In the Face of Terminal Illness, What Would You Do?

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Susan Rahn thanks her general practitioner for digging further when she first went to her office with back pain in 2013. That was her first sign of what would later become her diagnosis: Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.

"It was really hard to keep it together because of my son and I didn't want to tell him right away," Susan said. "I really didn't hear what she said after that."

Susan's cancer had spread to her spine and her ribs. She's had radiation, several surgeries and takes medication.

Susan was diagnosed just months after marrying her husband, Jeff.

"Seeing her on a day to day basis, it's so hard to see how this is terminal. She's upbeat," Jeff said.

Susan shares her story on her blog, on Facebook and Twitter. She's become an advocate for the Medical Aid in Dying Act. She was in Albany this week talking to lawmakers when the legislation was reintroduced.

"If the cancer reaches my lungs, I'm going to end up suffocating," Susan said. "If the cancer reaches my brain, I may not recognize my family, I could have seizure, hallucinations."

Susan knows what she's up against, and she also knows what she wants when the time comes.

"When I'm not eligible for clinical trials and all that stuff is over with and I have six months or less, then I would like to have the option to request the medicine from my physician."

Susan and Jeff know there are those who disagree, but they argue the proposed legislation has safeguards to protect from misuse.

Susan says she wants her last moments to be happy ones, surrounded by family.

"I don't want it to be this vigil where everybody is just sitting around watching this process," Susan said. "I don't want my son to watch that. I don't want my son my husband to watch that. I don't them to remember that for me."

Susan's son wants to go to medical school. She hopes her blog will later remind him of all the work his mother did along the way.

"I hope she stays positive and what's I've read have something to look forward to," Jeff said.

"I hope I'm still here to watch my son graduate from medical school. and see how his life unfolds," Susan said. "That's all I can hope for."

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