Brittany Maynard, the woman suffering from inoperable brain cancer, who is choosing to take her own life, says she doesn’t want to die. Doctors gave her six months to live in the Spring, when she was diagnosed with the most deadly form of the disease soon after she got married.
Maynard has started a conversation following her controversial decision to end her life in her own terms — euthanasia, assisted suicide, or however we brand it — was made public. Everyone has an opinion one way or another, but for Brittany, she just doesn’t want to put herself and her new husband through all that dying of brain cancer means.
In an emotional interview, the 29-year-old, recently married woman spoke to CBS News about what life is like for her. Instead of starting a family soon, Maynard now expects to die next month, and is trying to do the best with the cards she’s been dealt.
“I don’t want to die. If anyone wants to hand me, like, a magical cure and save my life so that I can have children with my husband, you know, I will take them up on it.
“I think until anyone has walked a mile in my shoes and knows what they’re facing and has felt the — like, just bone-splitting headaches that I get sometimes, or the seizures, or the inability to speak, or the moments where I’m looking at my husband’s face and I can’t think of his name.”
The medication doctors are giving to Brittany Maynard have dramatically changed her physical appearance, but she is determined to die “with dignity.” The cancer stricken young woman said it took her family a while to realize that this was the best option, because no mother should see her child die the most painful death.
Brittany has a message for those who are begging her to reconsider her drastic decision, “but my mother’s not selfish enough to say, ‘I want one more day where you’re suffering.’”
Maynard — who was raised by a single mom — had an adventurous upbringing in Southern California, and she loved to travel. She wanted to be a teacher, after graduating with degrees in psychology and education.
Her husband, Dan Diaz, had planned to be by his wife’s side until the end, but he now recognizes everything has changed, most importantly, the end has come sooner than either one of them thought.
“There’s absolutely that — the idea of wanting my wife to be at my side for ever. That was the original plan, right? But the reality that, I guess, that feeds into the argument of quality of life versus just quantity.”
Brittany decided to move to Portland, Oregon — one of five states that has legalized euthanasia — in the hopes of doing things on her own terms. On a video, Maynard documented the medication doctors were going to prescribe on her last day.
Brittany had chosen November 1, as her last day to live, six days after her husband’s birthday, but she says it is not a fixed date. She may still be alive the following day.
“November 1 became kind of — a date for me to almost, like, make it to. That’s a huge misconception, and I feel like people who are against this healthcare choice have tried to make it into a deadline. And I may be alive on November 2, or I may not. And that’s my choice.”
Brittany Maynard wants everyone to know she is not ending her own life, cancer is, but how she dies should still be her choice.
“No, cancer is ending my life,” she said. “I am choosing to end it a little sooner and in a lot less pain and suffering.”
“I’d say most of my sadness centers around how much I wanted a family and it feels like for me, that was always, like, how you created a legacy was, like, through your children. And sort of inadvertently — through sharing my story, I’ve realized there’s a bit of the legacy I’m creating this way and I’m not ashamed of that. I’m not ashamed to attach my name to what I think is a right that should belong to all terminally ill Americans. I really do.”
The law in Oregon has been in effect since 1997, and more than 1,000 people have requested end-of-life assistance. However, only over half of those with access to the drugs have taken them and Brittany Maynard it has been a comfort just knowing she has a choice.
If you were in Brittany Maynard’s shoes, would you decide to end your own life?
[Image via Facebook]