People are talking about Brittany Maynard and her decision to end her young life. Like her, my mother died of glioblastoma, a brain cancer. As a hospice nurse, I have cared for patients with this same disease. It was hard to watch.
I had planned to talk about something light and easy. Then, I got a phone call from my favorite lawyer. “Mom, why don’t you write about Brittany Maynard killing herself? She was dying of the same cancer your mother had, and decided to take her own life.” My younger daughter also called me, earlier this week, to pick my brain about this same subject saying, ‘Didn’t your mom die of this cancer?’
It’s my understanding that this beautiful, young girl was told the tumor was in-operable. It also sounds like she wanted to use her final time wisely and with her closest loved ones. We know that she was taking medication and trying to do what she could do to treat her illness (She gained a lot of weight and has the classic symptom of ‘moon face’, both side effects of steroids.) Maynard said she was having painful headaches and apparently suffered seizures, which is often the case with a brain tumor, although my mom never had one seizure. As a hospice nurse, I have seen how effective both seizure and pain medications can be. Yet, they don’t always work and people do suffer horrible deaths if they are not given the appropriate amount of pain medication. Hospice is all about dying with dignity and providing people with proper pain management!