A year ago, I lost my 36-year-old husband to cancer. In the first few months after his death, I often felt lost without the heroic man I fell in love with 14 years earlier. But in our last few weeks together, I promised J.J. that I would keep sharing our story and carrying on his work advocating for better end-of-life care for terminal patients.
J.J. was a volunteer fireman, a Marine Corps war veteran, and a New York public servant under Govs. Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson. Then, after he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2014, J.J. dedicated his final days to fighting the legalization and social acceptance of assisted suicide.
This wasn’t an issue either of us would have become involved with prior to J.J.’s terminal diagnosis, but his illness gave us firsthand insights into how assisted suicide endangers those who are most vulnerable.
When a seizure sent J.J. to the hospital in May 2014, he was told that he had glioblastoma multiforme, the deadliest form of brain cancer. The neurosurgeon said that it was inoperable and that he likely had only four months left to live. Three doctors told us there was nothing we could do. We were told to go home and enjoy the little time we had left together.
Thankfully, we didn’t listen to those doctors, and J.J. had success with standard and experimental treatments. But he also realized that not everyone has the kind of support that he did, from family, friends and very good doctors. And even though J.J. was loved and supported, he suffered from periods of depression in his first few months of treatment.
He later told us that if he had assisted-suicide pills with him in those darkest moments, he would have been very much tempted to take them.
Then, in J.J.’s final weeks, we saw how the disabled are treated differently, how their lives are too easily dismissed as inconvenient, which is especially dangerous when assisted suicide becomes a legal medical treatment.
Assisted suicide injects governmental pressure and profit-driven insurance decisions into everyone’s end-of-life care. When that happens, death becomes the cheapest form of “treatment.”
Read more at the New York Post…