Brittany Maynard, Terminal Cancer Patient, Chooses to End Her Life: Emotional Story, Video

Brittany Maynard
Terminal brain cancer patient Brittany Maynard was featured on The Meredith Vieira Show, sharing the reason behind the controversial decision to end her life. Courtesy of The Meredith Vieira Show

Here's her story. Terminal cancer patient Brittany Maynard was featured on The Meredith Vieira Show on Thursday, Oct. 16, opening up about her controversial decision to end her life on Nov. 1.

"[My husband and I] were actively trying for a baby and I was having these terrible headaches," Maynard, 29, recalled. "I saw this specialist and he said I had women's headaches, migraines, and they were likely to go away if I got pregnant. By New Year's Day, I had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer."

Maynard was told she had three to five years to live, "maybe 10 like on a miracle treatment."

Tearing up, Maynard said: "I immediately shut down my plans, because I can't bring a child into the world knowing I'm going to leave them motherless." She was later told that her tumor — "one of the largest they've ever seen" — would curtail her life expectancy even more. "I went from having a few years to six months," she recollected.

Her husband, Dan Diaz, spoke about the symptoms his wife is potentially facing. "You go blind, you're paralyzed, you're a suffering mess," he said of the side effects of the brain tumor. "Cancer is what's killing my wife. The only thing she's doing is mitigating the suffering that she will have to endure."

After learning she had six months to live, Maynard moved from California to Oregon, which has a "Death With Dignity" law. "It's meant to relieve suffering," reflected Maynard. "It's not suicide." Her plan is to die in her bedroom on Nov. 1 with her loved ones by her side.

"I just want to live to celebrate my husband's birthday, which is at the end of October," she said. "For my own psychological preparation, I said I'm going to live to Nov. 1… The idea of falling peacefully asleep surrounded by your loved ones? It's a huge sense of relief compared to the alternative."

In a separate interview with CBS News earlier this week, Maynard said people have no right to judge her for her choice. "I think until anyone has walked a mile in my shoes or knows what I'm facing," she reflected. "And has felt the bone-splitting headaches that I get sometimes or the seizures, or the inability to speak, or the moments I'm looking at my husband's face and I can't think of his name…" Maynard trailed, tearing up.

She added that it took some time for her family to process her decision. "I think it took my family a little while [for this to] make sense," she told CBS. "No mother should have to lose a child. It goes against the grain of nature."

Watch her emotional story in the video above.

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