I am a man, fifty-seven years old. My life is filled with love and happiness due to my partner, child, other family members, friends, colleagues and my own interests. I am strong and fit. In the first two weeks of August 2017, I cycled over 1000km and in doing so experienced immense beauty, exhilaration, fun and satisfaction. Life is great!
But I have terminal prostate cancer. It’s not a good death. Before I was diagnosed three years ago, and commenced treatment, I experienced the dull ache of cancer starting to destroy my bones and excruciating abdominal pain.
Unless there is a major medical breakthrough these are just a taste of what is to come. Palliative care can be effective but I don't have confidence it will make the end of my life pleasant. I don't feel scared of dying but what breaks my heart is the thought of the people I love suffering, because I am suffering. It is a cycle of pain bound together by love. The thought of it hurts me now.
Suicide is not a good solution. It is awful for those committing it and those who have to deal with it. It can also be difficult or even impossible when your body is ravaged by prostate cancer.
I see voluntary assisted dying as different. It offers the option of a good death. Depending on the success of palliative care and other factors I may or may not want my life to end that way. But if I knew I had the option of a good death it would help me continue to have a good life.
My blog has more information: http://people.eng.unimelb.edu.au/lee/pc/first.html
Lee Naish, August 2017