My name is Leslie Mutchler, and my 36-year-old son, TJ, chose to end his pain and suffering caused by terminal pancreatic cancer. TJ was able to do this by using his prescription for medical aid in dying as authorized through a state Supreme Court ruling. TJ did not want to die; the cancer took his life. But his ability to have peace and dignity at the end was a blessing for him and our family.
Although I never imagined that TJ would need medical aid in dying for himself, we were well aware of the issue as a family. It was my father and TJ’s grandfather, Bob Baxter, who with the help of Compassion & Choices prevailed in the landmark case Baxter v. Montana in 2009 — the case that authorized the practice. We always called it the “grandpa law.” Sadly, Dad died before the case was decided and couldn’t use aid in dying, but we are so thankful that he persevered so TJ might have the option.