By Adam Crouch
I was deeply saddened to hear that Brittany Maynard decided to accept the laws in Oregon, USA (where euthanasia is legal) and ended her life in November 2014, after a battle with brain cancer.
I am a victim of brain cancer myself. I was diagnosed with a brain tumor* in 2011. I am concerned about and reject attitudes of government officials who believe euthanasia is a reasonable option and solution for people such as Brittany and me, who are faced with life-threatening illnesses such as brain cancer.
Avoiding pitfalls and maintaining perspective
When we get sick, often there is too much stress and too much happening to make wise and logical decisions.
Throughout two and a half years of treatment, I suffered emotionally. I felt sadness, fatigue, disappointment, anxiety, and fear. I was upset about putting on weight and losing my hair, and I could not stop thinking about the many frustrations I was experiencing. During this time, I was tempted to give up, especially when my tumor grew back after radiation therapy.
In this experience, my Christian faith helped me. In our spiritual lives, when we are sick, we experience desolation. It seems that God has abandoned us. The golden rule, when we are experiencing this desolation of sickness, is to not change course, but to continue on our journey, and be faithful to our previous decisions and commitments. We have to bravely move dead slow ahead, like a wounded ship moving out of troubled waters.
Although we are sick, we still have our role to play in society and our lives have value. We are still precious and loved by our families and friends, who also suffer with us during our sickness.
Blessings received and lessons learned
After two major operations, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment, I am back on my feet and making a good recovery. I am grateful to and inspired by the people who looked after me at my hospital. We have great oncologists and surgeons whom we can trust. Treatments and advancements are improving every day.
I do not have life all together. I am sensitive to the painful disappointments and rejections that we all experience in life. The experience of my tumor has been humbling and frustrating; however, it has also made me a more grateful and mature person. I realize that not everyone survives cancer. None of us knows what lies ahead. But life is always worth living, and some of my greatest blessings and healing of relationships came as a result of my sickness. Having brain cancer made me realize just how special I am to other people. I realized people do actually care.
I have continued my theological studies at the Missionaries of God’s Love seminary, where I was discerning a call to the priesthood even before I became ill with the tumor. I am still having scans to monitor tumor activity in my brain, but less often. I was ordained a deacon last October at St. Dominic’s Parish in Camberwell (near Melbourne) and hope to be ordained a Catholic priest in October of this year. Before joining the seminary, I enjoyed carpentry and participating in sports, and still enjoy participating in these activities today.
I grew up in a privileged family with many opportunities. My parents have invested a lot in education, health care, and all the other resources needed to raise children. I hope this is not all put to waste. I hope I can become a good and respected person in the community in which I live and encourage others to keep going. Life is always worth living.
Adam Crouch is from Melbourne, Australia.
The International Brain Tumour Alliance provides information about support and advocacy for brain tumour patients, as well as brain tumour research: www.theibta.org.
Dana Palmer was diagnosed as having a terminal glioblastoma (brain cancer) in 2005. Here’s Dana’s story, as told by her in February 2016: http://m.gazette.com/guest-column-against-colorados-proposed-assisted-suicide-bill/article/1569190