Mongrel disease. Warning, this may be distressing for some

Well, my dear friend, the spectacular Ms M, has reached the end of the road and will be checking out after a final party in early December.

Diagnosed in 2017 having just turned 89, M has been an absolute inspiration. Whenever I start feeling a bit sorry for myself, I consider the dignity and humour that I have witnessed from a woman who proffessed to never having taken a sick day in her life before BC came calling. She has sailed through the treatments that have floored women half her age. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough and she has now got brain mets.

I don't want to upset anyone, but I'm finding it intriguing, and infuriating, watching her orchestrate her last weeks. She's having a living wake then is going to test drive the assisted dying laws.

The shitty thing is that there is only one doctor up this way who will participate in end of life prescriptions, so she has had to go to Melbourne to get a second referral. All of which has taken up  precious time and energy--though she has booked into an incredibly swanky hotel for the week and is 'making the most of it.' I'm so proud of her.

M's situation is yet another reason that something needs to be done about the disparity between regional and metro services. It grinds my gears that she has had to shop around to achieve her wishes for a dignified death. I guess the hurdles don't become apparent until you see someone trying to jump over them. And a 92 y/o who wants to leave her life, like she leaves a room, with a wave and a rustle of flowing linen, shouldn't have to leap or climb over anything.


  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Member Posts: 5,434
    Goodness your friend Mrs M...............Assisted Dying in Victoria, since it has been approved there's little commentary in the media about it!  I don't profess to know much about the process but by the sounds of it maybe not all Doctors are on board or do they have to be approved for the process, hence the trip to Melbourne

    Good on her for being in control and taking the path, when she is ready

    Take care
  • noosa_blue150
    noosa_blue150 Member Posts: 209
    Sending many hugs and best wishes to Ms M on her final journey .I hope I have the courage down the track to do the same , and go with dignity . 
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,257
    One would wish for better but if it’s inevitable, what a grand and splendid way to go. Apart from the messing around with referrals. The stringency of the current legislation will almost certainly be reviewed over time but not much joy to those going through the process now. In spite of there being many more takers in Victoria than originally forecast, I’m not aware of any issues other than the satisfaction of departing at the time and in the manner of one’s choosing. We get no say in when, where or in what condition we come into the world, it seems only fair we get some choices about leaving it. 

    You’ll miss her but a life well lived lives on. 
  • Locksley
    Locksley Member Posts: 891
    Sending you a hug  @zoffiel.  I hope ms m can have the farewell she wants.  
  • Zoffiel
    Zoffiel Member Posts: 3,372
    No, not all doctors are on board with it @iserbrown. Which is entirely reasonable if they have ethical concerns. 

    This is a fairly conservative district and as far as I know there is only the one GP, considered to be a bit of a maverick, who is open to discussions on the subject. To add complexity, most of the practices here have closed lists so getting an appointment with someone who may help is not easy. The specialists are being infuriatingly mute.

    Then you've got to access the drugs and I gather that the pharmacies are also reluctant. 

    I'm trying not to get too agitated and bolshy about this now, but I suspect that it might be my next mission
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,250
    @Zoffiel  What an inspiration she is!   Well done to your friend, Ms M on doing what SHE wants to do, at a time of her choosing & to go out with a bang.  

    I recently watched a doco on SBS (or was it ABC) on an elderly lady who decided it was her time 'to go' but she had to fly to  Europe to achieve it, as she didn't 'qualify' under the Australian states' rules.   She also had a living wake before she left and her daughter travelled with her to Europe - and it showed the whole process.  It was very peaceful.

    NSW is still deciding about VAD - every other state has passed it & no doubt NT will, in time, too.  Yep, there are stringent hoops to jump thru - and it really does suck that she has had to go outside of her local area to make it possible - tho maybe the glam hotel was nicer in Melbourne than at home?  I hope she's had a wow of a time!  

    We'll be thinking of you as you attend Ms M's final fling ...... deep breaths & keep that smile going tho tears will be understandable too xx

    As @noosa_blue150 says - I hope that I also have the courage to do the same, when the time comes!

  • FLClover
    FLClover Member Posts: 1,513
    Definitely a delicate subject. I’m very pro-life, but it’s her life and should be her choice. It’s somewhat reassuring she made it to her 90s ok. I hope she gets her wishes without too much further hassle ♥️
  • Zoffiel
    Zoffiel Member Posts: 3,372
    edited November 2021
    Thank you all for your support. It is a delicate subject.
    @Afraser if she manages to do what she wants to do, and everyone around her holds their nerve and respects her wishes, I hope Ms experience will be one of those case studies that will inform legislative reform.
    I will miss her. It is always a privilege to be friends with people of exceptional character.
  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,781
    @Zoffiel - I am sad to hear about Ms M.  Thank you for telling us.  It is wonderful that she is taking control of her departure arrangements.
    Much better to enjoy her last times with you, no doubt with much laughter and sharing of times you've had together.  Lovely for you and her other friends to have good memories like that.
    It is absolutely disgusting that she has to face this battle to get her wishes.
    Did you see the movie "Blackbird' which was out earlier this year starring Susan Sarandon and Sam Neill ?
  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 538
    @Zoffiel It is such an emotive time Ms M.  I am very much pro life, but I do understand how some want to make their own plans of how they exit their earthly life. LIfe can be so difficult at times, poor dear, and I wish her a "good death".

    @June1952 The movie, Last Cab to Darwin starring MIchael Caton, is such a thought provoking movie, it was produced in 2015.  I haven't seen the movie Blackbird, but I did see Still Alice, another movie with Susan Sarandon, and she was wanting to control her end of life timing.  

  • lrb_03
    lrb_03 Member Posts: 1,267
    It's a long time since I've logged in to the forum. I've never been sure of VAD for myself, but support others right to make that choice. I wish your friend well.

    @arpie said "NSW is still deciding about VAD - every other state has passed it & no doubt NT will, in time, too.  Yep, there are stringent hoops to jump thru - and it really does suck that she has had to go outside of her local area to make it possible - tho maybe the glam hotel was nicer in Melbourne than at home?  I hope she's had a wow of a time!  "

    The NT was actually the first place to pass VAD laws in the mid 90's. I was living there at the time and voted in the referendum.  Dr Philip Neitschke (spelling horribly wrong here) was practicing as a GP in Darwin in that era and has been this country's biggest advocate of the modern times. As a result of this referendum, the then Liberal Federal government passed legislation that took away the right of the territories to make such laws. Until such time ad that legislation is repealed neither the NT nor the ACT can enact laws around VAD. Even those who didn't support the referendum at the time were angered by this

    Sorry all for the rant but I  do feel strongly about this, as if they do it for one thing it can happen again
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,250
    WOW! I  didn't realise that @lrb_03 !!  I wonder if they'll ever be able to re-enact that law?

  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,175
    Thinking of Ms M and you @Zoffiel. Sending virtual hugs x
  • AllyJay
    AllyJay Member Posts: 931
    I'm so sorry that your good friend is forced to jump these hurdles at this time of her long and fruitful life, @Zoffiel. It really is a rotten state of affairs that a fully cognisant person, unaffected by mental illness which may impede her ability to make correct decisions regarding her life and death, has to do this. So very undignified, exhausting and just wrong. I understand there have to be checks and balances to protect the culling of frail and vulnerable people, who may be dispatched by avaricious rellies and such, but this is not that. I hope she gets her wishes of a peaceful and dignified death as her due rights after such a full life.