Earlier this month, when we shared the story of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old terminal brain cancer patient who decided that she would end her life before her cancer did, the response was stunning. Brittany's decision sparked a public outpouring of awe, support, and criticism that reignited the conversation around death-with-dignity rights, which are currently in place in only five U.S. states (including Oregon, Brittany's current home).
When we interviewed Brittany about her plan to ingest lethal medication on November 1, she was very clear, as she has been since coming forward with her story, that she allowed for the possibility of changing her mind. "Right now, November 1 seems like a reasonable date," she explained. "I can decide to push it back. Or, if something happens and my symptoms become much worse, I can push it forward... It’s flexible, and the whole idea of the program is to embrace that."
Earlier this week, in partnership with Compassion & Choices, Brittany released a video — titled "A New Video For My Friends" — explaining why she is waiting beyond tomorrow to take the lethal medication she was prescribed. "I still feel good enough, and I still have enough joy, and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn't seem like the right time right now," she says in the video, above. "But, it will come, because I feel myself getting sicker. It's happening each week."
Brittany is close to tears as she addresses those who believe that ending her life at any point would mean dying "too soon." "When people criticize me for not waiting longer, or whatever they've decided is best for me, it hurts," she says. "I think sometimes people look at me and they think, 'Well, you don't look as sick as you say that you are'... I certainly feel as sick as I am." Even as her condition worsens, Brittany values every moment she shares with her family, her friends, and her dogs. For her, a few more of these moments is reason enough to wait to exercise a right — a choice — that Brittany believes everyone should have.