Debbie Black: Give me back my rights at the end of my life

Debbie Black

Debbie Black

I have cancer. I am fighting it every step of the way and was hopeful a year ago. But after a recent craniotomy to remove a tumor, I found out my cancer has returned with a new metastatic lesion in my brain.
I want to have the right to control my future. So as I continue to fight, I also am planning for the eventual end of my life.
I do not want my family's last image of me as a shadow of someone they knew: unable to meaningfully interact with my children and grandchildren, doped up on medication just to be able to tolerate the pain, incontinent or bed-ridden with no quality of life. It breaks my heart knowing my loved ones are going to have to watch me suffer before I die.
Just a few weeks ago, New Mexico passed a bill nearly identical to ours, and it will soon be signed, making our neighbors the 11th state to pass Death with Dignity legislation.
Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Maine and California are among the states that have implemented virtually the same law, and every single report shows a cautious, compassionate approach with no fraud, abuse or coercion. None.
Assembly Bill 351 puts me in control of my life, allowing me to go through a process to request a prescription that will end my life peacefully. The bill contains numerous safeguards that ensure I am in control, I am able to make my own health care decisions and I am not suffering from depression causing impaired judgement.
The bill will be considered by the House Health Committee in just a few weeks.
I did not choose this terminal illness. I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990 which metastasized to my brain in 2010. There is no cure. I do not want to die, but the reality is my cancer is going to kill me, painfully.
I urge the Nevada Legislature to allow terminally-ill Nevadans like me the right to die peacefully at home surrounded by the people they love.
When my time comes I will be confronted with the option to either die in immense pain in my home, or to uproot my life and move to a state that allows me the option to die with dignity.
Or I can continue to ask the Nevada legislature to give me control over the end of my life, and allow me to die with dignity and I ask them to pass AB351.
Debbie Black is a resident of Carson City.

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