Ready to say goodbye

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Ready to say goodbye

Margaret Radmore, with former husband Dave Radmore and granddaughter Zoe, is grateful for Victoria’s new assisted dying law.
 

MARGARET Radmore is bracing herself for the end.

The Inverloch grandmother has terminal bowel cancer and will be one of the first Victorians to apply to die under the state’s new voluntary assisted dying law that came into effect on June 19.

The former nurse has seen patients suffer at the end of their lives and does not want her family to see her go the same way.

She wants to take control of her final days and to let other Victorians with a terminal illness know they can apply to die.

That’s why she has volunteered with the health department to speak to the media about her choice.

“I’m worried there are people suffering at the moment and they do not know about it or are not comfortable bringing it up with family, because their family does not want to hear about it or their loved ones are trying to hang on to some sort of hope,” she said.

Ms Radmore’s life was upended five years ago when she was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Twelve months after undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy, she was declared clear of cancer.

Her relief was short-lived. In May 2018, she experienced jaundice overnight and tests revealed the cancer had spread to her liver and lymph nodes.

“They did scans and then they come into my room and said, ‘Sorry, but you have got enough time to get your affairs in order’. I just did not expect bad news. I’ll never forget that,” she said.

As a nurse since she was 17, Ms Radmore had cared for people until their last breath.

Until her illness forced her to stop working, she was director of nursing at Korumburra Hospital. She misses the staff there terribly.

“I was just absolutely horrified of a bad death. I could not get it out of my mind imagining what it was going to be like,” she said.

“When I found out about the legislation being passed, I was truly relieved and I got so much comfort knowing that I had an option.”

Support for euthanasia has always run throughout her family. Her parents, both nurses, were members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, now known as Dying with Dignity.

“Just watching so many people suffer in the end, you always think there has got to be a better way,” Ms Radmore said.

Further chemotherapy would have extended her life expectancy by up to 24 months, but would never rid her of cancer.

With that in mind, and the fact the previous side effects were horrendous, she decided not to pursue further treatment.

“Absolutely it’s going to get worse but at the moment it’s about enjoying each day,” she said.

“In the morning when I wake up, I’m in a bit of pain but there will be a time when I can’t get out of bed.”

Ms Radmore copes with her plight by accepting her life will be cut short. She has only just turned 60.

“As awful as it was, I’m really grateful that I was in a position to stop work and have this time to enjoy my life,” she said.

“I say to my girlfriends, why would you still work because you never know what’s around the corner. Stop work and enjoy your family.

“I’ve always appreciated my family, my life and just living here, but I think I appreciate it a lot more now.”

While she will apply for approval to die voluntarily now, Ms Radmore will hold onto the medicine that can end her life until she is ready.

Palliative care ensures she is as comfortable as can be, but even with that treatment alone, she knows the end is “not going to be pretty”: a swollen belly, vomiting and terrible body itching.

That’s when she will take the medicine that will be delivered to her Inverloch home by a pharmacist – appointed by the government –  who will travel especially from Melbourne.

But then again, she may decide against taking it.

“I might be lucky that I will deteriorate rapidly and just pass away quickly, but the comfort that I feel from having it in my possession is beyond expression,” she said.

Ms Radmore has the support of her family: former husband Dave, partner Mark, her daughter Emma Radmore, 34, a nurse at Wonthaggi Hospital’s emergency department, and son Rhys, 32, a solar electrician in Melbourne.

Emma’s daughters Ava, four, and Zoe, three, are cherishing their time with their grandmother.

To qualify for voluntary assisted dying, Ms Radmore will be assessed by two doctors who will need to verify she is unlikely to live beyond six months.

“At the moment I’m enjoying my beautiful granddaughters and enjoying the beautiful days and visitors coming,” she said.

 

 

 

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Posted by on Jul 2 2019. Filed under Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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