MY MOTHER died of cancer of the esophagus. From when she was diagnosed to when she died was five years. There was radiation, chemo, surgery, and then more chemo. We got two and half to three good years. But she was getting tired of the side effects of the chemo, and wanted to take a break. I looked at the doctor, we looked at Mom, and we talked. The chemo was keeping the cancer at bay. We talked some more. The doctor agreed, but said she should be back in six weeks for another scan.
Well, that was the open door that the cancer cells needed to move through her system. The doctor said she had three weeks, maybe three months, to live. She lasted exactly three months.
The last month was the worst. She was pain free and comfortable, but it was the waiting to die that was difficult. It is the waiting that outsiders don’t understand. “Let’s get this over with,’’ she would say. “Don’t talk to me about God’s way. I want my way. It’s my life.’’
Disease takes control of your body. There is nothing else anyone can do for you. The least we can do is to let people have the choice to control how and when their last day is going to be. It’s their life.