At the end of last month and into the first part of November, there was a lot of press coverage of Brittany Maynard‘s decision to die with dignity. Susie and I discussed her decision and specifically thought about our dear friends who live with brain cancer and who have died from it. While we do not know the details of Brittany’s condition or what she was told by doctors, all of us (patients and caregivers that we know) have had the attitude to fight cancer and live life like there is no tomorrow. Even in light of Susie’s treatments during this last year, we filled our life with as much as we could:
- We went to our niece’s wedding in Houston
- We visited friends in West Texas (including the McDonald Observatory)
- Susie attended the yearly Callahan Girl’s Weekend Retreat
- We threw Susie’s 50th Birthday Party in June
- We went to our first grand niece’s baptism in Virgina
- We threw Susie’s One Year Recurrence Survival Party in October
- We saw Pearl in her first school play
- We hosted and attended countless dinner gatherings
- And we had multiple visits from friends from abroad and out of state family
Considering things looked very bleak in February, I still have a tough time fathoming if Susie and I would consider or would have ever considered such an option. I have always had the attitude that she will get through cancer and live a long and fruitful life. She has trusted me in this belief and we have remained true to these feelings. My perspective from 15 years ago is the same today as it was back then, the only difference is I am more informed and seasoned. The technique that we have employed starting fifteen years ago and still practice today is to follow a living life cadence, specifically:
- What do we want to do today?
- How do we want live this week?
- Who or what do we want to see between doctor visits?
I think these things give life meaning and we actually prioritize/ do what is important to us. Prior to Susie’s cancer diagnosis in 1999, our life lacked such an approach. While cancer does suck, living with cancer does not have to be the end of life.