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Question 2 ~ Given the Choice....

Question 2 ~ The "Death with Dignity" Act. Thoughts from a patient who supports Question 2

This past Sunday was the most difficult day I have had in memory. My loyal, loving best friend, "Baby", took her final breaths with her head in my lap. She
was a 15 year old German Shepherd who was well known on our farm for being
friendly and patient with everyone she came in contact with, children, elderly
and handicapped would flock to her and she would comfort them every time. On
Sunday morning she was in a lot of pain, suffering each breath. I had to do
what no one wants to do. She was euthanized by her vet. I tell you this,
because, had I been selfish and not been able to let her rest, I would have
been "inhumane".

We do this for our pets that have become members of our family. We do this because of the love we have for them so overwhelms us, the thought of them spending any time in pain is one that cuts us to the core. Why do we not do allow this option for our human loved ones?

Last December I was told that I have 18 to 24 months to live. I have no intention of proving my doctor and other doctors correct, but living with a terminal
disease, one tends to think of the end of life more than someone without a
diagnosis as such.

I am aware that when the time does come, the time that I intend to avoid at all
costs, I will spend the final 3 to 5 months slowly suffocating as my organs
fail one at a time. This will be painful beyond measure, frightening beyond
words and worst of all; my young children will witness this. The disease I
have, a rare genetic disease, has no cure and at this time does not even have a
treatment that is accepted.

Now, given my projected "life span" (again, which I have no intention of
adhering to), this does not mean that in October of next year... in theory 20
of the 24 months... I will run out to fill a prescription. I just would like
the opportunity that when I know that I am on my downhill spiral, preferably
many many years from now, from which there is no chance of a turnaround that I
can be home, with my children, my parents, my family, and my closest friends,
that I can be surrounded by those I love and those who love me. I would like to
be able to salvage my memories with my children, and let them hold onto those
moments instead of watching the painful slow suffering that I will otherwise
endure.

Please, when you vote on Question 2 on November 6th, keep me in mind - more
importantly, keep my children in mind. I am not saying that I will use this method; I will keep fighting so long as I can. I am only asking that you not take this option from me, from my family, from others in similar situations.  Do not be blind that it could be anyone of you who must walk in my shoes, but by the Grace of God, most of you do not have to contemplate in this manner.

Please vote YES on Question 2 November 6th. It is not a matter of life and death; it is a matter of allowing the patient who is dying his or her final choice, their
final wishes and their final gift to their loved ones. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kathleen Brothers October 25, 2012 at 11:39 PM
God Bless you, Jennie. You are a role model for us all.
Suz October 25, 2012 at 11:44 PM
I am supporting question two for all the reasons you so eloquently outlined. I hope that others will try to imagine what it would be like to face what you are facing and consider voting yes on this very important question. I will keep you in my prayers.
Tom Sullivan October 26, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Jennie, thank you for your strength and perspective in this matter. My father passed away from small cell lung cancer two years ago and I am well aware of the challenges you and many others deal with. As with my father, I will keep you in my heart and prayers.
Robert Bennett October 26, 2012 at 02:46 AM
God bless you! Let's hope the doctors are very wrong in your case. I will also support this question for all the same reasons. No one should be forced to live a life in pain.
Maureen Hoffmann October 26, 2012 at 12:50 PM
I too am voting YES on Question 2. I believe that all people should be allowed to pass however they see fit. God bless you and the journey ahead of you. You and your family are in my prayers.
Bob October 26, 2012 at 02:01 PM
I am voting yes on 2 because I don't want anyone to travel this path without control of what their outcome will be. Jennifer, I pray that you have the strength, wisdom and opportunity to make the decision that is best for you and your loved ones. I pray that your family will find comfort in the knowledge that you fought as long as your body allowed but that your spirit will live on. I hope the citizens of Massachusetts will grant this wish for you!
Pat King October 26, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Jennifer, I add my comment to yours - I have Parkinsons Disease, and like you there is no cure, just a steady decline in ALL physical abilities until you are unable to do ANYTHING. My worst fear is the trauma I will put my family through watching this decline. I do not want to be remembered as a vegetable - but, rather the good times. Also, as I will be unable to move or speak etc. the stress on my family will be overwelming. Unfortunately, at this time, I have no legal choice. I would much prefer to face death with dignity, and feel as if I had some small measure of control, then be FORCED to endure complete lack of independence, mental and physical pain. Maybe if more of us joined your brave example we will be able to obtain death with dignity. I am sending you positive thoughts. Best wishes, Pat
Toby Sedgwick October 26, 2012 at 07:10 PM
After caring for both my parents as they suffered through terminal cancer, I am also in favor of question 2. However, I do wonder if there are enough safety measures in place to prevent abuse or mishandling of the privilege to make this difficult choice.
TomH October 26, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Does anyone else think that the TV ad with the 100 Seconol capsules is an inaccurate scare tactic?
Jennifer Nagle October 26, 2012 at 08:47 PM
First of all, Pat, you are definately not alone in feeling the way you do. I am (and it sounds like you are also) surrounded by a large and loving family, so my blessings are never ending in that regard. I hurt for those who are not as fortunate as us. Everyone else... thank you so much for your support! Toby, I have carefully read the proposed ballot act. In order for a person to be able to even consider asking their doctor for this, they must be in the very end of life stage with no hope of recovery or cure or stability. The patient needs to have agreement from two seperate unaffiliated doctors that this patient is at a point that this is the only alternative to a long suffering inhumane death. Doctors are not required to participate in this, they can refuse to make a determination due to their own beliefs. The patient must be a resident of the Commonwealth and deemed mentally capable of such a decision. Also, only the patient can request this, not family members, next of kin or even power of attorney can request on behalf of the patient. I believe the safeguards mentioned above, as well as others will protect the Commonwealth from an abuse of this act, as it has in other states. Tom, agreed. In reality, the prescription is in liquid form. The patient would ingest about 4 oz. of this liquid and would pass peacefully in about 15 minutes.
TomH October 27, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Ms Nagle, thanks for the extensive clarification
Donna Wilson November 01, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Jenny - prayers for you and your family. Your courage and commitment to still fund raise for kids with cancer while battling your own disease is truly heroic.
Bob Rauseo November 04, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Vote YES on question two. There will never be a "perfect" bill; adjustments and amendments can be made later. If Question Two is defeated, people facing terminal illness will be left powerless. If Question Two passes, they will be given some power. Vote YES.

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