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Esther's story

21 Mar 2019 9:12 AM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

Originally diagnosed late 2012 with a Grade 4 Geoblastomer Multiforma Tumour, I have had my brain cancer return after a four and a half year battle to beat it, followed by two years of remission. Due to the side effects from the first round of aggressive treatment, I was left disabled and live with daily pain.

With it now back, I am not able to do any further treatment, which means this will end my life.

Due to the type of cancer it is, this is a slow painful death as it on its own doesn’t kill me, instead it causes all of my body functions to shut down one at a time. This would leave me bedridden, and suffering from bed sores and everything that goes with that.

For me the passing of this bill would bring relief, and I would apply for it. However, like most overseas where they have this choice, I wouldn’t take it until the very last minute. My life would only be shortened by up to two weeks - the worst at the end. 

And I would die in my own bed, surrounded by my memories and loved ones - listening to my favourite music.  Holding my son’s hand (and with my faithful companion beside me on the bed) while I slip into sleep and then stop breathing.

I don’t actually want to die as my previous battle shows.  However as a Christian, I am not afraid of death, just what I will be forced to go through before this comes.

Will I pass the strict conditions for application?  Yes, I have a terminal illness and will apply when my doctors estimate I have six months or less to live; AND yes, it is irremediable and involves grievous suffering; AND yes, I am mentally competent and fully aware of what I am asking for.  Three ticks (as required).

Unfortunately for me my previous treatments have also shown that I am in the approx 6% of people that painkillers don’t help and the last thing I want to do is die while in an induced coma (known as palliative or terminal sedation where they actually kill you by removing your feeding and fluid tubes) as that would not stop the pain, just my ability to tell people about it.

Do you think I am the only person in this position? Do you think that perhaps one day it could be you or someone you love facing this before dying?  So please support this bill and vote YES.

Read a story of a good death here »


  • 21 Mar 2019 2:46 PM | Deleted user
    Thanks, Esther, for a succint statement which could be relevant to quite a few people. Coming to the end of our cancer treatment is a crisis time which I am beginning to have to deal with myself. All good wishes.
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    • 22 Mar 2019 12:12 PM | Anonymous
      Thank you for you supportive message. I also hope all goes well for you.
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  • 21 Mar 2019 3:13 PM | Anonymous
    Thank you for clearly spelling out the eligibility criteria, Esther. Who could deny a peaceful ending to someone who met all of those criteria? I hope we have a law in place soon; I'm sure that just knowing it is there for you would be a comfort in itself.
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    • 22 Mar 2019 12:13 PM | Anonymous
      It's been proven in Oregan that approx 30% of people who get approved don't end up using it, but knowing they have the option enables them to not worry about the end, and enjoy the life they have. I so want that for every NZer.
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  • 23 Mar 2019 7:07 AM | Anonymous
    Thank you, Esther, for your moving story. What I'm reminded of is how strong the will to live is - it shows in your photo and in your account of the gruelling treatment you've been through. Assisted dying is an absolute last resort when there is no other option left but extreme suffering.
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  • 23 Mar 2019 7:17 AM | Anonymous
    Thank you so much for explaining what you are going through - if only our MPs could see how much this means to you and others who are also suffering - surely they could support this compassionate legal change.
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  • 06 Jun 2019 4:35 PM | Anonymous
    This is such a powerful expression of the majority viewpoint and I thank Esther for being the one to express it. We all want to die "as who we are" - not sedated to oblivion, tubes hanging out of us, unaware of loving presences, unable to communicate our needs, unable even to tell our pain. A peaceful death is everybody's right and if palliative care doesn't suffice for some people, then they should surely have the right to the solace of an assisted death at the hands of a willing doctor.
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