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Answers from our Priests for Life Medical Team


Submitted by: B on  5/13/2010
Answered by: Matthew P. Harrison, M.D.
Topic: I want to just end it all and be out of pain.........
Question:
I have terminal pancreatic cancer and have been told that I have less than 3 months to live. I am in excruciating pain and throwing up all the time. I want to just end it all and be out of pain so that I can go to heaven. I know it is wrong to commit suicide, but I know God doesn’t want me to suffer like this.
   
Answer:
Dear Bill, I am so sorry to hear about your devastating news. I am sure you and your family are reeling from this. I have had numerous patients with pancreatic cancer and as you know, it can be very painful and lead to death very quickly. I pray that you will think very carefully about your final days with your family and not only look to them for strength but also provide for them a lasting advocate for them in heaven. I have never had a case of pain that could not be brought under control. These can cause deep sedation but there are many options for pain and nausea control. This is a time when you have an opportunity to give your family the chance to care for you in a way they may never have been able to in the past. Bill, please realize that in 10 years when you will have gone to your eternal reward, your family would give anything just to sit and hold your hand one more time, to see your eyes and hear your voice. Let this be your final gift to them. Be sure to seek out a pro-life doctor that will keep you as pain free as possible, while letting you retain your dignity as you go through this final door. Just as a pot does not have the right to destroy itself apart from the potter, we do not have the right to kill ourselves apart from God. Our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were given to us by God but we cannot give them away. Slavery is not morally right, even if we choose it. Neither is suicide. The only way we can truly embrace our frailties as humans is to contrast them with our immortal souls and resurrection bodies as we share in eternal life with Christ. Peace be with you and your family.

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