UPDATE: It has now come to light that Brittany Maynard chose to end her own life after this article was published at nearly midnight Eastern Standard Time on Saturday. Our thoughts are with Maynard’s family.
Terminal cancer patient Brittany Maynard made headlines when she decided to move with her family from California to Oregon so that she could take advantage of that state’s Death With Dignity Act. This would give her the option to take life-ending medication if her final days with cancer became unbearable.
Maynard had set a date for when she wished to die. That date was today, Saturday, November 1.
Her story attracted the attention of people from both sides of the “right to die” issue. Some urged her to not take her own life, but to hang on until the cancer took her.
Maynard had a “bucket list.” She completed that list earlier this week with a trip to the Grand Canyon. While on that trip, she experienced another in a long line of seizures that are a symptom of her cancer.
“The seizure was a harsh reminder that my symptoms continue to worsen as the tumor runs its course,” she wrote in a blog post. “My dream is that every terminally ill American has access to the choice to die on their own terms with dignity,”
Maynard has since spoken in more detail about the seizures.
“Most recently, my most terrifying set of seizures was about a week or so ago,” she said. “I had two in a day, which was unusual, and I remember looking at my husband’s face at one point thinking, ‘I know this is my husband and I can’t say his name.'”
But Maynard seems to have backed off a bit from her deadline, saying that she still feels good enough to spend a little more time with her family. She is not backing down from her resolve to end her own life, when she sees fit.
“If November 2 has come along and I’ve passed,” she says in a recent video post, “I hope my family is still proud of me and the choices I made. And if November 2 comes along and I’m still alive, I know that we’ll just still be moving forward as a family out of love for each other, and that the decision will come later.
“I still feel good enough and I still have enough joy and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn’t seem like the right time. Right now. But, it will come because I feel myself getting sicker. It’s happening each week.”