Four years ago, my daughter Kimberly chose Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) after a very long painful battle with cancer.
Kim was diagnosed with cutaneous t-cell lymphoma (CTCL) in 2006. She was 20 years old. When she was diagnosed, we were told CTCL was an old man’s disease, not typically found in young people and that this type of lymphoma was not an aggressive cancer.
At first the treatment and prognosis were encouraging. However, after three years, the cancer became more aggressive, and Kim was referred to an oncologist at the Ottawa General Hospital. He proposed a course of six chemotherapy treatments and told us she should be in remission in six months.
Unfortunately, her cancer did not respond to the chemotherapy and six treatments turned into months and years of chemotherapy treatments, radiation treatments, a stem cell transplant and blood transfusions.
At the end of April 2017, Kim made the decision to ask for Medical Assistance in Dying. She was in so much pain that I was grateful she was able to choose MAiD. Once she made this decision, it gave her a sense of regaining control of her life.
She chose to spend her last days in the hospital and she was able to request the day for MAiD to take place.
She took advantage of the waiting period to say goodbye to loved ones and to the medical staff who had taken such good care of her over the years.
As she was unable to visit with everyone, she posted a beautiful message on social media thanking everyone for their support during her long illness and explaining her decision to choose MAiD. Her post generated wonderful testimonials of love from family, friends, and co-workers, which she was able read.
The waiting period also gave her an opportunity to plan her celebration of life.
On her last day, her husband, her sister and I spent the day reminiscing and sharing stories. It was an incredibly special day. We all felt that Kim made the right decision in choosing MAiD. Her suffering ended as she peacefully fell asleep.
Although it is hard to live without my daughter, I am grateful that she was able to choose MAiD.
I lost both my parents and Kim’s father to cancer before Kim passed away. I would have liked to speak to another parent whose child had also chosen MAiD. I made enquiries but there were no such resources available at the time. I wish Bridge4You had been available to me at that time. Losing a child is so much harder than losing a parent or a spouse.