+
More

You remember her fight to die on her own terms? Brittany Maynard's mission lives on for others.

More who suffer would like that right.

Brittany Maynard took a medicine that ended her life. She shouldn't have had to make such an awful choice, but she was grateful to have a choice at all. Do you remember her? She was the bright-eyed, pragmatic young woman who moved with her husband to Oregon so she could die on her own terms instead of on cancer's terms. It was big-time national news.


Image used with permission from Dan Diaz.

Her family is still hard at work trying to make sure other people can have the dignity of their own choices, too. Here's her mom with a sweet story about banana pancakes and a more difficult story of how they went about getting the end-of-life medication Brittany needed.

Brittany's widower, Dan Diaz, has been an ardent spokesman for Death With Dignity laws. Here's something he shared with Upworthy that he'd like anyone opposed to Death With Dignity to consider:

"Brittany and I listened to the narrative that the opposition presents, but unfortunately their message is out of touch with the reality of what a person in Brittany's situation is facing. The opposition's message is based on fear, uncertainty, and doubt, concerning who should be in control of one's own dying process. And when they finish delivering their message they have not offered a solution or an alternative to a person like Brittany who is facing a torturous death. It seems their position is: 'We don't approve of what Brittany did, but we don't have an alternative to offer, so anyone in her predicament will just have to die in agony.'

Brittany refused to accept that position and simply took control of her own health care decisions. She voiced her disapproval of the current system in California, and because of her voice we are now seeing change occur. (It is with great pride in my wife that I continue what she began.)

I am not trying to force my position on anyone else, neither was Brittany. The strength of this law is that it is an option that the individual would need to pursue for him/herself. So I am merely trying to convey the reality of what Brittany faced and how it is essential that the individual should be the decision maker regarding their own circumstances. That's all Brittany wanted to establish."



If you think Brittany's story is just an outlier — one extreme fringe case in a world where most people don't want to have this choice — I have to show you something.

This is Cody Curtis and her husband.

She died using the Death With Dignity law when her terminal liver cancer made her suffering unbearable.

Image from "How to Die In Oregon," used with permission.

And this is Peter Scott.

Image from "How to Die In Oregon," used with permission.

And it doesn't stop with them.

In 2011, there were over a million terminally diagnosed patients using hospice services (end-of-life care). 65% of people polled expressed interest in laws to uphold their end-of-life decisions so that they can plan and stay in control of how their loved ones remember their time here.

And one of the most staggering statistics comes from a Compassion and Choices report on a recent Harris Poll:

"Three out of four Americans (74%) polled after Brittany Maynard utilized Oregon's Death With Dignity Act agreed that: 'Individuals who are terminally ill, in great pain and who have no chance for recovery, have the right to choose to end their own life.'"


Dan Diaz and Brittany Maynard. Image used with permission from Dan Diaz.

Self-reflection time:

Do you know anyone who's terminally ill, or have you lost someone who struggled through a vicious disease that they had no chance of surviving? Could you imagine a moment during their intense suffering where you could understand and support their decision to end their pain?

For me, it was my brother Alan and my grandma Dixie, who both died painful deaths from cancer. They are the reason why I care so much for this cause and wanted to share this story with our audience. Who are you going to share this piece in honor of?

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Buffy Sainte-Marie shares what led to her openly breastfeeding on 'Sesame Street' in 1977

The way she explained to Big Bird what she was doing is still an all-time great example.

"Sesame Street" taught kids about life in addition to letters and numbers.

In 1977, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie did something revolutionary: She fed her baby on Sesame Street.

The Indigenous Canadian-Ameican singer-songwriter wasn't doing anything millions of other mothers hadn't done—she was simply feeding her baby. But the fact that she was breastfeeding him was significant since breastfeeding in the United States hit an all-time low in 1971 and was just starting to make a comeback. The fact that she did it openly on a children's television program was even more notable, since "What if children see?" has been a key pearl clutch for people who criticize breastfeeding in public.

But the most remarkable thing about the "Sesame Street" segment was the lovely interchange between Big Bird and Sainte-Marie when he asked her what she was doing.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.

@emilyboazman/TikTok

Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

Keep ReadingShow less

The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

Keep ReadingShow less