As a two-time cancer survivor, I am scared to death of the proposed bills in our legislature, A1504 and S1072, which would allow doctors to help their patients kill themselves.
I beat lymphoma with chemotherapy and radiation when I was 22 years old. Just over a decade later I experienced acute depression. I had recently delivered our youngest, so the doctors all attributed it to post-partum depression. I wasn’t convinced. I had not experienced anything like this with my other two children.
Then, in April of 2005, I blacked out and awoke in the hospital. Initially, the doctors thought I was just another addict looking for an opioid prescription. Thankfully, my husband was there to advocate for me and we had tests done.
Eventually, tests revealed a mass in my left frontal lobe. It was Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma. This malignant brain tumor is a combination of Glio cells – the same as are in Glioblastoma – and Astrocytes. Anaplastic Astrocytoma can be is as aggressive as Glioblastoma. We were devastated. Would all the treatment, surgeries, and burden on my family all be worth it? Would I be the same person after a risky brain surgery?
My family was very supportive and we decided to forge ahead with treatments. I had surgery at Thomas Jefferson Hospital and then onto Fox Chase for chemotherapy and radiation, at first, to no avail. The tumor grew again. A second brain surgery was performed at Temple University Hospital and treatment continued, but this time, the tumor responded. I was then on a high dose medication for the two years after more chemotherapy.
Most people with my prognosis live about three years. So far, I have survived 13! Under the proposal in Trenton, a doctor must predict their patient has six-month or less to live. What if a doctor’s “educated guess” is wrong, and people throw away good years or even decades of their life when they might have lived, like I did?
Read more at NJ.com…