When Control Is Out of Control

The headline reads "29 year old cancer patient seeks to control her own death."

A young woman has declared that two days after her husband's birthday, she will commit suicide (physician assisted). (FYI - This is legal in Oregon, where they live.)

She has stage 4 glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor. First AND MOST IMPORTANTLY! I am praying for her. I hope that you will join with me too.

However, I cannot agree with what she is doing. I'm sure that she has already heard all of this and has made up her mind. But I'm not writing this to her - I am writing to you!

First of all she says that this isn't suicide. That is it death with dignity. I disagree.

According to the dictionary (Merriam-Webster), suicide is the act or an instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally especially by a person of years of discretion and of sound mind.

On November 1st she plans on taking her own life - that is by definition - suicide. I cringe at the thought of our culture blurring the lines between life and death. When is this acceptable? When is this right? When is it wrong? We are opening a door that we will never be able to close.

She is quoted as saying, "There is not a cell in my body that is suicidal or that wants to die." As if people who did commit suicide really did want to die. In all my experience with people who struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide - even the ones who were successful at doing it - none of them ever wanted to do it. They simply couldn't either see or believe in another choice. This young lady has choices, she just doesn't like them.

Just because we don't like what life is giving us doesn't mean that we can just "check out". I believe that some of this comes from the "entitlement" mentality that is saturating our culture today. The idea that life is suppose to be the way WE want it, and if we can't have it that way - well then we can check out - quit - throw a temper tantrum . . . . you get the picture.

"My glioblastoma is going to kill me, and that's out of my control," she says. "I've discussed with many experts how I would die from it, and it's a terrible, terrible way to die. Being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying."

I'm not going to argue with most of that statement. I will agree that for cancer patients, who I've had the privilege to be with during their fight, it is ugly, painful and even terrifying. But they fought it every step of the way. They did died with dignity! They lived the last moments of their life with honor! They never gave in to the cancer. They lived in the face of terror. And that gives hope to those who are facing the same thing. Teaching people to quit before the fight, doesn't add value to life - it takes it away.

Now some people would argue that allowing someone to choose to die actually adds value to life. But I will be honest with you (and I'm going to take some flack for this) allowing death to run it's course takes more faith and courage than to "die with dignity". When we begin to devalue life, and each day that we have - we devalue ourselves. At what time will we decide that someone isn't worthy living (Oops, sorry we already do that - it's called abortion). At what time will someone decide that we no longer deserve to live? Oh that will never happen? Wrong again.

If we are going to justify controlled death at the beginning of life and at the end of life - when will it be acceptable to do it in-between? Soon - that's all I know.

Value life more than death or what you personally desire. It is important to future generations of people who need to know that they are more valuable than our opinions.

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