. For this reason, I've never understood people who say suicide is the coward's way out.

n.n said...

The ultimate risk is what happens in our post mortem. Some people believe we enter oblivion, while others believe we are judged on our moral fitness. I doubt many people are looking forward to learning their fate. Although, most people would probably prefer the former outcome. The latter is fraught with personal landmines.

Revenant said...

I'm not sure if I'd kill myself if I was terminal. It would probably depend on whether my immediate family was still alive.

Unknown said...

There has to be some way to think about and approach decisions whether to live or not under adverse circumstances without broadcasting it. This is a painful and personal decision, and unless you are asking for a vote on your existence, should be made and executed privately.