In January 1993, my husband Kenny was diagnosed with tongue cancer. As a veteran of the New York City Fire Department, he had been exposed to toxins that caused his squamous cell carcinoma. Doctors thought Kenny would be dead in less than five years. He survived to father two sons and was a valuable contributor to society for 21 more years.
That 21-year survival was not easy, however. By the end, Kenny had lost everything that the rest of us take for granted. He couldn’t eat, drink, breath normally, or sleep for more than a couple hours at a time. He spent his last three months in hospitals, and by the end, he couldn’t get out of bed. But he never stopped seeing value in his life. Kenny died on August 2, 2014.
During Kenny’s last year, I would hear news about Brittany Maynard and her quest to legalize assisted suicide. She didn’t want to live if it meant she would experience suffering. I felt bad for her confused perspective and that she didn’t recognize that her life still had value for herself and her family despite the suffering. I was immersed in the most painful experiences of my life, but I saw that Kenny’s actions were inspiring people to accept their own hardships with courage and humility.
Read more at the Times Union…