Mom-of-4 with Terminal Cancer, 45, Plans Her Death with Dignity: “I want to die on my own terms”


woman wants to die on her own terms

Hanna Olivas was never expecting a terminal diagnosis to rock her world. “Life was busy, and I was so excited for what was to come next,”  she told PEOPLE magazine. (1)

The Vegas-based mother of four and grandmother of two was happily married when she became pregnant in 2015 – her “miracle” pregnancy, as she calls it.

But partway through her pregnancy, tragedy struck. Hanna miscarried and became noticeably sick while she was grieving the loss of her son. She suffered from fatigue and bone pain, which her doctors assumed was a result of depression.

Ten months later, in May of 2017, oncology blood work revealed that depression wasn’t to blame. Hanna was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer, in an advanced stage.

Hanna’s medical team gave her only three to five years to live. She spent two years battling cancer with round after round of chemotherapy and other treatments. But when her body was not responding to treatments, Hanna was told there was nothing else that could be done.

While she still has time with her family, Hanna plans to make the most of it. “I want to swim with sea turtles,” Hanna says. “I want to jump out of an airplane. I want to help other people. I want to see a cure.”

“I want my family to remember me smiling, happy, peaceful and loving life,” Hanna told PEOPLE. “My type of cancer is a long, suffering death, so I should be able to end my life before it gets that bad.” (1)

“I want to die on my own terms,” she says. “The last thing in the world I want to do is die, but it’s going to happen. This should be my decision and my decision only.”

Hanna’s ‘own terms’ look like spending her last moments in view of the Pacific Ocean with her entire family by her side. She would consume a prescription dissolved into a glass of water which would cause her to fall deeply asleep in a matter of minutes. She would pass away within an hour.

Related: Woman throws her grandmother an assisted suicide party

“The water is where I find the most peace,” she says. “The idea itself is terrifying, but my family won’t see me suffer and I won’t be in pain. I’ll be in peace. That’s all you can ask for.”

But Hanna’s hope to avoid a long and painful death is complicated, to say the least. She and her husband, Jerry, will have to move from their Nevada home to a state that authorizes medically assisted dying.

Currently, the US states with medical aid in dying are: (2)

  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • California
  • Montana
  • Colorado
  • Hawai’i
  • Maine
  • Vermont
  • New Jersey

Besides these, states with the Medical Aid-in-Dying Legislation in 2019 are: (2)

  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Kansas
  • Arkansas
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • Indiana
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Delaware
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts

Hanna has been teaming up with Compassion & Choices, a right-to-die advocacy group that “improves care, expands options, and empowers everyone to chart their end-of-life journey”, in hopes of convincing her governor to green-light medically assisted dying for the terminally ill. (3)

Under California’s laws, for example, terminally ill adults who are mentally sound and have a prognosis of less than six months to live may be eligible for lethal medication, provided they can secure two physicians to certify their mental capacity and prescribe a lethal substance. (1)

If you would like to learn more about medically assisted dying in California and the rest of the United States visit Coalition for Compassionate Care of California or Death With Dignity

Read Next: Perspectives: Choosing to Die Before Dementia Takes Over

The post Mom-of-4 with Terminal Cancer, 45, Plans Her Death with Dignity: “I want to die on my own terms” appeared first on The Hearty Soul.


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