Nancy’s brave example

Personal Stories | September 30, 2022 | Marley Shantz

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A photo of Marley and Nancy

My friend Nancy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in August of 2020. She went through radiation, removal, and then chemotherapy but unfortunately, there was no stopping the progression of her cancer. 

Nancy made it very clear to anyone who listened that her choice, and hers alone, was going to be MAID. She was not going to live her remaining days suffering or unable to do the things we take for granted so often: walking, bathing, feeding, turning over in bed, heck just sitting up in bed. For Nancy, she wanted control over her final days. 

I helped as much as I could, but Nancy’s care fell to her husband, and it was a struggle for him. 
Nancy took the initiative right off the bat to get all her ducks in a row. 
It was a process for sure. There were many tears shed, hands held, and people held tight in hugs. 
For me, it was so eye opening. It made me think that I must follow Nancy’s lead and take care of my business. 

Since Nancy’s death on April 19th, I have reflected on the courage she showed us all. She was not afraid to talk about her plan and get us all on board. I too will take her lead when the time comes, and if it’s possible, I may make the very same choice Nancy made; a choice where the process has to start when I am not too sick to know what I am doing. 

For me this process has started, and it is because of Nancy and her determination and strength setting the example. I have completed my Advance Care Plan, identified my Substitute Decision-Maker and talked to people about my end-of-life wishes. 

I will say for anyone concerned with being present at a MAID provision, it was so peaceful and knowing it was exactly what Nancy wanted made it that much more of a loving way to go. She said, “Goodbye and I love you” to all of us in the room and we all said goodbye and that we loved her too. 

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