A 29-year-old terminally ill woman who planned to take her life under Oregon's death-with-dignity law may have changed her mind.
Brittany Maynard visited the Grand Canyon with her family last week and said she had completed the last item on her bucket list. Maynard, who has brain cancer, had said she plans to end her life Saturday, but she released a new video Wednesday that indicated a change of heart.
"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," Maynard says in the new video. "But it will come, because I feel myself getting sicker. It's happening each week."
In Wednesday's video she says she's still waiting to see how her symptoms progress before deciding on a date to die.
Maynard said she had two seizures in one day about a week ago and she remembered looking at her husband, but she couldn't say his name. She said she ended up going to the hospital for that one.
"I think sometimes people look at me and they think, 'Well you don't look as sick as you say you are,' which hurts to hear, because when I'm having a seizure and I can't speak afterwards. I certainly feel as sick as I am," she says in the video. "When people criticize me for not waiting longer, or, you know, whatever they've decided is best for me, it hurts because really, I risk it every day, every day that I wake up."
She said it's a weird feeling to wake up every day and be in her body because it feels so different from just a year ago.
"To be perfectly candid, in the last three months I've gained over 25 pounds over nothing that I've put in my mouth except for prescription medications."
The nearly six-minute video was produced and released by the end-of-life choice advocacy group Compassion & Choices. It also includes statements from her husband and her mother.
"It's not my job to tell her how to live," her mother, Debbie, says in the video. "And it's not my job to tell her how to die."
Maynard moved to Oregon from Northern California because Oregon allows terminally ill patients to end their lives with lethal medications prescribed by a doctor.
More than 750 people in Oregon used the law to die as of Dec. 31, 2013. The median age of the deceased was 71.
Maynard has become an advocate for a group that seeks to expand death-with-dignity laws around the nation.
"I want to thank you for your incredible support. The outpouring of kindness that I have received since my story went public has been astounding. You’ve helped put the death-with-dignity movement in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans. All across the country, lawmakers have reached out saying that they want to introduce legislation to authorize aid in dying. That is real progress towards change," a statement from Maynard reads on the YouTube video page.