Tuesday, December 22, 2015

“You’ll probably die of something else”

I've updated this post up from two years ago, as its querky humour may help us focus on the urgent issue of making positive submissions to the Parliamentary Committee on Health.

You’ll probably die of something else
Again and again over the years since I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, experts and knowledgeable amateurs have assured me that it’s not all that bad. I will, they’ve told me, died of something else. I’m sure these Job’s comforters are partly right. But I’m also sure that they may not have thought much about the alternative deaths they so cheerfully offer me. Here are a few:
“You’ll probably get run over by a bus.”
But, wait a moment. The drugs I’m on tend to mess up my balance so that I am far more likely to fall under a passing bus than the average person. Buses are downright dangerous but, let’s face it, it’s the cancer that would be the real cause.
“You could have a heart attack.”
Well, yes, that’s a natural born killer for men. But have you seen how both cancer and the medications you take for it increase your risk of having a fatal heart attack. The death certificate may say it was a heart attack but it was really the cancer.
“You could die of overweight”.
True, and I am carrying more weight than I did. But it’s the cancer medications that have put weight on me, all down the front in unaccustomed places. It’s actually cancer that’s caused the weight problem.
“You’ll just die of old age”.
Yeah, er Nah. What is old age except the failure of systems because something has gone wrong with them? It’s called “natural causes” but in my case actually cancer is a natural cause and should take the blame.
“You might die in prison after being convicted of murder”.
Yep, that could happen. But it would probably be because I beat up some naïve nay-sayer who was trying to tell me that that I wasn’t going to die of prostate cancer.

Actually, there could be another way I could die. It would still be a prostate cancer death. But it would probably be called something like Physician Assisted Death. After saying goodbye to family and friends, I could receive a simple injection and become unconscious in moments and dead in minutes. If I have to face the choice between inevitable death from a long drawn out process involving suffering and unbearable pain or a simple injection to end it all, I think that’s what I would do. I think that’s what many people would like to do. Right now, we don't have the choice. 

That’s why we need to send submissions to the Parliamentary Health Committee to recommend a change in the law. Please, let us have the CHOICE.

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