Brain Cancer

Terminally ill woman who intends to end her life posts new video about her condition

Brittany Maynard says now might not be 'right time' to end her life


Brittany Maynard, 29, a terminally ill woman who’s made headlines for her decision to end her life, may not do so on the scheduled date of Nov. 1, she said in a new video posted Wednesday.

“So if Nov. 2 comes along and I’ve passed, I hope my family is still proud of me and the choices I’ve made, but if Nov. 2 comes along and I’m still alive, I know that we’ll just still be moving forward as a family out of love for each other and that decision will come later,” Maynard said in the video.

Maynard, who completed the last item on her bucket list— traveling to the Grand Canyon— last week, said in the video that she still felt good enough and still shared enough joy and laughter with her family and friends that “it doesn’t seem like the right time right now, but it will come because I feel myself getting sicker; it’s happening each week.”

The California native was diagnosed with a progressive brain tumor shortly after her wedding last year. Doctors said her death would likely be slow and painful. 

According to Maynard, the worst thing that could happen to her— the most terrifying aspect— is that she waits too long and has her autonomy taken away by her disease.

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In the video, Maynard said she takes walks with her family and husband, which “give her the greatest feelings of health I have these days” and that her condition continues to worsen every day.

About a week before she filmed the video, Maynard had her most terrifying set of seizures, two in a day, which is unusual.

“I remember looking at my husband’s face and thinking ‘I know this is my husband but I can’t say his name,’  and ended up going to the hospital for that one.”

Dan, her husband, said they were taking things one day at a time.

“You take away all the material stuff, all the nonsense we seem to latch on to as a society and you realize that those moments are really what matter,” he said.

Maynard hopes that after her death, her husband can be happy and have a family.

Maynard said she has gained 25 pounds in the past three months because of her prescription medications and that she finds it hard to look at herself in photos or the mirror because her body has become so unrecognizable.

“If all my dreams came true, I would somehow survive this,” she said. “But I most likely won’t.”

After her wedding last year, Maynard began having severe headaches, and in January was diagnosed with grade II astrocytoma. Doctors initially gave her 10 years to live, but subsequent scans showed the tumor progressed into glioblastoma multiforme, the deadliest form of cancer with an average life expectancy of 14 months.

The family moved to Oregon where the state’s “Death with Dignity Act” allows people to choose to die using medication. Since the act was instated in 1997, more than 750 people have taken advantage of it.

Since Maynard’s story went viral, she has been working to raise awareness of end-of-life rights by working with life-rights advocacy organization Compassion & Choices, and The Brittany Maynard Fund. She has also been traveling and spending time with her family.

“Sadly, it is impossible to forget my cancer. Severe headaches and neck pain are never far away, and unfortunately the next morning I had my worst seizure thus far. My speech was paralyzed for quite a while after I regained consciousness, and the feeling of fatigue continued for the rest of the day,” Maynard said on her website.

“The seizure was a harsh reminder that my symptoms continue to worsen as the tumor runs its course. However, I find meaning and take pride that the Compassion & Choices movement is accelerating rapidly, thanks to supporters like you,” Maynard said.

Maynard plans to die in her bedroom at home surrounded by her husband, mother, step-father and best friend.