Tammy W. is a software consultant in Charleston, South Carolina.
I am a 38-year old woman living with Stage IV ovarian cancer. For months in early 2013 doctors had been unable to figure why I was getting sicker and sicker to the point where I didn’t know if I was going to be alive from one week to the next. Since my diagnosis, my treatments have helped me get the cancer under control and I have a great deal of my life back. However, even though my cancer is currently stable, I know that I will never not have it.
Since my diagnosis, I have learned a lot about Death with Dignity. I consider it a blessing that the Death with Dignity option exists for some, but find it unfortunate that it’s not available to all who may want to exercise that right of choice. I hear and see a lot of comments, including some off-the-wall stuff, from people who don’t understand the issue. While I know that some won’t be able to understand, that doesn’t negate the fact that so many people want the option to choose their time, instead of their disease choosing for them. I don’t see my state, South Carolina, getting on board any time soon. I’ve strongly considered moving to Oregon or Washington so that I may have the freedom to choose, when that time comes.
I continue to think about the future. I want to have the same option that Brittany Maynard had and be able to choose my time while I am alive in every sense of the word, not just existing. I want to have control over that moment while I am able to make my own decisions and understand what’s going on. I feel strongly that all terminally ill individuals should have the option to choose Death with Dignity over pain and loss of self if it is their choice to do so.