Taking your own life

I’ve been getting a lot of posts in my Facebook feed about Brittany Maynard. For those who have seen the news, she is a 29 y/o female who is dying of brain cancer. She has decided to take medicine to end her life because she didn’t want to suffer or have her family watch her suffer.

Now I don’t want to judge anyone, because it is not my place, but I wanted to share my feelings. And I’d like to know yours.

I’ve struggled with hopelessness before. A few times actually. Once in college when I was under a lot of pressure to be perfect, to please my parents, to get into med school, while dealing with issues of very low self esteem and low self worth. Then my boyfriend cheated on me, the only person who knew who I really was and saw my worth. I felt like a nobody again.

Again in medical school, I felt that hopelessness again. Everything was so crazy. I didn’t want to be a doctor, but knew I’d come so far that I couldn’t quit. I couldn’t disappoint my family, and I had 250 grand worth of debt. I was trapped in a situation I couldn’t control.On top of that, I suffered from a very traumatic experience caused by someone I trusted.

Then once again after being diagnosed with lupus, I considered once again that life was not worth living. I believed I wouldn’t be able to work or have children. I thought I’d always be sick and in pain. I thought for sure my boyfriend would leave me. My future looked bleak.

Each time I considered ending it all. But I got through. And I am happy. Not completely healthy, but happy.

Now I am not comparing myself to Brittany or the trial she is going through, but I believe in hope. A hope that I have in Christ. A hope that comforts me through a tough time. A hope of knowing that God always provides. A hope that reminds me to rejoice through trials, because I know it is making me a stronger and better person.

My heart goes out to her and her family, as does my prayers. I’ve shared my thoughts, please share yours.

5 thoughts on “Taking your own life

  1. I completely understand what she is doing. As far as life on this earth, there is so very little hope for her. She doesn’t seem to be taking lightly. She has said as long as she can laugh and be content she will continue to live with her disease. She only wants to end when she has nothing left but disease.

    When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I was told that I was almost certainly in stage 4. It didn’t get downgraded to stage 3 until a week later when no distant metastasis could be found with CT and bone scanning. Even then it was carefully explained to me that they were 99% certain that the distant mets existed, they just couldn’t be found with screening. Since then I have made a plan, and I intend to follow it I am ever told that I’ve had a recurrence. I plan to turn my defibrillator off and go off all of my heart medications. Sudden Cardiac arrest beats breast cancer hands down. I will put both possibilities out there and let God decide.

  2. There’s a very big difference between the situations you faced and what she faced–her fate was effectively certain. Nothing could be done about the symptoms, unlike with depression.

    1. I, in no way, mean to compare myself with her and her situation. I just wanted to express that I believe no situation is hopeless, and that despite, or maybe in spite of my medical training, I do believe in miracles.

        1. That may be true, but through my medical training I’ve seen quite a few unexpected miracles and positive outcomes. I don’t condemn her for what she did, and would respect the wishes of a patient in her situation who wanted to end their suffering. In the hospital, I’ve dealt with a lot of end of life issues with patients and their families. Deciding about hospice and DNRs, ( we don’t have death with dignity here) it’s a really sensitive and personal thing. And,truthfully, most times to keep fighting and prolonging life causes more harm than good. I was just thinking about what I would do if I was in this situation,and you are right, my faith would determine my decisions. Thank you for your comments.

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