I have just turned 41. A pretty big life event for many, but in my case especially. Three years ago I was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive and invariably fatal form of brain tumour. I have been lucky to make it this far; the median survival time is 17.1 months.
The end is pretty grim when it happens. I will be victim to a creeping paralysis and increasing loss of cognitive function, until I am paralysed and delirious. There will also probably be quite a lot of pain from increased intracranial pressure. I will slip in and out of coma until I die. This process could stretch out for quite some time.
Right now life is certainly worth living. I tire easily and my cognition is not what it was, but I can enjoy life. But there is going to come a time when I am going to be paralysed and suffering and the last images my friends and family will have of me will be that, as I slowly waste away until, at last, I die.
By the stage that life is no longer worth living I will be effectively unable to do anything about it. And I most certainly could not ask anyone to assist me or I would leave them open to criminal charges. I would ask you why?
Why should any human be sentenced to such a horrible ending? Why should my friends and family go through that? And why should I? When my beloved whippet was in horrible pain due to a rare medical condition with no cure or pain relief we had the option to put her out of her misery. Why do pets get more consideration than humans?
As someone who has had their life cut in half, I beg you to do all you can to change the laws to allow me, and others like me, to die with dignity.
- Lachlan Smith, first published in The Damage Done, August 2016
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